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


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!