Sunday, February 14, 2010

Music Morning Madness

The daily grind for me starts the moment I wake up, literally. I have an alarm that does not snooze but it cooks. My day dawns at 7 am when my cook reports to work and most of the times is the one to wake me up. Cooks are always in a hurry. So the menu always has to be pre-planned and there is really no time to think what am I going to cook today once the cook arrives. I usually program my brain with details like 8 rotis, dal/no dal, which veggie the previous night. If anyone were to wake me bang in the middle of deep sleep and ask me any question I perhaps would blurt out the menu. So it starts with me stepping up the accelerator to give her instructions and then the race to finish the tea while she sorts the veggies. After the tea-time comes the me-time. Me-time is barely half an hour where I cram in some exercise. My ideal exercise routine would be 30 mins of morning walk or cycling followed by weights and then round it off with either abs or deep breathing. Me-time is usually limited to just half an hour so I can barely accommodate the morning walk or cycling. Post the me-time comes the he-time. He-time is getting Remy ready for school. Getting children ready for school is a good exercise to increase the patience levels. Most mornings are a showdown for reasons like not finishing the milk or mummy leaving the tap on too early in a bathing session or mummy giving the milk in the moo moo cow cup and not the foxy loxy one. This is a typical scene every morning but today was different. The morning showdown turned to an impromptu dancing session as I decided to play a song that Remy likes. It was definately the music that soothed the tempers and the tantrums. Or should I say the mood? I realized that I was not looking at the clock and hurrying everyone around me rather I was enjoying my morning chores. Like all the other days today was no different in its challenges of finishing all the tasks on time....what was different was my mood.

Tring tring the alarm rings
As I keep saying just wait
Let me catch my 40 winks
But alarm says it'll be too late

I get up, half bleary, half blind
Why does the day begin so early?
No escaping the daily grind
I assure myself surely

List of chores waiting to be done
How time flies I have no clue
Mornings cannot be fun
With thousands things to do

The coaxing begins with my son
To get him out of bed
Do I smell something burn?
O darn! its that toasted bread

Tempers fly tantrums thrown
Things all go astray
A house akin to a war zone
Everyone enters the fray

One morn I let the music play
All of us soon catch the beat
Some hands clap and some hands sway
and then some tapping feet

Same old chores, same old things
Same old tasks to do
A small bell in my mind rings
Is it a diferent me or is it you?

Happy times peppy mood
I wish everyday were this way
Then again if mood is good
It makes a perfect start to a day

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nine months

Child birth stories always fascinate me. I simply love the anticipated wait towards the D-day and the excitement that follows. My neighbour just delivered a baby boy and two of my friends are due any time now. The funny thing with my neighbour was that she had many a false alarms and used to frequently rush to the hospital for getting the baby's pulse and health monitored. She had a difficult pregnancy and so every time she would rush to the hospital I used to wonder if this was it. Finally the day dawned when she was supposed to attend my son's birthday party and I came to know she was in labour. The baby arrived and soon there was me and her and another neighbour excitedly swapping the labour and child birth stories. You see a new mother is always excited about sharing these kind of stories. It is almost an accomplishment in it itself or so it feels. The joy is unique in its own ways and nothing in the world can parallel it. One thing I learnt from both of them who are now second time moms is that even during the second time around a mother feels the same rush of emotions, excitement and joy. There is absolutely no been-there-done-that-so-what's-new kind of a feeling.

The entire nine month run is filled with thrills. Some of the memorable events that most women and their partners go through are the confirmation of the pregnancy news, the visuals of the first sonography and then the one in which the baby can be seen, the first baby kick and the actual arrival. For the woman these nine months are a roller coaster ride of emotions.There are moments of pain - the morning sickness, food cravings or nausea and vomiting. In the vomitting season there is usually a fear of not making it to the vomit pot in time especially when you are in office and the rest room is way towards the other end. There also are those moments of funny mood swings which most of the time make the lady in question a drama queen. With the hormones having a field day most women feel tearful at the drop of a hat like watching a movie, husband refusing to relinquish the remote control or any such otherwise normal situations. Then there are those patience testing moments when everyone around offer unwanted advice that at times are throughly confusing.

The fruits of patience sure are sweet but as the countdown begins it gets pretty uncomfortable in those last few days when your belly probably feels as if it weights more that your entire body weight. Moving around especially changing positions when sleeping becomes akin to moving an elephantine load. Most mothers would agree that sleeping in itself becomes a challenge but imagine that in these moments of discomfort too, there is a certain joy in tracking and feeling the movements of a tiny being inside. One finds close family and friends indulging in various games whenever there is a pregnant woman in the house. The game where one guesses form the movements wheather that was the hand or the head of the baby that just moved. The other is guessing the gender of the unborn from the shape of the stomach or from the food cravings. But nothing beats the game of rushing the lady in labour to the hospital finally knowing that the big moment is here and the miracle of life ready to begin its journey into this world.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Health in your hands

