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Friday, June 29, 2007

The Name Game

The clichéd quote says a rose is a rose by any other name. How do we wonders whether streams, trees and rivers really care about being named so. That triggered a thought in my mind on how we humans live with our given names for the rest of our life (unless we are one among those who decide to rename themselves for various reasons, numerology being one cited reason apart from marriage wherein the surname is changed).
I have heard of a girl changing her name from Sushmita to Sumi because she believed it to be short and sweet but I strongly suspect that the Mom wanted to change it because her MIL had named the daughter Sushmita- she used to lament that fact very often that she inherited such a weird name- and this was before a Sushmita Sen went on to become Ms Universe.
Has to be me talked of a strange name she heard of.
I have heard of weird names like Nirasha meaning disappointment. She was the 4th baby girl and hence so named.
For naming my kids, I referred to the numerous websites on Indian names, Indian mythological names, Names of Lord Siva/ Vishnu/ Parvati/ Ganesh/ Laxmi/Saraswati / Durga etc. Since we did not know the sex of the babies we had to select a minimum of 2 girl names and 2 boy names. Also we looked at combinations of boy & girl. I was not very particular about having rhyming names but wanted to have names which would complement each other by some logic- either names of same God or both names culminating into a single meaning. Example Rudra & Akshat culminates into a Rudraksha by my logic. Or if I were to name the boy after the Sun, I would name the girl after the rays of the Sun. My line of thought went like this.
For every name I came across I evaluated it on the following lines-
1. Does it mean something good
2. Do I know someone by that name already and if it is some old classmate of mine or my siblings', how that person has fared in life- Believe me I checked with my brother whether the girl Arushi from his class was good in studies! It should not evoke memories of how she used to always fail subjects!
3. Is it too done-to-death sort of name
4. Is it negative in terms of personality depicted- I love the name Rudra- it evokes a lot of Power but since it connotes the “anger” in Lord Siva, I was hesitant in naming my son so
5. Can it be shortened to something unpleasant which the peers could use to make fun of them- children can be extremely cruel at times
6. Neither typically south Indian nor typically Bollywood names like Vijay, Ravi, Puja, Nisha etc nor too Ekta Kapoor-ised or TV-ised like a Mihir or a Vedika- both names which I love but have become household names. Example Vanshika is nice sounding name and only a side character in a serial so not so famous. I didn’t want someone to point out that the name was picked up from a serial. Really, TV has made Common Nouns of Proper Nouns like Names
7. Most important- my children have to live with that name for the rest of their life, I have to evaluate whether it is likeable, modern enough, pleasant and call-able and sort of think-in-their shoes.
8. My husband added a numerology dimension to it before the final selection
The choices become very limited when you have so many clauses.
Out of at least 5000 names, I picked up about 10 names (with definition) of boys and girls which were acceptable to me, hubby, parents, grand parents (checking the religious aspects). I also made a contingency list. Meanwhile hubby managed to download the entire website of names too.
Post birth the task was easier. Now we had only the set of boy names to consider and pair. I lamented for a while on the good baby girl names that I could not use and then filed them away for passing on to siblings and cousins if and when the time came.
The numerology clause that hubby added forced us to shortlist 2 names out of the entire not-so-big list. He first created the program that calculated automatically the numeric result for a name. That itself took at least a week though why he took the trouble I do not know as there were only about 5-6 names to choose from and another short-list of not-so-favoured back ups. There came some really weird suggestions from a few quarters which I summarily discarded as they did not fit clause no 7 above. Only the name Eshan (starting with E & not I) fitted the numerology dimension. We force-fitted Aryamman by adding another m and made it numerologically cool. And since I was very hot on Tejas & Ojas, we decided to use that as nick names.
Aryamman means Sun. Eshan means Lord Siva and some websites say it also means Sun. I cling on to that fact and tell people that both names mean the same thing- Sun and Ojas & Tejas mean brilliance which is logical from the point of view of their official names and also since they were born on Diwali morning. And now we can actually boast that we did a lot of logical thinking before naming the double trouble.
Is there a story behind your name? Would you prefer or like to be called by any other name? How did you go about naming your kids?
Waiting to hear from all you bloggers.

Meanwhile have a look at the legalities across continents in changing names.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ojas & Tejas Update

1. It was Tat you first and now Ojas says Thaks (thanks) every time he gets what he has asked for.
2. Bathing- Both were playing in their bath tub with their individual mugs. Ojas used to pull Tejas’ mug and fill it with water from his mug. Tejas will subsequently pour it on himself. The cycle continues
3. Teasing-I was trying to put them to bed. Ojas wanted to play with his toy and I snatched it away. To annoy me, he pulled my folded trousers and dragged it along the floor humming to himself
4. Telephone Manners- Ojas chats on the phone. If he is talking in Tamil he says aamma in between and if he is talking to Bihar he says haan haan
5. We went to Bata. I asked the sales guy if he had a particular pair of shoes for my son. The sales guy answered- no this is for ladies, I will show you shoes for gents… ahem.. they are still boys I thought
6. Playing- Both are playing with their badminton racket. Ojas explained the game to him elaborately. Tejas said no no and turned away. The next day Ojas took revenge. Both were playing with their cricket bat. Tejas wanted to play in some format and he explained Ojas the plan. Ojas disregarded and went to the other room.
7. Language- Both discuss issues a lot. We feel that there are 2 people talking in Chinese or some other unknown language. and they actuallyu undertsand each other. Begining of a secret language among twins?
8. Acting- We caught Ojas entertaining Tejas by acting as if he is crying
9. Quiz Time- I asked Tejas if he wants to go to the loo in the middle of the night. He said no no. After sometime predictably he wet the bed. I asked – what did you do? He answered “kakka” and went off to sleep.
10. Spencer’s mall- we took them to the play area and put them on the jeep. They were thrilled. Then we said “ta ta”. And they panicked and started crying.
11. Mamma’s helper-Ojas comes to the kitchen and promptly puts to plates on the counter for us
12. Self Reliance- Tejas tried to put the buttons for his shirt- failed miserably though
13. First Restaurant Accident- the date 17th June 2007 will go down in history as the first day Mamma got embarrassed courtesy the kids. Venue- Fruit Shop at Greames Road- Besant Nagar branch- Tejas broke the juice goblet. Mamma offered to pay but the good guys refused. After all, we are regular customers. And my sons are clients even before birth.
14. Ojas was on the potty chair. He wanted to come out of it and nobody was entertaining his request. He called the maid- Ammanaa ..When she came there he pointed at the belt muttering something.
15. Paradox- they can climb the iron grill, they can climb the upturned chair back or the step ladder, but THEY REFUSE TO CLIMB THE LADDER OF THE SLIDE. They will go up the slide or beg me to place them on top of the slide so that they can slide down on their own.
16. They have started repeating whatever we say- A to Z or anything else.
17. Tejas does not say Mausi- He mouths a kiss instead- may be he gets confused with Kissie. Ojas says Maapi
18. Tejas has been sporting his pre molars for sometime now
By the way, Tejas has reserved one corner of the living room as his कोप भवन. He stands there whenever he is upset with us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- The Diet Chart

