The must-haves !

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Things I wanted most in a partner before I got married.

1.) Long, mentally invigorating conversations about the world, politics, philosophy, life and love! There’s nothing I love more than a soul-stirring conversation, listening to someone else’s ideas and sharing my ideas, beliefs and opinions with them. People with 2 minute attention spans are people I would, given a chance, like to stay away from.

2.) The desire to travel. I love exploring places, people and ideas. Seeing new places, how people live, the difference in cultures ( even in the same country ) and visiting places of natural beauty is something I have always been deeply interested in. It makes my soul feel alive in a way I cannot quite explain. The more spontaneous the trip, the more I am likely to love the experience but even if it isn’t spontaneous, the mere idea of going out and spending time in nature is like an elixir to my existence. For me, travelling is not about posting pictures and checking in to places on Facebook/Insta ( I might do some of this as well if the place has blown my mind away but in general, I am not much of a FB/Insta poster ), it is the experience and the opportunity of exploring new places and cultures that matters the most.

2.) Ambition, the desire to learn new things, a constant need to grow in life, someone who is deep enough to listen to one hour ( or longer ) podcasts without getting bored and tuning out within the first 2 minutes because they assume they know everything. The desire to learn, the curiosity to know about how others lead successful lives- what sets them apart from others is something that really fuels me and I would have loved to have a partner with the same shared interest.

3.) Phenomenal physical chemistry with my partner. I have had this in a relationship earlier and it has been very important to me. So important, in fact, that when I broke up with that guy I was hugely concerned if I would ever have sex like that with another person again.

4.) A lot of love and respect for me and my family. I was very clear that I wanted a partner who had deep love and concern for his own family because I was sure that if someone met this criterion, they would be the kind of person who would understand my insane level of affection for my family and would not interfere or try to stop me from spending time with my family or doing things for them when I needed to.

5.) A desire to share the load of household chores and decisions equally.

When I do make this list public, I would like to find out how many of my readers want the same things from their partners. You are welcome to share things that are not on this list as well ! šŸ™‚

Love in the time of Corona!

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I have been reading a lot about this whole corona virus situation which has plagued all nations of the world since February this year. It is amazing how nearly half the year has gone by, so quickly, yet we seem to have been unable to do much to contain the situation. India has been under lockdown since the 24th of May and that makes it about a month and a half since the economy and the country as a whole have come to a standstill.

In all the years of my life, I have never experienced a time so fraught with uncertainty and to a control freak like me- this is very disconcerting. Forget about my plans for later this year, I do not even know what next week is going to look like.

The one good thing, however, to emerge from this period of utter uncertainty is that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my delightful ( well, on most days atleast ) husband. Before the 24th of March, I used to yearn for the weekends as that was the only quality time I ever got to spend with him. He is normally always extremely occupied with work and by the time he gets back home, he is so tired that all he wants to do is to have dinner, watch TV, spend some time ( read, a lot ) on his phone and fall asleep. I hope I am not managing to convey that I do not have much work to do and that my organization pays me just to log in to Skype every morning- but I definitely have a much more relaxed schedule as compared to my husband’s. I have the luxury of scheduling meetings when I want to and being able to work from home at least twice or thrice a week. This leaves me considerably less tired and significantly bored at the end of a lot of weekdays and all I want then is to spend time with the husband and ensure that he talks to me or listens to my rants about whatever earth-shattering experience I have managed to convince myself I have had that day. The poor guy tries his darndest to look and sound like he actually cares about whatever’s on my mind. I, of course, know better than to believe that and after trying unsuccessfully for an hour or so to get his undivided attention, will normally give up and go back to my phone, YouTube or books and leave him to unwind in front of the TV.

And so goes every single day of the week, every single week of the year and every single year of our married life.

Do I resent this? Well, some days..yes! But I have now fallen in line with this predictable cycle and any diversion from it is strangely not something I really look forward to.

The lockdown period has also taught me a lot of things about my husband and our relationship.

