Archive for November, 2015

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Sunday evening

November 22, 2015

Was a fun one. S is away, and I had a bit of shopping to do for A, so the two of us headed out. It threatened to rain, but I crossed my fingers, carried an umbrella, and no diaper bag since we weren’t going too far (a first, I think!) and headed out. Once we were done shopping (new shoes for her!), the weather still seemed fine, so I decided to go to the cafe at Rangashankara. I love the place, and figured, A would have ample space to run about if she wanted to. As it turned out, she didn’t run around much, but was quite keen on greeting people there and imitating some especially loud laughter (so embarrassing). Overall, it was a nice evening, and something I think I should do more often 🙂

Here she is chilling like a villain in her new shoes. 

  

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Injury Prevention for Runners

November 21, 2015

A couple of weeks back, a colleague messaged on the office runners’ Whatsapp group (yes, there is a Whatsapp group for everything) about this injury prevention workshop for runners, conducted by a fairly popular physiotherapist and marathon-runner. I was eager to check it out. It looked interesting. Dr. Gladson Johnson, is a barefoot runner, and as S told me, also happened to be in a kickboxing class that he used to attend. I saw the price for a 6-hour workshop was Rs 2100 and balked, at first. And then figured, it might just be worth it. And what an eye-opener it was! I’d highly recommend his workshop in a heartbeat. Here are my primary takeaways – 

  1. Running is not exercise. I’ve always treated it that way. As long as you’re doing some sort of sport or keep moving, that is exercise, right? Wrong. Apparently, exercise helps your build strength, endurance and flexibility. On the other hand, sports like running, swimming and cycling draw from your flexibility, strength and endurance, and to a very minor extent, help you improve the latter. So to be able to run well, you gotta exercise. 
  2. Your shoelaces ain’t tight enough. Unless you loosen your lace all the way to the top and then tighten each portion to the end and then lace it up. He said you’ve to do it this way every single time, so that you can secure your feet and reduce the movement of your foot inside the shoe. And your feet do swell up in the course of a run – so at some point in the run, you might need to take them off and re-do the laces again. 
  3. Arm Swing! He said one of the two basic techniques to follow while running is to ensure you swing your arms. If you see how children run, and if you think back to the times you’ve sprinted, the arms start swinging naturally. The swinging arms help your upper body to pull your lower body off the ground,  he said. 
  4. Breathing. The other technique to keep in mind – never breathe through your mouth. This leads to a parched throat, and your brain is tricked into thinking the body is dehydrated. Besides, nasal breathing helps you take slower, longer breaths, which is always better, he said.

The workshop was fantastic, with him walking us through some conditioning exercises as well. Truly felt enlightened at the end of it.

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Travel tales

November 20, 2015

While certain places that you visit will always stay with you because of how picturesque they were, some other trips are made memorable by the people you encounter or things that happen to you. That’s a no brainer I guess. This morning I was trying to recollect some such encounters – 

Munnar, 2004, I think. First trip with colleagues on my first job. Dropped my wallet somewhere and didn’t know where. On my return to Bangalore (after I had blocked my card), I got a call saying someone found my wallet and they would courier it. And they did. Minus the money, but hey, at least I got my DL back!

Bangkok – 2007? With Sayesha, Viv and Pizzadude. I recall at one point we’d all but spent the currency we had among us (Chatuchak market, I bet!) At one point, I said, in desperation, oh well, if nothing, I have this Milo packet on me for an emergency. Then, there was also this case of lost train ticket and a fine for that!

A trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2008. We were on our way to see the Cu Chi tunnels without much money on us, or knowledge of how to get there. We couldn’t afford a private vehicle I think, so we relied on the local buses. Communication was a huge issue. Luckily for us, we found a friendly young girl who spoke some English and helped us get to our destination. She even decided to accompany us to the tunnels and be our guide of sorts! Also, thanks to all this local bus business, we were late for our bus to Cambodia, and so, we had to take someone else’s help on our way back to request the other driver to wait for us. 

Phuket. 2010. This lovely little restaurant where the owner had covered the walls with CD covers from his favourite bands. Turns out he was a Clapton fan too. Naturally, I asked him if he made it to his concert at Singapore in 2007,  but he said nope. I hope he’s managed to see him live since 🙂 I also remember we bought a ‘mixtape’ CD that he had made. 

Milan. 2012. This nice AirBnB apartment that we found close to our venue for the Mark Knopfler concert on the outskirts. The owner of the apartment was clearly house-proud, well-travelled and had some lovely curios from around the world. And he said he’d heard of the company I work with – what are the odds?! There was a huge world map covering one of the walls in our bedroom and pinned places he’s visited. S is hoping to borrow the idea and do the same in our home, some day!

Venice. The same trip. Crowded bus from Venice to Mestre. A man, beside me, clearly trying to pick someone’s pocket in front of me. I sort of blocked the guy, and then the owner of the said pocket got off. The pick-pocket-fellow got really mad at me, swore and got off the bus. Still mad, he came and banged the window next to the seat where I just settled down now. Ugh. I was quite taken aback and shaken. 