Weight Management Paradox
The day your scales are kind to you, you bravely tell the dietician- how come I lost weight, I had chicken and mango both.

The day you gain, you hide that you had non veg all the 3 meals and 2 samosas.
‘what is this, I am gaining instead of losing, after all the hard work.” You hope she sympathises and does not question you too deeply on your day’s diet. You don’t want to be scolded again for the lapse
The attempt should be to bring about a change in lifestyle rather than a short term change to last during the weight loss period only. If the aim is to restrict only during the weight loss phase, the tendency is to put back as much and more than what was lost. The overall idea is not to stop one from eating but educate and train the body to eat what is right and the right quantity.

1. Instead of 3 large meals, one should take 6 small meals.
-The body handles smaller amounts of food better than big meals at one go. If the quantity is limited, it is more likely to use the energy contained in the food, rather than store it as fat.
-Taking small meals provide fuel to keep the digestive system working and metabolism fired up throughout the day and prevents the body from slipping into fat storing mode
2. The objective is to get a good mix of carbs, protein, vitamins, fibre. A sample diet schedule -(for me- you need to check with your dietician)
Breakfast- cornflakes/ oats/ upma/ dosa without oil/ idly
Midmorning- tender coconut/ fruit/ vegetable juice
Lunch- 1-2 glasses of cold water, Cup of salad, 2 roti, vegetables, daal, buttermilk. The water, buttermilk and salad will help you control the food quantity to near ideal
Afternoon- milk/ coffee with 2 biscuits/ wheat rusk
Evening- fruit
Dinner- before 7.00- 7.30 pm- soup, salad, wheat bread- 2-3 slices/ roti & salad/ veggies/ oats

Ensure you take 12-15 glasses of water. Can also include the tender coconut, juice in the tally.

Non veg is restricted to twice a week and not in the night. Ayurveda mentions that non-veg takes 48 hours to digest. Also it has no fibre and high amount of fat. Proteins require much more energy than carbs to digest but since one sleeps after dinner the whole thing gets absorbed into the system as fat if eaten at night.

Fruits, salads, oats give fibre.
Sugar free/ cholesterol free does not necessarily mean fat free so be careful of such products.
Tetrapack juices are not always good- remember the sugar added
Everything counts- yes that small piece of chocolate too.
Attain your target and then allow yourself one treat day in the week- not before that.
Cut the vicious cycle – the more you weigh, the more you feel like eating junk food/ high fat food. The more you avoid fatty food, the faster you attain your target and the lesser you feel like eating junk food.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Childproofing -but not beyond a point

I wrote about child proofing.
Lumi mentioned in the comments section that she had taught her Mini Me not to touch stuff rather than total child proofing. Come to think of it, ditto with my baby brother. Except for items on the dressing table and a table placed in front of the TV to prevent him from hitting the screen with his hand in which he used to wear a silver bracelet, we did not do too much of child proofing. He was pretty low maintenance as a child. On the contrary, a few relatives (D& B) who were a good 3- 5 years older than him were terrors- we had to hide my brother’s tricycle, stroller, toys etc to prevent them from breaking stuff. For the record, neither we sisters nor my brother broke toys. Barring a few accidental breakages, whatever toys had been broken or even the favourite doll which has pen marks on her head- was done by others- read the terror relatives D&B. In fact her mother and she were ultra careful about her Barbie that was kept out of reach in her own home.
While Tejas & Ojas are natural destroyers. So were my close cousins A & S. While my cousins’ avenue were toys and may be an occasional electronic item but my kids arena is limitless. It can be doors, toys, phone, DVD to TV wires, knife, vessels, lemon strainer, clothes clip, puja cupboard, remote, A/C, keys, gas, lighter, the list is endless. My soft toys have been well played but look new like because they were played with care and washed and cleaned regularly by Mom. Whereas my kids’ soft toys have a worn out look due to the rough handling and lack of control and care by yours truly.
That sets me thinking. Probably there is a Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in all kids.
Some like Brahma are naturally creative & inquisitive- those whiz kids who can crack puzzles, use Bob the Builder type of Make & know toys and learn the alphabets and colours and birds & animals fast.
Some like Vishnu are preservers- those dream kids who never break their toys or mess around with things that don’t concern them. Mind you, they are not dull or boring or lack in intelligence. They are just careful.
Some like Shiva are destructors. They will not sit still and do their lessons. You will never find them attempting to solve the puzzle rather they will play with the pieces. You build the model aeroplane with the building blocks, they will pull it apart. They will open the parts of the torch, mobile, remote and curiously explore what’s in. They will bang & hurl objects for no rhyme or reason. Even the bed spread, folded clothes & stuff inside cupboard will not be spared. But take heart. It is often said that those who destroy more get to learn the insides of how things work naturally provided they channel it right.
So there are kids and then there are kids. To each his own. One must try to identify the type of kid one has been blessed with and decide the level of child proofing.
For a very long time I did not do the child proofing. All this was done at a much later stage when the MIL & the maids began to have a tough time handling the challenge. The number of times they approached the gas stove was growing in numbers. The vessel drawers were getting emptied on many occasions and the re-washing was harrowing the maids. I feared I would lose all my CD collection & important papers and I was ending up with having no storage space as all the lower levels were getting emptied one by one. My entire living room had barricades against the drawers and show case- barricades like heavy sofa, their stroller stuffed with pillows and toys to prevent access, upturned chairs tied over side tables to prevent them from climbing over and reaching the plug points. And now I do not have any place to charge my mobile except the office or the kitchen plug point. My bangles and clothes were repeatedly being pulled out of the cupboards. In total, life was getting tiring for the care givers.
For my part, I honestly tried exercising discipline, saying this belongs to Mummy or Daddy or making the sound of a strict “ay ee” or giving a smack on the butt or the hands. None worked. In fact they challenge us by doing exactly what we asked them not to do.
Hence the childproofing of the home. To prevent things from getting destroyed. To prevent them from getting hurt. And so that we can relax a little bit.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Factual Fiction- Protecting the Baby

