Monday, October 15, 2018

Video Blog Entry 2


Another Video log entry... hope you like it.



Saturday, September 29, 2018

Book Reviews.2017.1


This series covers reviews of books that I read in 2017. Keeping the reviews short.

1. The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
Loved this thriller. Moriarty's writing style is quite engaging. 4/5

2. Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation - Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku is not only gifted in his abilities as a physicists (he is co-founder of string field theory, has written textbooks, articles, novels, etc. in the field of physics and popular science), but he makes the difficult and convoluted subject of quantum mechanics and classical mechanics accessible and entertaining for the everyday person. I love all his books. 5/5

3. The Code of the Woosters - P.G. Wodehouse
A classic piece of Wodehouse silliness, involving Bertie Wooster, his formidable Aunt Dahlia and (of course) Jeeves in a scheme to steal an 18th century cow-creamer during a weekend party at an English country house. Super funny as usual. 5/5

4. Carry on Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
Reading Wodehouse is always a pleasant experience, which always fills the reader with much gaiety & happiness. Loved the book. 5/5.

5. Thank you, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
Jeeves and Wooster break up after Jeeves lays down an ultimatum and Bertie chooses his banjolele over his manservant. Hilarity ensues. 5/5.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

You deserve it!



For things to turn out the way we want to we need to make right decisions, and we can make right decisions when we make a lot of bad decisions and learn from them. A lot of people take the responsibility for ALL the bad decisions, they never blame God, planets, their parents or anyone if things do not go their way in life but when they arrive at success they tag it as luck, fortune or someone's blessings. And there are also people who tag others' success as luck, fortune, blessings. If you belong to this category, this post is for you.
I feel everyone has a choice to do or not to do something. No one can force you to do anything [unless you are at gun point!]. If you choose to do something that you do not want to then you are either not audacious enough to stand up for yourself or have a good reason for doing it [which again makes it - your choice!]  

If we are ready to take responsibility for the 'bad' that happens to us and say that 'yes, it was my choice', it makes me wonder why can't we own up to the 'good' that happens to us as well? I am not saying one needs to be ungrateful for everything that they have but it is just a thought, that if we are responsible for all the bad, then we should be responsible for all the 'good' equally. {I am not talking about the basic good things like the family/ background/ money that you are born with but the later stages}. 

If you see someone doing well, realize that they have arrived there by going through hardships, by going through a series of bad decisions, it didn't happen overnight.
We should not label things as 'luck' (myth), 'good fortune' (doesn't exist) or 'blessings' (bullshit).
Why can't we just say that - Yes! I deserve it!  or Yes! You deserve it!  We sure as hell have no problem saying it when something 'unfortunate' happens. 
Thoughts?

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Angela's Ashes


 
 
A man dies leaving 9 kids for his wife to take care of, there isn't much money left for them to survive. There is poverty, no food, hardly any clothes to wear, one kid dies because of malnutrition, the wife is devastated. I did not tell you the story of the book, that is the story of my grandmother. We all have heard a similar story, from someone or the other. But here is the thing, my grandmother (Maai as we called her) was no Angela. She took control of the situation, worked in people's houses as a maid, every kid did a little bit something to provide for the family - sewing, cooking, my father worked as a typist.

Here is my problem with Angela's Ashes, I can not identify with people who sit in a corner and blame their horoscope, parents, siblings, government for the troubles they go through. I identify with Maai, the strong characters, who do not complain or whine, they take charge, they take action. And so I disliked the character Angela in this book. I like stories of fighters, I identify with them. (But the truth of the matter is we all have been an Angela sometime or the other and many Angelas exist around us).

I started reading this book because everyone I talk to books about has read it, I kept reading it thinking Angela will spring into action now. But 500 pages is quite a wait.

This is a heart wrenching story of hungry kids and the reason why it works is because the way it is told, it is quite light and bright and unique, I had a smile all throughout the book, no wonder it won the Pulitzer prize. From what I gather it is not fiction but a memoir.

My rating is 3/5.
 

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Vanity Femininity


Were you told since childhood to be tough to be taken seriously and be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with a man? and tough means don't waste your time on vanity, wearing a lipstick is a waste of time. I don't know about you but I was told this by many. I never understood how dressing a certain way would reflect my intellect/ strength or merit.

I have seen well dressed, well-done-hair women with makeup, totally own an important office meeting, or bowl over in an intellectual discussion/argument, come first in exams, when they work, behave or open their mouth they deliver. Wearing dresses, skirts, makeup does not take away from a woman's intellect or strength. Women are vulnerable, emotional, compassionate and at the same time tough irrespective what they choose to wear.

I feel I belong in dresses and skirts more than in pantsuits. And overall I am very feminine in my dressing, actions, reactions, feelings. Your version of femininity might be different from mine, whatever your version of femininity is - embrace it. Do not let anyone tell you that you need to dress a certain way to be taken seriously . Our femininity is not our weakness. Dressing or behaving like a man does not necessarily imply that one is powerful.

If you have followed my blog then you might already know that I am a vocal feminist, and yet I don't think dressing/looking/behaving like a man 'on purpose/ without our wishes' is a way to go about it. The whole point of feminism is, yes - we are different from you and yet we are equals...

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Success

 
What exactly is success? Money? Fame? Career? Peace of mind?
 
When someone says 'oh you are so successful', what does it really mean? Can't success mean different things for every individual. What someone defines as our success can very well be reflecting their own aspiration and/or dream. For you it might not mean as much as it would to the spectator of your life. So when someone says 'you are successful' it is their perception of our life and its stages.
 
When someone has reached a high level position at work A might say that that someone is so successful but might think that that someone is compromising on his health, family and mental peace which B has the luxury for, so he perceives that he might not be at a high level position but he is more successful than that someone. I think you get the gist.
 
And when one asks themselves 'am I successful?', would the answer ever be a 'yes'? If we are truly on the quest to be our best, then would we ever label any stage of our life as 'success'?  I have come to believe that success is a mirage, an illusion which doesn't actually exist.
 
 Thoughts?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

J. Krishnamurti

If you have beliefs then what do you have the intellect for?

I love the talks by philosopher, speaker and writer J. Krishnamurti.  Recently when talking to a relative I learnt that my great grandfather had a camaraderie with J. Krishnamurti, I found it quite fascinating and I wondered if my fondness for J. K. is genetic ;-)

Here is the link to one of my favorite talk by him - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYjYL448-yY

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Randomocity 8



1. At the end of the day, it is just a blog. You can dress it up with how ever many advertisements as you want or fill it with how ever many pretty photos of yourself, but until there's a true passion driving it and some sort of point, it's always going to be just another shallow, insignificant part of the internet.


2. Our ecosystem relies on a self-regulating balance of predators and prey. This system worked well with humans and their prey until we began inhumane farming practices that compromise the well-being of animals, the health of humans and the health of our planet. If you eat non veg then opt for organic meat - the key requirements of organic meat are -

•Animals be raised organically on certified organic land
•they must be fed certified organic feed
•No antibiotics or added growth hormones are allowed and
•All animals have outdoor access

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Randomocity 7



1. Every time I visit India I see Americanization of the country. Pubs, clubs, music, movies, clothing, dress lengths, influence of English, consumerism... everything is Americanized. They are all very convenient and easy things that have been accepted by the Indians.

The hard things that need to be ingrained from the Americans would be their work ethics, punctuality, honesty, cleanliness, organization skills, innovation, providing for yourself from an early age and some driving sense.

I wonder when would India be Americanized in a true sense!


2. How would a world be when we are not known as engineers or artists, fat or thin, good or bad, right or wrong? We simply be what we are and we live...