  • In general, we seem to like each other a lot and are enough to keep the other person entertained most of the time.
  • He isn’t the same person I got married to- there is so much that has changed. And as it probably happens in ‘arranged’ marriages, it has changed for the better. He is a lot more invested in the relationship now, he understands what not to do to tick me off ( at least 8 out of 10 times ), he knows, understands and fulfills his duties when it comes to household chores and taking care of my family – he calls them much more often now as compared to earlier,Ā  and tries to ensure that they are in comfort at all times.
  • ( At this point, I turn to superstition and I urge you ( very strongly ) to touch any wooden object near you as many times as possible in order to ensure that this lovely man continues to be as lovely to me in the foreseeable future.)
  • He can only play so much Ludo on the phone with me.
  • There is no limit to the number of tiger/leopard attack videos he can watch and forward to random people on whatsapp. There never will be a limit to this. Or so I suspect.
  • If ever, there was anyone who suffered from a bad case of FOMO ( go check that out on Google, you non-millenials ), it is this lovely human being that I am married to.
  • I have never known another person who loves his parents so much and is SO willing to take care of every need that they have, sometimes even before they are aware of the need themselves!
  • He loves me and is proud of me. But he will usually never admit it unless we’ve had a fight and he’s trying to make up with me later on by telling me how badly behaved I have been despite all the love and pride he feels for me!
  • He also just happens to be the funniest person I have ever personally known. The jokes and the quick wit are absolutely legendary in the small circle of friends we have and there is no party or gathering where I am welcome unless I am accompanied by this 6 ft 3 inch heap of jokes.

I am not sure what I aim to achieve by telling you about my husband but my cup was running over as far as love for him was concerned and whenever that happens, I feel the need to write things down immediately. I seldom get around to doing that, of course, so I am quite glad today at having been able to pen this down.

The next time we get into a fight and there’s all that conversation about who loves the other person more, I will make sure that he gets to read this!

Wicked, right? I know! šŸ˜‰

Tee, hee, hee!

So my weight loss attempt ain’t about to be pain-free.. people!!

Okay, so I decide to start my weight loss diet and walk plan and the very next day I get diagnosed with a herniated ( slipped ) disc injury in my back and the doctor advises 2 weeks of strict bed rest. Cute, isn’t it?

I had been having pain all along my right leg every time I turned in bed or got up from a lying down position, since the last two months. But me being me, I had been ignoring it- casually attributing it to a case of pulled muscle injury. I hoped it would get better over time but it just got worse in the last week or so. Accompanied also by severe back pain over the last weekend ( just when I was making those cute little plans of embarking upon my weight loss journey ). So I visited a doctor, he ordered an MRI and lo and behold- out came the dreaded diagnosis of a slipped disc injury. One look at the MRI and the doctor said ‘ This is very, very bad’. For the uninitiated, Ā aĀ herniated discĀ refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (discs) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine. Sometimes called a slippedĀ discĀ or a rupturedĀ disc, aĀ herniated diskĀ occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. Ā He has prescribed strict bed rest, physiotherapy and has put me on a course of muscle relaxants and pain meds. And has warned me that if I do not take adequate rest, I will end up on his operating table sooner than I can imagine.

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However, this is not my first diagnosis of a herniated disc. It is the second time that I have been formally diagnosed with this and probably the third or fourth time that it has actually happened. I have had severe back pain episodes after my first diagnosis, which was about 3.5 years back and I never went in for an MRI any of those other times when I suffered from debilitating back pain. But I am pretty sure that I had some slippy discs in my back all those other times as well when I just took rest at home and didn’t bother to go and see a doctor.

A recourse to surgery is something I totally want to avoid. And if I keep up with my noncore-strengthening exercises routine, I am bound to land up on an operating table under a surgeon’s disc removing scalpel sooner rather than later. Even though the doctors say that it is only a minor surgery ( Microdissectomy the darned thing is called ), the risks of spine surgery are far too frightening for me to ever be okay with going in for one.