Visitors have come in to bless your newborn. You are happy yet apprehensive.
They coo at the baby and try to touch and tickle the chin. The bashful child who has come pinches the cheeks a little too roughly for your taste.
You wince inwardly and try to distract the child and prevent him from jumping on the bed with the dirty shoes.
You quickly take the baby in your arms for fear of the ladies doing the same.
They may not have washed their hands and you fear that the baby may get dirty.
You even contemplate waking the baby up accidentally and excuse yourself and take the baby for a solitary feed.
The pesky relative who has come to stay with you on the pretext of seeing the new baby takes the baby from your arms and hands her over to the fattest lady among the visitors.

You smile contentedly, inwardly seething.

Friday, June 22, 2007


1. Child gates installed for the open kitchen- so that they don’t operate the gas (believe me they do attempt), or empty the kitchen drawers or arrange the plates for us
2. Knifes, gas lighter and glass items out of reach
3. No placemats or tablecloth or newspapers hanging from the table with vessels or food placed on them- they are eager to pull them down
4. In fact 1 foot space of any table or kitchen counter is unoccupied – the space will widen I am sure
5. Dining chairs upturned just and placed between the wall & the table or under the dining table. They stand on them without support and climb on the table from there
6. All cupboards installed with locks so that they don’t open them and remove all contents
7. All side tables removed – glass tops and glass showcase doors unhinged and kept out of reach
8. Garbage bin secluded, floor cleaners are never taken out when they are watching
9. Clothes clip, bottle caps, glass bangles, medicines out of sight
10. Low plug points sealed with masking tapes- some of the switches also pressed down with tapes
11. Telephone cables taped to the walls
12. Instant water heater switched off before they get into the bath
13. Toilets always closed, their potty chair out of reach- ensure always cleaned (I have caught them pretending to drink from it), buckets always empty
14. That attractive drool-worthy standing lamp – never purchased
15. Glass flowers from Takashimaya, Singapore- out of sight, out of reach
16. photo frames- no doubt their endearing love for our photos is flattering- yet placed out of reach
17. If the door is opened, the grill has to be locked- they love to take a stroll in the garden
18. That bold & stubborn black & white cat out of touching distance
19. fridge- locked
20. cell phone charger- ensure not left hanging from the plug and not left on and within reach- they love to poke the end into their ear, nose or mouth
21. cupboards- locked- they have not yet tried hide n seek in the cupboards
22. A/C- could not save the louvers from getting mangled
23. Master bedroom- locked until I come home- lesser the number of rooms they can access, the easier for the caretakers to take care
24. Car- Automatic windows not operated until their hands are held by an adult. The adult gets down first and then removes the child, else he may run into the path of another vehicle (even while parking at home). If the child is inside, the door is not closed until an adult gets inside and holds the hands. Also don't want any accidental locking to happen while the keys may be inside the car.
25. Self- ensure bangles/ chains do not hurt the baby, no sharp embroidery/ pins in the clothes, nails cut short and clean
26. Child itself- nappy pins not sticking out, nails cut, chains not used - they may try to pull it and choke on it
27. Not to forget the mountain of pillows used to block their route while sleeping- if necessary sleep on the floor

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- Metabolism is King

Weight Management Mantra
Mom is no help either
Mom- Look at you, how much weight you are putting on. You should try to reduce.
A month later,
Daughter- no I will not eat dessert or parathas or poori. I am trying to lose weight
Mom- What kind of weight loss program this is. It does not let you eat what you like?
Metabolism- Defined as the chemical reaction that occurs in living cells- the basis of life. An example is breaking down of food and making it absorbable for the living cells.
In weight management terms, the faster your body metabolises the food, the lesser the food gets absorbed into the system as fat.

Obese people have a tendency to have sluggish metabolism. You might even observe that there are a set of (thin) people who eat much more than you in quantity but do not put on weight. A reason could be high metabolism of the body.
The tendency is to skip a meal mostly breakfast or starve the body. When one does that, the body thinks- ‘oh my God, she is trying to starve me. Let me shut shop, slow down and store food. And thus the little food we have taken gets absorbed into the system.
Instead trick the body in the following ways-
The ways to speed up the metabolism-
eat breakfast early so that the body gets the fuel to metabolise. If you stay hungry till brunch the digestive system wastes half the day in idling away and therefore your calorie deficit is not created.
eat 6 small meals- keep the body fuelled for metabolism to continue
Exercise- cross train – cardio, weights etc so that the body changes gear as per the intensity and type- keep it guessing basically.
Steam/ sauna
Ways to trick the body to keep the metabolism going the entire day

1. stand instead of sit while talking on the phone
2. stairs instead of elevator
3. Go to the colleague’s desk instead of talking over phone or e-mailing.
4. vary the quantity and type of food each day- eat more one day and less the next day. The body will maintain the inertia and burn as much as it burnt the previous day, not realizing that you have slowed down on the fuel.
5. Guzzle water- lack of water slows the system
Basically look for ways to keep moving and fidgeting instead of sitting still.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Factual Fiction- Prince Charles

The inheritance was given in his son’s name. He was the caretaker till he came of age.