3. Numerous animals are killed to satisfy taste buds of humans, providing for our fashion statements should be the last thing animals are killed for. I understand that for many of us branded handbags/shoes/belts (like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Coach) are a status-style-andWhatNot symbol but still check out this video to gain some insight on where leather comes from - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcVDSSqdkFs


4. Summer bodies are made in winter and winter bodies are made in summer... go hiking, biking, running, jogging, play a sport... enjoy the outdoors and also workout.

5. What I truly don't get is the concept of "what's in" and "what's out"! I won't lie, I do read a lot of fashion blogs but I shop only on the basis of personal preference and good fit.

Here's a thought - Everything we wear doesn't have to be 'in-fashion' but definitely has to be 'in-perfect-harmony' with our personality and body type.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Mulling Over Marriages


For over thousands and thousands of years, two absolute strangers used to get married (this is still happening in many parts of the world) and many today out of love take the decision to become part of each others' happiness and troubles. When you look at a couple interact with each other you will know if they mend and blend with each other, if they were so to say 'made for each other' or 'made to be without each other'. Cheesy... but true.

When I look at some married couples I wonder how are these people still together... One of them is positive, happy, full of life and the other one is negative, hurtful - mentally/emotionally/physically, or is simply toxic. How does one live around this kind of a person 24/7? You can see that the other person would have been so much happy without her/his partner. Isn't it easier to live independently than to be living in a toxic marriage? Is divorce such a big deal in such scenarios? Some people stay on... for the sake of kids... I don't know how does it help the kids to be living with parents who don't get along, who are unhappy and who are living independent lives under one roof.

If people from this scenario get divorced then great... happiness is a choice and you made it.
And then there are some who get divorced... way too casually. Within two months of married life they get divorced saying 'oh he watches too much TV'. Okay!!! but you were in a relationship for years and out of them few years in a live in relationship, you didn't realize it at that time? How can a person be just right for you for such a long time and then within two months you realize he is all wrong? Getting divorced for lame reasons without trying to make it work is also quite lame (I feel), never enter a marriage thinking you can ignore the behaviors now and change them later, because how would that work? Would you change your habits just because you signed a document?

Third scenario is where the couple just gets along without too many efforts, they fit like a jig-saw puzzle, their fights are quite a scene to watch too, they argue and next minute they are again best friends as if the argument never happened. They ignore the tiny ripples and move on. It is quite amazing to see such couples and how closely they get involved and how everything about their lives get intertwined with each other. Their finances, professional decisions, inter-personal relationships which once, were independent of each other, get practically woven together... so tightly that the threads can barely even be seen! I find it quite an endearing phenomenon specially since human beings are essentially selfish so how does their pain and suffering unite with this one person? And then they spend rest of their lives trying to make each other's life a little easier, happier and fuller! 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

WhatzApp Message...


You know sometimes we get these stupid forwards which are sent without thinking it over twice... I received one such forward -

It said "Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness. Women weren't created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can't do."

What a blunder of statement!

When you say 'Women weren't created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can not do' - you are assuming that people and the whole existence was created and there is a creator with consciousness - who planned it out that this is how a man will look and this is what he will do - this is how a woman will look and these will be her tasks - that assumption in itself is so idiotic that I do not need to explain it further.. But I am still going to do that - Let us assume for a minute that there is a creator who had everything planned then you are assuming that a man was created first and the left-over tasks were assigned to a woman - Please tell me how was the man created in the first place if not from a woman's womb? - so let us rewrite the statement in a correct way (for fun as it still assumes that there is a creator) - a man was created by a woman to delegate things that she didn't want to do ;-)

Let's look at the next statement - 'Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness' - Women are not trying to prove that they can do what men can do, because it doesn't need to be proven! Second thing is why would anyone want to prove that they can do what a man can do? - you are posing it here as if men are doing something extra ordinarily awesome that is completely out of reach of the other gender, well, you are not. Our generation of women are just rebellious enough to grab opportunities which were always rightfully ours- equally.

Differences in brain physiology between sexes do not necessarily relate to differences in intellect. Although men have bigger brain size which is partly explained by their bigger bodies, women have greater cortical thickness, cortical complexity and cortical surface area (controlling for body size) which compensates for smaller brain size. If you were checking IQ test papers with no names on it then you wouldn't be able to tell the race, color, sexual orientation nor gender from the results. Two people can have same IQ - irrespective of anything.

Also what kind of uniqueness are we talking about in the statement? that women can give birth? or are more emotional than men? Taking care of household things can not be an uniqueness because it needs two hands to take care of things and men who have hands should be able to take care of it too, unless they lack brain power to do simple mundane tasks like dishes or are physically so weak that they can not gather the energy to move around and take care of chores - that would explain their bulging paunch by the way!


People call me a 'feminist' and I hate the word feminist, just to make it clear - I am not a feminist - I love both sexes, in fact men more so (as I feel quite attracted to them and have spent hours thinking about them;-)), I am not a feminist, I am just an equalist. I never liked hearing men are better than women at anything and I don't want to do that disservice to the other sex.

But do I really think all the men are my equal? No. They are not. Some are better, some are equal and some are different (just being diplomatic).

Do I really think all the women are my equal? No. They are not. And the same logic as above applies.
Are two men equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. Are two sexes equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. Are two women equal in their strengths and weaknesses? No. But they do deserve an equal opportunity to try everything, to get what they rightfully deserve (that means if a job is dependent on a test result then whoever tops the list should get it) and an equal reward for a work well done... and not judging anyone based on gender roles which were defined over a thousand of years ago... And that's the point of equalism (in my books).

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Death


I think about Death sometimes, I don't lose my sleep over it, nor do I think about it in a sad or depressing way but just as an inevitable end to the journey called life. You may think I am crazy to be talking about death but I am still going to put forward my thoughts on death.

I don't know when and where it is going to happen for me but let's face it that one can never ever be 'prepared' to face it. I wonder if anyone would miss me or if it would make a difference to anyone's life. Yes, we do live in a bubble of self importance :-). The truth is that people will carry on without each one of us, just fine. Because people die. They will miss us and then they will go on with their day. What else are they going to do? In the beginning they might think of us everyday and then a few times in the year and slowly the memory will fade, resurfacing only when scratched.

What happens to the 'me' once the body is gone, or is it just the body that is all to our existence? There is no point in thinking about it, because all there is to our existence is this body, just telling you the scientific fact. And since there is no God, no Yamaraj, no soul and the theory of reincarnation is bullshit too, so death is ultimately the full stop.

I think of those who once lived. I think about my grandmother... Few days before she died she kept her head on my lap and cried, calling me with my nickname again and again. Did she want to say something to me? Had she seen her end coming? Today when I think about it I feel she was in a state of panic - of leaving everything and everyone behind, of separating from the loved ones. The memory of her death makes me sad till date.

Can one ever be content with how much ever one has lived, experienced or gathered? or one always feels greedy to see more and experience more? I worry about my near and dear ones, I never want to lose any of them.

Sometimes I think about not just the death of people and animals but also death of our Sun. When our Sun dies would any life in the universe (if there is any) know that there once lived a Sun who gave birth to such amazing and beautiful creatures?

I am not 'scared' of death per say but I am scared of suffering or of being incapacitated in old age. I do not want to be a burden on anyone. My biggest dream is to die swiftly, without pain, without going through a shock or a panic attack, as if I am simply fading away in deep sleep. And till then I plan to live, work, exercise and have fun each day.

If there was no death, we were immortal, and there was no end to learning and working then wouldn't one get bored with doing the same things over and over again? The knowledge of death, the thought that there is an end to all of it makes me enjoy every day with utmost enthusiasm.

