Pastime Pleasures!

The greatest happiness comes from being vitally interested in something that excites all your energies     – Walter Annenberg 

It has been a year since I found some exciting activities to do at my leisure even though I left my regular job three years back to be at home. It is really tough being occupied in a profession and suddenly out of it without having a proper plan to use the extra hours at hand.

Universally known fact is that “work expands to fill the time available” and I found out that it is more so with household chores. They are highly elastic in nature and pull themselves and you along unless you know when to stop.

In the beginning, I was totally lost trying to do odd things at odd hours and not able to make anyone including the house help to do anything  as per my convenience. Even though I was continuously busy, at the end of the day I was feeling empty and fatigued (It might have been due to lack of proper exercise too which I can relate after I got into my fitness regime)

Where I started

After so many days of frustration, anger and guilty feelings, I have finally found my peace by registering for an online course in counselling during mid 2015. Studying for the course not only kept me occupied but also helped me understand and manage my emotions. The situational analysis and solution finding exercises for completing the assignments and case studies converted my idle mind into an over working brain and drove away the devil from his workshop.

With this newfound knowledge and wisdom, I started a conversation with my inner voice and engaged it in finding the things that will give me happiness and cease the restlessness. Having understood my commitments, I have decided that it will not be worthwhile  to join the workforce on a full time basis and on the other hand part time jobs suiting my requirements are hard to come by. So I directed my heart to find those things which can be done leisurely at my own time and convenience at the same time giving me a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment as I am out of gainful employment anyway.

What I Found

The deep thinking brought out my forgotten skill in the crochet work  I have learnt earlier. I started searching for videos and tutorials to refresh my memories. Downloaded Pinterest and created different boards and pinned my interests. While on this stumbled upon different variety cooking ideas and recipes which were added to my collections under a different board.

With the confidence I gained after writing my assignments, I revisited my desire to open my blog and broke the barriers on the way. Here I am sharing my thoughts and feeling the joy.

Meanwhile, youtube surfing thrown up some channels teaching how to draw traditional Kolams/Rangoli  which I always wanted to learn and practice. Although in the videos they are drawn on the floor, I started redrawing them in a notebook and practiced till I got the designs right. Some smaller designs I did in our house entrance using white powder and gained confidence.

Bought a hoop and threads and learnt kutch embroidery when the opportunity knocked.

Meanwhile, the balcony garden I have with some potted plants kept me engaged and provided the unparellelled pleasure .

Somedays I go crazy and continue my crochet till I complete the design and somedays I will draw as many kolams to fill my notebooks. Somedays I totally immerse myself in the book I am reading in my kindle and other days are spent watching Hollywood movies end to end. On a fine evening, one of the special recipes will catch my attention and will compel me to make and share in WhatsApp groups. Some weekends are indulged in gardening or writing my thoughts down.

The activities I have chosen retained my interest, excited the senses and focussed the energies.  Therefore, whichever one I am doing, I am just Lovin’ them…Glad to share some pictures of my creations here!

 

 

Plot twist

 

A Teacher wanted her kindergarten kids to experience the darkness when they closed their eyes and saw black; only that a boy who was sitting near the window and getting sunlight on his face, saw red instead. 😑

Expecting to surprise the beloved, a newly married, prepared the dish exactly measuring all the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe, forgetting only to switch on the stove. 👨‍🍳

For a month the whole family was excited about and looking forward to their journey to their favourite tourism spot; packed and reached the railway station well in time but to be told by the TTE that the tickets were booked for the previous night train. 🚇🚆🚂

When explaining the gravity principle, teacher threw the chalk piece towards the roof informing the students that gravity will bring it down. The chalk piece got stuck between the beams and defied the gravity. 🐧🙈🐥

An high school boy prepared well throughout the night and was fully confident of answering all questions; only thing he didn’t anticipate was that the exam is for another subject.🦉🤦🏻‍♂️

A besotted husband, to create an impression for the wife called home a “hard to please relative” for a south Indian lunch with a good spread; after serving all items, the wife realised that she forgot to cook rice.🤷‍♀️🙆🏻‍♂️

 


One day Marvin went to a farm. 

