The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Adult Conversation

I am dying for a proper conversation. Conversation in my own colloquial Hindi.
A day in the life of my voice box would be recorded as pretty drab. All full of corporate English, Baby language and functional Tamil flavoured with Hindi and real life English. All lack of real conversation compensated with talking to self and planning out the blog posts. To a compulsive talker like me, not talking is a mean feat to achieve. A person who can manage to talk your ears off, not having a good conversation opportunity is a shame.
That is why I was so happy during my 3 day trip to Delhi. For starters, FM Hindi was available on demand. I could understand what people were talking around me and with my keen ears and special skills in eavesdropping (it’s hereditary), make it EVE’s dropping – men can hardly hear when being talked in the face, forget them being able to hear on the sly, I could really appreciate snatches of conversation around me and derive pervert pleasure out of it. For once I could chat up in Hindi with relatives up to 2 am in the morning and still going strong. I just talked, talked, and talked the entire day and sleep was a time waster. Probably that is the reason why I survived the long separation from Ojas & Tejas. For once I was not in a hurry to get back and take charge.
In a situation that I am in, my office conversation is limited to official with very little scope of office gossip. With the only other colleague in Marketing on maternity leave, my source of gossip has gone. More than anything else, a woman needs to have a mahila mandali of gossip mongers, it is not much fun with guys who focus on the facts and get over with it. We need to know the gory and graphic details and that is where the fun lies. I find myself starved of such juicy office gossip and for the first time in my working life, I am among the last ones to get to know stuff! Networking is down to bare minimal.

Conversation with hubby has been postponed to when he takes a break from his mobile phone or when I chuck it into the sea. Come to think of it, the toilet bowl is closer!

So I am left with supporting Airtel. Calling up people and talking their ears off!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wardrobe Wows

I love to buy the tiny clothes in various patterns and designs for Ojas & Tejas. I hate it when thy get spoiled after a few wears. Especially the delicate ones in light pastel shades from abroad. I am apprehensive about using them lest they get soiled. Therefore I do a lot of bargain hunt so that quantity is not compromised for them because they have atlast 3 changes during the day.

My favourites are
1. Rompers- I love them and kids look so adorable in them. The boys spent all of their 1st year in their many rompers all gifted by hubby’s relatives from UK. These were either the type that ends up at the buttocks or the type that reaches the ankles or below.
2. Jeans/ Corduroys- Hubby’s colleague from Canada had gifted them their 1st pair of jeans. Low waisters. Teamed with sleeveless white T-shirt, Ojas & Tejas look good enough to eat. Corduroys are hubby’s favourite and he ensures he wears his corduroys to match with them
3. Sleeveless shirts- I am big on them. Have got a lot of them from Cents & Pence in Gandhi Nagar. The ones they are wearing in the photo on the sidebar is of thick stretch material and I have picked up all available colors- except white for obvious reasons- 1 wash only- cost about Rs 200. Doesn’t get worn out fast.
4. Cents & Pence have a good collection of kids wear at very interesting prices. I buy a lot of colored vests with cartoon pics from the brand zero- they cost about Rs 35-40 and make great home wear during summer. Ojas & Tejas love selecting the color of the day.
5. From the same store I have picked up shorts made of very soft T-shirt material for Rs 40-50. (Even white, though not yet worn them). They too make great home wear or can be used outside also. They are real short shorts with thick elastic at the waist band and cute pockets in which they keep our mobile.
6. Lifestyle Sale has 5 pairs for Rs 50 – 99 on offer. I ensure I buy from there for the year. They come in many patterns- striped, combos, plains.
7. From Lifestyle itself, I have picked up collared T-shirts in stripes and plains- exact miniatures of adult type T-shirts. Slightly thick material and the good thing is it doesn’t wear out fast.
8. There is a Benetton factory outlet on ECR road- I picked up a good collection of T-shirts from there for about Rs 250 plus. Very army/ sports type design & color.
9. Vardhan market in Kolkatta sells T-shirts in bright colors and soft material for Rs 100. Bought around 6 of them but they are too long for the kids now. The size printed differs from the standard I guess.
10.Mummy zindabad- All the left over bits from my dresses are made into kurtas/ shirts or loose fitting shirts with back buttons for night wear.
11. Fab India Kurta & Pajama off course but not to their size as of now.
12. Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi- Shop name- Chunmun- lovely collared T-shirts at Rs 150 or less- I made an entire collection of stripes in knitted soft slightly thin material.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Travel Post