I want to say that I’ve lived a reasonably good life. Many live in poverty and severe conditions, and a lot die even before they turn twenty. So I can say that I have lived better and longer than many.

Many spend their entire life being toxic and then towards the end they suddenly realize that the end is near and they don't want to be remembered as being toxic and then they mend their ways, that is not how I want to live, don't get me wrong, it does not mean I take crappy treatment from anyone or let people walk all over me, I stand up and am harsh when it is needed. I haven't and will not hurt any living soul intentionally, be it even animals and that is how I want to continue until I die.

When it is time to go I do not want to say I lived how people wanted me to and never actually lived my own life, so I live my way, by my rules, I spend each minute how I want to, I do not live by society's norms, I do not do things because I fear people's criticism, criticizers are just a bunch to unhappy and hypocrite people reflecting their own mental status on others, so never mind about them, they are not worth spending time over.

My default mental status is at peace with myself and with the world,  and that is exactly how I want to be when I leave the world. I want to go without any regret or grievance against anyone.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Style Blogging...


Most fashion bloggers are “influencers”, they are people who have the ability to influence you to spend your hard earned money on stuff they just get for free!

Someone asked me if I have the pressure to continuously buy new things in order to be relevant in style blogging, my answer is no, I don’t. First of all what I have is not a fashion/ new trends and style kind of a blog, what I have is a personal style blog, that is how I dress and according to fashion and latest style standards it could be completely outdated. I wouldn't know, fashion/ what's in and out changes everyday and I do not want to track it. I do not propagate unnecessary spending on anything. I do not shop much, I do not follow trends, I do not talk about ‘sales’, because I myself never keep track of or buy at them. I urge people to invest in quality over quantity.

I am not dressing up for the blog, I don't blog to show how much stuff I have, I blog to show how much can be done with however little that one has. I create a new outfit everyday with just the same stuff that I already have.

I do not want my readers to come to my blog and feel they don't have things, I do not want them to be discontent with their current closet, I do not want them to go out there and buy what I am wearing, I do not want them to even copy my style or outfits.

I want my readers to visit my blog and get excited about getting dressed well. I want them to see their existing wardrobe with a new energy. I want them to think before they shop. I want them to create a wardrobe that represents THEIR personal style. Having a lot of clothes or having what’s in the trend or walking in ladder like high heels does NOT make you look stylish but feeling comfortable and confident in what you are wearing does. (and as I have said this before - fit body trumps jewelry, clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, hairdos and all that)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Randomocity 6




1. The 'how' matters more than the 'what' in almost all the situations

2. Give your best compassionate smile, instead of saying, 'told you so!'

3. Always look at the bigger picture

4. If you have loving parents, caring partner, supportive siblings but if you do not know the direction you want your life to go in, then none of them can help. People or things can enhance our life and its experiences only if we are on the path we desire to take.

5. Let everyone be, also let yourself be.

6. Happiness over wealth. Health over comfort. Nutrition over taste. Live in today. Make peace with the past.

7. Pull yourself up than bringing others down

8. Do not let success go to your head

9. Behave with a little class and dignity

10. Be capable to manage your personal finances and time.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Homesick



Do you ever feel homesick? The feeling is quite traumatic, I get a heavy heart as if my chest is not able to contain the heart within. Then I get engulfed in turbulence of thoughts.... Yes, I am homesick... 


... I miss home and I also miss the past


I miss those days which cannot possibly come back. 


But that doesn't stop me from wanting them back.


I wish it was possible to go back to those relationships which were purely based on the fact
that we shared the common classroom, and nothing else.


Or where having common interests meant we were going to be best friends forever.


I miss those carefree days of college and the days when everyone elder to me doted upon me for absolutely no reason.


Today is one such day when I am homesick and past-sick.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Randomocity 5





1. Pull yourself up than pulling others down

2. Never feel guilty of being happy!

3. There are laws of physics and everything else is someone’s opinion.

4. Knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going.

5. There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching.

6. Anything or anyone, that does not bring you alive, is too small for you.

7. All gods will die off one by one as their relevance outlives our evolving intellect - Dan Brown

8. If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind - Buddha

9. Be kind and polite but never a push over. Stand up for yourself!

10. A little restrain in speech, action and reaction goes a long way.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Randomocity 4


1. Do not resort to whining at all times

2. Do not eat like a pig and then complain about your poor health

3. Treat others the way you wish to be treated

4. Never take kindness for granted

5. Never measure your achievement or goals against someone else's

6. Treat others the way you wish to be treated but also - treat others the way they treat you! Ha! That means if someone is disrespectful/hurtful with you then no need to shower them with love and care... move on.

7. When nothing goes your way, there is always an option of changing your path.

8. Do not ask your daughters to help in household work while the son sits in front of television.

9. Do not tell your daughter she cannot go out past sun-set while the boy is not back home even at dawn.

10. Do not tell your daughter that learning to cook is more important than making a career.

11. Everyone who passed through my life has always left something of theirs in me. The memory of a smile, a gesture, a laugh, a word, a kiss. If they hadn’t left anything, it would be because they didn’t exist. Even those who disrespected or hurt me left something in my heart. If anything, they reminded me of what I won’t allow to exist in my life anymore - José Micard Teixeira

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Truly Patriotic


Is 'patriotism' a byproduct of all the wars and battles which had been fought by tribes, clans, cults, religious groups to survive? Is it soon becoming an obsolete emotion? Because this generation is born and brought up in comparatively calmer surrounding (than the world wars and British Raj) and also this generation lives all over the place. We are born in one country, study in another, work in the third country and then retire in a new country all together. So which country are we going to be 'patriotic' about? And I do not mean for a sports game, I mean in the time of war.

Is 'patriotism' one of the hurdles in the path to world peace? If there was no patriotism, but only general regard and respect for mankind, no matter where they were born or bred, wouldn't the need to own, capture, secure and protect a manmade boundary disappear? It is wonderful to be proud of one's heritage but if that converts into thinking that we are superior to the other cultures, then it is not really a noble concept.

From what we know Earth could be the only planet with life ... found anywhere nearby or probably found anywhere in the billions of galaxies, it would be great if we are patriotic for the Earth in its entirety and save its environment, life and beauty!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Randomocity 3



I think about life at all times... in small doses..


1. The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference! What do you think?

2. All disease begins in the gut, and all disease must be addressed by improving gut health.

3. Distance doesn’t separate people... silence does.

4. You know, I don't understand why married women put bindis, wear mangalsutra, change their lastnames and glorify the concept that they are married. Men don't do that. They are born a Mr. and die as a Mr. Women are tagged as Miss or Mrs.Why??? Exist as an individual, with/without a man, you still are worthy. Customs need to change and each one of us has to become a catalyst.

5. Strong and positive parents have happy kids.

6. No harmony is possible unless their is justice. Bitterness and oppression can not bring peace. Be tactful, remain polite and respectful, keep your cool …. but do not accept such treatment.

7. Fear makes people try hard to win hearts, a venture that is bound to fail, because people who need to be 'won over' are never worth it.

8. Good friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget ...

9. Listen to everyone, but do only what your head says

10. Learn to say No! It doesn't make you a bad person

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Randomocity 2

1. We are all born with some sort of advantage - be it being born in an influential, brilliant or a rich family, being brought up in a peaceful, loving, quiet atmosphere or it can be anything from good looks, skills, to great health. Do we realize our advantage? or crib about things that we don’t have? why not have a realization and make the most of what we have?


2. Do we have a constant need to categorize things that we do as productive and unproductive? The heart says read fiction and the brain says 'read non-fiction that is productive'.