For the first time, he could empathise with Prince Charles.
Prince for ever. Never the King.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To all those who question the crying


I often face statements like – 3.00 am I heard your kids cry, or patronizing ones like I haven’t heard your kids cry so much since last one week.
I am not exactly proud that the kids cry if they wake up late in the night or scream during the day when they do not get the attention or object they seek. But if I were in the neighbours’ place, I perhaps would not bother young parents with questions like these. To me a crying child is far or no better in terms of disturbance/ annoyance index than the man who stands on the verandah outside his house and just above my bedroom window and sneezes continuously until the dusting and sweeping is over in his home, or the dog who barks and growls right above my balcony from early morning to late night or the troll who bursts the entire left over diwali crackers one sleepy afternoon or the kids who ruin my garden during any random playtime or those kids who do not budge from near the rear wheels of the car that is screaming to reverse or the mother’s who gossip nearby and are too engrossed to keep an eye on the kids who nearly kill themselves every evening or the old man who plucks every single flower in the campus each morning or the uncouth who serves dinner on the expensive TT table in the association hall. No sir & no Mam, my kids are not a bother if they cry for a total of a few hours spread across the 24 hours. I would be seriously concerned if somebody attributed even one of the above behaviours upon me or my family.
I am glad that my kids are assertive and get their way around us. They need the training to survive in this world where the meek are subdued and ignored and the ones who demand are noticed.
Given a choice, I would rather have a child who brawls rather than one who sits quietly. Yes, my kids are very high maintenance and they do drive me mad, but I don’t seem to mind it then why are you concerned?
I get comments that they are so naughty.
I am secretly pleased that they are naughty. According to my theory, naughty kids are brainier. They have the crookedness inside their mind to think tangentially and innovate. When I see my kids trying to open the cupboard door (to reduce the distance between the bed and the cupboard) and then do a spiderman jump from the bed in their attempt to catch the keys hanging from the cupboard, I freak out yet I am amazed. When I see them dragging a carton or the laptop bag to the fridge so that they can reach the handle, I am angry yet glad that they thought about it.
They cry for everything. I am glad they communicate that way. I am not ashamed. If my kids are crying, it does not necessarily mean that we have failed as parents or caregivers.
It is no rocket science- if they cry I don’t aimlessly rock them or try to distract them. Neither do I ignore them if that is what people think. I patiently try to deduce why they are crying. They are at a stage when they are able to express without speaking. It takes time for me to do an elimination round to uncover the root cause of crying. I may have to point out at several objects like water, mobile phone, keys, book, remote, clothes clip, vicks bottle until I can zero upon the object in demand. Until then the crying will continue and the neighbours can reach hell if they want to but for heaven’s sake (pun very much intended) don’t patronize me by giving me clues in handling the crying.
Often people do not realize that the equations of having 2 kids of the same age in the house are different. More often than not they will have similar requirements around similar times. There may be times when one of the kids gets ignored by luck not necessarily by design. Imagine a situation when hubby or I am alone in the house and both need a (potty) wash. Can it be done at the same time? One has to cry till the other gets attended to. Some times one snatches the toy from the other and the poor fellow is left to cry and complain.
Not to forget the riot that happens when we go to office or mausi (aunt)/ grandma leave for their respective homes. They don’t understand the concept of temporary separation.
Inspite of myself, I was glad when a couple or more pregnancies within the apartment complex were declared. I was glad that the buck will no longer stop at my doors. The crying blame could be fairly or unfairly passed on to other homes with newborns. But no, it seems I am the only one blessed with cry-babies! I marvel at those low maintenance newborns in my building that are seen and not heard.
I know that babies don’t do movies, restaurants, travel, shopping. But you were a parent so many years ago and you know very well the dynamics of getting someone to care for your child the many times you want to go out. Therefore I am allowed an occasional restaurant or shopping scene with my kids. After all, for every vegetable purchase I need to do, I can’t be calling a caretaker to look after the kids. And since I am out the entire week working, I don’t allow the caretaker (read MIL) to do weekends. She deserves to recuperate every weekend. So people, I will shop with the kids every weekend. And if my children cry, bear it; I did it a few years ago before I became a mother and children (may be yours) were bawling in the shopping malls/ cinema theatres and airline. Don’t forget you were the culprit a few years ago. If you have forgotten already, then may be your grandchildren will refresh your memories.
Meanwhile it seems baby boys cry more than girls and we all know that crying is good.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Grand" Weekend

Celebrated hubby’s increment and brother’s job with the buffet lunch at GRT Grand Days. Reached late and the “buffet closed” sign was up. But the banquet manager suggested that we take a look at the buffet and see if we are okay with it and he could try to persuade the cook to do a few naans for us. Rs 450 plus taxes seemed to be too decent to ignore for the 4 of us. Even if a few dishes are in short supply, the choice is much grander than what we could do ala carte. (Nice guy).
The buffet spread … well, to put it correctly – will turn one on
We did the paani puri.
We did the Mexican wraps- the semi-circular flour mould with Mexican style chicken salad filling- must do- I could do an entire meal of it alone.
We did the entire spread of the non-veg section.
We don’t do the veg section.
Between us we sampled all the desserts- European, Continental, Indian- The chocolate fountain was drool worthy. I could have taken it home. Even the ice cream tasted exotic. The maal pua was bad.
The cold chocolate fooled us- we thought it was cold coffee.
Not to forget the good time my kids had doing the glass elevator- going from lobby to 9th floor & down- twice. .
Next stop was Spencer’s mall. The new extended Westside for those who haven’t been there yet is a must go. For those who have, forgive the late news- I am a little slow on the shopping bit now.
And yes the guilt-demon that was nagging me became a full blown guilt trip- when size M did not fit, L was unavailable (rule of shopping- what you need will be unavailable) & size XL was too shapeless in some parts. Anyway for those who are in good shape they have a lovely collection of whites and kurtas with a riot of colours. There is a buy 2 get 1 free happening for kids. I would have preferred by 2 get 2 or I need to buy at least 4 to get an even number for my kids.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Factual Fiction- Kissing Scene

I could see it coming. I tried to inch backwards. Ensuring that I stayed away from the range. Away from the large circle of personal space that she seemed to create with her expansive arms and chubby form.