"19th July- My first post drafted on board a flight."
Traveling to Delhi by Jet. My row is vacant and I have the luxury of drafting my posts for the week. From the right is the sun streaming. I happened to glance to the left and saw an interesting sight for the 1st time. A circular patch of rainbow smiling through the clouds! A little hazy and getting smudged from time to time because of the cloud movement. For once I thought I was hallucinating. I wanted to check with one of the crew whether (s)he could see it but felt too silly to ask. Wish I had a camera to capture that.
A moment later I looked out again. I could not believe I have been twice lucky. I saw a tiny Indian aircraft speeding past in the opposite direction, at a much lower altitude!

Updated to add
Unfortunately I could not find myself near a net connection to post. Had a rewarding trip to Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore. Meeting the entire set of my clients at one go - many for the first time. A client commented- so when did you join? And when I answered, he said, yes that's when the quality of presentations went up drastically! Coming from an extremely cynical client, that was big!
We saw the CEOs of two of the companies. Most unassuming!
Did a lot of shopping in Gurgaon. My long time wish of shopping in Lajpat Nagar got fulfilled. Picked up a few patialas and clothes for Ojas & Tejas. Could have done more but for lack of space and the fact that I was travelling to other cities.
And I had completely forgotten that on 10th August I completed a year of blogging! Thanks Bheja fry for reminding me of that.
181 pots completed excluding this one- not bad by my standards!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Starting Early

Don't depend on others to dress me up Doesn't hurt to become self dependant
For the abs
Old fashioned ... must look for an electric one
Will underline the new words I learn
I hate body odour

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holistic Weight Management - Plateau Breaking

Weight Management Mantra
Extremely overweight Grandpa was taking his daily morning honey lemon in warm water
Cousin A- It's a lost case- अब कोई फायदा नहीं होने वाला है
(Coincidentally, he is also overweight)
Right on cue, he picked up a glass, poured himself a good measure of water, added a spoon of honey, squeezed a lemon half and drank it up in one go.

Sometimes you notice that you get stuck at a particular figure for too long. This means the body has got used to a typical diet/ exercise style. You need to shock your system into responding.
A typical plateau breaking diet I followed
Breakfast- Milk, fruits
Mid morning- tender coconut
Lunch- fruit, soup, salad
Afternoon- Buttermilk
Evening- Fruit
Night- Soup, Salad

Ensure that previous day you had enough carbohydrates and the next day don’t take too much carbohydrates but enough fibre so that everything does not get absorbed as your body is starved of carbs and waiting to absorb
Caution- only under supervision- don’t do it too many times as the body will no longer be shocked to respond.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bedtime Story

I have started concocting bedtime stories for Ojas & Tejas. The thirsty crow or red riding hood variety modified to suit their situation and understanding. The pot becomes bottle and water becomes milk or water and instead of stones we drop ball in the bottle. I also try stories centered on 2 brothers which will ultimately carry the moral of unity, not fighting, not troubling mamma (that one tops) and playing together.
I have realized I am a lousy story teller. Somehow I am unable to infuse enough enthusiasm into it and to me they sound really flat without any flow and end very quickly.

I am looking for a starter story book with pictures from which I can read to them with play acting. Any recommendation – something that is tried and tested by moms and liked by the kids?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Bash

The birthday got celebrated yesterday with dinner at The Paprika at Courtyard Marriot. We did the Hyderabadi fare which was part of Indepence day festival.

At Rs 700 plus for the buffet, the spread was good but not as impressive as GRT and was not remotely Hyderabadi except for the biriyani. The desserts were not so impressive but the non veg was great.
The ambience is very good and the decor theme is based on glass.
The service was quite discrete and prompt, though buffets do not leave much room for actual service but one could feel the difference in approach. The setting gives a sense of vast space - one needn't weave one's way criss cross to reach the buffet.

