What am grateful for in 2017

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  • Getting my health back on track
  • Running at ADHM 
  • Having not one but two mentors who are always a Whatsapp and call away for professional advice 
  • Not losing any friends 
  • Having the energy of a thousand Devils 
  • Eliminating people who were taking me for granted
  • Despite all the issues and challenges, marriage is still intact
  • Taking 3 treks
  • Finding a great house in a superb locality in Mumbai. It is a dream come true to be living in such a good place
  • Living with amazing, non interfering flatmates. Having someone to talk to at the end of the day is underrated 
  • Not quitting my job out of frustration. Because one must always quit at one’s own terms
  • Doing fairly well at work
  • Being able to stay far, far away from politics and pettiness at workplace 
  • Being able to make friends feel special on their birthdays 
  • Building a great rapport with team and earning their trust
  • Reconciling with parents after 3 years of zero communication with them
  • Being able to meet younger brother once every month 
  • Making awesome friends on social media 
  • Being fairly consistent at workouts despite all the travel and stress
  • Not falling apart
  • Never passing on the frustrations onto the team, absorbing pressure from all sides, staying positive at all times and boosting team’s morale 
  • Not licking anybody’s ass to move up the corporate ladder. Metaphorically and in actuality 
  • Picking up new skills like baking 
  • TRX once or twice a month 
  • Juggling every ball in the air and not letting it drop
  • Managing to have a work life balance and ensuring everyone around does too 
  • Hating Mumbai a little less. Maybe even liking it a little. Just a little. 
  • Having a loving partner who will keep his fears aside and try anything new with me- from scuba diving to trekking. Who is brutally honest and yet supportive. And who is holding on through difficult times
  • Being able to travel to Ahmedabad and go for a run in college
  • Friends. Online. Offline. In Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Delhi, Ahmedabad and so many other places 

How to end the year

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So many people have questioned my instagram posts on indulgence which are then followed by fitness related posts.

For some reason people can’t think of both at the same time. That you can indulge and yet, try to get fit. If you think you can deny yourself in the year end, you are setting yourself up for failure. The objective should be balance.

Am I model? No.

A fitness trainer? No.

An athlete? No.

I am just a normal human being trying to get fit. Will 3 spoons of Gajar ka halwa ruin my fitness levels? Definitely not. Instead, they will satisfy me and make me focus better on eating right at other times.

Here are some tips to stay on track in the year end:

  • Workout everyday. No matter what. The temptation to skip is very high. There are fewer runners on the road and gyms are empty. Take advantage of that. I am surrounded by people who don’t stop working out because it is year end. Winters = late morning run. How great is that.
  • Repeat after me “A small piece of cake or few spoons of gajar ka halwa will not kill me or my fitness goals”. Now you can deny yourself and feel miserable or indulge and feel happy.
  • Eating heavy at one meal? Go light at another. The other day we went for breakfast at Old Delhi and had kachori, aloo sabji bedmi puri, nagori, shahi tukda, choley bhature, chana kulcha. For lunch, I made sure to cook at home instead of ordering in. What did I have for dinner? Nothing. I skipped dinner. Last night I had a healthy smoothie for dinner. Balance it out. Stop feeling guilty. The breakfast outing was planned by me. The indulgence was planned and am not going to let anyone make me feel guilty for it.
  • Intermittent fasting. This has helped a lot. I can decide when to fast if am planning to indulge. When I had a party to attend (to which I couldn’t make it ultimately), I did the usual 16 hours fast skipping breakfast. When we had to go for breakfast, I skipped dinner the previous night. Simple.
  • In Old Delhi, we ordered 1 plate of each item between the 4 of us. So, 2 kachoris, 2 bedmi puris, 2 nagori etc were shared by 4 people. That is less than 500 calories/person in 7-8 dishes. Eating in a group helps. There are more people to share the food. It wasn’t planned that way. It just happened. None of us are big eaters. We have small appetites.
  • Every calorie consumed at that walk was burned with a 8 km run. All that remains are the beautiful memories, a satisfaction, great pics and people trying to guilt trip.