“Would you like to take this hen home to eat?” The farmer asked Marvin

“Oh, I would, I would ” said Marvin. “But tell me – What does it eat?”

          – Bennett Cerf


RUN FUN IN PINK

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Ten days are over after participating for the first time in the females only running event ‘Pinkathon’ in our city  and I have decided today to ponder over the experience.

Foremost in my mind is the buzz it caused in our apartment complex. With more than 30 ladies in different age groups participating en masse was enough to create a talk and with the group successfully completing their respective distances turned it into a full blown news item. It had been the conversation starter ever since and all showed a genuine appreciation for the group. With uploads of photos in social network platforms, the details reached world wide.

It all began a month back, forming a group, inspiring and motivating each other, joining for the practice sessions, Bib collection trips, transportation arrangement to the venue, discussion about post run activities, all focussed to keep the momentum and excitement alive.

The actual experience fully met the expectations with everything going as planned and the fun element is included in everything from waking up early to selfie moments to ride up to venue to the Zumba session for warming up and finally the run on the road with ten thousand more women. It was amazing!!!!!!

As I reflect upon my affair with this fixture , the following played in my mind:

  • It gave me an objective to look forward to and plan the daily activities surrounding this objective.
  • The anticipation to know how much I can push my body and the suspense of the unknown outcome on the D day
  • The opportunity to better the time over the previous performances now armed with the newfound knowledge and practical wisdom
  • The appreciation received for the regular work out and its effects on the body is the real adrenalin pusher.

LEAVE BEHIND

The organisers of the run along with the frontal bib, had given one more bib to be pinned on the back. This back bib came with the tagline ‘I leave behind‘ to be completed by the runners with their choice of words/verbs/nouns/sentences.

I liked the concept and embraced it by writing the one thing I really want to leave behind and pinned my bib dutifully on the back of my pink t-shirt for the whole world to see. I am also intrigued to know what others in my group wrote and also made a mental note to see as many messages while on the path.

Some of the messages I got from the group, the ones I saw in the venue and while on the road are summed up here.

I leave behind

My insecurities
My past life
Need to be fair (complexion)
Shyness
Regret about past deeds
Guilt
Anger
Laziness
Fear of change
Need to be perfect
Fear of running
Getting up early
Short temper(this is mine ;)………….etc..

The Run

The venue was packed with the milling pink & white crowd starting from toddlers to senior citizens, in sarees as seen in a wedding to minimal dresses as required to fashionistas ready to walk on the ramp to those who didn’t care the world except to cover from head to toe to protect against the chill. There were every type to see and appreciate.

Some sincerely ran, some came just to take selfies every ten meters. Some ran alone while many walked in groups and blocked the whole road without any care. Some chatted away about their plans for next year run.

A few ran only when they spotted a photographer zooming on his lens and continued their stroll after crossing him . Some might not have even gone on the road as quite a few were dancing for the music near the stage, as I have noticed before and after my run.

I ran at a steadier pace and without any stress and felt very good about it. I didn’t better the time or run fully as I had anticipated but the satisfaction is unequivocal. The thoughts about cancer survivors and people fighting their battles against this deadly disease filled my mind whole time and I have dedicated my small feat to all of them.

Way Back

Collecting the pack of goodies and the finisher medal ( a cute pink cloth doll made by Tsunami survivors, we were told), with adrenalin pumping, we shed our shyness and tried to shake legs with the music. A long walk to the nearby restaurant didn’t get the breakfast we wanted and hence decided to stop in a ‘Thindi’ (Roadside cafe) on the way. Though not much was said before the run, a lot discussed on the return trip accompanied by intermittent laughter.

We resumed our discussion about future running events a day after but it is  a given that to raise up to this one will take another year 🙂

“We don’t meet people by accident; They are meant to cross our path for a reason”

 

I wish……

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” – Roald Dahl

I wish I know what to do with my hands whenever I pose alone for a photograph….

