Sunday, June 26, 2016

I wish to –



Start a travel blog.
Get on that plane to a new destination.
Eat chatpati chaat.
Dark chocolate cake.
Read more.
Have intelligent discussions. Only.
Laugh till a little pee comes out.
Make someone smile.
Finish that conversation.
Write more often.
Believe I can.
Win that story writing contest.
Have simple wish lists like this one. Always.


See you on the other side of wish no. 2.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On International Yoga Day

Every morning, 4 a.m. onwards, you can hear ‘Om’ chanting in my house by various people at various intervals. No, we are not a religious lot, we just do a lot of Yoga!

My dad, much to my mom’s fury, wakes up at 3 a.m. and does Yoga. He says he goes back to sleep at 4. His skin sclerosis has had a miraculous effect ever since Baba Ramdev entered our abode.

My mom, she wakes up at 6, has her tea and twists and turns on the floor for more than half an hour. At 62, she is a hero of sorts and the most agile person I know at that age. She devours atleast one mithai a day.

My brother starts his day with a morning run. He then goes to have samosa and chai after which he comes home and does his Yoga routine. His sinusitis has been kept in check for years due to this. His late night partying, atleast twice a week, has also been regular.

Me, well, I’ve had a love and hate relationship with mudras. I was introduced to Yoga at the age of 13 at a private class by this yoga teacher who taught me a lot of exercises. Being a young girl, I absolutely hated going for the session. Teenage was definitely not the time when I took my health seriously.

It did not help me much and so we stopped after a few months. Now when I think about it, if the teacher knew more about the benefits, he could have helped me.

I learnt Sudarshan Kriya when Art of Living was quite new. It came into my life at a tough time and did make me a new person. We learnt quite a few Yoga exercises there as well.

Over the years I have learnt breathing exercises and a number of stretches and poses. For optimal benefit, I combine principles of Yoga and exercises taught by various physiotherapists. When I tell my physiotherapist about a particular Yoga pose, she immediately tells me how it will hurt my back. When I tell my mom that Yoga can be harmful, she shuns science. You can’t win with fanatics, can you?

From experience, however, even I feel there are a number of exercises that can cause harm, especially to the back. Unless you are not careful, Yoga does make you stretch beyond your limits and can lead to injuries. For that, it is important to listen to your body before getting completely immersed into a program.

While no exercise regime can guarantee you a healthy life, combining various forms can keep you interested. Not many people enjoy getting out of their comfort zone and pushing themselves beyond limits. But if you keep your routine flexible, much can be achieved in a fun way.

Pledge to change and keep your exercise interesting. Working out is as necessary as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. On this International Yoga Day, make sure people are twisting and turning in your home too. Not at 4 a.m. though; that is torture!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Conversations


Conversations

Long and meaningful
Short and sweet 
Between the said and unsaid
Lie words so deep.


Conversations

Me and you
You and them, them and me
Between the exchanges
Lie changes which you hurt to see.


Conversations

I mince my words
I turn and twist
Between the truth and acceptable 
Lies the being we detest.


Conversations

Some never meant to end
Some you will always regret
Between desired and imposed
Lie memories you can't forget.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In Sync (not)

Thoughts, actions, words - these are all three different things. What we think, what we say and how we react may all be totally out of sync. Why do we not tell people we love them? Why, even though we are kind-hearted, fear to offer a helping hand? What stops us from being who we are?

I have a big mouth. I can talk endlessly and sometimes talk crap. Sometimes people get offended with what I have to say. I don’t make up stories, I just tell them what is in my head. I believe if I don’t speak my mind, I’m not being true to the person. If that makes someone feel bad, it could be their problem. However, the guilt inside me makes me learn and I try not to repeat my mistake.

It is making me less me and more what others want me to be. But I can live with it, not the guilt. Never the guilt.

Speaking your mind also opens up other people. There are some who think more and speak less. But when they are with people like me, they feel they are more free. Sometimes they crack jokes which could be offensive, for you see, speaking your mind is also an art. I’ve learnt to take everything with a pinch of salt. Life becomes fun that way.

Thoughts and actions? – well, I consider myself a very caring person. Bad health makes you extra sensitive to things. It makes you a better and kinder person. These are the perks that we enjoy. If I feel like helping someone, I go out of my way to do that. I’ve also learnt how never to expect anything in return. I shut my brain when it comes to someone doing something for me. As long as I am hale and hearty, I don’t need anyone! After that? -  we will see!

I’ve cooked for people endlessly even without going to their home. I’ve been in hospitals for others even though I know I will never need it (Oh yeah, I’m sick positive!). I’ve bought umpteen gifts for people while I have not received many. I’ve loved and cared without, probably, being loved back..

I want to sync my thoughts, actions and words. I want to be who I am – always. If that makes people uncomfortable, they can find a way out. It doesn’t guarantee I would stop feeling the way I feel for them – ‘cause my feelings are never based on someone’s reaction, they are for me to feel.  We ignore, but we don’t stop feeling, do we? 

Then why do our thoughts, words and actions don’t sync?


P.S. This seems like a perfect example of Sunday musings gone awry!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Suck at Travelling


We all know how to ace at travelling. Just by increasing our country/city count, we can be champions at the game everyone just loves to play. But hey, there are things you do that can take that away from you. Let me tell you a few ways in which you can totally suck at travelling so that no one ever envies you!

* Airline food is usually unappetising. You could carry a thepla with raw mango achaar. The aroma will fill the sky and your fellow travellers will thank you for the delightful journey.

* Talk loudly on the phone after the steward has told you to switch off all electronic devices for your own safety. You could even stand up and take out your paan masala from the overhead compartment at this very crucial and impressionable time.