Health is in my hands...or so I believed. I always thought I was on track healthwise by maintaining a good balance of exercise and diet. I have always been regular with exercise and have always maintained a frugal diet. However I was in for a shocking discovery. Recently me and my husband checked in at a local hospital for a battery of medical tests covered in the health package that was being offered as an incentive at my husband's work place. Like all healthy people, I was convinced that none of my tests are going to highlight any caution or read anything negative. However one week later when the reports arrived we realized that both of us were way past the accetable limits of cholestrol and tryglycerides. In fact what was alarming that there was absolutely no manifestation when in fact the cholestrol levels were shooting through the roof. The cardiac surgeon advised increase in fiber intake and to completely avoid any sweet and fried food. The diet needed to be supported by daily aerobic exercise such as a brisk walk. It made me think at this rate I was perhaps headed for a cardiac arrest maybe by the time I touch 40. It made me also think why are all the good things in life sinful? Fried potatoes, ice creams and desserts and I can go on. I remember my days as college going kid when internet and media had not invaded our homes and our lifes and in a way we were blissfully unaware of leading a heatly lifestyle. There was a certain joy in eating food without the guilt of how many calories we were consuming. Ignorance was really bliss I say.

So lifesytle diseases, the new age word that has been written about so much was more closer home and I had to do something about it. If I did not succeed in reducing my cholosterol levels, I was going to have to rely on pills for a life time. Since that was unacceptable I decided to take control of the situation and made a few changes in my diet and exercise. I drastically reduced sugar intake, added more fiber to the diet like carrots and radish in meals and oats for breakfast and also shifted from doing just weights to taking a brisk walk. Sure enough the test results done a month and a half later showed that all this had paid off. My husband's triglycerides are back in the normal range and my cholestrol has dropped. I am still slightly over the upper limit but the results have been encouraging.

I often dream of being fighting fit at forty and perhaps this was a check done at the right time. I have decided to go in for a health check up every year from now on. What good is a long life without good health?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Terrace Garden

Gardening can be quite a stress buster. I did not realize this until I had a small terrace garden set up. I have all along seen my mother nuture and grow plants of different varietes in her garden but now that I have my own house I realise what a pleasure it is to grow my own.
Though my garden is small it took quite an effort scouting around for pots and plants. I made trips to several nurseries and zeroed in on plants of my choice. Before that I had to decide the layout and accordingly decide on the number of pots and their sizes. Finally Golden bottle brush and Frangipani it was that I would plant in the bigger pots. My terrace is graced by sunlight only for a couple of hours in the mornings in winter and Balsams not only thrive in such conditions but also add vibrant colours to the otherwise green garden. Yes Frangipani too would need sunshine and I am hoping and waiting for the day when I get to smell the sweet fragrance of its flowers. A small swing, a couple of chairs and a coffee table complete the garden making it the perfect place to relax and unwind so much so that I cannot help but write a poem on my lovely plants....

You bring smiling sunshine in my life
As I look at you I cannot escape a smile

With multitude vibrant colours you bloom
Making sure to take away all the gloom

U teach me to be selfless at best
Expect none in return but give joy with zest

But that is not all that I learnt from you
Lessons of life, so simple yet so true

You have lots to teach than meets the eye
Not mere beauty as deemed by a passer by

The cold of the winter fails to diminish your glow
With each falling leaf more confident you grow

Knowing in your heart that when comes spring
A new lease of life with it, it will bring

A new brighter self will be revelaved
The old and dried, cast away or peeled

A glorious new you sashaying in the breeze
An avatar donned once back from freeze

New shoots, new blossoms and new leaves
An opportunity to thrive that you have seized

As I sit besides you on the swing I dwell
Will your virtues rub on me as well?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year end reflections

Yet another year goes by
And I begin to wonder
Have I stopped to spare a thought
About all the things that are to ponder

Good things, bad things, things that happened
Things that happened to me
Things that I had to work hard for
Things that happened for free

In friends and family and their love
My guardian angels I found
Who were there to help me cope
With the pressures of life as they mount

Friends who spread the Christmas cheer
Taught me the art of giving
Took time out from busy schedules
To share some wisdom and preaching

Unabashed love showered by a son
As mother-son bond grows tight
Is it God that I am experiencing?
Or am I basking in His light?

Neighbours saw each other through thick and thin
They were absolutely God sent
To care for us when we were sick
To sit with us by our bed

Reflecting on life in retrospection
Part of life are ebb and flow
Moments of high and moments of low
But they all sure help you grow

All my loved ones,near and dear ones
If it weren't for you I wouldn't be me
It is only your abundant love I seek
I consider myself blessed you see

Friday, December 25, 2009

A new page

The idea of getting my child into a reading habit germinated one night when both me and my husband went to bed reading our respective novels and Remy tried imitating us by picking up a book and pretending to read it. It was then I realized that perhaps Remy too loved books and this was the right time to introduce him to the lovely world of reading.

