Bucketlist for my big toe once it heals

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Things am going to do once my toe heals

  1. Wriggle them
  2. Run 10 km. Fuck, I miss this so much. What a fool I’ve been to avoid running one in the last few weeks.
  3. Walk barefoot on the grass at Lodi gardens
  4. Stretch my body and touch them
  5. Pull someone’s leg hair with them. I have too many useless skills.
  6. Paint them
  7. Soak them in hot water and experience Nirvana
  8. Calf raises
  9. Shave them. Ya, ok, I have hair on my toes like a normal person and we have to be very, very close for you to have the honour of seeing them.
  10. Appreciate that they are an important part of me and their normal functioning makes my life complete.

Writing everyday

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Based on the votes on fb, IG and twitter, here is the post on writing everyday.

I assume that people who voted for this topic want to know how to write everyday. I don’t have an answer for those who haven’t written anything and want to start now. Not because it can’t be done but am not the right person to give that advice.

My tryst with writing started in school. I don’t remember the first thing I ever wrote but we were encouraged to write creatively and use our imagination in our English assignments. Most of my school mates were voracious readers. Bunking games period to finish reading a new novel was common. I wrote poems as a teenager. Tacky and embarrassing ones, of course but I have all of them saved up in a book. An actual book. With my handwriting. From maybe 20 years back. I do have a heart, guys, but it is buried deep within layers and layers of sarcasm and darkness.

Language also makes a difference. I joined a convent boarding school when I was 7 years old. I spoke Sindhi at home and a mix of Gujarati and Hindi in school. During the 9 months every year, it was compulsory to speak in English. Hindi was restricted to that one period everyday. I started thinking in English and spoke mainly Sindhi in the balance 3 months of the year. Hindi isn’t my strong forte and am not being pretentious. Gujarati is now too broken for a comfortable conversation and I can’t read or write Sindhi. If you think in a regional language, writing in English is slightly more difficult.

Like most hobbies in school, writing could have met its end due to paucity of time once I joined college. But I started a blog in 2006. Blogging was “in” then. Pretty much anyone who was internet savvy had a blog. Even people who had not written an original paragraph in their life had a blog. My posts were quite shallow. I didn’t really share any real life experiences. Sometimes, I wrote about conversations I had with friends about interesting topics like religion or sex or other random stuff.

I joined the corporate world in 2007. During the first year I didn’t have a laptop and would kill time at the cyber cafe on weekends. I blogged about my travels and the experience of working in sales in remote towns. Somehow the blogging continued. The tricky balance of keeping your real life private and finding interesting things to write about kept me hooked. During my lowest point the blog just has to-do lists but it had posts. Maybe not every week, but at the very least every month.

I started the current blog few years back when I paid for the domain and for hosting it on godaddy. If I stop paying for it, either all the posts will be lost or they will have to be backed up and moved to another hosting site. Godaddy charges a bomb for retrieving old posts and the latter is very tedious, boring and time consuming. Basically, am stuck with paying for the blog month after month and the only option is to keep it going by churning out post after post.

In the last 2 years, the readership and engagement have dropped because I was too busy to write regularly. Sure, the link is not accessible to people on my restricted list on facebook though I have no compunction about sharing it with strangers on Twitter. Last month I vowed to write everyday. My biggest worry wasn’t whether I will be able to make time but rather what will I write about. I spend lesser time on social media now, there are fewer people I engage with on a daily basis, my life as a corporate whore isn’t interesting enough and there is only so much I can reveal about work without getting fired or sued. The good news is there hasn’t been a dearth of topics to write about. Reading helps. It takes you into a different world you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. This is why writers are voracious readers.

I write at night, mostly. Sometimes I can write with the TV on, other times (like now) I need alone time in another room to type out a post. Sometimes the thought of spending 10 mins on a laptop after a long day at work makes me chicken out.

Though I’d rather write on paper and drop it at everyone’s doorsteps. Just kidding.

That would require putting on a bra and would be too much effort for the readers of this blog. Not kidding.

Blogging vs journaling:

Journaling is more personal. Your real self can be revealed through journaling and it is cathartic. But there is no pressure to frame a coherent thought, focus on grammar and engage another person. Journaling has its benefits but does it make you a better writer? I don’t know. Blogging forces you to complete a thought or an idea and write about diverse topics. It pushes you to write for an audience. You can’t chicken out by writing 10 miserable lines. There has to be a beginning and an end to every post. Also, writing happy posts is so much more difficult in a journal. A journal is for your deeper and inner thoughts but do we want to deal with those on a daily basis? I’d rather live in denial.