I crave to experience those childhood days again when life was innocent, had no responsibilities and had nothing to prove. I would spend hours making paper boats and looking at them move in a pond from one end to the other. I did it goal free and guilt free. No one (including my brain) had opinions on how I spent my time.

It is amazing to see people who have figured out what 'waste of time' is while I still contemplate what 'time' means. We are all going to die one day so does that mean life is a waste of time?

3. Do we always have great fear of getting tired? Any energy spent is not lost forever. We plan our fatigue the same way we plan everything else. We 'save energy' to work out at the gym, there too we time ourselves, count repetitions, track the heart rate.

These days people wear those wrist bands which shows how much they slept! If you wake up and feel fresh then you slept well... Similarly if you feel like working out in the morning and then again in the evening then go for it! Some days you might have a lot more energy than your already set goal of X steps (which can be set on the wristband) and on some days you might have to drag yourself to take even one step ;-), Why let a machine decide for us how much we should do? Why not just go with the instinct?

We definitely need to stop robotic routines and move around, run, walk, do Pilates; Yoga, go biking, climb hills, jump, dance... There is no rule how many times or how much to do. Just do it as much as you can... because really you can!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Randomocity 1


1. The 'friends' orbiting at the farthest reaches of your digital galaxy aren’t the ones that matter when it comes to your health and happiness. But the people you hug, laugh and lament with are the ones who have the greatest impact on your health and happiness.


2. Try to stay away from those who give you stress, humiliation, disrespect, unhappiness and then you will see the difference in your entire well being.


3. Willingness to wind and wander, to take missteps that lead us to places we couldn’t have known to go, I guess any creative process is rarely a straight path.


4. Each of us draws a circle around ourselves and we think whatever is outside that circle is wrong/ not good/ not acceptable and then we try to domesticate others based on our perception of the world. Should we get domesticated or rebel? Rebel for freedom... to be true to ourselves... to be true to who we are .....


5. Strong Women...May be you know them, may be you are one of them but most definitely raise them (to be strong)....


6. We make career decisions at an early age then put on blinders and gallop towards our determined destination. Why don’t we just enjoy our journey and explore the magical side trips? We cannot know what adventure awaits us or how those side trips affect our lives but are we missing something grand because we decide to stay on the same path?


7. Success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get.


8. It is not harmful to own things but it is harmful to be owned by them ;-)


9. Once you truly believe you’re worthy of love, you will never settle for anyone’s second best treatment.


10. Best things in life are not things at all.





Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Facade


On social media - I have seen a couple posting exotic vacation pictures every month (making everyone feel what a great couple they were) and then they got divorced in a few years. You will see people posting pictures partying with their 'friends', but they would nowhere be close to being 'friends', some barely know anything about each other, and some dislike some of them. I have seen people posting amazing pictures with their kids, the very same people who would be spending hardly any time with their kids otherwise. Social media is a facade where people want to share just the good things and show that they live in a rosy la la land but far is the case.

Social media is setting us up for feeling low, as if everyone is having fun but us. I have shared this before why I had deactivated my FB account. I am on it now but I am subscribed to just 6 people - Narendra Modi, Aamir Khan, Rujuta Diwekar being 3 of them. I do not want to see what people are drinking, eating, where they are vacationing, who are they hanging out / partying with or what their kids are drawing, it is way too much information for me than what I care to know. I do not visit anyone's profiles as well.

What I have learned from my social media (FB and blogging) experience is -
- Life is not perfect for ANYONE - even if they are trying hard to portray it that way
- It might seem that everyone has it better than you, but they really don't
- Don't believe everything that people write on their blogs/FB posts. People lie. Or there are some like me who reveal just 5% of their life. People have lines drawn for what part of their life they want to share and what they do not want to share.
 
Social media can cause depression and the feeling of missing out.. If you get affected by the information that is shared by people on social media (that means if you feel low, inferior, jealous, sad, bad, negative and whatnot) then unsubscribe to people who are not adding any value and also think about how much time you want to spend on its usage...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Random Thoughts Again


1. One may put on weight because of several reasons: pregnancy, childbirth, medical issues, bad diet etc. but the most lame excuse I have heard for being overweight is 'It is genetic!'. The only thing that is genetic or so to say runs in the family is lifestyle, choice of diet and exercise.


2. Who is more attractive - a person who is wearing lot of gold and diamonds or a person who is wearing fitness? Fitness is a philosopher's stone that makes YOU look gold.

3. Fit body  is the most precious thing one can have and unfortunately money can’t buy it but hard work and self control can.

4. Body is the only thing that we have from the time we are born till the time we die. We must take proper care of it and certainly not add any poisons to it.

5. For losing weight one needs to sacrifice a lot of things. WRONG. If weight loss is an important goal for you then what you give up is not a sacrifice. Anything that we give up to achieve higher pleasure can not be termed as sacrifice, its a gain. So weight loss is also a gain in a way ;-).



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Past Present Future


Once in a while I mull over my actions and or beliefs from a few years back and I reach the same conclusion every time - "I can not believe, how naïve (aka dumb) I was!

Looking back I never think I was all that intelligent. I could have done things differently. Done them better. I could have been more confident, studied more, played more, created more, snapped out of inferiority complex or had the ability to judge people better. I am not telling you my regrets. It is a mere analysis and aftermath of what goes on in my head.

The 'present me' gives the 'past me' that aggrieved feeling, the kind one gets when they cannot believe that someone can be that disillusioned (aka stupid).

Do you ever feel unhappy with the 'past you'? 

Well, never mind, here's to the better 'present us' which we will be looking back as past in the future!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Enjoy


Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

- Mary Schmich

Saturday, April 07, 2018

I no longer have patience...


I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals (and are not feminists). And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.
- José Micard Teixeira

- and are not feminists added by me ;-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Empty Voids


We are all surrounded by chemicals. Our soap, shampoo, perfume, deodorants, house cleaning supplies, dish washer soap, laundry soap, sometimes water that we drink, air that we breathe, the food that we eat (grown with pesticides/ fertilizers), clothes that we wear (processed with chemicals and dyes), everything is loaded with chemicals and toxins. To add to that we, with our own 'conscious will' decide to indulge in some more toxins like alcohol, drugs, cocktails, chocolates-deserts-ice-creams made with liquid nitrogen, preserved foods.

Humans have these empty voids that they try to fill up with some crazy entertainment (which is mostly consumption - as mentioned above). We have moved away from natural living big time.

We need to eat clean, simple food, explore variety but keep it simple, respect food. Food gives us energy, it was us, it is us, it repairs us, we are what we eat/drink and what we digest, food is sacred.

There is nothing safe in consuming alcohol, drugs or food loaded with chemicals (molecular gastronomy!), even though the argument will be, it is safe in small quantities. We are surrounded by toxins already, we don't need to add more to our body.

Change is required in the way we eat, move, sleep and think...

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Busyness

In your recent interactions with people have you ever answered to the simple question “How are you?” with some variation of “I’m so busy!” What happened to the good old, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”. Do we somehow think that being “busy” is a symbol of status and importance?

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; it is our way to tell people that our life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if we are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. When we say 'I am busy' it sets a wrong tone to the conversation too, because if we are so busy then it creates distance even before one starts the conversation (my opinion), why would anyone want to take our time in a small talk if we are so busy.

The truth is that being busy all the time is counterproductive. Our brains need space to think clearly and strategically. If we are caught up in the busy trap then it actually means that we are constantly reacting to tasks, accept whatever the day throws at us, being part of something that we don't even want to do, instead of making purposeful choices about what to do with our time.

We need to stop the glorification of busy and not let the activities/ social events/ tasks choose us, but we should choose them.

