Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Featuring Penn Masala

In order to distract myself and my readers from the previous post photo - here is some cuteness~ can I get them for my birthday??? lol!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Minus 20

The journey started in February of this year after I saw the below photograph that made me cringe. I was mad for what I had done to myself and had no one but myself to blame and so I made a promise to get off my lazy ass and do something about it.



As of this morning I am 20 lbs lighter and three dress sizes smaller and extremely proud of myself for getting here. The path has been very challenging but very very rewarding at the same time since it did not involve personal trainers, fad diets or pills but pure hard work and dedication. I even posted this photo hoping it will motivate me to NEVER want to go back to being that size ever again.

A lot of you have asked me recently how I’ve lost all this weight and to all of you my answer has been same – working my butt off. Many of you have not believed me (I can tell) and think there is something I am not sharing. But seriously, I am not. It just doesn’t sound too good to hear you have to really work hard to lose weight. What you want to hear is ‘try this diet or try this new pill and you will see results in two weeks, that’s how I lost weight!.’


I know a lot of my friends are trying to lose weight and trust me when I say I would love to help you. But you have to remember that you have to help yourself first and foremost. Also, everybody is different, and it is up to you to figure out what works and does not work for you.

Here are a few things that worked for me and I’ve learnt in the process:

• Educating myself on proper nutrition and fitness. I continue to refer to Fitness Magazine, Jillian Michaels online newsletter and Everyday Health. The great thing about these are that they are all free and online newsletters with great tips and even exercises. They’ve also helped me stay motivated.
• Gym membership is not required. You will be surprised how you can do both cardio and strength training without stepping into a gym. So, if you do not have a membership or you don’t want to pay for one it should not stop you from working out. However, the gym was important to me to keep me motivated during my workouts. I also made use of the classes they offer and free training sessions they have occasionally. However, if for any reason I am not able to go to the gym, I can very well get an equal workout at home.
• Never go hungry or starve yourself. Eat every 2-3 hours, but eat healthy and in small portions. Trader Joes was a savior to me when it came to healthy snack options. Loving food the way I do, I never deprived myself of anything. I have occasionally gorged on stuff too. But for the most part I’ve made healthier choices. Depriving myself of food that I love makes it worse for me and makes me depressed, so I’ve never been successful at following any diets ever.
• Stay away from diets as much as you can. Eliminating a food group or type from your system is not the solution. Your body needs all food groups including carbs and fats. Choose the good ones and try to steer away form eating out. In most cases the ‘healthy” options provided by restaurants or fast food chains are really not healthy. Also, learn to read the labels of food stuff you purchase and what that means to your intake.
• Saying you are busy and have no time to work out is NOT going to help you. Trust me, I had no time up until I figured out I had an hour for lunch. Ever since I’ve worked out most lunchtimes instead of going out to eat or going shopping or even plain sitting at my desk browsing or working.
• Do not depend on a work-out buddy. It was a mistake I made starting out. Remember it is YOUR goal and only YOU can reach it. Get used to working out yourself and enjoy the “me time”.
• Add variety to your workout. Try new things. PLAY with your kids in the park – do the moneky bars with them. We all have desk jobs, so make your life away from the desk as much active and fun as possible. Throw in squats, lunges, pushups whenever and wherever you can. You can break up your workout into tiny slots throughout the day.
• Life will throw many things at you. You will be tired, sick, stressed, depressed and all of this will stop you from working out every now and then. Just remember, working out actually helps in all these situations. You come out refreshed with more energy feeling positive. This past year has not been the greatest one for me personally. A lot of negativity surrounded me and still does. However that’s what motivates me and working out always helps me get all those negative feelings out.
• It makes you a better parent. You can help educate your kids on making good food choices from the start and help them in enjoy an active life. Evani loves to stretch, do yoga and dance with me and I still get to spend time with her while working out.

Know that the ONLY way to lose weight and stay healthy is exercising consistently and eating healthy. For some of us it requires a few lifestyle changes. I’ve changed mine and hope you are able to change yours and believe you can do it too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Storyteller

video

Translation: One night a deer was crossing the street at night. Then the deer got hit by a car. Then it looks like a fishy. Then go to doctor deer, oh, deer doctor. Then it got better. Then it went home. Then it did not feel sick anymore. The end.

This story is based on an encounter of a wounded deer on our way to Evani’s school one morning.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joys of Motherhood

Yesterday was one of those days when you realize being a mom means having to let go. So the park I like to visit (for you know what reason) is going to become past tense after Evani had to go pee behind the bushes there last night and I was offered a hand sanitizer by you know who. Thankfully she had swim lessons, which helped my speedy and embarrassed exit thereafter.