She dealt one by one with the entire gang of relatives in precise and predictable method. I continued my backward progress trying to go towards the other side of the car on some pretext.

I could see her getting into the taxi. Just when I thought I had escaped and I turned to wave at her, she looked at me, paused mid-sentence and with a look of certain-uncertainty asked- ‘Did I kiss you”.

I could have grabbed the chance and said –‘yes, you did.’

I shook my head in negative, smiled brightly, and walked towards her with pretended alacrity.

I surfaced after a massive hug, brush of lips and blasts of nose breath on both my cheeks.

(The husband glared as I had struggled to pull away after cheek 1 itself.)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Finding the Right Gym/ Weight Loss Method

Weight Management Mantra
Deciding to lose weight is almost half the job done.
I went in December to join the gym. The consultant said 5-7 kg excess.
I dilly-dallied for 2 months and then went back for another consultation.
She said 7- 10 kg excess.
Had I joined in December itself, I would have to shed half this weight only.
Lavs wanted to know how to select a gym, looking at the number of options available. I have already dealt with the basic amneties of a gym and the other questions she had are answered in the following few pointers;
- Keep the goal in sight before deciding upon the right gym. It could be short term weight loss/ gain, muscle toning, tummy tucking, long term, regular exercising for health reasons among other things. Talwalkers for instance have both short term and annual membership schemes. Maverick in Chennai encourages annual and does not support short term requirements (may be they will make an exception if you are getting married as they asked my husband this question when he tried to coax them on giving him a short term quick fix program!). Fitness one has the advantage of being situated in Ascendas office building so guys working there could take the advantage.
- Identify the methodology of weight loss you want to follow- a VLCC kind of place will focus on tummy tucks, diet control. A gym will focus on exercise, weights, diet, massage etc. You could opt for aerobics program or a dance program for weight loss or yoga or pranayam etc alternately.
- Look at the equipment. Typically a gym will have the cardio section and machine/ weight section. Fitness one has TV attached to the treadmill. So if you are the type who gets bored easily – you know where you have to go as in most programs treadmill is the king.
- Check out the costs. You need to work out the cost-benefit equation. Premium gyms- A 3 months weight loss + 3 months maintenance phase promises 8-10 kg loss and costs around Rs 12K in Talwalkers. A regular program could be around RS 1000 plus per month- as per the last time I calculated. While in Maverick an annual membership costs Rs 8K (corporate discount built in). Fitness one is much more expensive. There would be other gyms that follow pretty much similar methodologies and may cost little lesser. There will also be local gyms with basic machines all in a single floor most likely. They will usually have separate time for ladies and gents and mostly students or people who don’t want to spend too much money and want to do just basic exercises go for it. May cost anywhere between Rs 250- 500 per month. But difficult to get hold of the machines you want as they will have only one of each. Among all choices, finally you have to see which facilities convince you to go for it.
- Depending upon the program you opt for, the services like counseling/ diet counseling/ personal trainer will be built in. A weight loss course will have everything built in but for regular ones you will have to pay for each sitting.
- Paid Services- to opt or not- For severe obesity cases it is best to opt for personal trainer who will push you to the limit and the strict dietician you observes each morsel you ate. A massage is also recommended. For regulars or minor cases of “overweight”, I personally feel it is ok to have a regular instructor and the dietician for the first few months of weight loss and maintenance. After that you pretty much get an idea of what food is allowed and what is not. You might feel that you have reached a plateau and you are not working out to the ideal limit on your own, you might opt for a personal trainer then. I think for less than severe cases, it is best to check out how your body responds and then decide for paid services. Also opting for a personal trainer bounds you to the fixed time. You will find that each entity in the gym will try to sell you some service- who does not, they are also doing business. They will extol the benefits of personal trainer or massage. Decide to take not because they say so but because you believe that it will be good for you or you want to take it. For instance I opted for the massage because I wanted to take it, not because the lady coaxed me to take it or promised major benefits! The most expensive massage at Talwalkers is Rs 400/ hour (less than beauty parlour rates) while at Maverick it is Rs 1000 or more.
- Continue or not- Some say that if you stop exercising / gym you will put back all the weight. I am frankly not sure. Look at it logically. When you are in a program where you are made to exercise for atleast 1.5 hours per day and eat according to strict plan with right amounts of fibre/ cal/ carb/ fat, you have a control over calories in and calories out. Once you stop exercising yet follow the rules of the diet, you control the calories-in but do nothing to ensure the calories-out. Probably there may be some increase and you may get stagnant at a point. The moment you lapse in your diet, the weight may climb to a point of no return. Maybe if you stop the gym yet continue a brisk walk / play a sport/ swim / pranaayam you might be able to keep the weight in control. But then all depends on your metabolic rate too. But believe me, I am not a gym person. 2 months into it and I have decided to become a regular. Let’s hope I am able to keep up the tempo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ojas & Tejas- Update

Mobile phone- Tejas sees us take our mobile when we go out, he copies us by taking the old, disconnected receiver of a landline phone along with him.

New Words- Mummy with a nice yuppie accent (Maa meeee), truck – Kuckk, joose, cat, nana, nani, mama, maabi (mausi), paapi (paati)

Nature Talk- Tejas pointed at the clouds last evening. I explained it is a white cloud in the blue sky. As we were driving by, he pointed at the clouds saying coud

Jealousy- We went to see the neighbour’s twins. She was crawling when I picked her up. Tejas in a fit of jealousy began to crawl on the carpet.

