Sunday, May 15, 2022

It's not the Travel Bug

 

They tell me they miss their bed

After a few days of travel, home is where they want to head

They find comfort only within their own four walls

They want their dal chawal and no spaghetti with meatballs!

Hotels and B & B’s are only good for a few days

They find their house the best resting place.

 

Why is that not the case with me

With you I can travel wild and carefree

Days, weeks, and months can pass by

Yet I don’t miss an iota of familiar sky

I realize, that with you I can forever roam

Because, with you darling, I am home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Adulting is hard

 Adulting is hard, and I am not doing even a miniscule of what others do! I mean where are the days of sleeping at any time, eating just about anything, and feeling no burden of what old age holds? When you are getting closer to 40, your brain gets to eat more junk than your stomach.

Just last night I ate two squares of dark chocolate after dinner and it messed up my sleep. For one, I would have loved to eat a whole bar of Mars. But I compromise, people! I had the good for health and the blood pressure dark chocolate without realizing it is high in caffeine which is an antidote for my beauty sleep after 4 pm. Yes, that’s how amazing my adult system has become. And that is just the beginning of my complaints!

I began drinking alcohol pretty late in life. I had a few glasses here and there, but my career really began after I got married at 26. Come 38, it stopped abruptly due to palpitations post a few shots of the good old tequila/gin tonic. I mean, who has even heard of that? With that my uncontrollable laughter and incessant singing and dancing halted as well. I try to act drunk, but let’s face it, I am so bad at faking that I can’t even complete a happy birthday tune without getting bored and judging my shrill voice.

Don’t get me started on the sky-rocketing stress levels. When I was in 10th standard, I had my math preliminary exam. I was awful at everything that involved a,b,cd,x,y san, cos and theta. My cousin sister woke up at 4 am on the day of my exam to help me learn and I got through with just enough mrks to save her face. That was the exact amount of stress level that I was capable of handling and I thought existed in this world.

However, counting backwards to fall asleep while waiting for my whole exome sequencing results is not what I signed up for! I knew it was hard to wake up and that’s what alarm clocks and talking to your pillow to wake you up was made for, but sleep meditation for getting you into slumber, ah, no one taught me that.

I can’t imagine what my fragile friends with multiple kids and high-power jobs go through. They can’t even poop without consciously adding 30 gm of fibre to their meals!

We were taught how to save money. Your grumpy aunt gives you a thousand bucks, you buy a few candies and save the rest. By the time I was 18, my blue purse with a panda family on the cover had ten thousand rupees which can easily translate to one lakh of today. We were never told that if that money stays in that purse, it rots and loses its sheen. When I see 16-year olds talking about crypto and Tesla stock now, I laugh at them. But they are smarter than us for sure because their money will increase with rising inflation.

Although they are adulting faster than us too. Someone please tell them to slow down because their future, like ours, is all about falling interest rates, bulls and bears, tums and ibuprofens, and counting your chocolates before you count numbers to fall asleep.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Realisations at 39

 I have only recently realised quite a few things. Maybe because I am growing older, I have started thinking straight, or because I have started looking inwards more. Whatever it is, the realisations are not fun.

Firstly, I have become boring. I used to love to gossip. It was a major bonding factor with so many friends. Juicy info about people use to make my eyes shine bright and I use to beam with excitement. However, after many, many hiccups, gossip is not fun anymore. Even if you hear a story about someone, you cannot share it with many people because of the consequences it can bring to your social life. And what fun is gossip if you have to keep it a secret?

Secondly, I have started to think about my future more. I was never a person who focused on memories. And I was always a planner thinking ahead. But this planning was for a couple of years at max. It involved where our next vacation is going to be and how we are going to celebrate the next new year. Now, however, I think about old age and where life is leading us. I blame mid-life for this, and it totally sucks.

Thirdly, I now ask myself the forever eternal question - what am I doing with my life! Asking this question is like falling into a deep abyss to a point of no return. I have dedicated my life to my health, and it seems I was not able to do anything about it. I was meant to be the way I am, and it would have been better if I used my life in some other way. It's never too late to restart, right? Right.