And like one embarrassment wasn’t enough for the night, one her way back from the shower after swim lessons, madam drops our big bright towel right into the pool. Now I don’t know how she managed to do that since from where she was standing the towel should’ve dropped to the floor. Karma you say? For not wearing new clothes or visiting the temple during Durga Pujo?

I think our Karmas were all screwed up the day we decided to become moms…such joy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My kind of Pujo

As the Goddess Durga steps foot on this earth and brings her children along for five full days of partying, (Oh c’mon! It IS a party for them. Being donned in the best outfits, doted on and fed throughout the day – that’s hell of a party for me), I often wonder what Durga pujo has meant to me and my family for several years.



I remember my grandfather and his search for the earplugs as the day commenced. He was extremely annoyed with the blaring microphones playing tasteless Bollywood songs. In fact he was annoyed with almost all Pujo celebrations, maybe because most of it was not related to worshiping Durga at all. The crowds, the noise and even the youth population knocking on every door asking for donations trying to raise money for the pujo in their community. He did enjoy going to my aunt’s who hosted a pujo at her house. There he was able to actually worship the Goddess in his own way and was one of those rare people who along with my uncle actually knew what the priest murmured.

My Grandmother on the other hand is what made the pujos so symbolic to me. We woke up to the sounds of an old radio playing Mahalaya or Pujo songs. She would have already had her bath and would be donned in a new and crisp white saree with a red border. She loved the bustle of the city during those days and would often sit in the varendah during the evenings and watch the streams of people out pandal hopping.

Pujo was special to me not because of the Goddess herself. But because it was time for Baba to visit Kolkata with a suitcase full of goodies for me. Also because school/hostel was closed for a month which meant I would be able to spend some uninterrupted time with him and get to take the taxi instead of the bus wherever we went. Truly, the simple luxuries of life back then. ☺

Then of course there was my aunt’s house where you could witness the actual (as in non-commercial) version of the pujo. It bustled with family, friends and neighbors non-stop for those five days. As I grew older, hanging out with my school friends and flirting with neighborhood dudes became of prime importance. Donning the latest Bollywood fashion, partying, eating good food and just plain “adda” equated to celebrating the pujos.

So, was there anything closely religious during Durga Pujo? To most people I knew or know, being religious is fasting till Anjali, eating vegetarian food with no garlic and onion, wearing something new (can even be your underwear) on the first day of puja, lip-syncing anjali mantras with no clue as to what it means etc…etc…

To me all of this is not religion. The practices we follow blindly have nothing to do with worshiping good over evil. Wasn’t that why the Goddess herself came to this earth? Then why do we harvest evil thoughts within ourselves? Why do we intentionally hurt others and why can we not stay together in peace and harmony as a community? How about this puja we embrace the true meaning of our religion. How about we adopt, volunteer, donate, inspire, or in other words really make a difference.

Happy Pujas!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Archies Gallery

A lot of Bangla Band songs revive age old memories. Today it was Bhalobasha by Porosh Pathor. "Bhalobasha maney Archies Gallery..." indeed!



I can still see the spic and span air-conditioned store with its big glass doors amidst all the dark and dingy stores of Gariahat. Entering Archie's Gallery meant stepping into this whole other world, mainly because it was a HUGE relief from the heat outside. Browsing cards took forever. Each card had to be read and reread in the quest to find one that said EXACLTY what you felt - be it for your best friend, lover or someone you wanted to convey 'we're just friends' or 'no strings attached'. There was a card in there for all kinds of emotions - and lots of emotions we did have back then. We saved our pocket money for such extravagant purchases in a time where expressing your feelings to our friends seemed to be more worthwhile than spending that money on some kind of fast food. The time we put into these cards were not limited to their duration of purchase but in their personalization with even more heartfelt hand written messages (as if those long verses in the card itself was not enough) and embellishments. We did this for all our dear friends, be it their birthday, friendship day, valentines day or no special day at all but just to say 'I'm glad we're friends' or 'you mean a lot to me'.