My gift to myself is the achievemnt of the 1st target of 8kg as of yesterday. They promised me 8-10 kgs and I have achieved 8. The next target is 10 kg loss and I give myself a stretch target of 3 nore kgs plus a lot of toning. While I am beginning to fit into the trousers and the old clothes, the tummy is still very evident. The BMR has improved and fat has decreased. The good fat has stayed put and inches have been lost in critical places. So we celebrate with many clothes fro hubby as gift for me.

The Hubby's birthday is today, co-incidentally. (Co-incidentally enough we got married on the same date and our kids were also born on the same date.)

I gifted him a pair of bean bags. The pair is not because I want one for me but because the kids fell in love with a bean bag at my friend's place and I don't want to think of what will happen if I buy only one piece.
Hubby's friend asked me very casually, "so what are plans for Hubby's Birthday? Shall i book some movie tickets?".
I was touched at his thoughtfullness until he insisted that he would like to join us! Thank God he did not insist on sitting in the middle seat!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Will my children follow a religion?

I am not much of a prayer person. I pray, but not regularly. It is the husband who does it every morning and night and before and after every critical or important event. Ojas and Tejas ensure that they accompany him on his morning puja and self administer the vibhooti (sacred ash). They even say “jai jai” on seeing any idol and touch the ground with their forehead – copying whatever their Dadda does.
To my husband religion is something from where he draws strength and confidence and peace of mind. To me religion is faith in an energy which is extremely powerful. My religion is adulterated with science and logic. While my logical mind tries to break free, my emotional mind wants to hold forth as to me religion, Hinduism to be specific, is a manifestation of all the mythological stories I have grown up with. I try to attribute the process of creation and evolution to the trinity who upholds existence, thereby giving it a form. Or may be God is top management or CEO who knows what is best for his organization- the Universe. Therefore I dare not defy him. I strongly believe that everything happens for the good or there is a lesson in everything or be happy to escape with something minor, it could have been worse. Some believe it is God who is holding the strings and preventing disaster. I am scared to disbelieve God – my human brain fears retribution. And if I cannot control it I choose to leave it to the Top Guy- a way of saving myself the trouble and worries.
Mine is a mixed marriage. While both are Hindus, there is this great North & South divide. Everything we do is different from what they do while the reasons may be same, whether it is wealth or harvest or health of husband or brother!
To me religion is a form of bonding and stability through a series of rituals or traditions. A prayer format stresses importance to sequence, purity and methodology of the rituals. While my logical mind tries to define reasons for it, I still follow them because this is what I bring to the table handed down by my family, hoping that my progeny will adapt them and thereby I will live on in their minds. My logical mind says you can pray anywhere, yet I have a place designated for the puja because I am big on format, methodology and 5-S. Everything has a place and a place for everything. To me the puja place is a place where we are channelising our positive energy through the medium we choose- idol, incense, bells, ash etc.
At the risk of being blasphemous, I am really not very hot on the vibhooti or sacred ash while my husband swears by it. So I dislike it when it is forced upon me.
I don’t know what will be the kids’ orientation towards religion- staunch, tolerant or middle path. But I have never tried to steer them towards mine at this age and neither would I prefer them steered towards hubby’s. Whether it is by gestures or symbols. So I don’t like the sacred ash being plastered across their forehead for every little rhyme or reason. I want them to understand and make up their mind before religiously following anything set for them. If they ultimately choose to do it because they want to do it for their own reasons, I am all for it. But I would never like them to be forced to do it for the sake of approval or not hurting their Dad or Grandparents. I would not want them to choose religion as an excuse and hide behind it rather take it as a source of strength.
My husband follows everything set by his Mom as regards prayers is concerned. For him she is the authority and he his unbending if I try to bring about a change by forcing some logic into it or bringing in my own interpretation of it. That is because to him I am not a complete believer and therefore I do not understand or know. But as a family unit I would like to have something defined by both of us together.
In the North, it is the “ghar ki Lakshmi” – the wife or the daughter or the daughter in law who performs the prayers and there is the concept of any prayer being incomplete if the wife does not accompany on the right side of the husband whereas in the South it is the Head of the house- the provider or the son – the perpetrator of the family name who does it. Naturally I expected to be an important entity in the entire thing post marriage but realized that I was the odd job person because prayer is not a woman’s domain. As long as I am supplying the material for the puja I am needed otherwise not.
I would like to change that because to me the entire paraphernalia is to bring about a sense of celebration, nostalgia and togetherness while thanking God or the Supreme Creator or our Luck for all the good that has happened to us. I want religion to be inclusive.
I will take all measures to teach Ojas & Tejas what I know on Hinduism by way of stories or books or customs and festivals and I am sure hubby will do the same. Having said this, I want them to know what other religions talk of. Ultimately they should imbibe the positive teachings of all religions and format their own set of beliefs. Then there will be ownership.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- The Exercise Regimen- Cardio