I have always been the jealous type. I still am. But now, I have started feeling happy for people more than I feel jealous of them!!!!! Yeah, I told you, I have become boring.

We moved to the suburban part of Bahrain in 2020. We were bored to death and wanted an adventure. Little did we realise that we are completely changing our life. We eat at different places now. We hang out with different people – mostly people with kids who have chosen this suburban life for their families. We discuss their children’s problems and realise how lucky we are to be child-free and hence, stress-free! The move has also made me realise how lonely this world is and how easy it is to make friends because everyone is looking to meet new people – you just have to open up a bit and welcome them into your world with open arms.

Lastly, I have realised I will never take my vacations for granted. It was a blessing to travel every 2-3 months and now that I am stuck in the same city since months, I realise how important they were to me. I hate to cook and do laundry these days – the only responsibility I have!! It was because I use to take breaks, I was able to happily do housework. Without a break I am a housewife who does not do any housework. I just cannot go on living that monotonous life day in and day out.

Post lastly, I want to write more often. This is not a realisation but a vow. With so many people around me turning 40, I have an equal number of souls striving to achieve something in life. Some are struggling and some are already there. One common thing between all of them is that they work hard at life. I do too. I just need to shift my focus.

Oh yeah, that is a wonderful realisation.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

A Friend in Need

 

Why do I come here whenever I am a little lost? Why this need to write it all down and want the world to read it? No wonder we have so many people who are sad in life and are writers! But hey, at least they write fiction.

I can also write fiction. So, I met a girl last evening. She seemed all sorted and happy and having the time of her life. We got into talking and one thing led to the other and she told me she was suffering. She had chronic pain which kept her awake at night. She wouldn’t cry but when she would see sunlight she would feel miserable and question why was this happening to her. Day would pass, pain would become a memory because of the pills she was taking, and gradually she would think of all the good things in her life and feel grateful. That is when she met people like me when she seemed her happiest self.

And then the pain would come back. She tells me it could be worse. She has read forums where people end up in hospitals due to pain. She says at least she doesn’t have a mental illness, at least she can meditate and de-stress herself. I just nod along because I don’t know what to tell her. She is completely sorted, just like I told you she was. There is no advice to give, no consolation. She starts to talk about the weather, and I know she wants to end this discussion. We move on to trivial things in life and just like that she starts laughing and making jokes.

We live in a funny world. Our parents told us not to share our misery. Our friends, media and education tell us to open up. As much as I would like to discuss my problems, it’s not easy. I would feel judged. And I wouldn’t want to get use to it. Imagine if this girl was telling her ‘sob story’ to every person she met. Imagine if this is all she could talk about because it consumed her entire day and she really didn’t have much else to discuss, would you want to meet her frequently? Now if she hid her scars and be her funny self, you would call her a positive, bubbly girl who brings you joy. Of course she would hesitate to tell you about her pain and have the title taken away from her!

So, what’s the middle ground? Should we all see therapists to discuss our woes? Or maybe we should have one best friend who knows it all and gives us consolation. We be transparent with that one person and a different individual with the rest of the world. What if that one person gets bored, moves away, or has reasons not to listen to us? Then we find another. Or better still, write a journal/blog because it is cathartic.

May we all find that one outlet that gives us a deep sense of happiness. May we have a friend, can tell a tale, paint a story, or sing a tune to escape our misfortune. And may we always, always keep our happy crown in place because fake or real, a smile does resolve our sorrow.

Ah, who knew a fictitious girl can teach you so much in just one little interaction!

Monday, January 3, 2022

The first win of 2022

 

I spend a lot of money on health care. And going by my current status, I will be spending most of my savings on it. So, when I receive some insurance money, it just makes me feel overjoyed!

This incidence happened with the receptionist at my physiotherapy centre. Under my current insurance plan, I am supposed to get atleast ten physiotherapy sessions. Given that I take more than fifty sessions a year, I try everything to get that money. It seems that insurance companies have recently made the process harder since, I believe, covid must have increased the number of claims.