Today we stay in touch through Facebook and Blogs and often miss each other's birthdays. But I think we know we revisit our own memories of Archie's Gallery every now and then and in our hearts know that we still mean the world to each other.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Hamesha and forever…

Waking up to an overcast sky outside took me year’s back to class VI A of Gokhale Memorial Girls School where gloomy days meant dark classrooms, Kishore Kumar songs and a strong desire to fall in love. I can still hear Mondol (Dipa) or PaNchu (Panchali) singing ‘rim jhim gire sawan’ and can still see clearly our infamous gang positioned in the different spots in front of the windows looking out and getting lost in those dark clouds. If Manisha or Gargi di were bunking class that day for some reason, they would pop their heads out from the screen wall that partitioned the senior dorm from the classroom and join in the romantic mood. So many years have passed and yet these dark clouds here in Sacramento take me to that very same spot, amidst my friends forever.

I think the best part of my life was spent in those halls and classrooms of GMGS with an amazing group of friends who I miss dearly. Cannot wait to see you all early next year.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Rebirth

From lack of sleep due to her son’s early morning feedings, my best friend writes to me that in her next life if she is reborn a girl she will end up marrying a girl – that way she won’t have to deal with husbands or kids. That got me thinking what I wanted to be in my next life (and just for that I will believe in rebirth).

I want to be born a pet dog to a filthy rich celebrity. No husbands, kids maybe but I won’t have to take care of them, no work (that rules out being a guard dog) and all play, television and magazine appearances, gourmet food, designer clothes , mini mansions, and spa treatments guaranteed.

Happy long weekend everyone! woof…woof…

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I'm off to the park!

I have a weakness on guys with a British accent (what can I say - after all we were ruled by them for so many years), especially if they are good looking. So when I met this dad in the park (both good looking and had an accent) I found a renewed interest in taking Evani there more often. ;) In my defense, how many Intel employees do you meet in Folsom with those two attributes? To top it all how many dads do you meet who religiously take their daughters to the park and talk to you about schools and their child’s extra curricular activities AND remember your daughter’s name? SIGH!!!

Well, I’m just glad I’m enjoying the park as much as Evani is. :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Flying High!

Recently I was told that most Indians look down upon flight attendants and refuse to get their sons married to them. I was not hearing this for the first time. The general consensus amongst “educated” Indian families is definitely that being a flight attendant is equivalent to being a whore.

At least that was the case when I decided to become one. If you are that Indian and a friend who did not know this about me, you can close that jaw of yours that just dropped. Yes, really! So you can imagine the horror my family must have gone through when I said I was going to do just that.

I was lucky enough to have a parent who was not like the rest. That was both a good and a bad thing, but I digress. The SIMPLE reason I decided to take up the job was because I wanted to travel the world for free. I also wanted to get away from a place where people judged you continuously; neighbors were more interested than you in what was going on in your house and family members were at each other’s throats for ancestral properties. Ironically I landed up in an equal or worse society in the U.S. than what I tried getting away from so many years ago.

Most entertaining were the reactions I got from Indians when I told them I was a flight attendant. Let’s start with the men – shall we? The single dudes would be elated to meet you. You could tell it had always been their dream to come across a flight attendant one day. They assumed right away that you were all beauty and no brains and getting you in bed would probably be a simple feat. Their dads however would look at you with disdain and hope that as long as his son was “only friends” with her and not getting into any relationship he should be fine. Then there were the guys who would have a relationship with you but would not consider you marriage material due to the same reasons and definitely not worthy to introduce you to their families as well. He would only take pride within his friend circle to be dating a hot flight attendant or be friends with one.

The women on the other hand loathed you for being good looking and having such a glamorous career, or so they thought. Some of course thought you weren’t even pretty enough (and there were quite a few of us in this category) and wondered if you had slept with a pilot to get the job. Deep inside they wanted to be more like you but knowing their families would never allow it in a million years, they were happy harvesting the same age-old notions and talking about your “character” with others. The moms just warned you to stay away from “these sort of” girls.

Now my non-Indian friends might be thinking – what’s the big deal? You see, this career was not considered as any other job back home like it is here. Getting selected depended a lot on how you looked, your figure and your grasp of spoken English. Hence this was not a profession for the "educated". The makeup, hair, uniforms, travel, five-star hotels – all made the job seem extremely glamorous to folks outside the industry.

It is in reality a shitty job like all of you know already. It is just being a waitress with one major perk – the travel. It was just a job to me like it was to many others with absolutely NO glamor involved. Not really very different compared to all the other shitty jobs a lot of us have had in our careers. To the disappointment of many, I did not sleep around with any pilots or random men or do anything in fact that I would be ashamed of. I am glad I was not one of them who did not pursue their dreams for what others might think. On the contrary, I met a few of the smartest women, made a whole bunch of friends and traveled the globe like never before or will ever in the future – an opportunity many people will never get in their lives! These days I have to think thrice to even travel to domestic destinations let alone go to Africa or Europe. Overall I made some long lasting memories and an experience I cannot trade for anything in the world.