Denying yourself means you have an unhealthy relationship with food and don’t trust yourself around food. Learn to balance. It is ok if am not losing weight in the year end as long as am not gaining it.


2018 Resolution No 3

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This resolution isn’t new. The first time I read about it on my favourite fitness blog NerdFitness (link here) and followed it, it changed how I looked at life.

It is “Focus on the process. Results will come. The journey is longer than a few weeks and months. Think long term“.

Let’s delve in detail.

The process is always more important. Results will be good or bad but learning to follow the process by being consistent and doing the right things will stay forever. Being results oriented, at the gym and in life, is a definite way towards frustration. There have been days, weeks and months when I couldn’t understand why life is being so difficult. Why do I have to struggle more than other people around me? Why me? But when I think about it on a long term basis, it’s the right thing to do. I have to do this and be here at some stage in my career and I’d rather do it now than later.

The results will come. They always do. They always have. When I workout regularly and eat right, I get fitter. Maybe not as fast as I want to be, but I get better each day. At my fittest, I would just pretend like I was a fitness trainer and had abs. I would ask myself “Would I eat this if I had abs? No. So, why am I eating it now?”. This trick really, really helped. Sometimes you have to imagine you are already where you want to be and make decisions accordingly. At work I ask myself, “What kind of a leader do I want to be in the future? Someone who is autocratic and a dictator or someone who gives the team space to grow and make mistakes”. Everything becomes easy and falls into place when I think long term. If I need to build a career in sales, of course I need to have experience in a senior role in two locations, if not more. And which better city than Mumbai where am surrounded by people ready to catch me when I fall. This makes sense in the long term and gives me an invaluable edge.

The journey is longer than a few weeks and months. Think of it in years. It has been 4 years since fitness became a huge part of my life. 4 years back I wouldn’t have thought of it like that. My goal was weight loss. I would have lost weight, quit the gym, gained weight, come back, lost, gained, over and over again. But what a wonderful journey it has been. This is the only thing that has kept me sane and positive through toughest of times. I have the energy of a thousand devils and despite my dry exterior at work, there is an enthusiasm I bring to the table which is built at the gym.

So, follow the process. It is the only important and constant in life. Results come and go. The process gives me the skills to deal with good days and bad.


The three words that make me choke harder than deep throating

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Click bait title only. Post is sappy

I believed am slow in saying “I love you” because my standards are high. It isn’t a casual line I throw at someone. Once I love someone, there is no going back. It’s a lot for me to come back to a point where I don’t care anymore. So, I put a person through many hoops before I utter the three little words. Even uttering “baby”, “darling”, “sweetheart” makes me want to choke. My hugs are awkward and any kind of human touch makes me cringe.

But now am wondering if am just another coward who is so afraid of being hurt that she can’t even get out her comfort zone and embrace another person’s affection for her. I seem to have mastered the art of giving without actually giving. Considering how self centered most humans are, this isn’t hard. Will I come across as a warm person if I start expressing how I feel or saying “I love you” more often? If I pretend to be a warm person, will I become one?

What do you think?


My mother made me wear pants

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I come from a small town and my parents are very conservative. Mother believed I could do whatever I wanted after marriage with my husband’s permission but as long as I was financially dependent on them I had to follow their rules. So financial independence was the biggest goal in my life. Even today, taking anything from parents or borrowing money from hubby is a No No in my books. Money is control and if someone pays for you, they get to control your choices. But that is a topic for another post.

Last month when I was home, mother had a problem with my shorts because they were not knee length and hence unacceptable in her house. I didn’t understand how a few inches made such a difference. It was just her and dad at home. The only way their society would find out I have sexy legs was if she clicked my pics and shared them on the family WhatsApp group. It would make a great change from the shitty jokes they exchange on those groups.

My argument was that brother wears shorts too. Are they discriminating between their son and daughter? In 2017?

Mom – He wears knee length shorts

Me – Do you know how difficult it is to find knee length shorts for women? Plus, they cover the best part of my legs.

Mom – Wear pants

Me – I don’t have any. I like tiny clothes.