I wish I do things spontaneously, sometime…

I wish I  learn to say less and listen more……

I wish I impose my ideas little strongly or support a side staunchly….

I wish the swelling in my chest and the possessiveness I exude are not so overt whenever my loved ones are appreciated……

I wish I remember my finest points before the argument is over not after an hour…..

I wish I halt the imagination that all the symptoms of  a disease I just read about, are already existing in me …

I wish I could command my tears to go back to their glands after I realise how foolish it is to shed them….

I wish I end the urge to  smoothen the sofa cover or puff the pillows every time I pass….

I wish I remain strong and hold my ground when I say ‘NO’ to my son…..

I wish I am able to control the yearning for some extraordinary talent which I could never have……..

I wish I start accounting my expenses and making a monthly grocery list ….

I wish I stop looking at the cute girl dresses and think how good they will look on my unborn daughter….

I wish I don’t watch so many cooking videos on youtube or collect all awesome recipes for my future day preparations…..

…… OR……

I wish I could protect my mind from thinking too much !!!!!!! 😉 😉 🙂

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Fitness Play

Scene I

I love cycling and got my first cycle when I was seven years old and that means I learnt to cycle before that.

It indicates two other things too:

One, Early on, I never liked to walk and preferred to cycle or use a vehicle;

Two, since cycling kept me fit, I have never been part of any sport. 🙂

Only game I ever interested  was cricket for the energy it brought in our home with a whole lot of people coming together to watch but learnt nothing about playing it. Our team winning was the only objective for me and ‘How’ was not at all in my concern.

When I entered the world of books, I was more than happy to stop pretending to watch cricket too and immersed myself in the printed words.

Scene II

Away from home and TV, took away my little interest in any sport although cricket kept poking its head in my life. Volunteered once to assist the teams purely for fun and time pass, when a Ranji Trophy cricket match was played between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on our college grounds. That gave me an opportunity to see Javagal Srinath, Krishnamachari Srikant and a chance to chat with Syed Kirmani one afternoon. All that created excitement solely for entertainment purpose and nothing to do with the sport.

The first sport shoes I ever bought was for the compulsory physical education course we had to register in college. I used to get angry whenever the PET asked us to run around the ground, which is every Tuesday as per timetable. I strictly maintained the minimum attendance required for that course till it was over in the third year. I actually lost an outstanding OGPA award only because of scoring a ‘C’ in that course, much to the chagrin of our undergraduate course coordinator.

Scene III

I enter the marriage life with a fitness freak, who loves, plays and follows anything called sport. His fun on a weekend is walking five kilometres, sweating and having a nice hot shower afterwards. He loves waking up at 4 in the morning and doing  yoga on the creekside with sun rising behind us. While on official tour, he hits the gym before starting a day and while on vacation prefers running on the beach. Somehow managed without getting affected too much by his enthusiasm although liked the fresh energy every time I join him. Still loved the books and my morning sleep.

Birth of our child and the great responsibilities of being a mom just carried me without any need for even thinking of doing anything as the active boy kept me on my toes and meanwhile taken care of my fitness too.

Scene IV

Shift to Bangalore and a great place with full fledged gym, swimming pool, nice jogging track amidst the green trees and lawn. Nope I love the library, my books and loved talking to people even when I go to stroll.

Yes its good to see all walking fast, going to gym, swim and joining Zumba/aerobics/Yoga.

No, it’s not my cup of tea, I am fine.

Scene V

Hit the magical forty, metabolism changes and hormonal dramas, more responsibilities coupled with mindless eating led to a right side tilting of weighing scales and stretching of the measuring tape to its end.

Though vertical growth stopped at 18, horizontal growth took its turn now with a vengeance showing its superiority. All the calories just settled on my body and hugged me with so much love as much I showed on consuming them.

Back , hip, knee, ankle, elbows, shoulder , neck you name the part and I had pain there.