Blogging and social media:

It is so easy to put out any thought in real time on social media. With Twitter increasing their characters count and encouraging threads, blogging is a dying art. Who wants to type out a whole post, publish and share it when threads are easier to read and share. We are all on social media all the time anyway. A blog needs to be logged into and requires patience to read.

I get it. I truly do. This is like journaling with real pen and paper. But it is what it is. Till there are people engaging with the blog, it will be alive. When they stop, I will move on to Medium or Twitter threads or podcasts or whatever the hell everyone is on then.

Or maybe I will continue to blog.



Day 3 of enforced relaxation (=frustration)

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It is day 3 of enforced relaxation because of a hurt toe and I can already feel the darkness cloud my mind.

Everyone heads to the gym or starts running because they want to lose weight or become fit. Maybe they got detected with PCOS or diabetes or blood pressure. Maybe they got tired of clicking 50 selfies and applying 10 filters to get one decent picture for social media. Maybe they wanted to get noticed by their crush. Maybe mid life crisis hit. The reason doesn’t matter. Something pulled you into that world. But what keeps you going isn’t the fitness or the weight loss. That takes time. Weeks. Months. Years. And it is always much more difficult maintaining the peak you reached. Example, a healthy fat loss is 2 kg per month. Only 500 gm per week. And for that you have to be vigilant about your nutrition, count calories, deny yourself when everyone else indulges and get your ass to the gym or on the road 6 days a week. Sometimes morning and evening. It takes 2.5 to 3 months to spot a significant difference in your before and after half naked pictures.

The results aren’t what keep us going. They are the bonus. The cherry on the icing. What gets us hooked are the pheromones. The chemical reactions which boost up our mood and make us feel alive. They make living easier. Every task seems achievable and every pest at work can be shirked off as soon as you leave the workplace.

I have a friend who works out diligently and has gone from overweight to hot. I knew him when he drank and smoked a lot and I knew him through his selfies phases where he would ask me if his bare back looks defined. (If I wasn’t diligent about clearing spam from Whatsapp pics folder, they would be filled with gym selfies of half naked men). I asked him “Is the high from dope better than the one from a workout session?” since he has been on both sides of the fence. He told me the latter is more intense, lasted more and feels better than the dope. Now, I spend my dope money at the gym.

It will be 10 days before I can think about running and already the daily tasks require double the energy and triple the motivation. The irony is I have all this spare time for other hobbies and activities but the will to do anything is missing. There are fancy terms to describe these feelings “anxiety”, “panic” etc etc. I call it ‘adulthood’. It has nothing to do with people around you, your job or financial situation. And it doesn’t hit during a conflict or when you are alone. You could be happily chatting with someone or reading the book or watching a movie and everything becomes a lot harder. Like there are dementors around you trying to suck your life out. But very, very slowly.

All this drama over a hurt toe. Oh well, gear yourself for morose posts for the next 10 days. Call my doctor and ask him to prescribe meds which will speed up the healing. Please. I will run a 21 km in your honour. Couch to 21 km. I swear.


Sweat, tears and blood

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Yesterday while rushing for a meeting in the evening, I hurt my left toe with the steel edge of the glass door of my cabin. I grimaced at the pain and continued to run in my heels but the blood gushing out made it extremely difficult. RIP my pretty, polka dotted heels. I shall miss you and replacing you will be hard.

My female colleagues were kind enough to help me wrap it with a bandage before the entire office floor got soiled. The flesh was visible and the wound looked serious enough to warrant stitches.

I had to run-hop-limp in my heels to the next office for the meeting. In case you are wondering, yes, I would classify the meeting as a life and death situation. Throughout the 45 mins, I kept the toe facing upwards so the blood wouldn’t soil the carpet of a senior person’s cabin. Because priorities!!! Also, I can proudly claim that I have given my sweat, tears and blood to this job. Literally. There are witnesses.

Then I had to run-hop-limp to my car and drive home. I called KC and told him we need to rush to the hospital. A smarter person would have driven to the hospital directly and asked KC to meet her there. But when I make foolish decisions, I like to see them through to the end. They make life much more interesting and blog worthy.

KC drove me to the hospital we go to for minor ailments. Fortis is for messed up surgeries and when we like to savour our coffee at Costa Coffee for an hour while waiting for an appointment. He had an important international work call and gets queasy around blood, so he disappeared after handing me over to the nurse. I wish I was a man and had the luxury of being uncomfortable around blood.

I like people who have a wicked sense of humour of the darkest shade. The more screwed up the better. Except if that person is my doctor.