* Carry a selfie stick with you all the time. And then, post pictures of you and your family on social networking sites. Don’t forget to mention where you are, because with your face covering the entire screen, it is hard to figure out the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background.

* Selfies also make for a memorable album. You would love to see hundreds of close-ups of yourself ten years from now. For comfort, I would advice you to rename the pictures with the place of visit - just to remind you how you looked like when you visited, say, Dal lake.

* Eat all your meals at McDonalds. 

* Get an internet connection and surf the net while watching the sun go down.

* Crib about lack of activities when you come back from a vacation. After all, you don’t always get what you expected.

* Shop lots – you need clothes, bags, shoes to fill your home; not memories to fill your life.

* Ogle at bikini clad babes on the beach. You have a reputation to live up to!

* Have a check-list – from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

* After you come back, for years and years, repeat stories at every given opportunity. Start with – ‘You know when we went to…’. However, talking on your blog about your trip is totally cool and doesn't have the same affect. *wink*

And that my friend will make you the worst traveller ever. It will act like that evil eye charm. The world will silently hate you but you’d be you – a yucky traveller for life!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Confidence that comes with Good Health


I live a protected life because of the myopathy. If it is not my parents, it is my husband and then my friends. They all try to keep me strong and able by giving out a helping hand at all times. So when I go out there to do something independently, I feel very strange and liberating at the same time.

These independent moments come only while I am travelling to my hometown. The Boy usually doesn’t accompany me there because I need my me-time with my fam. Last year, I was travelling from Lucknow to Bahrain via Delhi. My Lucknow-Delhi plane got delayed and we were all panic stricken. If I were to catch my flight from Delhi, I needed to leave Lucknow at the earliest.

So I checked for flights online. The only suitable deal was to fly to the domestic terminal in Delhi and then take the cab to International terminal.

My family was horrified at the aspect of me going from the domestic terminal to the international terminal alone! It takes just about 10 minutes by a taxi, but they were not convinced. I had to use terms like ‘I am an adult, please let me go!’.

This year I had to change my plane again – walk with the luggage from the arrival section of the domestic terminal to the departure area of New Delhi domestic terminal. Now these are like 5 minute apart on foot – you just have to get out of the airport, cross a non-traffic road and you are there.

I informed my parents about this only at the last minute. I had actually called the customer care of the Delhi airport and asked all my questions. And since there was no cab involved, they were fairly ok. Also, I am guessing, this was my second time and they were a tad calm.

Both these times I felt so incredibly fulfilled. It might sound very petty that a 33-year old feels this way – but if you have lead the kind of life I have, you would know.

My cab driver here in Bahrain has become like a friend – so it is not an issue. I go out with him all the time and he also seems sensitive to my needs. I wonder if we had a metro system here how would that be for me…

What I am trying to say is that it is these small things in life that we don’t feel grateful for. You should thank God for your strong limbs every time you can. You should thank him for the confidence that this strength gives you. The fact that you can walk out on the road alone is a blessing in itself.

Not only this, what if we couldn’t see well. How would we cross the road? Our ears give us ability to react to traffic if there is a sudden need. We don’t value what we already have and feel helpless when we wear our bodies out. Slouching, smoking, over-eating, lazying – all these things exhaust our system and we become victim of various diseases.

You would know only if and when you lose your confidence. I pray you never do. But for that, you’ll have to work, and work hard at it. Be grateful, pray for courage and stay strong - there is no bigger blessing than a healthy body – take care of it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Guidelines for Surviving Ramadan in Bahrain

The holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching. Being a non-fasting expat in an Islamic country can leave you confused and scared. I have lived here in Bahrain for seven years now and here are some tips and guidelines that can come in handy:

1. Restaurants are closed in the afternoon. Even home delivery is not available. You need to cook or keep leftovers from last night's take-away. Some of the 5-star properties might provide lunch options. Check The Ritz-Carlton if need be. Also, supermarkets like Lulu, Mega Mart, Al Osra, etc. have pre-cooked meals that you can pick up in the afternoon.

2. Malls and most markets remain shut from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is the time people prepare their meals and break their fast. If you are out shopping, you will have to fill in this gap. Carrefour in City Centre mall is the only place I know of that is open.

3. Speaking of shopping, you can't eat/drink water while you are at it. In the past, we've sneaked in trial rooms and rest rooms to grab a bite hidden in our purse! The rule is - as long as you are not in the public view it is okay (actually the rule is no eating/drinking in public. But!).

4. The restaurants are full between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Even roads are crowded just before evening prayers. There are some ruthless drivers there as well and understandably so! So, if you are not fasting, stay away and let the needy reach home soon!

5. Thursday and Friday nights at the mall are crazy. It seems all Muslims hang out there to pass their time. In the scorching June/July heat, it is the only place of respite. Do your shopping in the afternoon.

6. If you need your hard drinks during this month, you will have to stock them up at home. That is the only place you can drink. Only exception to this are a few clubs like Country Club in Budaiya and The Royal Golf Club in Riffa. It would be best to check with them before going though.

7. It is actually a great month. Offices are a little relaxed and you can expect late starting and early closing times. Most offices don't allow lunching in the premises. You are lucky if you have a cafeteria (without the canteen working ofcourse) where you are allowed to eat and drink.

8. Iftar meals and Ghabgas are a lot of fun too. You should attend atleast one during this time. Most offices arrange one.

9. Some amazing prizes and lucky draws take place during this time. Take your chances!

10. It ends with Eid  Al-Fitr which means three public holidays. People take this opportunity to travel during this time. I have just seen one Eid while I have been in Bahrain.

Mostly, it is just about being sensitive and following certain rules. As expats, we look forward to this month because office starts at 9 instead of 7:30 in the morning, and the month ends with Eid holidays. So, well, it is a win-win for everyone!