We need to make the choice to be less busy and schedule some time to reset, relax and give our mind the space it needs to think creatively, to come up with great ideas and to just rejuvenate.

Every time we tell ourselves (or others) that we are too busy, we should stop and think about what we are really saying and think about everything that is cluttering up our calendar and our to-do list and decide to do only what is important. We just might discover the joy of being less busy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fashion



These are my opinions on what fashion is (as usual applicable for both genders).
  1. We should not wear certain clothes because others are wearing them. We need to wear clothes which make us look & feel good. Fashion can take a hike! It's good to be fashionable but only when fashion makes us look good!
  2. We should not forget our paunch :) how many of us have a perfect-flat-stomach? I know I don't. And yet, we are determined to wear body-fitted dresses circling our paunch almost, as if with a compass! don't wear belts, low rise jeans or things like that, unless you want to highlight the paunch.
  3. We need to watch our make-up (if you decide to wear it). It is a good idea to learn basic makeup and know some tricks like the foundation needs to match our skin-tone. Innumerable makeup tutorials are available on Youtube.
  4. Keep it simple. Fancy clothes plus too many accessories can result into looking like a circus really :). When accessorizing, choose one - bunch of bangles/bracelets or bunch of necklaces/chains or one of each and never all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Random Thoughts


  1. Value your time. Don't confuse being busy as being productive.
  2. Pick your battles. Just because you choose to be quiet doesn't mean you are wrong. It means you are smart enough to save your energy for what matters more.
  3. Don't let anyone else decide your self-worth - not social media, not your followers, friends, not your family. You decide your own self-worth.
  4. Standing up for what you believe in doesn't always mean going out on a protest march. Simply continuing to live the way you want to is action enough.
  5. People will continue to surprise you. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. Try and keep an open mind. Even with buffoons.
  6. Just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean they will produce quality work and vice versa.
  7. No one has it 'all' figured out, no matter how sorted they look. Everyone is just doing the best they can.
  8. Let go of the fear of missing out. No one is having more fun than you are. If you are happy where you are, then that's what matters the most.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Not my concern


Some people want people they like, to get along with each other, they take measures to make sure that everyone they hang out with like each other back. For example your friend might want you to get along well with her husband and kids, or your partner would like it if you got along with her family, your family would prefer it if you got along with all your relatives, your relatives would be elated if you got along with all their relatives, may be that's bit of a stretch but you get the gist.



I understand that it can be very stressful mentally to be spending time with people you don't get along with - simply in the name of association.



I am totally fine if two people I am extremely fond of, are not fond of each other much. The least I expect from people in general is to be civil and well-mannered no matter who they are and whom they like (or not). I have no need for my girlfriend to get along perfectly well with another girlfriend, or every family member to get along with every other family member, so on and so forth. It is great if they do, but if they don't it doesn't bother me.



It also does not bother me if someone I am fond of is hanging out with someone I don't get along with. I really don't care to indulge in anyone's personal dynamics with each other. I like giving people their space and letting them make their own choices about who they want in their lives and/or don't, my wavelength matching or not matching with someone does not imply it will for you. I do not think having me as a common link should be a punishment for anyone. The only relationship they need to care about is with me. Anything else is not necessarily my concern.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

6 Benefits of home cooking



When it comes down to feeding your body, nothing is superior to preparing your food from scratch, with quality ingredients and made with love. If you have never experienced this phenomenon then try it out for 90 days and see how you feel. Let’s take a look at why preparing your food is a win-win situation for everyone.

1. Saves money
Packaged and prepared meals cost you considerably more than cooking with raw ingredients at home. Preparing meals at home can save you money.

2. Saves time
In the time it takes to drive to a restaurant, place your order, wait for your order, return home and serve the meal,  or even in the time you eat at the restaurant, you could have made a three-course meal from scratch with time to sit and eat too. For those on a busy schedule, prepare half the week’s meals on a Sunday and the other half mid-week, which can allow time for relaxation or beneficial exercise.

3. Less salt and trans fats
Preparing meals at home allows you to control the amount of salt and oils you use in your recipes. This in turn reduces the possibility of weight gain and clogged arteries.

4. Balanced meals
Taking the time to plan your weekly menu not only helps to save time and money, but also provides a way to create meals with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, plus all the essential vitamins and minerals needed for the adult and child’s body. When eating balanced meals your body feels satisfied, has fewer cravings and this in turn prevents late-night snacking.

5. Hygiene
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 76 million people are poisoned by food each year in the United States. This is caused by food-borne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasites that can seriously harm you. Forty cents of every U.S dollar spent on food is for restaurant or prepared foods, which allows for more possibility of consuming cheap foods prepared by inexperienced handlers, posing a greater risk of improper cooking and/or cross contamination of foods. When preparing meals at home you can better control the temperatures when cooking meats, keep hands and countertops clean and properly wash your raw produce.

6. Weight control
I am not saying this out of my hat- research is saying - that people who eat home cooked meals tend to be healthier and weigh less than the ones who eat restaurant food often.

(Cooking is definitely an essential skill to have for both genders.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Blood is thicker than water...


I have had some amazing friends, that I am still friends with. They helped me to be the person that I am today. Be it happiness or sadness I still feel comfortable sharing stuff with them. I remember the day when I moved to Seattle, I did not cry leaving my mother but I cried when my best friend (sakhi as I call her) showed up.

But then the bestest of my friends have been my cousins and relatives my age, I get along with them even better than my non-family best friends. There is this instant connection, belongingness and care when one hears that we are a 'family'. Yes, this post is about family.

If I look back at my life I have been the closest to my family members, I can not stand a single word against any of my family members. If and when I have been through the darkest phases it is the family who has helped me the most. Same goes for me - if anything had to happen to any of my family member I would want to drop everything and be of help. I am glad that I have a sane family who understands and care for each other.

There are some weird type of families, like, four brothers living on four floors and yet no one talks to each other, fighting over an estate that the parents left for them, like the vultures fighting over dead bodies.

There are gossiping families, the ones who gossip about every family member in their absence and are not loyal to each other. All they have for each other is disrespect and poison. It is not surprising that such families do not stick together. They fight, quarrel, yell, scream, gossip or try to control or demean others.

And yet I feel that if something drastic had to happen in one's life, say cancer, then it is the family that would come for help, doesn't matter what the past equation has been.

There comes a phase in life when you love your friends more than your relatives or family, but then eventually one realizes that it is not about likes or dislikes or whom you want to go watch movies or party with, it is about  - for whom does your heart ache when you see them in trouble? For whom can you not stand a single word against? Who would drop everything and be with you if you had been in a bad accident? I bet most of the names would be your family members, isn't it?

And that's why they say 'blood is thicker than water'.

Do you agree?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Easy ways to read more books

  1. Pick short and easy read - If you are new to reading then start with short stories, or a book of your interest which isn't too long. Finishing a book quickly will motivate you pick up another one, provided you enjoyed your first one. The books I read the fastest are murder mysteries, I don't like suspense.
  2. Choose a medium that works for you - Some people prefer e-books while others (like me) prefer a physical book in the hand and an audio book. Whatever your choice, pick one and carry it with you at all times (or have one available on your phone).
  3. Carry a book when you travel/commute - If you use public transport, use that time to get your reading in. I am a big fan of audio books and finish at least one audio book every week during my nasty commute time.
  4. Read while you’re waiting - Waiting for a friend who is running late for lunch/coffee, waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for the flight to board, - all good times to read. Audio books can be read while commuting, cleaning, cooking or taking care of any chores.
  5. Read before you go to bed - This is when I get maximum physical reading in, right before I sleep. I try and keep aside 30 minutes to get some reading in with the goal of finishing at least one book per month.