Weight Management Mantra
A friend told the enthusisatic me who was trying to enter into a regimen of jogging daily- If you feel tired, you must stop, breath deeply and then continue jogging at the usual pace. You must not drag your feet and try to move for the sake of it.
The first day of jogging, I was stopping every half a minute as per her advice.
Begin with the warm up and joint mobilization as usual. The recommended cardio duration for me was 40 minutes
Treadmill- 20 minutes, EFX- 10 minutes, Stepper/ Cycling- 10 minutes
Since my goal was weight / fat loss, I was asked to maintain the weight loss zone heart rate (wear a pacemaker or look at the indicator on the machine to check the zone you are running). Weight loss zone focuses on fat loss whereas the cardio zone brings about cardio strengthening. Change the courses everyday. A recommended fat burning course is to do a guerilla method- use the manual mode, walk at optimal speed for 4 minutes, then for the next 4 minutes do an alternate of sprint for 20 seconds and walk for 10 seconds. End with a 4 minute normal walking.
Brisk walking with a speed of 4.5-5.5 is enough, alternating with incline of 3.5-4 every 3 minutes.
Ensure you walk without holding the treadmill bar/ handle otherwise instead of the legs carrying your weight; the arms lend a helping hand.

EFX- focuses on the butt and legs
Cycle- Focuses on lower abdomen, legs
Stepper- Strengthens the legs.
Use a combination of atleast 3 machines to ensure better fat burning as the body does not get used to a set pattern

Follow the cardio with Abdominal Exercises. The cardio mobilizes fat burning and thereby maximizes the abs that you will do next.
The more you hold/ pulse the more will be the resistance put to the abs
Focus on doing it right and use the abdominal muscles rather than other parts of the body for the crunches.
Suck the tummy in while exercising and keep breathing right

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

You know when the tables have turned against you…

1. Ojas tells me “move” in exactly the same tone I use when I fall on the way
2. If I am angry, Tejas points at his cheeks to pacify me (like I make him show “chubby cheeks” to distract him when he is throwing a tantrum)
3. They call us “babaaa” exactly how we call them.
4. When I am not paying attention to them they say ‘kakka’ with a sly smile, their term for potty, to get my immediate attention
5. If I withhold their toy (clothes clip/ lotion bottle) or milk bottle they open my cupboard to pick up a random object belonging to me.
6. They don’t allow me to receive hubby’s phone and go to him saying “Phooon”
7. Ojas hit hubby when he was scolding Tejas
8. Though I mentioned this before, this factor should grace this list- Ojas trying to diaper me.
9. Both applauding us with claps and appreciative “aaaa” when we put the jigsaw puzzle correctly.
10. Both trying to force feed me with snacks and enjoying themselves immensely if I refuse to open my mouth yet they manage to overpower me in the end.
11. Ojas reminds hubby to put the seat belt for him when he sits in the car.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