Their friend circle is getting bigger. The kids come home to check whether they are coming out for their walk. Yesterday Priya, the neighbour was speaking to them when her friends called her back. She went off and Ojas & Tejas started screaming Priya Priya – just like how her friends had done.

Ownership- They don’t let me take hubby’s phone if it rings. Only he can pick it up. Infact when the phone or the doorbell ring, we almost trip over them in the race to reach the phone/ door.

Ojas tried to pull out the full length mirror off the hook. I scolded him and he acted as if he was crying- put his fist against the eyes and said uuu uuu.

Ojas reminds us to put his seat belt / potty chair belt for him

Both have stated preference for George brand of feeding bottle and not Avent.

Beginning of toilet training- This weekend they informed kakka just seconds before doing it rather than after. “keeping my fingers crossed”

Meanwhile, baby brother R is a big guy- he has got a job in TCS- 1st interview ever attended.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- The Mathematics of Calories

Weight Management Mantra
Cousin R discusses how he manages his weight.
I do yoga but I am unable to exercise sufficient control over my food intake. Anyway, I am managing to keep my weight constant…
…at 103 kg

Have your dietician figure out the daily calorie intake for you.
Identify the quantity of calories you take per day vs what you require per day. Also calculate the calorie deficit you need to create to ensure weight loss.
To achieve this deficit, work out a plan of fewer calories in (diet) and more calories out (exercise). Diet alone does not help in sustaining the weight loss.

Start with a 15-20% deficit from your current body weight and work towards your goal.
1. Replace full-calorie food with low-calorie options
2. Choose small servings
3. Eat slow-down foods - an orange instead of orange juice.
4. Drink lots of water
5. Follow a daily food plan -impulsive choices tend to be high in calories
6. Compensate for the occasional lapses in your next meal
7. Alter/ Increase the intensity of work out to avoid the body getting used to the same pattern

Monday, June 11, 2007

Factual Fiction- Public Toilet

There is something about some places that make you feel like holding your breath back. Some public toilets for instance. You feel scared to breathe deeply for fear of ingesting the bad odour in the toilet, even if in rare cases there is no ammonia odour and there is just the smell of odonil or harpic or domex that you are breathing in, yet, you don’t feel like doing it. You want to do the job quickly and get out as fast as possible but chances are that you are there because you have controlled it for too long and it is unbearable now. You don’t feel like looking around also, lest you see something disgusting. You want to make minimum movements for fearing of touching some part of the toilet. You are suspicious if the floor is wet. It may not necessarily be water.
You feel stuffy and wait to finish and rush out.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award- Pending Homework

The Visitor awarded me with the Thinking Blogger Award. I am honoured and touched and feels great that my posts make a difference to somebody.

Visitor mentions 5 only but I am exceeding that quota

By the power vested to me by the award, I choose to award the Thinking Blogger award to

Hiphopgrandmom is already claimed by Visitor so I am not adding her here. Nevertheless, I cannot resist, she inspires a lot among us youngsters and I would love to gracefully age like her and yet have her energy and zest and more important her humour and knack to understand people

Mad Momma- Explosive, Prolific, Straight from the Heart, Extremely Honest. Her versatility amazes me. And I like the way her thought process flows- unchecked and focused.

Apu- I know her well- or rather I thought I did until she took another job and left Chennai. I discovered and got addicted to her blog. The fiction and the corporate real world anecdotes represent her multi faceted talents. She also blogs at her travel blog.

Twisted DNA- Genuinely Funny, Wicked - he is a natural at making one laugh. He manages to have a blend of straightforwardness and satire in his posts and they make you reflect on the lighter side of human behaviour.

Usha- She has a way with words and a variety of posts. She talks of uncomplicated things and makes us reflect and introspect.

ArtNavy- I always knew she is creative but her blogs prove that she is prolific too. She posts about- everything under the sun and one wonders how did she make a simple incident interesting and blogworthy.

Cardamom- This one always makes me laugh out loud. He manages to give a humorous perspctive to anything mundane. He has started his frustoon comics which takes a dig on the engineers

If you choose to pass it on, these are the Thinking Blogger Award rules:
This award was started here. You have to award five others whose blog you think deserve this award. Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.

If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.
Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all — blogs that really get you thinking!

Pending Homeworks- Tags to do- Book Speak

Tagged by Desigirl
To write about the Indian authors that I have read or would like to read

Interpreter of Maladies- Jhumpa Lahiri
Read it, loved it, got addicted to short stories. Very Indian and easy to picturise the story.

Discovery of India- Nehru
Use to enjoy the programme on Doordarshan and I except I would like to read it. But the moment I see the size of it, I resist. One day maybe.

Mahabharata- ??
I have read the Rajagopalchari version but feel it lacks in many minor details/ side stories which links to the main one. The complete version by whoever has written would be great. But smething devoid of the sanskrit. I want it in plain vanilla hindi or english and in a readable format. The only setback is everytime I read any story of Mahabharata, I imagine the people who played the characters in the serial. That really distorts things

Ruskin Bond
I love the way he writes. Very un-glamourous, realistic and down-to-earth. Currently reading the omnibus and it contains a set of wicked tales with unusual twists.

Wise & Otherwise- Sudha Moorty
Stories and incidents that makes one think but after a time became monotonous and very "I -mode".

Inheretance of Loss
Heard a lot, read the reviews but not yet got round to reading it.

Village by the Sea - Anita Desai
Text book in school. A story of a village boy whose village is taken over by the factory and the subsequent colonisation. how he gears up and adjusts as per the current situation

Authors of Amar Chitra Katha, Nandan, Chacha Chowdhry, Champak etc
Credit to them to make me addicted to reading. Cannot imagine a childhood without them. They fuelled my imagination and gave me an idea of the rich heritage of India- Myth, Geography, History you name it...