Actual conversation with the doc:

Him : This needs stitches

Me (a stitches virgin) : But you will give an anaesthetic, right?

Him : No. Why do you need one?

Me : Because it will hurt like hell

Him (grinning) : Who said that?

continues grinning while I look horrified

Me : Are you joking? You aren’t serious, are you? You shouldn’t joke with your patients. This isn’t funny, you know.

Grins wider at my outburst

The anaesthetic is given and doc is examining the toe.

Him : The side nail is broken

Me : Shit. Is that serious? Don’t nails grow out?

Him : Grins

Me : Can you please stop with all the jokes?

My partner was nowhere to be found so I paid the bill and bought the medicines.

I reached the car and waited for KC to finish his call. You know what’s worse than talking to your own colleagues after 7 pm? Listening to someone else talk to his/her colleagues after 7 pm. After 15 mins, I decided to drive us home while the toe was still numb because that was less painful than overhearing work conversations.

I will write a rant about how much my life sucks after 2 more non gym and non running days so please hang around the blog.


Call me by your name – The book vs the movie

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I read a book and then watch the movie inspired from the book. It is interesting to note what kind of treatment a filmmaker gives the book. Doing justice to a book is a big challenge and most of the times, the movie is a screw up. Example, Fitoor (inspired from Great Expectations) or The Shopholic (my favourite book ruined by the movie and the cast).

My favourite movies inspired from books are The Namesake and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. In The Namesake, the book is from Ashima’s perspective but the movie is from her son, Gogol’s perspective. Like, you have to watch the movie and read the book to understand the whole story.

Call me by your name

This is the story of Oliver and Elio. Oliver is an American Professor in Chicago. Elio’s father, also an academic, hosts students at his house in Northern Italy during the summer free of cost. The students have to work as his intern during those 6 weeks. Elio is 17 years old and from the 1st day itself he is strangely drawn to 25 year old Oliver. His sexuality is never discussed. Is he gay or a bisexual? He enjoys having sex with Mariza and then has sex with Oliver. But Oliver has his heart. Oliver returns to USA after 6 weeks and comes back during X’mas to tell Elio he is getting married. They do meet many, many years later.

The Book:

Half the book is about Elio’s crush on Oliver. At this stage, we don’t know whether Oliver reciprocates. This part is beautifully written. Like, when you have a crush on someone and are very aware of their presence. When they walk by, your heart gives a flutter. You remember every conversation and think about it over and over in your head wondering if there is a deeper meaning to anything they said. You fantasise about them, have made love to them in a 100 different ways in your head and the reality is probably never to match up. This was before cellphones and social media so all you could do was wait for your crush to turn up. There was no way to stalk him/her in a virtual world when he/she wasn’t around you in person.

Erotica is the most difficult genre to write and most writers avoid it. I thought man on man action wouldn’t interest me but it was such a turn on. Kudos to the writer for writing this so damn well. Also, you know which passages I will be turning to when am alone. Ahem… ahem…

The movie:

Despite the rave reviews, I turned on the movie with low expectations. How would the movie get into Elio’s head without a narration? The good part is the movie does not cover the entire book. It starts when Oliver arrives and ends when he leaves. I thought that was great. There is only so much it could have covered in 2 hours.

It is about summer love, between Elio and Oliver. It is about Elio’s first love at 17 yrs of age which is reciprocated by Oliver. The intense desire and feelings some loves evoke and feel like a life and death situation. When nothing else seems to matter. Only this moment with this person.

Highly recommend it.

 


Periods day 1

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My boobs hurt. Periods are due to come any day now. If they started hurting a day or two prior, it would be ok but it starts a week or two earlier. It hurts when I run but I can’t stop running for 2 whole weeks every month. I grit my teeth and run through the pain.

The pain starts when am travelling. I have forgotten to carry my sanitary napkins because my periods are like clockwork and they aren’t due for another week. I am spending all workday surrounded by men. Conservative, middle class men who probably never talk to women outside of work. Men, around whom I can’t buy a sanitary napkin. I spot a Health and Glow next to a store am visiting and pop in and out quickly with a packet of sanitary napkins. I hide it in the laptop bag in the cab without anyone noticing. How will I find a loo and put them on if the periods start is a question left unanswered. One problem at a time.