To the person who brought about his whole post: I need not have become a flight attendant to tarnish my “character”. I could very well have done that being the likes the Indian parents crave for their sons – an engineer, doctor, accountant, teacher or even the ideal house wife material. Sorry to have disappointed you!

Thanks to hubby for accepting me for who I was and all those friends and family members who continually encourage me to be..ummm...ME.

Friday, April 02, 2010

First day of school

The day had to come and I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach. Evani has been going to a home daycare since she was three months. At six months I could not take it anymore and my guilt had me quitting my job and staying home with her for almost a year – the best time of my life. Come 18 months I was ready to get out of the house once again. Ever since she has been going to another home daycare where both daughter and mom have made some lasting friendships.

Evani turned three in Feb and both us parents decided it was time for her to move to a preschool setting. Mainly to acquire better social skills and keep herself engaged with a wider variety of activities. So the search for a suitable school started and I haggled almost all parents I knew with kids for their thoughts on various schools. Our first choice was the Gold River preschool, since that’s where we live and eventually we do plan on sending her to the Gold River Discovery school starting kindergarten. However, that preschool does not provide before and after care and only runs from 8:30am – 11:30pm. Totally not geared for working parents. So the next option was of course private preschool.

We would have loved to enroll her to a private preschool in the Gold River area – however it turned out there was only one – La Petite. It had the perfect location – very close to home – convenient for both me and Shomeek for drop off and pick up. However, on our tour there I was very unimpressed with the lack of enthusiasm on part of the teachers – a big drawback right there.

Since La Petite was our only option in Gold River, we moved focus to Folsom – with definitely a larger number of preschools in the region. A good friend suggested Kinder Care since she knew one of the teachers there personally and highly recommended him. I was very pleased on my tour there. The staff was extremely friendly and caring, the teacher very enthusiastic and the facility overall seemed wonderful. It was close to my workplace and I knew this was it.

Today is her trial day and she starts next week going three full days. I’ve been building up this day for her with all sorts of excitement. So come this morning:

Dora dress: check
Dora backpack: check
Dora straw cup: check
And we’re off to school…



The scene was quite different after we went inside. The smiles soon faded and she burst into tears!

Monday, March 22, 2010

3

Between a job, toddler, home, dance school and freelance work I don’t often get time to write these days. And even if I miraculously have time, I tend to do something mindless and motionless like lying on our couch watching TV. Today is one of those days where I’ve woken up thinking I could probably sleep for another six hours and it is also the day I will be working late into the night. So here I am sitting at work thinking – screw everything, let’s blog.

Well, the real reason I am here though is the fact that I had this sudden realization at Evani’s 3 yr old checkup, how fast Evani was growing up and how long I hadn’t blogged about her. She was the reason I had started this blog thinking it would be so much fun to look back and share all of this with her.

Last month Evani turned three and what can I say, it hasn’t been any better. Its fun to have actual conversations with her (well, close to actual), do things with her and see the excitement in her eyes when she discovers something new. A dancer at heart, she will move to any music and make you move too, a chatterbox who puts mom to shame when she doesn’t utter a sound after mom just told her friends how her daughter can’t stop talking and a temper that, oh well, mom has no clue where she got that from. Her little brain thinks paint looks better on her hands and face than paper and mommy’s clothes are meant to be her dance costumes. She has more than one imaginary friend and a severe sweet tooth.

I will have to admit there are days I think my life was better off with no kids. And I have no patience for her tantrums or endless chatter and questions. However, I cannot think of a life without her in it. She keeps me alive and on my toes – no kidding! Aside from being a typical 3 year old she is a great kid in so many more ways and I am blessed. She starts preschool next month. I know I am selfish when my heart gets heavy and I think, my darling, I don’t want you to grow up so fast...


Given the choice will stay outdoors all day



Goofing around with Baba



The painter at work - at least this time the work of art is on the paper



Hudson and Evani - just a few weeks apart - love each others company



Lounging with BFF Shobi Gobi



Making rotis in her "dance costume"



Loves to be the center of attention



Well, so does baba~



Loves her 'dadabhai' and 'chordabhai' (only chordabhai featured in this pic)



Enjoying Seattle with her most favorite group of friends



Her best b'day party ever - thanks to Soma mashi and Kiran mesho and thanks to Kanchi mashi for the princess dress



The diva with her 'tude!