Shobha De
Like the columns that she authors and the books are enjoyable- sleazy at times though

Arthashastra - Chanakya
I want to read this one- explore the genius of Chanakya

I tag specifically Fuzzylogic, Orchid, SM, Artnavy & Apu and anyone else who would like to take it up

Pending Homeworks- Tags to do- Secrets Revealed

Tagged by SM
9 things you didn’t know about me
1. I used to be scared of toilets when I was young- still am scared of the toilet in the trains- I use it only if I am desperate
2. I am a compulsive snack freak. I eat more snacks like chips, biscuits, cake, fruit, chocolate etc than regular food- forced to stop due to gym/ dietician restriction
3. I have learned Kathak dance for 6 years but still I am not graceful enough
4. My deep unfinished desire is learning singing. Till date I have left courses unfinished due to compelling reasons- class 10 studies on one count and pregnancy on the second. Now I wish to live my dream through my kids and give them an early start. Any info on a good Hindustani Classical teacher would be welcome
5. I learned driving when I was in class 6 but still don’t drive expertly as I never drove in traffic until 2 years ago
6. I hate waiting or keeping others waiting
7. I am distance–metrically challenged. I calculate distance in time taken for travel - I multiply it with average speed of 60 km/hour to obtain approximate distance
8. I can sleep at the drop of a hat. I catch up on my sleep en-route client visit/ flight.
9. I am a stickler for deadlines- I like to complete stuff a few days before it.

I tag anyone who would like to take it up

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fraud- Nearly So

Remember, Rs 11K purchase I made in Kolkatta.
Well, when they tried to swipe my Citibank card, it failed. I then paid through HSBC and succeeded, received a SMS confirmation too.
My latest citi card statement had a bill of over Rs 12K and I thought it included the gym payment. Today I got a slight doubt and went back to check the statement in detail. To my shock- the sari payment reflected there too.
Since I did not have the shop phone number (it’s back at home), I called Citibank to check whether they received the charge slip signed by me.
It seems they are supposed to check it but rarely do so. As soon as the payment gets reflected in the system, the bill is generated.
Moreover, when I questioned the customer service person on how they cleared the transaction without the security of the signature- she was defiant. She said, at this moment only the investigation department can help me. They will give me a temporary credit and if the merchant is found guilty he will be fined and asked to pay up.
While I am strongly brand loyal to Citibank- lifetime free credit card free of charge, anytime I make a late payment, the charges has been reversed (hope this time they do it too), once my card was stolen from my home and swiped at a website – I disputed it after 2 days and they waived off the credit.. I am happy with Citibank in principle but I am shocked at the lack of vigilance. This may be true for all credit card companies I am sure.

Meanwhile, to speedup things, I called my colleague PS in Cal office. The shop is located right opposite to the office. He went their and collected the cheque for me. It seems the shopkeeper had come to the building to enquire my whereabouts but since there are so many offices in the building, he was unable to locate me.

Sigh of relief

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ojas & Tejas- Antics

1. Tejas mimicked a yawn, eyes half closed and all. Ojas improvised by adding a little sound – awww to it and also covering his mouth
2. Ojas pissed on the floor. He came running and picked up the mop, sat on the haunches and using both his hands, wiped off the piss – quite neatly, to his credit. Thank God he is not using the kitchen cloth to clean up now. Normally he likes to get praised for his good work but this time he nonchalantly walked away
3. Ojas noticed the mess Tejas had made (shit) and said cheee. He then helpfully got a newspaper to clear it away.
4. They love mangoes- they like to scoop it out of the skin or pick small pre-cut pieces.
5. I gave both of them a piece each of dosa. Ojas ran off to the living room while Tejas tried opening the vessel drawer. I scolded him and asked him to go and eat and not remove vessels from the drawer. He insisted and sensing a tantrum I let him open the drawer. He wanted a bowl to eat the dosa. He noticed that Ojas did not have one and he came back and quickly gave him a bowl. It has become a practice for them to take a bowl and a spoon and eat whatever I give. Tejas is the police here. He ensures Ojas gets a bowl too.
6. I gave them each a milk bottle. They immediately began irrigating the sofa with it. The moment I turned around and said aaayy, in unison they stuffed the bottle into their mouth.
7. They have finally discovered how to use the straw for drinking rather than chewing at it.
8. New words learnt- apple, chaabhi (key), teeth
9. More parts of the body learnt-head, teeth
10. On command of Toes to Nose- they sit and take their toes to their nose
11. Ojas noticed Tejas did not have a nappy- the plastic one with a cloth lining and velcroed together. He removed his nappy, neatly (?) arranged the nappy and the cloth lining and called Tejas- Baah, baah. Then pulled him towards himself by his shirt and pointed at the nappy, unconcerned that it is he who needs the nappy too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- Time Factor

Weight Management Mantra
If you are trying to lose weight, don’t ever tell your friends about it.
They will try to
sympathise – why are you torturing yourself, poor you, eat something
be patronizing- you are not fat, you don’t need to lose
tempt you into submission- eat tempting food/ desserts in front of you or don’t worry, once in a while you can eat.

Better tell your enemies about it. They will snigger at you and taunt you in such a way that you will be determined to prove them wrong and re-double your efforts in losing weight and proving the enemies wrong.


For Exercise
It is important to select an exercising time suitable for yourself.