No other go, hit the gym, test the waters in the pool, start walking and stop talking, read Rujuta Diwakar instead of mysteries and thrillers, mind voice advised. A new journey began.

Scene VI

Loved the pool whenever I go and the happiness of floating in water cannot be explained.Though not a good swimmer, can splash around and enjoyed the moments.

Gym training helped me understand different work outs and the effect they have on our body but somehow the closed area, too many sweaty people and swollen ankle pushed me out after a six months session.

Open air walking allowed me explore our complex better and find me a favourite spot, a bench on the lawn which started pulling me everyday. Fixed time schedule, walking for certain amount of time calculating the calories and distance covered, ending with good stretching and doing pranayama, became my routine for the last one year.

Scene VII

Spouse being a marathoner ultimately brought my attention to running although scared to take it up with weak knees and ankles. A life coach in our complex and his well designed schedule (check out http://www.torun4ever.com) gave me the confidence to try my luck on running but dropped after a session due to lack of understanding and improper practice.

New year began with registering for Pinkathon and joining a group of energetic ladies who keep motivating each other. I am charged now and looking forward to my routine schedule of fitness and the benefits accrued with it.

Wait for Scene VIII…….

Who knows I may take part in the future Olympics 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will Go out…!

“Riiiiiiitaaaaa…..Are you coming or not”?

Leela stood near the door with a scowl on her face and hands on her hip. Rita switched off the phone urgently and jumped out of her bed.

” Lets Go” she said avoiding her eyes and grabbing her hand bag. Both left their room hurriedly and hopped into the taxi waiting near the gate. Leela instructed the driver to take them to the restaurant where they have to join their friends for the dinner.

It was a lovely summer day and as sun dipping in the West it was beginning to get dark although it’s nearing 7 in the evening. Above the restaurant there is a bowling alley and before dinner all are supposed to play a game together, as per the plan. Both in their mid twenties and working for an IT establishment, were looking forward to this evening for the last one month with a lot of excitement.

While the driver was negotiating the traffic, Leela turned to Rita and asked her “What were you busy with on the phone? We are going to be late and miss out all the chatting and laughing” she pouted her lips to show her disappointment.

Rita in a consoling tone replied, “Sorry di, just got caught up with the FB updates and some WA messages, and accused her, ” you could have warned me earlier!

Immediately seeing her friend’s angry reaction, changed in a pacifying voice, ” We will reach in time, you know Reshmi right, she always comes late. Instead of us waiting for her, let her wait for us this time. Listen, how’s my dress, my hair is fine right? You are looking gorgeous in this bottle green dress and the earrings are beautiful. ”

Leela became animated and started explaining why she chose the dress and how she paired it with the accessories matching, which took care of the whole journey with Rita responding with required Oohs and Ahs, perfectly.

Party was as jolly as it could be, friends, gossips, booze, loads of lip smacking food, music and dance, a perfect annual day party that anyone could ask for. Leela and Rita relished the whole thing as it is their first annual day party with this company after they have joined.

However, both are well aware of their limit and being thick friends from college days, they interfered when required and safeguarded each other from doing anything or getting into anything which they may regret later. It was fun to forget their routine life and celebrate the youthfulness all around. Meet, chat, laugh and socialise the reason for which they’ve come to the party and that objective they never deviated from.

They quit the party around 10 pm saying loud byes to everyone who can hear. Once reached the road, Leela powered her phone on and clicked the app to locate a taxi nearby their location.

“Oh, no! Taxi is available only after thirty minutes, we already came out and can’t go inside again” Leela sighed.

Rita looked around and said, “Hey! Lets walk for sometime till the junction and you try again, may be more cabs will be available there; isn’t it a pleasant weather to walk also” indicating the  road ahead with a few walking.

Leela agreed happily and they started walking slowly recalling all the jokes shared in the party and confirming the gossips they heard among themselves, interspersed with a controlled laughter and a giggle.

