Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Year in Passing

I turned a year older on the 9th of this month. A milestone year in many ways and a nice reminder that crests and troughs do make our life what it is. I have not had a more peaceful birthday although i am not big on occasions. in the past I have agonised over many things big and small as my birthday approaches. Depending on where I am in my head or what my life comprises of at that time, I have obsessed over (in various degrees of intensity) - my career or the lack of it, ambitions that lay dormant, what other people were doing with their lives and why i wasn't having any of their successes, my hair which is rapidly greying, my weight, the lack of good clothes, why I dont look like someone else, why my house does'nt look like someone else's, the opportunities to travel, various stuff related to family, and this is just a bunch of them.

I visited a friend last evening and I said something very significant to her. I said that much as I love my friends and want to be there for them, help them through a tough time, I am increasingly growing more protective of what I have in life. if someone is very negative about their own life, their negative energy reflects off them and onto the others around them. At some point, it tells on me. I am on such a high these days that I do not want that to be punctured by anyone... and i consciously am making that decision to stay that way. 

I've had such a  full year. The last one year has meant more to me than every other one put together. I am no longer trying to apologise for who i am or am not. I am where i am supposed to be, and any kind of peer / familial pressure to be otherwise is only robbing me of the fulfillment of being in the moment.

i look at friends with trouble in their marriages - serious troubles... and I am thankful for the strong foundations on which mine is built. I am grateful that i found a man i can trust with my life, someone who I've spent 14 years with and am still not fed up! We may not be the most romantic couple, who buys each other expensive gifts, plans surprises or holidays frequently, but what we have is good and i wont trade it for anything. I see friends around me battling to stay together and I am grateful more than ever for a rock solid union. not that anyone plans to have a marriage. but when things are disintegrating, it makes me sad. I believe no one should stay in an unhappy relationship, so I empathise, doesn't take away the sadness tho.

i've put my health and fitness in absolute first priority for the first time. I think it needed to make this journey. I discovered food through foodblogging. became aware of food and nutrition and that's made our lifestyle choices easier to make. I am still not a food nazi and enjoy stuffing my face with a 1500 calorie pizza once in a while. after years of excuses and living on the couch with half hearted attempts at yoga or skipping, I am finally waking up every single day to battle with my sports bra (has to be a better way to begin the day) and getting my ass to the gym. This one hour in the gym is giving me more than the rest of the 23. I feel endorphinised - i know that's not a word, but it means something to me. I see friends in my age group with ailments. spondylosis, lifestyle issues, body aches and pains, frozen shoulders, digestive problems, ailments and surgeries due to bad eating / constant/ eating out, lack of fitness,stress, adult acne, fertility issues... these are the catch words in our lives. the list is endless. And honestly I am scared for myself. I've had a slip disc and worn a neck collar to help my bad neck / arm in the past. I dont want to find myself in a hospital or undergoing treatment for stuff that isnt caused by an accident. If it is a lifestyle issue, i promised myself i would do my best to avoid it. Thats something i owe myself. To be disease free till i can manage. I look at my almost 74 year old mother and learn lessons from her daily. 

I am finally not apologising for what i do / do not do. I spent years envying other people their careers and thinking i was wasting my education, qualifications and experience. I've moved on from being apologetic and am focussed on practicing my skill with my rules. I've taken on work that interests me and I'm so focussed on doing my best that its paying off with clients. 

Foodblogging has added more value to me than i have to it. Who would have thought that a two byte blog would come to mean so much? Its chronicling my life in a lot of ways. Its given me writing assignments, classes teaching baking and chocolate making, i've met people i have so much in common with, made friends and broken myths. Its given me an identity and made me proud of something that i enjoy - cooking... removed it from the behenji list... whats so bad about that i would never know!