Mom – Dad is also upset.

Me (look at dad who is busy with his newspaper blocking out all conversation) – I don’t think he cares

Mom – Have you no shame? You want your dad to discuss these things with you?

Me (looks at dad)

Dad makes a half hearted attempt to protest against the sight of the legs which get so many likes on Instagram.

Flashback over

Back to the present

While preparing for this visit, I asked bro if he wears shorts or pants at home. “Shorts”, he said.

Over the phone, mother begged to wear pants instead of shorts. I was adamant that she treat her male and female kids equally and now brother has been banned from wearing shorts.

This is all my brother’s fault. Why could he not have worn tiny shorts and stood up for our rights? Now all of us have to wear pants at home which is so damn unfair.

All this drama could have been avoided had I decided to not vote in the elections. I am ashamed that this is the first time am going to vote in my life. It is the first time during elections that am not banned from the family and staying so close to home. Sure, I could register as a voter in Gurgaon but my vote against the present government counts more in Gujarat. It hits them harder in this state, especially in the current elections.

I put my ego aside and wore pants last night. The reward was a hug from my mother. It would have melted my heart except I have seen women get emotionally blackmailed into giving up any chance of a happy and free life by their parents.

And you wonder why am so cynical and wary of people.


*This incident may also be true because it is so common*

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Meeting in the conference room with New guy, Old guy, Man 1, Man 2, Man-who-exists (MWE) and woman.

New Guy : So we recruited people from lower rung B schools, trained them and then gave them a job as sales executives. Guess who were the top performers. The non male candidates.

Everyone : Wow!!! What a surprise.

Woman trying not to roll her eyes out of her head

Old Guy: Looking at the woman That is no surprise at all.

Woman remembers to give a kind smile at the condescension

Man-who-exists : Yeah, one of the distributors has a female salesperson and she is very good at dealing with the men. Very upfront and aggressive.

Woman in her head : I should do shots everytime they use ‘aggressive’ to describe a female sales person.

New Guy : Even in South Delhi, these females were excellent at dealing with retailers and wholesalers

Woman in her head : Oooh… women who know how to deal with lecherous men. Hey… that is all the women on this planet.

I guess now I know why females are not preferred in sales. They are far better at the job and men are insecure about losing another profession to the superior species.


*This may be based on real life incidents but only because it is so common*

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Man 1 is the decision maker.

Man 2 is the reporting manager of the accused.

Man 3 exists.

Woman has no stake in the decision but has been in a similar situation and has a strong opinion.

Background : Female was being subtly harassed by 3 men at her workplace in the form of teasing and comments. She ignored and avoided them as much as possible but 6 months later, she complained to her reporting manager. Reporting manager does not like accused which was one of the reasons why he quickly escalated the issue to the harassment committee. The committee has been deliberating for weeks and confused about the severity of the punishment that should be meted out to the accused.

Man 2 : This isn’t harassment. It is just some teasing and light banter.

Woman : Actually, it is. According to the law, it is illegal and the Vishaka committee guidelines are very clear about such behaviour at the workplace. The accused were part of the training last year and yet they have the audacity to exhibit such behaviour.

Man 1 : But sacking them is an extreme step. Maybe put the accused and victim in the same room and give a stern warning asking them to stay away from her.

Woman : Will that be enough to deter them from harassing someone else in the future? In any good organisation, they would get sacked. That is the right deterrent.

Man 1: She has been working here for 8 years. Why has she complained now? It is politics. Her reporting manager does not like the accused. She is quite timid.

Woman : She complained after months of being harassed. The only reason she complained is because she is not timid and quite upfront. She has been feeling awful at this workplace. If another such incident occurs, she will quit.

Man 2 : But sacking them is not the solution.

Woman : A message needs to go out that such behaviour is not acceptable in a professional work environment. Distance has to be maintained no matter how friendly you are with a person. Certain comments are unacceptable.

Change of topic

What happens next? Watch this space to find out.


2018 Resolution No 2

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Write more

That is deliciously vague, isn’t it? Just the way a resolution you know you are going to break should be.