Anyway, so this receptionist, lets call her M, was to give me the details of all my last sessions so that I can claim them. She also had to give me a filled-out form. I went to her three times but she kept delaying the process. It was December, she had some end of the year work and possibly an upcoming vacation. She kept saying that she needs me to get a doctor’s reference for the form without which I will not get any money. I kept insisting her to give me whatever she can give me from her side and I will see what I can do next.

The third time that I went to her, I found her attitude extremely rude. I was requesting and she was giving me excuses. I came home and wrote a gentle email to the centre requesting them for the same.

I received my documents the next day, without the filled-out form for which M demanded a ‘reference’. I anyway submitted whatever I had to the insurance company. Oh, by the way, I have been going to this centre since last four years without any reference!

As expected, the insurance company rejected my claim but they did send me an email citing their reasons. I reverted to them after which they asked for the ‘doctor’s reference’!!

I wrote another gentle email. I told them I do not visit doctors on a regular basis (which saves them money!). I told them I have been receiving physiotherapy ever since I remember, and I have been claiming ten sessions every year. I attached ‘doctor’s reference’ from 20 years ago.

It has been twenty days since that email and today 142 Bahraini dinar (INR 28000) was credited to my account.

I am proud to say that I was very polite during all my interactions. The only time I got angry was when M spoke rudely to me. It was her job to give me what I needed and she was being a pain. However, I was very cordial with her (more so because I have to see her face twice a week!). Maybe she did get a mouthful from her boss after my email, but that is their problem.

This amount of money is miniscule of what I spend. But it is about principles, kindness, ethics and doing the right thing. I am glad I won this small battle!

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Taking Inspiration from the World

 

There are times in my fitness journey that I have to look outside for motivation. For this I follow several people on Instagram and read about them. It inspires me every day and it makes my problems feel minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

So I have this tiny crush on a woman (let’s call her Zee) whom I follow on Instagram. Nothing attracts me more than a person graciously exercising every day and motivating people through example. This lady is pretty, she is 47, and has abs that can give Katrina Kaif’s Kaala chashma look a run for its money. Just the type of abs I like in a woman! I am straight, just FYI!

A couple of days back Zee wrote her story. It started 6 years back when she found out her husband was cheating on her for a long time. She filed for divorce, fought for her rights and the custody of her kids, and at the same time had to deal with rumours which said that it was her who had an extra marital affair.

If you see the kind of career and body she has made in the last six years, you will be super impressed. Whether it was revenge or necessity, we will never know. But the lady is an inspiration.

The other woman, lets call her Es, is 43. Yes, yes, when you are reaching your forties, you tend to look for people in forties for inspiration! I also think that when you are nearing forties you tend to do more of inspiring stuff – midlife crisis or whatever! Anyway, Es looks like she has got it all together. She works 24/7 as a diet consultant, goes to the gym where she makes videos for her followers, walks a minimum of 10,000 steps and takes care of a household. In the last 4 years she has lost 45 kgs and is now on her way to make killer abs.

Es has battled depression, miscarriages, and a traumatic experience where her best friend morphed her photos and circulated on social media because of some misunderstanding! Even during the toughest phase she managed to talk to and inspire her clients in their journey of weight loss. Here I don’t even feel like talking to my friends if I have period cramps!

So what I am trying to say is this – the fact that everyone is fighting a battle is true. But during this time if we manage to take care of our body, we can emerge out of every problem triumphantly. When you see your before after pictures, when you feel those happy hormones in your body after a gym session, when you look at yourself in the mirror and see how far you have come – your problems take a back seat.

Like I told a friend a few days back – food is the only thing we have control over. Start your fitness journey and see yourself transform into something extraordinary.

Meanwhile, I am trying. I am slow, but I am progressing. It will be years before I can show you my before after pictures, but it will happen. And trust me when I say, this journey is absolutely wonderful!

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Memories from the Germany-Hungary trip

 

When you visit a new place, every single day is an experience. Sometimes there are challenges which make you learn and grow. Isn’t that what travel all about? Apart from the immense joy it brings to your life, of course!

So this year when we went to Germany and Hungary, the Boy and I had our share of interesting experiences which I thought I’d share here.