As i sat around the dinner table, sipping on my drink, I had amma on my right, K to my left and B and J in front of me. My life, surrounding me at a dinner table... I wish they would allow sage to sit by my side too....

i count my blessings each night... I stay focussed this year on being happy and enjoying the moments that life brings, even if it is mundane and routine... i am thankful for being loved, safe, healthy and precious.

Friday, July 6, 2012

the other part of town

I took amma to the other part of town today formerly known as that part of town where i grew up, went to school and got married not exactly in that order. Amma gets her pension in a bank near our old house... we had to go there for some paperwork. then to the post office because the last time there was a discrepancy in the account balance. This was over a year ago and so I managed to go and get it fixed.

what struck me today... how far removed from that life I now am. Walk into a nationalised bank and there are oceans of people. young, old and relatively poor. they stand in lines, they look forlorn and desperate, they are spoken to rudely and need someone else to fill in their forms. the bank officers treat them like flies, they bark at them and do so much of redundant paper work its not funny. We needed a bank account statement for 4 years for amma. I was sent to 4 different counters before I was pointed to the right place. I realise that my jeans and kurti and relatively young and educated persona got my work done in a fraction of the time it would have otherwise taken. the guy who was printing the statement took 45 minutes to do it. not becuase he didnt want to, but i realised (as i was standing by his side) that he had no clue how to operate the banking software! he kept feeding in the wrong details and making mistakes because he was choosing the wrong options. such is the state of the computer literacy of our banking officials. Having only dealt with citibank before, where things get done in a single window system this was so irritating. If you need to submit an application or get a statement or any other non money transactional work done, you just queue up to a single person who will take care of everything. So the number of papers, vouchers, bank account books and signatures required today boggled me. Ditto at the post office. The lady at the counter asked me to fill in some forms, i couldnt make head or tail of the archaic language that was printed on it.... plus she kept mumbling instructions and i had to ask about 4 times till i was clear.

we had lunch at a friend's place and then came home. Picking up biryani for K on the way. The roads, the people, the shops .... nothing has changed. What has changed is that i have moved... to a newer cleaner more orderly part of town. Ofcourse we pay 45 bucks for a kilo of rice when my friend served me superfine sona masoori rice he gets for Rs. 28! so we do pay a lot of invisible taxes!

I love the feel of the old hyderabad that i grew up in for sure.... am not so certain i could go back and live there tho....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Things no one tells a freelancer

I've spent the last two hours processing papers. bills, invoices, cheques, writing letters, printing stuff, scanning documents, etc. No one tells you life as a freelancer will be full of 'being your own office boy'

I have no complaints tho. just to clarify incase you think i am ungrateful. I just find this tedious and scary. Scary because i have possibly the world's worst case of "lets lose these important documents". In the past I have lost my class X certificate and voting id which was about the only accepted Id in India a few years ago. Infact, K keeps stuff like my passport etc under lock and key that only he has access to. and when we travel, he's always in charge of travel documents! works for me ~ less headache.

anyways, so life as a freelancer means keeping track of all your assignments, being incharge of your work calendar, tracking payments and the related paperwork, remembering which client wanted what kind of paperwork etc etc. also it means a decent online and HD filing system that allows you to store documents, material and access them when needed. I must admit I am shit at this filing and storing too. I keep far too much junk as it is. I need to get my head around this, but I am building what seems to be a decent system where i am filing documents clientwise. 

on a side note, i cant tell you how kicked i am that i actually have to start filing stuff client wise so that i dont mess up and can track everything. This is a good thing yes? it means i have more than a couple of clients and that work is decent!

between the writing and the training, i think i am doing well enough for now... this year is going to be a good year... am going to get that hot body pretty soon... and will earn enough money to go see my bestie in the US... I'm loving this 2012.... 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Dates, i can hardly tell, now even days i am unable to tell without looking at the phone calendar. What is wrong with me? this morning i mentioned to my friend D that it felt like friday... she said... no... its the perfectly midweek kind of day! i have to agree, i was so cranky when i woke up this morning.... rudely pawed by the Dawg and barked at when i took a few minutes to get out of bed!

after yesterday's break, i was back in the gym, finished my workout with some slight routine changes to ensure i didn't go catch something else! i loved the sweating and the routine... what started as a grumpy morning for god only knows what reason, transformed into a lovely day in the company of two of my girlfriends at the gym. The morning was so gorgeous... cool breeze blowing and the sky changing colours ever so gently. the peacocks in the nearby botanical gardens making that squawking kind of noise...