Just as I was wondering what kind of books to introduce him to, I got a lovely pointer quite unexpectedly. Janaki, the owner of TwistnTales, a cozy bookstore in my locality introduced me to Tulika publications. Tulika publishes books for children in multiple languages. Some of the books Janaki showed me had very simple content and fabulous illustrations. For example there was one book about the story of a peppercorn. It was about a sole peppercorn trying to escape the hands of the amma who is ready to grind it into chutney. In order to escape the fate of being ground to powder, the peppercorn rolls away from her hands into the market place. The story is set in the typical village milieu in Kerala and introduces the child to colloquial terms. I am sure that by reading this Remy is going to soak in a lot of authentic Kerala culture.

Another unexpected discovery was the book series called the Karadi tales. I stumbled upon the book series after I discovered the television show adapted from the books that was being telecast on Disney channel. I was drawn to the show as the tune was so refreshingly different and so were the characters. Then the bear started reciting a story which my grandmother used to tell me as a kid. I had never read this story in any of the kids books that I had ever laid my hands on. Very soon I got hooked on to karadi tales and realized it was all about the local stoies that were passed on from so many generations.

A search on the internet led me to Saffron Tree, a good site that has reviews on all the books for children. A book review is accompanied by pointer to other books with similar themes. What I particularly like is that a few reviewers on this site are mommies who have inculcated reading habits in their children. They have not only posted reviews but also personal anecdotes about books very enthusiastically.

I have enough starters for now to get Remy to turn a new page in his life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A small getaway

I am so gung ho about yesterday's Transactional Analysis (TA) meeting that I was itching to pen my thoughts as soon as I was done with my morning walk. Apart from attending the fantabulous session there were a couple of more reasons for the itch. First of all I was keen to test if I could use my sense of smell just like Pooh and Mammi could use it in yesterday's session. Secondly I wanted to implement the walking meditation that I learnt yesterday and lastly the fact that I was actually able to make good use of my sense of smell to feel the heaviness and the lightness at different places along the path of my morning walk.So here I am finally done with my morning chores of seeing bapu and beta to their respective office and school and sitting down to actually write about yesterday's experience.

Getting people together, co-ordinating the rendezvous and finally getting them to come together at times takes a little effort and sometimes it is as simple as sending out an email...It all started with enthusing people to attend yet antoher TA session. So all I did was send out a mail to our regular TA group. After some mails to and fro it was decided that we all meet at the beautiful Empress Garden at 10 am on Sunday morning. All except two of the group members were available.

So with high spirits we all assembled at the Empress garden. After scouting for a place we zeroed on a spot near a gazebo where a lot of benches were available and as such the spot was secluded. After quickly adjusting the benches under the trees where some sunlight could peep in we realized that Puzo was missing. Ms M made a quick phone call to Puzo and he was on his way. So the TA session started with Mammi, our guru asking all of us what is that we expect to learn from each other and also from the session. This was going to be the very first session for Ms M, Pooh and Puzo who was yet to join us. Ms M was curious to find out abt what the session was, Pooh was using this opportunity to take some time out of himself and I wanted the session to expand on analysing every thought and the action that follows and also for some guided interaction between members to encourage learning form each other's experinces.

Mammi then introduced the concept of using our five senses that can be used to interpret the mental make of people we interact with or even getting the vibes from our surroundings. So she left us with an exercise to use our five senses to soak in the milieu and went looking for Puzo who apparently had reached the garden and was wandering on the wrong route looking for us. We started feeling, seeing, hearing, touching and tasting our surroundings. Most of us were clueless about how to use the sense of taste when it comes to anything non-culinary. After settling Puzo I was quite amazed to see how Mammi and Pooh were in sync while noticing the difference in energies at two different bences that were just adjacent to each other. As for the rest of us the most prominent and the obvious senses that were most active were visual and auditory. Most of us felt a sense of peace and serinity from the surroundings that was a riot of the colour green. As the session continued there were aspects Mammi touched upon that were covered in the previous TA sessions like giving each other strokes. It was raining strokes for Ms M and Bhola was quite playfully annoyed at the lack of attention. After a little tomfoolery and after lots of strokes Mammi introduced us to yet another practical and very easy concept of walking meditation. In that we learnt to pay attention to ourselves as we take a walk, be aware of the muscles used in the activity, the feel of clothes on our bodies and the rythm in which we move as we walk. The idea of this exerice was to help us to teach oursleves how to focus quite like what is midfulness in Buddhism. This was followed by anaffirmation exercise. Mammi had brought along affirmation cards and all of us including my baby Remy picked up one at random. It was amazing to read Mammi affirmation that said " I am unleashing the gold mines within me". Equally apt was Pooh's affirmation that said " I am willing to spent more time for myself". Bhola's affirmation that read "Every cell in my body is getting rejuvinated" left him a bit confused.

With a lot of aaha moments, self introspection, soaking in the amazing things we had learnt and a generous peppering of laughter and pranks the session ended with a desire to catch up on the next meeting. All of us agreed to make the next one in Goa in the month of Jan. Until then I promised myself to implement all the I had learnt. The fact that I already implemented a few things today has left me with a sense of elation and achievement and I am unwilling to let go of the hangover.