So the update here is that I will still hold steadfast onto my decision of trying to lose weight as the way too many extra pounds on my spine aren’t helping anything either.Ā  The only thing that will now need to change is my choice of exercise. I now intend to take up swimming instead of walking as the preferred exercise as swimming is known to be the best exercise for someone with a herniated disc. I will continue to be off carbs ( atleast the bad ones like flour, rice, sugar etc ) and will up my intake of Vitamin D3 supplements as well as a few other fancy ones that I had started taking a few months back.

I have also decided to work from home more often every week and have ordered a chair with lumbar support, a monitor to connect my laptop to, as well as a table, wireless keyboard and mouse. I will post a picture of my new workstation at home once I have set it up and will hope and pray that having a proper seating arrangement will eventually be beneficial for my back.

For now, I am getting back to bed. More updates and posts about my progress to follow later.

Starting out- the countdown from 90 to 65 kgs!

Two bright beautiful glasses of mango shake is what I started my day with today. I know, I know- this wasn’t part of the plan. But to offset the calories gained from those glasses, I monitored my eating super carefully through the rest of the day.

Mango shake

Here’s the plan for the next few weeks!

Completely off sugar from tomorrow until the 6th of July. I am using that date as a break as we plan to be at our friend’s place and drinking and eating well will be high on the agenda šŸ˜‰

Completely off bread, flour, rice or any other bad carbs till 6th. I am embracing a Mediterranean style of eating which will comprise of salads, fruits, the occasional gluten free bread or pasta and some fish or chicken ( depending on how I feel about it ). I am not high on the meat intake anyway so I don’t think I will miss eating any of this stuff.

I will be posting a picture of my weight once a week on Tuesday mornings. And my step count on Fitbit everyday.

Keep watching this space for more! šŸ™‚

‘Back’ to the basics!! Join me on my journey of weight loss and building a strong core.

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I have successfully managed to lose tiny bits of weights several times over the last few years. But the weight loss has never really stuck. Since the last few years, I had been toying with the idea of buying a Fitbit for myself but had never really gotten around to doing it. Last September on the 17th of the month ( my birthday ), my husband decided to gift me a Fitbit. As with all other birthdays of mine, he usually asks me what to gift me and I almost let him know what to buy for me. Funny, I know, but that’s how we roll as a couple! It’s better to let each other know what you want rather than to ummm and aaahh later on when your spouse has bought you something you don’t really care much for. But more about that in another post, some other time.

The Fitbit really did change things for me quite a bit. I am someone who likes being alone atleast for an hour or two everyday and walking is the perfect way to ensure that I give myself that time daily. I love listening to music or a self-help podcast or even stuff related to politics or health while I am out on one of my walks. It is the time I most crave for everyday, as, being an introvert, I need to have time alone with myself to recharge in order to feel like I am ready to take on the world.

However, as with all other attempts at weight loss, this time too- I took the walking with Fitbit quite seriously for about 2 months or so and then finally gave up and got back to my old ways. What’s good is that I did go from weighing about 97 kgs to 88kgs or so within three months and have since managed to stick to the 88-90 kgs range. No mean fit this considering that about a year or two back- I would have gone back to my old weight by now. But I am 5 ft 7 inches tall and this weight is still a lot for my body to handle and it keeps giving me signals that I need to get back to my walking schedule asap. Last October ( 2018 ), I was hitting an average of 15000 steps daily and most days I would continue to walk till my Fitbit had clocked about 20-22k steps.

I have realized that the more I try to push fitness out of my life, the more miserable I become. I have major back pain issues caused by degenerative disc disease which essentially means that if I do not take extra good care of my back right now- old age would be a miserable, miserable space for me. I suffer from debilitating pain quite frequently and as much as sitting in the same spot without moving for anything over thirty minutes can cause my back to hurt a tremendous amount. it is a sharp, searing pain, like I am being stabbed in my spine ( no exaggeration here ) and sometimes it is concentrated in the lower back region but at other times, it just spreads to all over my back. Over the last few years, I have sort of become used to this pain and find that I have subconsciously restricted myself from a lot of activities only because of the persistent question in my mind ‘What if my back isn’t able to take it? ‘

This pisses me off!

Much, much, more than I can say!!!