Hypocrites or a**holes

If I like you, life is easy. I take interest in your life and work and am concerned about your well being and supportive towards your goals and I make every effort to keep in touch with you. If I am neutral towards you, life is still easy. I am polite and civil towards you when our paths cross.
If I don’t like you or get an inkling that you don’t like me/ are trying to avoid me/ are giving me an insulting treatment then – life is again easy, because I don’t give a second thought about you, I won’t bitch and whine about you to people around me but at the same time I ensure that our paths never cross. I do not call you socially, I do not make plans to meet you, you might not even be on my friend or phone list. I do nothing. I don’t allow you to occupy my brain space.
You know what I don’t get…when people clearly do not like someone or do not agree with their fundamental view on life -professionally/morally/socially – and still continue to be social with them. A lot of people are perfectly fine with everyone around them ONLY they bitch about people on how they can’t stand someone or how someone did them wrong (but it can not be told from their interaction with anyone).
If you ask me I am wary of people who are nice with everyone because you never know who they are really fond of or who are they bitching about… I have realized that straight forward people are considered a**holes (I am one such) but I prefer to be friends with a**holes any day, because if they are friends with me then I know that they are in it with a genuine interest.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Introducing a Vlog



I am starting a video log for movie reviews, book reviews and such. This is the first video that I made, hope you like it.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Big Bad World

Fashion/ personal style blogging has become a new Vogue, a platform to try and get people to buy more, spend more, want more … and some times it also sets unrealistic standards for women. Of course not every style blog can be categorized in the same way but it is definitely getting harder to differentiate one blog from another.
When I started a personal style blog my biggest goal and vision was to show how many combinations can be created with just some basic stuff in the closet, and that one can be well and sensibly dressed without spending loads of time or money on it. A lot of people suggested that I should add variety of location and better my picture quality… sorry I can’t!  I do not want to spend more than two minutes to take pictures because as I said it is not worth spending too much time on clothes :-).
I never get ready just for the heck of taking pictures, I take pictures sometimes when I get ready for office or wherever the heck I am going. Most fashion blogs show women wearing these really fancy clothes, makeup, jewelry, hairdos and wearing new item in every post, I can’t do that, or for that matter I haven’t seen any women around me dress like how they do in fashion blogs. It is simply unrealistic. I want to share only doable styles.
On my blog you will never find one new item introduced with every post. It is just the same stuff repeating over and over again in many ways possible. Shopping was never my hobby and it never will be, if anything shopping stresses me out. I do not want to encourage mindless consumption with my style blog. But I want to encourage feeling excited about even the basic clothes and colors that you have in your closet.
I do think that fashion blogging is already past it’s peak because every unique idea gets beaten down till it becomes main stream. There are only so many ways in which clothes can be worn, and someone somewhere has probably already done that, so obviously I am not guaranteeing that what you see here is going to be unique, because nothing is unique. You might be wearing very similar combo as the person sitting next to you but the only differentiating factor would be your personality and the confidence with which you carry yourself.
A lot of brilliant and amazing personalities I have met have had sloppy style sense and I have also met some prim and properly dressed people who were not so nice people, so there is no association between clothes and personalities and no one is forming a judgement about you based on your clothes, the ones who do are idiots so never mind about them. On a day to day basis I hardly ever notice what others are wearing, so if you ask me what were your team members wearing today then really I don’t know, I wouldn’t be able to tell if they wore the same thing for the whole week. I am sure most people don’t notice it and what you wear is only to make yourself feel good.
All I can say is wear what you want to wear, it doesn’t matter, but again wear what ‘you’ want to wear, like how ‘you’ want to see yourself and not based on someone else’s idea of styling.
Look for ideas on personal style blogs, see how you can apply them to your existing closet and you are good to go. If you plan to get clothes and wear them how the fashion bloggers are, then you are probably going to get lost in the big bad world of mindless consumption, or at least that is what I think.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Skin Care

Know your skin type – is it dry/ oily or sensitive?
If you are here to note down a list of any fancy fast working skin products then you will be disappointed, I have none.
  1. Secret to keeping the whole body soft and healthy-looking lies in moisturizing.
I have a dry skin type, that means my skin feels very tight after bathing or any contact with water. I have a dry hand and dry lip symptom too, I get chapped lips all the time.
So what do I use?
a. I do not use soaps in public restrooms – restaurants/ theaters etc. they are by default harsh and do not suit me. I always carry either a soap bottle or sanitizer/wet wipes in my purse.
b. Almond oil – it is excellent for skin – it makes the skin look healthier, reduces dark circles, it cures skin problems like eczema, acne.
c. Citaphil and Vaseline are my all time favorite moisturizers, vaseline is best for lips too.
  1. Secret to good skin is NOT using loads of skin care products
Skin care products claim to be working fast like magic but they do more harm to the skin than anything. Go for the natural fixes instead. For example, before going to bed massage your face with coconut oil for at least 20 seconds – it takes away any makeup products used and keeps the face moisturized throughout the night.
Aloe Vera, castor oil, honey, cucumber and sandalwood powder are excellent for skin.
  1. Secret to a glowing skin is EXERCISE
I have seen many people who do not necessarily have a spectacular skin – but when they start working out, running, biking and whatnot – their skin starts to glow! Reason is simple – exercise increases blood flow and blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the entire body including skin. Marathon runners, bikers and generally people who workout regularly have radiant skin.
  1. Secret to healthy skin is DIET
French fries, hormone-laden meats, fried food, chips and generally all types of junk food is ALSO bad for the skin. Simple and nutritious diet does good to the skin too (as much as it does good to the entire body).
  1. Drink ….WATER
Drink at least 8 glasses a day, it helps to rid the body and skin of toxins.
  1. Last but not the least – SLEEP
Sleep strengthens your immune system, it keeps your heart healthy, it boosts your mood, it is important for your physical and emotional well being (as much as exercise and good diet is). Seven to eight hours of sleep is required by the body. If you want good health – sleep, if you want to lose weight – sleep, if you want to live long – sleep and if you want good skin —- sleep!
I hope you find these tips useful.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Makeup Tutorial


I am not a big fan of too much makeup. However I do wear a tinge of makeup every now and then and wanted to share this 'simple, natural, no-makeup look' tutorial video -


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lifestyle, health and social circles

All my life I have had non-vegetarian and alcohol loving friends who did not associate or avoid me based on my lifestyle choices, they lived in their delirium and let me live in my own.

I have this closest friend from my college days (we were set apart by distance after college), I asked her recently if she was a vegetarian. She laughed and said she is a non-vegetarian and asked me the same question. So all these years we did not know what we chose to put in our own guts, reason is simple because we connected on understanding, empathy, compassion, care and love. I had like to believe that is what normal people do. So the point being I do not know the food and drink preferences of many of my close friends.

I have heard it from many people that best of their friends started omitting them from a social scene because the ones being omitted did not drink or smoke.

One girl told me that she was avoided by girls living in her society because she didn't speak the same language as they did - of clothes, shopping and jewelry. I can tell you for sure that this girl is highly educated, independent and more successful than the rest of her neighbors. I insisted (but to no avail) that she tell her 'society girls' that she had the biggest jewel of all times - fitness.

Another friend recently told me that he prefers to eat home cooked fresh food everyday (Kudos!) and rest of his friend circle loves to eat at restaurants every other day, he chose to let go of that group who also had started to avoid him, and he formed friendship with people who did potluck, poker, hiking and biking, as simple as that.