W(h)ither Social Life

When we were in school- and I assure you it was not very long time back (!) we never had dearth of places to visit. Coming from a township, staying in a city close to native city we had a large share of relatives and friends where we could spend an entire evening. We were not bound by the day of the week – so not just weekends but even week days could be spent at a friend’s/ relative’s place. I can’t fathom why, somehow the siblings and I were never less than thrilled at the prospect of a drive till and spending a few hours there listening to the gossip or flipping through a magazine. Off course the major attraction used to be the goodies served for our benefit. The point is we were quite social, we always welcomed the opportunity of having guests over and all the pot luck dinners used to happen invariably at our place due to the sheer size of our home and my mom’s willingness to have people over. I don’t remember any diwali or holi or dussehra spent without the visits to relatives and friends. Post diwali until 2 weeks or more we could visit or expect people to drop in for the pending diwali visit. And the concept of phone call before coming was unheard of. Today if someone visits without advance notice, I would go crazy. I would scramble to set the house right (hint hint -twin trouble), and raid the fridge or kitchen for something edible to offer them. Even a 30 minute advance notice is good enough to get these 2 basic stuffs in place- snacks and clearing up the place to seat the guests.
Times have changed. In a city so big with many classmates and colleagues living here, we have no place to go. This weekend we racked our brains really hard on whom to visit, criteria being distance, being able to reach their place before indecent hours and a place where both of us could enjoy, hence leaving very few options on hand. And when we finally decided, got the kids ready after forcing them unsuccessfully to shit and drove for about 5 minutes, one of the kids decided to bless the diaper. Back to pavilion for the change and mutiny on hands at being summarily forced back into the house (as if it was my fault) and finally we were off to an embarrassing evening at a friend’s place with the kids trying to mangle a prized soft toy and mess the entire living room and beyond with the potato chips served.
Honestly, for the first time in my life in Chennai I am bored. I don’t want to do anymore exhibitions and aimless trips to Spencer’s or Lifestyle or the movies. There is no place to go, no proper conversation to hold. The only company I have are MIL or sons, several wavelengths away. Close friends don’t live close by and friends living close are not so close friends. And more often than not they are out during the weekends. I have not been invited for a party since a long time and neither have I called people over for dinner- something which I was doing on a monthly basis. Simply put we don’t have time or inclination or energy to do it.
If there is an invitation to a wedding, honestly it is not fun. The khao-piyo-khisko (eat-drink-leave) routine is not fun. At the risk of offending certain segments, it is really not fun to go decked up and then eating down-to-earth normal food served on rickety, messy tables in the dreary wedding hall to be reached negotiating through patches of wet floor and spent, trampled jasmine flowers. For me weddings are naach gana (dance, song), late nights, prolonged catching up with friends and to top it all, a really grand feast.
The festivals are hard work. For someone who is not good at cooking delicacies, it is a torture. You want to make a tradition of doing things so that the kids have a happy memory of festivals but don’t have the wherewithal to do it. So rely on Mom or MIL to supply the goodies. I don’t know for how long I can get away with this. Once the kids are old enough, they will spot me faking through the festivals! I have till now not made an effort to visit people on festivals nor have called people to my place. To me, perhaps the definition of a festival is wither one working day less or one lost holiday if it falls on a week end.
We used to have this concept of visiting “native place” or relatives during vacations. I am not sure it exists anymore. Either you visit your parents’ house for a long vacation or go on a paid holiday. Otherwise you don’t meet your cousins. I don’t want my kids to be deprived of happy memories with loads of cousins. I don’t want them to be deprived of the bonding among cousins; time spent in childhood which blossoms into a friendly relationship through adulthood. I don’t want them to be alien to the concept of extended family. In today’s times we don’t have the patience or time for extended stays. You juggle leaves, meetings and working days to spend time with the guests. Beyond a week you may not be welcome especially with more and more women working in places other than school or colleges, we miss out on having people over for extended stay. The few times I have had people over, I get an outside caterer, which itself is a deviation from what used to be done. We let them hire a car or lend our car so that the guests could go for shopping when we are away in office, though I would rather be freaking out with them. Though I don’t want to wallow in the past- compare what used to be and what is now, there were merits of the old situation which is not there today and I am sorry for missing out on those. Well, sometimes, I really want a "life that is full of care and don't want to just stand and stare"