I have a bit of a fighter spirit, if I may use that term, and I find that when faced with a ‘fight or flight’ situation, my response is usually always to fight. For such a person, then, to give in to a back problem and stop herself from doing things she might otherwise enjoy, feels like a failure, to put it mildly. I often end up berating myself because I realize that there’s nothing I can do to control what has happened to me already but I do have the choice to take complete control of my pain issues in the future. And that control over my life is just what I am not exercising.Ā  I can choose to eat well, exercise and focus my efforts on building a stronger core- all activities I know are crucial for my well being now.

Which is why I have decided to post this on my blog today.

I feel that posting this online means making myself more accountable to follow through on what I know I cannot avoid doing any longer. I am going to start on a diet and exercise program which I intend to stick to atleast six days a week starting tomorrow. This time around, I am absolutely determined to do everything in my power to make my core and consequently my back muscles really strong so that I can go back to living a regular life- one that is not marred by disheartening episodes of severe pain.

Epiphany much?

I have been in a weird mode all day today. Super, super thrilled for no reason at all. I have been reading Robin Sharma’s books for quite a while now but all the enthusiasm that they are filling me with today is something quite rare. The moment I moved out of office today and got back on my way home, I played an audiobook on YouTube and was immediately lost in that inspiring man’s voice. I know his critics would probably be of the opinion that he says what he says and writes what he does to make money. But how is that any of my concern? I am prone to indulging in a great deal of self-reflection and the reason I love this guy is because a lot of what he says sounds like the kind of stuff that my mind says when it is talking to me. It is the stuff I observe all the time around me – it is the knowledge I know I have within me.Ā  He speaks of attaining the ultra heightened degree of self awareness, an almost painful amount,Ā  that I know I am already blessed with. What is missing from my life though is the execution bit. And that’s a huge part of why I have decided to write this blog on a daily basis.

So I have been thrilled all evening, but it is all in my head. It isn’t like I am jumping on the sofa or swinging from the trees around where I live. On the contrary, I have been way more silent than usual, have barely spoken three straight sentences to the husband since he got back from work and have been lost in reading and now writing this post. But I am strangely at peace with myself today. And so, I intend to do nothing to disturb it.

It just feels good. It just feels absolutely right. Like all the pieces will somehow magically fall into place if I keep feeling the way I am feeling right now.

I am just going to write everything down from now on. That’s the big plan! šŸ™‚

Going dutch!

I am off to the Netherlands in about 2 weeks from now. I got the news late last evening and have been kind of excited and kind of not-so excited since then.

I amĀ not-soĀ excited because I have already been to NL last year with my husband and the thought of going abroad on a trip without him and all by myself is turning out to be a little unappealing to me. I am hoping this feeling will fix itself in a couple of days and I can actually enjoy the trip as much the one I went on last year.

I am excited because IĀ loveĀ travelling and even a drive to the local coffee shop can double up as a travel experience and get me super thrilled on a day when I have been sitting at home since the morning. My husband knows exactly how much this means to me. A change of scenery does me a lot of good. Generally.

I am excited about going to the Keukenhof gardens with the endlessly stunning fields of tulips. We went there last year as well but reached about a week after all the tulips were gone.

I am excited about going to the Red Light district again! Not cos I enjoyed looking at hookers or smoking pot, or enjoyed looking at hookers smoking pot but because the general atmosphere of the district was one of such absolute fun and joy that we ended up going there every single evening during our time in Amsterdam.

I am also excited about getting to visit Groningen and Rijswijk. This is where the company offices are located and we would be required to spend a week in each of the locations.

The greatest amount of excitement though is reserved for a possible trip to Giethoorn village this time. We had it on our itinerary last year as well but had to drop it at the last moment in favor of a trip to Zaanse Schans which is where all the beautiful windmills are! I amĀ reallyĀ looking forward to visiting Giethoorn this time and really hope I won’t be disappointed. I have seen several pictures and videos of the place and it looks like a village straight out of a fairy tale. Have a look at the pictures below to find out what the fuss in my head is all about.

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Looking forward to all the tripping!! šŸ™‚

Ta!