Normally, I prefer tampons. They are inserted in the vagina and soak the blood. Since the blood doesn’t flow outside the body, there is no smell and I feel cleaner. Working out is 100 times more comfortable with tampons. Sanitary napkins are for night use and when am travelling since tampons have to be replaced every 4 hours and shouldn’t be used all night. Also, if the blood flow is heavy, the blood can leak from tampons. Though sanitary napkins give me rashes when I workout so I avoid them while running or at the gym. Both are uncomfortable when the flow hasn’t started. Tampons need lubrication to hold them in place and sanitary napkins feel itchy. Cups are a thing these days with everyone recommending them but they have to be sterilised. I don’t live in the cave age, thank you very much. Some of us have to travel and have full time jobs without 24/7 access to loos.

I board a metro and feel slightly dizzy. Day 1 of periods are hard. I should’ve taken a cab. None of the seats are empty and I try to ignore the discomfort and pain. How do I ever get any work done on day 1? How do I travel and bear the pain? All I want to do is lie down with a hot water bottle on my tummy. But that is a luxury I can’t afford on a weekday. What if I started taking day 1 as medical leave? That would be 12 days out of 20 days of sick leave gone. Or 7 days of casual leave used up in half the year. And why should I use my earned leave for basic functioning of my body? If corporate slavery demands that I work at 30-50% productivity 1-2 days every month, so be it. Why don’t women in positions of power change anything for the rest of us? Why do they continue with status quo? If we have to break the glass ceiling with pants on to try to blend with the men, what is even the point? We were better cloistered off within patriarchal homes.

I heave a sigh on relief while releasing my bladder. It is time for a tampon change. At work, my cabin and the loo are at extreme ends. I need biometric access to use it. It is like a cruel joke. I enter work sometime around 9.15 am. At 11 am, I tick tock in my heels to the loo for a tampon check. “Is everything ok down there? No. It’s not”. I tick tock back to pick up a clean tampon and then back again for a change. I can feel every man’s eyes on me wondering why am using the loo twice in 5 minutes. The tampon in the palm of my hand or inside my pocket feels sweaty. How did I do it when I used sanitary napkins? “Oh yes. I carried my purse to the loo. Not weird at all”. Thankfully, tampons aren’t advertised so most men don’t know what they look like. If it slipped from my hand and dropped right in front of a group of gossiping men, they probably wouldn’t know what it was. Thank god for small mercies.

On period days I try and wear clothes with pockets. 99% of men’s clothes have pockets but we have to put our foot down and make strong demands even for pockets.

I am about to walk to the loo for the 2nd tampon change when a colleague walks in for a discussion. I can’t focus. My mind is on the wetness in my vagina. “Are my panties getting stained? How much can they stain in 5 mins? Why can’t this man sense my discomfort and disinterest and leave me alone for 5 mins? Has the stain spread to my outer clothes? Is the stain noticeable? What will I do if my clothes get stained? How will I go home discreetly?” If it was a woman, I would have excused myself and she would have understood. Women are intuitive, understanding and don’t have their brains buried under thick sand.

My boobs hurt. My tummy hurts. I am hungry but I can’t eat. My arms and legs are sore. I am horny. If this was Masterchef Australia, the judges would have appreciated the “burst of different flavours in my body – sweet, tangy, spicy, sour; and how well they blend together”. I can’t tell the difference between one pain and another.

But I don’t curse the blood. Because when it stops flowing before its time, there is something seriously wrong with my body. It happened in 2009. I was detected with PCOS. Years and years of working out, taking birth control pills and taking care of my body have made my periods function correctly again. They are a reminder month after month that everything is ok with my body. A painful reminder. An uncomfortable reminder. A missed period would mean PCOS or pregnancy.

The pain suddenly feels like a small price to pay.


Sunday night musings

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Two years back when I joined work in Mumbai, I was responsible for the sales and distribution in 2 states in the Western part of the country. One of them had been a big challenge for a year and the team was struggling when I joined. I remember telling them “You aren’t in the driver’s seat. You need to step back, define the goals and the path to get there”. 6 months later, in January last year, my team from another state and I spent 2 days in our hotel’s coffee shop, worked out goal posts and how to get there. The team in another state replicated the same. The plans didn’t materialise because the goals changed and the path to get there was handed down to us. But it did put us in the driver’s seat and we knew where we were going.

The exact same advice was given by a senior colleague last week.

Him – Are you in the driver’s seat?

Me – No. Am not. Am surviving from one day to the next.

Him – Do you have your 30-60-90 days plan?

Me – I have a vague idea but nothing concrete

Him – Well, what are you waiting for?

It has been 1.5 months since I moved back. It is time to step back, define the goals and the path to meet them; at work and in life. Life should be lived in batches of 6 months. Live like you are going to die in 6 months.