Write everyday

Blogging

My first blogs have a frankness and naivety that the current blog does not.

Unless I start an anonymous blog and promote it anonymously on an anonymous social media, am doomed to find ways to express myself while trying to keep some details private. Tricky as hell.

Blogging this year has been bad. I have had to push myself to do it. And the months which were the lowest point this year have zero posts. With all the personal blogs I loved and followed silently dying over the years, am somehow keeping this alive. It is an effort but worth it.

Facebook and it’s essay type posts, Twitter with it’s 280 characters strung into threads and instagram’s ramblings can’t beat a well written post. Am an anomaly here, of course. If a blog isn’t generating money, it is a prodigal daughter that must be sacrificed; is the normal line of thought these days.

I published 47 posts in 2017 vs 200 posts in 2016. I would like to publish 200 posts in 2018 on the blog. If I don’t make this effort, I doubt this blog will survive beyond 2018. 47 posts is abominable.

Journal

I would like to write everyday. We all wear masks with everyone but it is important to be true to yourself. And that can only happen when you take the time out to be with yourself. Some people do it through meditation, I prefer to journal. This is such a difficult activity. Finding 15-30 mins in a day just to write any random stuff that am thinking is so hard. It shouldn’t be this hard.

In 2018, I would like maintain a daily journal. Undisturbed and private 15-30 mins for myself.

 


Let down by biology and limited by my gender

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Most days I wake up feeling strong and appreciating my body. The unimaginable things it has done in the last few years make me proud every minute of every day.

And then there are days like today. When I had to miss my flight because am unwell. Why am I unwell? Because of my monthly cycle. Sure, I have been having it for years and yet, it can surprise with new ways to screw me. The periods came along with fatigue and body pain so bad I couldn’t get out of bed yesterday morning. The only PMS symptom was the fight I had with KC. That happens like clockwork. We do banter a lot but I recall fighting with him around my periods every single time.

Now my periods are being accompanied by loose motions. I didn’t make the connection at first and thought it was food poisoning until KC said that it happened last month as well. I read online and my flatmate confirmed that it happens to her too. So now these are a list of issues I will possibly deal with once every month:

  • Sensitivity in breasts, making them hurt even when I walk
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, if on IF
  • Diarrhoea
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating and weight gain
  • Cravings
  • A spike in hormones making me want to fuck the next man I come across

This is the first time I had to cancel a trip because of my body and it’s not fair. Does that mean I should avoid all travel around my periods date? It isn’t easy any way. I don’t have access to loos except when we stop for lunch at a restaurant, I carry sanitary napkins with me at all times and I haven’t taken a day off even when I woke up dizzy last month.

Basically, am pushing myself twice as hard as a man would have to because am a woman. My gender and biology is pulling me down. And here I am, trying to prove am as good as any man in this male dominated field. Let’s face it, nobody is going to acknowledge that a woman is better at this job than a man. There is the fragile male ego that needs to be preserved.


Message from the universe

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Yesterday I asked the universe to send me a message to get me out of bed today and do what I do. There was no message, of course. 

OF COURSE.

Only my determination to not give anyone the satisfaction of seeing me upset and sad. As always, I will let my work do the talking instead of networking or building a personal rapport with anyone. I am not going to beg for what I deserve to be handed on a platter.

In the last 2 years, my reporting managers have provided me with the required emotional support when I have been low. It’s rare but I tend to turn my current colleagues to vent frustrations. It’s difficult to explain to outsiders and won’t be of any interest to them.

Here is some advice I would give corporate slaves:

Be very clear why you are quitting a company. 

Money should be a reason only if you can’t manage within your means. If you like what you do, money will come to you. Career path is a good reason to leave. But only once you are sure every possibility has been exhausted in the current organisation.

A better brand is a very good reason to quit but the learning will be more diverse in a small setup. 

A bad boss can have serious effects on mental health. But every organisation has that one chuth and you may be very unlucky to be in his team.

Quit if your career is going nowhere and you have zero equity. Equity is what matters. The only thing that really matters.