Some say it is easier to do it in the morning before the start of your day. The advantages being;

  1. you have had a long gap since your last meal so you need not worry about ensuring exercising on an empty stomach. However take a cracker or biscuit or small glace of juice or milk about 15 minutes before exercise. This fuels your body for better performance, settles the gastric juices and abates hunger.
  2. you also clear your stomach if you choose to and it is rewarding to see your weight minus the shit of the previous day when you reach the gym.
  3. you jump start the metabolism process and since you are active the entire day, it continues
  4. Improves mental energy, alertness and possibly controls appetite through out the day
  5. more fat burning if you do it in the morning because the body has used up all the carbs during the say and during the night while you sleep and morning you have only fat to offer at the alter of the gym
    Flip side would be –
    -if you wake up late, you get to miss exercise as obviously you wouldn’t want to miss office
    -laziness- you don’t feel like getting out of bed
    -you may need to rush up as you have to get back home to get ready for work/ get your kids ready
    -warming up takes time and if you don’t do it right you may hurt yourself

    The advantages of evening exercise;

1. de-stressing after the day’s activities

2. you are not hard-pressed for time – no tension of going to office are already in a warmed-up stage so exercise is optimized
4. the flip side being- you may be too charged up and alert till late in the night, you may find it difficult to stick to it if you are too tired or hungry to exercise, or you need to go out for a party in the evening and you may not have time to exercise.

CNN disagrees- but it is difficult to find time in the afternoon for work out. A second workout especially with weights in the afternoon is recommended to optimise the calorie burning. A good idea if the workplace could provide a basic gym facility (like my Mumbai branch office - hardly used though. Wish I was there to use it)

For Eating
Eat at the right time to maximize the effect of controlled diet

  1. Never skip breakfast- breakfast helps jump start the metabolism by providing carbs to the body to burn
  2. If your first meal of the day is late, imagine the number of metabolic hours your body would have lost
  3. Eat lesser during the evening as your metabolism begins to slow down at that time. Try to finish your last meal by 7.30 pm.
  4. If you eat a huge snack / meal right before work out the blood gets confused- it’s like it has 2 bosses- it doesn’t know whether it needs to rush to the stomach to digest the food or to the exercising muscles and doesn’t do either job right.
  5. Don’t be hungry for too long after work –out- you need to replenish the body after the hard work

Check this for a good laugh

Monday, June 04, 2007

Factual Fiction- Whose Loss – Rather Gain- is it Anyway? & 1st post on Weight Management

And now even the mangoes are restricted.
First it was chicken- twice a week only- I agreed.
Then it was chocolates, cakes and chips- I resisted.
And now mangoes?
How could she?
Forget it. Let me have it.
I will not tell her that I had one full mango, that too large size for breakfast today.
She will be no wiser. And God help me on the weighing machine.

The gymming is here to stay but mangoes? They will come only next year.
Well, above is a post a chose specially for today as I am starting the gym series which updates on the lessons I learnt during the weight loss program at the gym. We will alternate between factual fiction and Gym series for now.

Holistic Weight Management- The Basics

In our tryst to lose weight, it is important to remember that the entire process of losing weight does not involve dieting or exercising in isolation.

It is a combination of the right type and duration of exercise, consumption of the right calories which are drawn from the right composition of food comprising fibre and carbohydrates along with the necessary vitamins/ minerals etc, relaxation, medical monitoring, support and guidance. Not to forget the time factor.

Weight loss will be reflected in loss of actual kilos, improvement in BMI (change in fat component of the body), increase in muscle weight, inch loss, removal of water retention, shaping up of the body, firming of lose flesh and improvement in stamina and cardio fitness. The signs of inch loss would reflect n the clothes that will start looking loose on you and the rings/ bangles that would be easier to slide off.

Therefore, a guided program for weight management will have the following components-

Program Guide- The person responsible for designing the program. (S)he will chalk out the kind of exercises you need to do during each cycle, even the number of sets you need to repeat and the kind of resistance you need to apply, depending upon your goals or problem areas or specific needs. Stay in regular touch with this person discussing your performance and reminding him/ her of your goals frequently so that you are not lost in the crowd.

Physical Trainer- The person who teaches you the exercises, technique and keeps an eye on you during the exercise session. This person is a shared resource for a set of exercisers.

Personal Trainer- The person who is a dedicated to you during the time you are exercising. The trainer is your moral/ physical police. (S)he pushes you, goads you and almost forces you to stretch yourself to the maximum (or more) limit. They also make sure you get the best stretches and relaxation post the exercises. You need to pay extra for this service and in some places their incentive gains depend upon your loss! Let them not push you too hard if you find it adversely affecting you your giving you discomfort.

Nutritional expert/ Dietician/ Basic Medical advisor- This person analyses your food lifestyle, preferences and designs a suitable diet chart depending upon your goals. They keep a strict watch over the daily intake and the affect on the next day’s weight. This helps them in analyzing what food works for your body and what does not. For cause elimination purpose, they also suggest some general medical tests like thyroid/ sugar etc which are sometimes responsible for inordinate weight gain.

Masseur- Depending upon the goal- weight loss/ toning etc, there are designed massages. They differ in terms of duration and the kind of oil used and also concentration of strokes. Whether it helps in losing weight or not I am unsure, but it is also true that stress is known to cause weight gain. A massage is believed to de-stress, improve the body metabolism and contribute to weight loss. I used to read advices that punching the flesh and generally agitating it helps in losing weight as it sets the muscles into motion and burns calories. Therefore a massage may help.

Facilities needed
Exercise Equipment
Cardio equipment- generally treadmill, stepper, EFX, stationery bike

Machines for focused exercises/ strength training- too many to list but there will be machines for all specific body parts- classified into upper body and lower body- triceps, biceps, back, chest, inner thigh, outer thigh, abdominal etc

Weights- range of them of varying weights- dumbbell, ankle weight, flat rings that fit into the machine slots for increasing resistance.

Gym Ball- Large to small size
Abs belt
Floor Mats

Relaxation Facilities
1. Steam
2. Sauna
3. Changing Rooms
4. Shower Areas
5. Massage Room
6. Music

Monitoring Facilities
Weighing machine
BMI Calculator
Inch Tape

Cafeteria/ Juice Bar- refresh and recoup after a tough work out

Friday, June 01, 2007

Factual Fiction- Examination

How come I see all happy faces coming out of the examination hall?
How come the worry is not apparent on their faces?
No tension on how they fared?
No perplexed looks on the out-of-portion questions.

Am I the only one who found the question paper challenging and the questions out of syllabus?