I got home, drank a mug of milk (puke!) then downed some much needed coffee! felt like a human being after that. I cant believe i have almost given up my morning coffee. I wouldn't be human before I had caffeine in my bloodstream. now all I can think of is to walk the dog, eat my fruit snack, drink water and rush off to the gym.

There's stuff to be done however... no basking in the balcony enjoying the morning sunshine and reading the papers.... cooking to be supervised, dog to be fed and then bathed and some random phone calls to attend before i can wolf down some idlis with some tomato chutney.

That done, i have to go buy some sofa upholstery material. I got this expensive sofa from a premium store in hyderabad. they charged me a bomb telling me it will be made of teak, turns out they are bastard cheaters and the whole effing thing is made of plywood. to add insult to injury, the cushion has gotten all squashed up in less than 6 months. I am so mad, but there is little i can do about it. So i did the next best thing, called my upholstery guy and asked him to repair the piece of shit.

So midweek has been a day of taking stock of my stuff..... I need to spring clean again. there are giant mounds of paper in each drawer i opened today. how was your week so far?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I skipped the gym today to rest my hip sprain. Am well but for a little soreness. I did miss the gym and my routine, will go back tomorrow. My instructor has said he will change my routine to ensure my back is not under strain. I told you i found the right place.

As I walked Sage this evening, I met a friend / neighbour.... she mentioned that I'd lost some weight. She didnt know (yet) that i was gymming! She said, my cheeks have gone down! oh sweet words!

I finally finished the june photo challenge. I'm posting both on the picture blog and facebook. so check it out. i laboured over it... though i did take pictures on the designated day, i didnt post them and that took a large part of 3 hours today... such a pain! I started the one for july. I plan to do it in instagram this time. so that i can post directly from the phone.

Amma lost a friend today. She was 10 years younger than her, first her student and then became a colleague. They were part of a large retired friends group and they would meet each time Amma was in town for lunch. I drove her to the house to pay our condolences. K and I know her son and his cousin is married to K's closest friend... so 6 degrees of seperation... I felt very sad.... for a life that was taken so suddenly. brings back sad memories and tells you how fickle life is....

Monday, July 2, 2012


The weather these days is so good, even the afternoons feel great...

this morning, i went off to the gym as usual...finished my routine, and just as i was completing the last set, my body veered off-centre and i had a muscle pull in my hip... i had a sharp pain shooting through my left side and my first thought was i hope i havent effed my prolapsed disc... 

i was made to lie down on a rubber mattress with an exercise ball under my legs. I lay there feeling bad for my friends who were so worried around me and the gym instructor, who i think had his BP shoot up a bit. I assured them i was fine... after about 5 minutes, i forced myself to get up, finished some hand and upper body stretches and drove back home.

Was in a lot of pain. My cook, Renuka is an excellent masseur. She can get a neck sprain out of your system in 5 minutes. So she massaged my back/ hip and i took a hot shower, felt a lot of relief. Rested almost the entire day in bed, without a pillow. its almost 9.40 p.m now, and but for a little soreness, the sprain / pull/ catch whatever it was is gone. I think I will skip the gym tomorrow just to play safe....

Sage somehow knows that I am not 100% ok. He has eaten his meals without bothering me too much and didnt even pull on the leash when i walked him this evening. 

is it just me, or do sunday's leftovers taste better when eaten for lunch on monday? how was your start of the week?