Monday, August 06, 2007

SAHM & WM Conflict

Not another debate here but just a few thoughts that are getting pushed to the forefront and I start wondering should I become an SAHM? I know tomorrow or a few days later I would have shaken all these thought away. I know it. This happens at least once or twice to me during the year.
Early Morning- It feels like shit to wake up in the morning ignoring the 2 pudgy hands or ankles draped across me. It feels yuck to say bye and rush off ignoring the crying at mamma leaving home. What it takes to ignore the sweet bright smile thrown at you and no time to offer cuddles and hugs
Grooming the future citizens- Am I really playing a role in their upbringing? As much as I ought to? Will I be able to proudly proclaim that I have brought up my children on my own without help and as I like? Perhaps not. The credit goes somewhere else. I rationalize saying I am perhaps contributing more by going out and bringing back a pay cheque, which bring more security and stretching room overall in the family. And if I were not getting a pay cheque, hubby would not have been able to risk ditching the job and starting his business which will reap more rewards. I snatch credit for that.
Lazy afternoons- I could do anything to be able to curl up in a corner with a book or go shopping or just sleep. And I do love arranging the cupboard and that sort of housekeeping things. Or just stay hooked to the blogs.
The fact that I am feeling dull and sleepy in office adds to the gloom. Wish I were at home
I can see that there are happy hours between 11 and 4 in the gym where in you get personal trainer at discounted rates. Unfair unfair unfair. And you can see all the homemakers doing their exercises and all the stretches leisurely and then enjoy the juice from the juice shop and have a prolonged gossip session. I see myself looking at the watch and unable to give even 1 extra minute to a particular exercise. For all the hard work I do, life is not being fair.
Rat race- Not the usual kind, that doesn’t affect me any more, I am slowly becoming extremely low on the ambition front. The rat race is the rush hour driving. Wish I could give it up. Wish work started at 11 and ended at 4. Oh but that wouldn’t give me discount at the gym. I guess 12 to 3 was a better option.
I just cannot take a break and be off to a holiday. Think about approvals and day counting and clubbing with given holidays.
**Distress**. Talking like this will not do. Think of the loans, think of the pay cheque, thing of the shopping you do with that, think of all the credit cards you own and thing of the car, anything to survive this phase.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Humour in the Family- Hindi

मेरा कजिन आर- मैं तुम्हें दाद देता हूँ।
मैं ख़ुशी से मुस्कुरा दीं।
मेरा कजिन आर- और साथ में खाज और खुजली.

cannot translate this in english

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Factual Fiction- Punishment by Traffic Light

The troll on the road nudges past you forcing you almost to the kerb.
He is forced to stop at the red light almost immediately. Both of you end up neck and neck.
To make matters worse, the moment the light turns green, you zip past and his gear is stuck!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Holistic Weight Management- The Exercise Regimen

Weighty One Liner
You know it is time to exercise when...
Cousin R of 14 years was sitting shirtless and immensly enjoying his food.
Cousin A of 2 years pointing at him- Yaay Mamma Dudu!

Weight Training
Typically trains large muscle group to focused small muscle group.
After the basic warm up, it is a good idea to do 10-15 minutes treadmill to mobilize the fat burning.
Start with the lower body exercises focusing on inner thighs, outer thighs, knees, leg raises with machines and weights.
Intersperse with stair climbing for 2 minutes or 15-20 flights. This supposedly helps in maximum fat burning.
Continue with upper body exercises like back, chest, arms, biceps, triceps- with machines & weights.
The method would be hold, repetitions of 15 counts and pulsing (quick repetitions of 10 counts). Repeat the entire set twice or more as directed. More the weight or the holding, the greater the resistance. Concentrate on breathing deeply and holding the stomach in while doing the exercises. The movements have to be slow when weights are being used. This increases the resistance.
End with cool down and stretches.
Me back after a 15 day break. The ankle is still not behaving but the doctor said I could do the exercises carefully. He recommended a 7 minute ultrasound therapy for 10 days which I did not bother to take. He claims I did not give enough rest to the ankle hence the healing is not complete....
Rest!! You wish!! I could do anything to stay curled up with the Harry Potter 7. Did think about bunking office but for once I have decided to go slow on the book, savour the moments only because I know how it is going to end. Having read the wiki summary already.
Shamefacedly I proclaim I went for the pirated version on Sunday- Rs 300/- and they have done a damn neat job if it. Personally I feel guilty buying this pirated stuff, the author not benefitting and all but i allow myself that crime. And I absolve myself of the guilt by promising to buy the original set for the kids when they grow up!
On another note, do libraries pay royalty ot the authors they stock?