Amritsar, 2015 with friends and A. Again, an AirBnB apartment. Lovely family, great hospitality, and endless supply of chai and great food. 

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but maybe they’ll be part two! What are some moments that stand out from your travels?

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Excuses and an excuse of a post

November 20, 2015

Plans. You can make ’em all you want.

You are thrilled at getting an idea for your post for the day way before 11.30 pm. And you’ve started to draft it in your head, and figure this would be a longer-than-usual post. Then you get home, and decide to make an impromptu plan to go out for dinner to a restaurant nearby – since hey, that sort of thing doesn’t happen too often with since you became a parent. And then you have a fun dinner. Of course at no point do the three of you sit at the table and eat at the same time, cos one tiny person is busy exploring the restaurant and greeting every single person in there. And saying hello to her own reflection. So you mentally tell yourself about checking if a place has a high-chair beforehand, from the next time. And you head home and nurse the tiny person to sleep, and somehow, just somehow, you manage to stay awake. It’s only 9.45 pm. And then once she’s asleep, you start off typing that post that you’ve been planning. And for some reason, she wakes up again, so you nurse her again, and hope that she goes back to sleep quickly. In the process of course, you fall asleep. And then the nice person that you married proceeds to change her, and seeing that both of you are asleep, proceeds to switch off the lights.

And when you wake up next and are able to form coherent thoughts in your head, you realise –

  1. *GASP* it’s 7.45am.
  2. *GROANNNN* You didn’t finish that post from last night.

So yeah, plans.

Life: 1, Plans: 0.

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10,000 hours, that Ira Glass quote and a Zenpencils version

November 18, 2015

This piece by Zencomics, based on the below quote by an American radio show host/ producer, Ira Glass –

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Now this piece really resonates with me. Once upon a (silly) time, I used to dream of writing a book. Soon, I realised I’d never be able to write as well as some of the authors that I love. (Hi, PGW, Bill Bryson et al) So I gave up on that. Similarly, for a year, I learnt how to play the guitar. And then I realised after a lot of attempts to keep at it, and practice in my spare time, that I probably don’t have enough passion to actually put in the hours and keep at it.

Then came photography. It is still something I enjoy, but again, I lost that absolute enthusiasm for it after a while. Every once in a while, it resurfaces.

My current passion is sketching. Yoga also falls in that category. So does running, but pretty much in that order. But honestly speaking, of the three, the first one is something I could get really good at. I have this seemingly unrealistic dream of becoming good enough to become an illustrator some day.

Given the 10,000 hour rule, even if I sketch everyday for 30 minutes for the rest of my life, I will need another 54 years to reach 10,000 hours (assuming I’m starting from zero now). Gulp. I may not even be around by then. And then, I figured, if I want to do this by the time I’m 50, I’d need to put in at least 2 hours a day. Hmm.

On the flip side, it would be so cool to embark on a new career when you’re 50 🙂

So maybe I should get a framed poster of this comic and keep reminding myself that it’s okay if I hate my work on most days – I’m at least putting in the work.

[Edited to add: Okay, after a day’s thought, I realise I probably put the bit about becoming an illustrator in the heat of the moment, after being enthused from the quote. At this point it seems unrealistic, but hey it will be awesome if I can make it happen. If not, more importantly, I hope I can become the best illustrator that I can be!]

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The voices in my head (part 2)

November 17, 2015

Often, at the beginning if my yoga class, we are encouraged to sit still and meditate. Focus on our breathing. On emptying our minds of thoughts. And I try. This is how it usually goes –

‘Okay, focus. Empty mind.’

Deeeep breath.  

‘I wonder what A is doing. ‘

‘I hope I get time to do A, B and C this weekend. ‘

‘Shhhh. Focus. Stop thinking. ‘

‘On my way back I should stop at Fresh and More and get X and Y. ‘

Deeeep breath. 

‘What shall I bake this weekend?’

‘Oh God, I really suck at this clearing my head of thoughts business. ‘

‘One more time, let’s try this. ‘

Deep breath. 

‘Maybe I’ll blog about this!’

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Child is the father of man

November 16, 2015

While I was making lunch this morning, A was having breakfast on her high chair. Rice sevai. I also added a spoon of thick curd to her tray. Now A loves curd/yoghurt. Really, really, really loves curd. And for the past 3-4 days I hadn’t given her any cos there wasn’t any at home and I didn’t buy any because the weather has been chilly and rainy. So she was naturally delighted to eat some. As I went back to my business, she piped up.

‘Mummy, thatoo.’ (Mummy, thank you)

Me: Awww. You’re welcome, baby.

Eats some more. And then,

‘Mummy, thatoo.’

Warmed my heart and made me hope I’ll always be as acknowledging when someone does something I appreciate, no matter how simple or easy it was for them.

In a lot ways, bringing up A is making me watch and evaluate the things I do and say. I should watch out even more closely now, because, with every single day I’m more and more aware of what a sponge she is, constantly watching and filing things away for later reference. And it’s amazing, the things you learn from your own offspring. Child is the father of man, indeed.