Reaching the junction, they stood near a bus stop where some are waiting for the bus and a fruit hawker covering his stall with polythene sheets and packing the unsold fruits in separate crates carefully. Two men zoomed on their bikes in the deserted road in a carefree way while a near empty bus went on the opposite side without any hurry. A street dog curled up against the pavement and settled for the night with half closed eyes.

Rekha pulled out her phone from the bag and checked the app for the nearby taxis and as she found that there was one in two minutes distance, she confirmed the booking. Within seconds, her phone rang and a male voice with a heavy Hindi accent asked her the location to which Rekha replied in fluent Kannada, hearing which the guy relaxed and said “Ok madam, Bega barthini”

A white Tata indica with a yellow board pulled next to them and Rita confirmed the taxi number from the sms they received with the car registration number in a quick glance before opening the back door. They both got into the taxi and settled comfortably in the seats and gave the CRN number which the driver accepted and started the taxi.

Rita in a casual tone asked “Have you had your dinner Anna?” The driver sheepishly said, “Yes Madam, Just finished when your call came, the Kuruma smell is still there in my hands” showed his right hand holding the steering in left. “Did you have madam”? he enquired and without waiting for her answer he continued “You must have finished since you are coming from a party, as I can see” and smiled through the central mirror.

“Yes, Yes, We had our stomach full, no need to eat for next one week” as Leela said, driver laughed out loudly.

By the time they were near the signal,  Leela told him to take the right turn and asked him whether he knows their colony for which he affirmed saying that he knew every corner in the city as he is in the profession for the last 10 years although the city has changed a lot recently. As he recounted his experiences, punctuated by the girl’s Aha’s, Ho ho’s and customary nodding of head, they reached their destination.

After settling the bill, they both said a big ‘Thank you’ to the driver and entered their apartment. While keying in the lock, Rita said in a sleepy voice, “All went very well, lets catch some sleep, good night” to Leela who was stifling a yawn and followed her inside.

Gratitude for Granted

It is believed that being strong, hiding emotions and showing empathy will get accolades and appreciation but it’s not so mostly as the strong person is usually ‘taken for granted’ and considered as one ‘not looking for kindness’!

Do you know the downside of being strong and empathetic ? No one will even wait to hear your reply for the casual query ‘how are you’ and presume all is well.There is a saying in Tamil, that only the crying baby gets the milk but unfortunately some babies think crying is weakness!

Unconditional love is glorified everywhere  but I am sure if not reciprocated at least once in a while and soon enough, that also won’t last forever. 

In the day to day life, woman of the house will not talk politely or even in a normal tone with her husband whereas she will be the epitome of courtesy outside. A man considered as an absolute angel for many in the office might be a terror for the children at home. The maid who follows strict discipline in every household she works might be tardy with her longest and most considerate employer. You may attribute all these behaviour to the disease  ‘Taking Them For Granted’

originalNormally the person or the things that we take for granted are the ones truly deserve our gratitude.

Recently I spent my leisure to analyse different aspects of my life to understand the gratitude I have for those granted to me!

I am grateful for:

  • My health – Till a year back I have not taken it seriously that I need to ‘DO’ something to take care of it and neglected the importance of fitness regime to have a healthy life. I am glad that at least now I have understood.
  • My super awesome Hubby – In my conservative ideas, I still presume he will follow me for the next six janmas 😉
  • Our child – A blessing and a joy forever.
  •  The loving family – It is usually assumed that family will love and accept you whatever you do or don’t. It is not so and as every relationship needs to be nurtured and cared for, family too needs our attention and appreciation.
  • Our Lovely abode – Situated in a beautiful gated community overlooking the blue skies and green garden valley, the place of our own is a Home we created.
  • The daily food on the table,  intellectually stimulating company of friends, a vibrant community and association with a social cause, everything has my gratitude and everyday I am thankful for.
  • The innumerable occasions when things could have gone wrong but resulted in positive outcomes- I just ‘Thank God’

Gratitude usually attracts more good things and let us acknowledge the ‘Granted’ ones and wish for some more!

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