Transport offense

Our hotel in Frankfurt gave us a complimentary pass for the local transport for the length of our stay which was 4 nights. It had my name spelt wrong so I had to change it when I noticed the mistake the next day. On day 3, we were on a local tram when the inspectors came to check the tickets. We took ours out and as I was holding and waiting for the inspectors, I noticed that the receptionist had given me a 2-day pass by mistake and it was now expired! The inspector came to our seat and just as I was about to show him my ticket, he walked behind us where a drunk man was sitting and spitting all over the place. We had actually noticed him before and therefore decided to change our seats and sit away from him. Anyway, the inspector and his colleague dragged him out and made him get off at the next stop. We too got off without them checking our tickets!

It was a narrow escape. Even though the fine was 60 euro, I had major palpitations because I am the types who follows the rules to the T. Lesson learnt – drunk people are super cool.

License blunder

While we were in Baden-Baden, we went to pick up our pre-booked car. We had plans to drive around the Black Forest for 3 days. We had done the area before in public transport and so this time we wanted to do something different. It was quite exciting because the prospect of stopping anywhere, going to random places without planning, and just exploring at our own pace was fun in itself.

When we went to Sixt to pick up our vehicle, the manager asked the Boy for his international driver’s licence, his passport and his licence from the country of residence. Now when we travel, we tend to empty our wallets and keep only the necessary cards and cash. The Boy had left his national licence in Bahrain because it was not required. The manager refused to give us a car without it.

Frustrated that all our plans will need to change now, we tried to contact the other car rental agencies. Avis readily agreed to give us a car with our documents in hand and we had a Volkswagon in less than half an hour!

Lesson learnt – keep only the important things with you when you travel. Oh, we know this from before!

Health struggles

I always plan my trips very diligently because I don't want any health struggles. I have difficulty climbing steps and walking uphill and so before going to a place of interest, I see how the location is wheelchair friendly because if it is good for a disabled, it should be ok for me.

This trip was planned at the last moment due to forever changing covid numbers. I was not able to plan every single thing. When we were in Budapest, we decided to go to a cute near-by village called Szentendre. This town was one hour by train. When we reached the train station I saw that the step into the trains was very high. Usually the Boy lifts me up in such situations. But I have a thing with trains. Since they stop only for a minute or two, I panic in case of a difficulty. That is exactly what happened. I could not climb, it was a huge step, the Boy tried to help me but his usual style wasn't working, and the train's door was about to shut and leave the station!

It was the scariest moment ever. But my Knight in shining Armour lifted me with all his might and I was in the train. It took me a while to get over this and while returning I was just glad that Szentendre was the first station for the train and I had ten minutes to get into it!

Why o Why do they make steps like that! We need a more inclusive society and this is one reason I dread going back to India. There I can't do anything alone!

Leap of faith

I love being in nature. The idea of being in a dense forest with the smell of nothing but trees and wet sand is my most favourite thing in the world. But unfortunately, most of this involves hiking which I cannot do. When we were in Baden-Baden, we took a cable car to the top of a hill. This place had mesmerizing views and a dense forest along the way. It was approximately 4 kilometres from the base which didn't seem like a difficult task going downhill.

I entered a part of the trek on the top and was amazed by how serene it was. Emotions took over me and I started walking downhill convincing the Boy that I will manage the whole way. After one kilometer I realised what a mistake this was. Although I was loving every breath I took, each step felt like an enormous task. With several breaks we managed to reach the base but by then it had started raining and I was drained! I lost balance and fell down, without getting hurt, thankfully. We didn't have a car on this day and the bus was about half an hour away. With no bench in sight, we decided to call a cab.

The next day was super scary! When I walked out of the hotel for breakfast, the floor was moving. My nervous system had completely gone bonkers from the experience! I prayed for this to pass which it did in two days.

Will I do the downhill trek again! Oh, yes, but probably towards the end of the trip so that I can have my bed rest for two days!

Sweetest gestures

When we called the cab after my experience mentioned above, it was raining heavily. On arrival to the hotel, the cab driver told me to wait in the car. He ran to take out an umbrella from the boot and escorted me to the hotel door! I cannot forget his sweet face ever! 

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Ah, sweet memories, I want to go back already!