I guess am never going to make a good financial advisor

Ok, maybe not that dramatic. I mean, if I had 6 months to live, I wouldn’t spend it selling candies.

Maybe, I would lock myself in a room and write a book.

Or

Spend all day baking and selling it through social media.

Or

Use my TRX trainer certification to make people fit.

Or

I would do the rounds of open Mics to put my sarcasm to better use.

Or

I would give women classes on shagging.

But, I digress. Tomorrow is Monday and I want to get out of bed so I should put a stop to the rambling.

In the long run, people only hit what they aim at“.

But hitting the goals you set is infinitely better than not having goals and not knowing why you are somewhere or worse, having goals but no idea how to get there and wasting time in numerous U turns.

In short, it is time to step back and put my life in order. Even if it means going awol for a whole day. Like KC put it succinctly; “you are taking the day off from work… to work”.

“That is crazy”.

But normal in the corporate world means being a pot bellied 40 year old male who wakes up every morning hoping people don’t find out he is a fraud.

I am never going to be that person.

If I wake up as a man, please shoot me in the head.

If I wake up at 40 with a pot belly, please shoot me in the head.

The fraud part is ok because deep down, we are frauds. And we know it.

And that is my motivational post to get you through Monday.

Or to shoot yourself in the head.

Disclaimer : This isn’t a post encouraging or ridiculing suicide or depression. Please do not send me mails from fake email addresses describing how someone you know killed themselves.

If my sense of humour is too dark for you, please click on “unfollow” or “block” and stop reading the blog. Thank you. 

 

 


People who offer you a drink 

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Real life conversation

Him – Let’s meet over beer

Me – I don’t want to drink

Him – Oh c’mon. It is just a beer. And I really want to drink 

Me – So drink 

Him – But I don’t want to drink alone

Me – Then don’t drink

Him – But I want to drink

Me – Toh drink 

Him – But I don’t want to drink alone 

Me – If I order a drink it means the conversation is terrible and I want to shoot my brains

The meeting never happened and I stay up at night wondering why. 

I had hoped that once I crossed 30 years of age there would be no pressure to pretend to be cool and I could lead my supremely boring life without judgement. But alas, that is not to be. From trying to keep me up beyond 10 pm, making me skip my workouts, trying to force liquor down my throat and smoke up my nostrils; I have to deal with worse peer pressure than I did in school. 

This rant isn’t about people who drink and smoke (up). Everyone has the right to make terrible choices without judgement. This rant is about people who force others to join them in their drinking and smoking up. 

Like everything in my life, if I want to do something, I do it and don’t go looking for company. Isn’t that what marriage is for? So we have someone for company? When I can’t emotionally blackmail my partner into joining me, I go and watch that play anyway. 

Life is too short to deal with flakiness. 

When I want to drink, I open a bottle of cheap port wine, pour it into my Shrek mug, post a pic on IG and drink. Drinking is as much a social activity as watching a play is. Which means it isn’t. You need ears, eyes, brains and money to enjoy a play. How is another human warming the seat next to yours going to add to your experience? Ditto for drinking. 

If I really want to stuff my body with poison, it is always going to be with excessive biryani (hashtag biryanifan, nevertoomuchbiryani, madeof80%biryani). 

Sure, I could just lie and say I quit drinking but I have care about people to lie to them. And then I will never be able post a pic of my debauchaery on social media. 

The whole objective of my life is that by the time I turn 40 yrs, I never have to meet another human being. So people who want company to drink are a major inconvenience. 

I know life is pathetic, I don’t need liquor to deal with this fact. And I only hang out with interesting people so I don’t need liquor to dull my senses and heighten the pleasure. 

If you want to hang out over a drink, what you are saying is “I can’t deal with your bullshit without a high”.


Quickie

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Sorry, I haven’t had time to write. I wanted to but the exhaustion from early morning flights, chutiyaap work days followed by workouts and socialising was too much even for me.

The thought of how hectic next week is going to be makes me want to curl up in bed and never leave. I spent better quality and quantity of time in Gurgaon when I was travelling from Mumbai. There is so much work that I can’t imagine taking even one day off. Limiting work hours to the defined 4 hours on Saturdays is also a challenge. Not that being cooped up at home with MIL is very appealing either.

Thankfully, an early morning flight is restricted to only tomorrow so that is some relief.

Anyway, am going to turn in since I have a 4 am wake up call.

Here are posts that I must, must find time to type out:

  • The Wedding Part 2
  • Macro managers vs micro managers
  • A rant against people who only want to make drinking plans with you even though they know you don’t like liquor