Anyway, I think you get the gist of what I am trying to say - do not fall prey to bad habits (like smoking and drinking) or eat unhealthy food at the restaurants frequently or change your food preferences or change your religious beliefs or become a clothes horse - just because you want to adhere to a group of people.

This is a big problem within people living away from their own country - they try to form superficial friendships just to be able to socialize with their own kind and culture. They do not think if my wavelength matches with this group, are their lifestyle choices bothering me, am I just hanging out with them to kill time or just to get a feeling of belongingness.

Believe me the world is full of nice people that you will stumble upon every inch, every corner and you will end up finding more wonderful and interesting people who match your psyche and respect you for who you are.

If you have had one such bad experiences before then don't let it dampen your mood to have that kind of emotional involvement again, just make sure that you are accepted irrespective of the choices you make. Also don't make lifestyle choices based on what your so-called friends are doing - don't succumb to social pressures.

Your social circle (and every relationship for that matter) has a big role to play in the lifestyle that you want live or the mental equilibrium that you need. All I can advice is stay away from relationships that are affecting your lifestyle or physical and mental health.

(I have written about this experience in bits and pieces previously in 'the meaty story-  ').

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

What the health! Part 5

This is part 5 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1part 2part 3, part 4

4. Mental health - 
Last but not the least is mental health! We are all living a stressful, busy life today, there is no denying or running away from it. Stress affects our physical well being, it can create anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, heart problems, depression, high blood pressure and whatnot. One is unable to enjoy anything happening around if not mentally happy or stressed. Our body releases a hormone called cortisol when under stress, and high levels of cortisol creates havoc in our system.
We need some peace and quiet, time for ourselves to do something that helps us release the stress -  exercise, yoga, good diet and sleep play a big role in maintaining a good mental health and there is more-

1. Have a hobby - read, write, paint, do gardening, cook, it doesn't matter what your hobby is - the important thing is you have one (I would not encourage TV and such as a hobby, creation gives long lasting happiness and stress release than consumption does).

Same thing goes for kids - send them to classes, teach them different things - let them build hobbies! They won't do it if you tell them to go and paint or go exercise because... they are watching you! Are my parents engrossed in binge watching tv shows all day long/ spending time on social media or they are living an active lifestyle? Are they creating or consuming? As they say 'Raise yourself before you raise your kids'.

2. Meditation - Meditation helps a lot with releasing anxiety and stress - it also helps with better quality of sleep. You don't need any Guru or spiritual organization to teach you meditation. Some people sit and meditate on their own, it doesn't work for me, I like guided meditations, like the ones which are available on an app called InsightTimer, Glenn Harrold being my favorite. I am sure there are other apps/ videos on which you will find guided meditations.

3. People and negativity - I go through stress if I have negative people around me, I can not function in such surroundings, even at work. I do like to be around positive, easy going people (who are not full of hatred, jealousy, negativity or comparison) and I have written many posts on the traits that I do not like - bullies, vampires, gossipmongers, male chauvinist pigs, negative people (we all have these traits - I am talking about the extreme cases here).

Weed out the negative people slowly from your life, the world is full of nice people that you will stumble upon every inch/ every corner and will be able to form new friendships. There is no need to be associated with people who are giving you humiliating, insulting or degrading treatment or the ones who do not give a shit about you. My life and headspace feels so much sorted since I decided enough is enough, that I am going to stand up against and not give in to any of these beastly creatures.

Cut away toxic people and relationships, move away from situations and things and events that make you feel negative. Discuss ideas and not people, don't hang out with people to kill time - first check if your wavelength matches, society and socializing can make you feel drained or feeling empty, socializing is a boon and much needed when it leaves you feeling light and joyous in your heart, don’t let the insecurity, jealousy and negativity of other people affect you or dent you no matter how much you want to react, you can not stop your life from moving on to react to people who don’t matter to you at all, insecure and negative people will try and pull you down always, keep moving forward offering them silent good wishes. 

And lastly - Years ago when I was making a desperate attempt to loose weight - my personal trainer suggested that I try the dietician at my gym, which I did, but I didn't listen to a single word that she said, all I wanted to say to her was 'shut the f*** up'.

Why?... because she herself was four times bigger than me, she barely fit in the chair that she sat on. (to think of it may be she was experimenting what not to eat!)

The point is - In your weight loss journey you will hear advices, suggestions, opinions from loads of people - does not matter if they have a degree in diet and nutrition or are doing research - they are disqualified to give any sort of advice if they themselves are fat and unhealthy.  If you are working on your health and trying to get in shape then people around you will watch every thing that you eat and have a comment on it, stop eating sugar, stop drinking milk, stop eating gluten, this - that - whatnot, some will shamelessly tell you that it is okay to consume alcohol, it is highly likely that these people themselves are in a bad shape so just tell them to 'shut the f*** up' - of course in your head.

My mantra is read books/ blogs/ and listen to people who have fit bodies - everyone else is disqualified (they are obviously free to have opinions but one should not listen to them).

The opinions expressed in this series are influenced by many 'qualified' people, they helped me on my path to health, happiness, fitness and weight-loss - by not just words but by proving through actions.

Most of the fittest and healthiest people that at least I have seen - eat home cooked meals everyday, their portion size is smaller, they understand the difference between food and food like products, they exercise everyday and are not engrossed in any bad habits like alcohol, smoking or drugs. Before you do any crazy diet plans remember that food is not just about weight loss - it is also about health - which means having the right chemical/ hormonal/ bacteria balance/ gut health/ immunity and mental health, so diet plans might help you to loose weight but otherwise create havoc in the system.

One more thing - do not feel let down or lack of confidence or any sort of complex because of a certain body shape that you have, and understand that people who are making comments on you are not perfect either (I have expressed this experience before that a lady thrice my size laughed at me saying 'Rasika, you look too fat'. People do not realize the hypocrisy of their comments, so just  let it go). Most of the people making nasty comments do NOT have sculpted bodies themselves ;-). The only thing that matters is you keep working on your health and weight without giving up.

This is the last part of the series and the last thing I want to say is - when it comes to health and fitness most important thing is continuity, one can not say I am going to exercise, think positive, eat and sleep well for the next 3 months, it has to turn into a lifestyle - it needs to become our second nature and then it will become effortless...

Thursday, January 04, 2018

What the health! Part 4

This is part 4 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1part 2, part 3
  1. Sleep -
In today’s world, snoozing can be difficult, particularly when all your screens (computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets) lure you into staying up just a little longer. A lot of people also have ‘missing out on life’ syndrome so they don’t want to spend time sleeping. A lot of us make a mistake of popping sleeping pills (like I did for almost 2 years - it was a very bad idea).

The most important thing that I fixed after my diet and medicine usage is my sleep.  Why? Because… being short on sleep can affect your wellbeing and your weight too. While you are awake at night, your body cooks up a perfect recipe for weight gain.

When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving, I used to have a venti coffee from Starbucks everyday. You might be tempted to skip exercise because you are too tired, get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full.

Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control. So it is a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions, it can also affects your mood and the way you behave with people around you. Plus, when you’re overtired, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to a second slice of cake.

Sleep is brain’s nutrition. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Insufficient sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, including two called ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin signals your brain that it is time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin.

Leptin, on the other hand, cues your brain to put the fork down. When you are not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.

Put the two together, and it is no wonder that sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra pounds.
Then there’s the cortisol spike that comes from too little sleep. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours that means you are more apt to hang on to fat.

Sleep deprivation makes you ‘metabolically groggy’ that means - your body’s ability to process insulin - a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy - goes awry. When your body doesn't respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.

So it’s not so much that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.

How do you ensure a good night’s sleep -
  • Shutdown your computer, cell phone, and TV at least an hour before you go to bed. No gadgets on the bedside.
  • Save your bedroom for sleep, rather than work, dining or entertainment.
  • Create a bedtime ritual. It's not the time to tackle big issues. Instead, take a warm bath, meditate, or read.
  • Stick to a schedule, waking up and retiring at the same times every day, even on weekends.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which may cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep. And steer clear of soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate after 2 p.m. Caffeine can stay in your system for 5 to 6 hours. I stopped drinking coffee completely since last 2 years.
  • Turn out the lights. Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light suppresses it.
I do have sleep issues - I am oversensitive to sounds, any small sound wakes me up and if I wake up in the middle of the night I have hard time going back to sleep again (mostly thoughts keep in awake). So the thing that helped me the most with my sleep issues is the app InsightTimer - it has loads of guided sleep meditations/ hypnosis. I absolutely love it, Glenn Harrold’s meditations are my most favorite. Whenever I am having trouble sleeping I play his sleep hypnosis and sleep like a baby… no more sleeping pills for me.

Monday, January 01, 2018

What the health! Part 3

This is part 3 of ‘What the health’ series. You can find earlier parts here – part 1, part 2

There are a few key elements when it comes to health... it is no rocket science... everyone knows what they are -

1. Exercise -
Take out some time everyday to exercise! Not having time to exercise is like saying I don't have time to do the basic things like brush my teeth. A lot of people do not want to join gym because they do not want to spend any money on it, while they do have the money to gather material possessions. Health is the best investment one can make!

Running a marathon once in a blue moon and then forgetting all about exercising until there is a marathon again is not the way to go about it. Exercise everyday, rain or shine, even if it is just 30 minutes of yoga each day.

Think of making exercise a fun time so that you don't have to struggle each day to find motivation - join some fun classes like Zumba or dance of any sort, kickboxing, pilates, do yoga - there are so many good videos available on youtube, go hiking/biking or play sports with friends, try weight lifting, the list is endless. Whatever you do, do not do lazy man's workout. You will see these kind of people when you hit the gym, they are there may be to watch TV, listen to songs, look around at some good looking people, I don't know but if you are spending time on something then might as well make the best out of it.

Not only does exercise tone your body so you can wear your favorite jeans, it strengthens your muscles, keeps your bones strong, improves your skin, increases relaxation (stress release), betters sleep and mood, your immune function gets stronger, and a lot more …

If you haven't then exercise today!

2. Diet 
When I was little eating out at restaurants was an event, the event probably happened once a year...
Times have changed and we eat at restaurants casually. Most of the social gatherings happen around food and drinks, it has become a social norm... Looking at the kind of schedule today's parents have I am sure the next generation of kids will be saying 'when we were little, eating home cooked food was an event'.

Our treatment towards our gut has definitely become very casual, to add to that we engage in things like frozen, processed foods, alcohol, coke/pepsi and whatnot. The wealthier that our wallets get the unhealthier the food choices that we make.

Would it be too much if I said 90% of the health troubles we go through are because of bad diet and unhealthy gut? It is true. Quarter of what we eat keeps us alive and the rest keeps our doctors alive.
We are what we eat and most importantly we are what we digest. Gut health is responsible for so many things - the chemical, hormonal, bacteria balance, for strong immunity, a good emotional/mental balance, healthy skin and feeling of wellbeing. Having a strong digestive system is a key element in losing weight too. People who are depressed or committing suicide have a bad digestive tract and I am not talking out of my ass, it is proven scientifically. Read the book 'Gut: an inside story' to find the details about the research on this topic and more on gut health.

We need to think before we put anything inside our own gut... are we adding value and nutrition to our own body or poison? Our gut is strong but not as strong to take the insults that we perform each day. Do not take your gut for granted and treat it as a garbage can just to sweep the dishes clean.

And PLEASE provide your kids with home cooked fresh healthy food - healthy does not mean organic and raw food. In their growing years the kids need nutrition, what they consume right now is also defining the kind of food habits they will have in the future and what you give them right now is building or destroying their gut health. A lot of people are under the risk of catching ailments and getting obese at a very young age because since they were kids they were fed restaurant food/ unhealthy/ frozen/ processed foods by ignorant, lazy and irresponsible parents.

Good gut health and exercising habit is the best heritage you can leave for your kids.

For gut health -

  1. You can make your gut stronger by eating simple, non-spicy, healthy, easy to digest food.  Spicy food, pepper, chillies destroys stomach lining and causes acid imbalance. Remember food stays in your mouth only for a few seconds while your stomach and intestine has to deal with it for a longer time.
  2. If I may say so consume a poor man's diet and by that I mean Indian poor man's diet and not an American poor man's diet.
  3. Don’t go after fancy diet plans, fancier the names the crappier that they are. Our body needs wholesome food, it needs carbs, fats, proteins and everything - remember moderation is the key.
  4. Recognize the difference between food and food like products.
  5. Take out some time during the day to plan and cook home cooked meals, eat clean, fresh, home cooked, simple food - as easy as that.
  6. Don't forget to drink a glass of fresh homemade buttermilk everyday (not yogurt, but homemade buttermilk), it encourages good digestion.
  7. When travelling - I ate the unhealthiest food when I traveled and always put on at least 5 pounds as an aftereffect. Now when I travel I book houses with kitchens through airbnb and such and cook simple meals even on vacations.
  8. Use of medication - I popped in loads of pills for all my health troubles. As evolved beings it is our way of dealing with health. Who has the time and patience to decipher the cause of an ailment and make minor changes to bring the body back to equilibrium when it is so much simpler to just pop a pill and banish your symptoms while the disease surreptitiously festers away. I did not want to spend time being sick, who does? So antihistamines, antibiotics, painkillers, sleep medication, cold medications and such were my constant companions. But remember... medicines cause bad side effects, it is as bad as junk food and alcohol. I should have fixed the troubles by taking a step back, by giving my body some rest, and with natural remedies, by fixing my diet, stress levels, routine, sleep pattern, etc., instead I relied on medicines. But the thing that I used to fix my health issues turned out to be the cause of my biggest problems later on. I had say avoid medicines as much as you can. Try herbal medicines (Ayurveda) if you have to.
  9. And last but not the least Alcohol - Call me uncool if you had like, I really don't care - but DO NOT drink alcohol (I know it is for some reason considered a status symbol these days), some people drink wine everyday saying it is good for the heart, it sounds ridiculous- there are so many better options for the heart like running for example - opt them and not wine. Alcohol affects the acid levels in the body, it affects the quality of sleep, it can cause many health conditions like heart ailments, it affects the liver and pancreas, it also increases the risk of cancer (throat, mouth, esophagus, breast and liver). Cocktails and hard liquor is loaded with unwanted calories that you just wanna avoid piling on. I am high on life and I don’t understand those who are dependent on alcohol to do that job and ones who drink do not understand how can one be high on life… some people come under social pressures and drink to give company, I don’t do that (not anymore). I have been asked many times at parties that if I don't drink alcohol or carbonated beverages then what do I drink. Stupid question. I drink many things - tea, coconut water, lime juice, freshly squeezed orange juice, turmeric milk, buttermilk and mostly water! I am not a fun bob (someone who needs to be inebriated to have fun, loose inhibitions or enjoy life). I enjoy life even when things are painful or not going so smooth. Accept that hardship is part of life. Pain, sickness and sadness is as much a feeling as health and happiness - embrace it, sooner the better - it is useless to be afraid of the existence of unhappy feelings and to forget it getting numb (and dumb) under the influence of alcohol/drugs.


Food and water is an important part of a balanced diet, yes, we are what we eat…. and drink.

to be continued...