Day 31- Let’s talk the physical

Surprisingly, home workouts don’t suck. I mean, not more than the usual- I cannot breathe, I might pass out, why the f*&% do I do this suckiness. The key for me has been consistency in terms of time, and variation in the training itself. Setting tolerant mini-goals have been helpful as well.

I struggle on days that I go to work. The timing is tricky and a bit unrealistic. When I come back, its past lunch and I’m too hungry to even think. And then home- business makes it hard to steal ‘my 45 minutes’. I HAVE to be done with it in the morning when the bubs are snoozing. I’m still working on that. On days that I don’t go in i.e. don’t have cases scheduled; things are more structured. I get the morning chores, school- work, and bath-times out of the way and then change into my training gear. Pre-lunch is perfect. A late breakfast powers my workout and I can look forward to a hefty lunch soon after.

What I do to sweat and get my heart rate up while trying to keep a modicum of my muscle and endurance; differs. I am realistic about what I can do, considering the circumstances. For two weeks I sort of had an upper/ lower split. It worked, till I got bored of it. I then focussed on mobility drills, flexibility and streching. Then moved on to follow- along type workouts from ‘the YouTubes’. I love the novelty and simplicity of the one song workout, like these-

 

Stitch-up a few of these and I’m done. Literally, DONE.

I don’t have any cardio machines, nor elaborate equipment. I have one pair of decently heavy dumbells. And two resistance bands. Yet, I have managed to keep myself interested.

This week I have tried a few dumbell based full- body routines. Like so:IMG_1711

This was borrowed from here

Lovely right? In a masochistic way. Anyhoo, so I cook up a WOD like these and write them down and get to it.

And just when things have been figured out, Ramadan rolls along, and we have more changes to make.

But then no one said life was easy.

Till next time,

J.

Day 23- Of passion and discipline

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Pablo Picasso

 

Bear with me here, folks. I want you all to do something, for yourselves. Put everyone to bed, find a decent pair of headphones, get to a dark and comfortable corner and listen to this. (The quality could be better of course.) If you have an iota of a muscial ear or even a flyspeck of an appreciation of the arts; you will feel it. The passion, the fervidness of years of toil, the infinitely knotty art of being present in the moment; the general awesomeness of it all.

A simply written but profoundly affecting sentence in a book. A physical feat achieved not only because of inherent talent, but by unfathomable hard- work. A master playing his beloved instrument or a dancer in her bubble where only she and her movement exist. A movie, where I lose sense of time and place, where the actors can only be who they play, where the picture is so magical that even real life cannot compare, emotions relayed by people who aren’t really feeling it. I am the sort to get goosebumps while I witness these. I am often inspired, belittled and humbled by artistic feats. I respect the discipline, commend the single- mindedness and envy the talent. There is something about doing a thing over and over and over and over again, only to do it perfectly that once.

I was raised in a middle- class home, where not much emphasis was placed on artistic or alternative pursuits. I was expected to get good marks at school and be docile and obedient at home. My one regret in life thus far, is not mastering an instrument. As a child, I scrimped and saved money to buy non- school books. I wished to learn dance professionally. I loved watching my artistically- blessed friend painting her Sundays away.

Maybe that is the reason why I have become a hoarder and ravenous devourer of books. I watch people play different instruments on YouTube, mesmerised. Send my daugther to art- class, wish she would pick up learning the piano or violin, cello, harp, flute; anything! Then I have to check myself. My unfulfilled dreams are my burden to bear, not my daughter’s cross.

I wish upon my children the pain and elation of creation. But art is never enforced, it a child of rigour and talent. Passion and discipline. Love and hardyness.

Therefore, all I can do is expose them. Give them chances I never had, Hope to instill the love for all things wonderful. Wish to make them multifarious. Appreciate all the wonder and beauty that humanity has to offer.

Z, Boss Boy and I are dancing to Hans Zimmer and 2Cellos as I type.

Fingers- crossed.

Till next time,

J.

Day 22- Do I miss my expat life?

I know for a fact that most of my readers here, are a residuum from my old life. One of them, who is also a friend got in touch with me today. Among other things, she enquired if I missed Qatar, and my life there. Hmm.

I have never really given it much thought, to be honest.  There are elements of that life that I miss. The Corniche, the clean parks, OR 12, the Villagio, endless running tracks, my ex- nanny. Mostly, the fancy cars 🙂

I’m joking of course!

Na, I’m serious. Not.

I do not miss it, miss it. I do not wish to be back. It was an epoch of my life that I look back upon fondly. I met some wonderful people, had incredible, new life experiences. Most importantly, it is where I had my children. So, I did leave a bit of myself there. But, the repatriation was entirely voluntary and wholehearted.

So the short answer is no. I do not miss it. I do not miss not having a support system. I do not miss the subconscious feeling of alienation. I do not miss the tiresome travel. I do not miss being away from family and friends.

But I do miss ‘the bubble”. A very intimate space of life, occupied by only the nearest. Far, far away, distant from prying eyes and perky ears. Love pours forth in hurried phone calls from immediate family. Yet, no one can interfere in your matters (only south Asians will understand what that means!). You are missed dearly. You are exotic, needed; but far away. Sigh! You can start anew, build new reputations, start afresh. Unburdened by those around you who have witnessed you stumbling into adulthood. At work, they see a polished you, not knowing the early bumbling you. The more I think, the more perks I unravel.

Yet, no. I do not miss it. I might do it again for the adventure and novelty, not because I miss it.

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.

-Clifton Fadiman

Till next time,

J

Day 21- And it shall continue

So, this is not the end, as expected. After the early days of ‘break- taking’, and routine- creating, the past few days have been surprisingly busy and productive and messy and incredibly wholesome. I did domestic duties and kept the children occupied during the day, and worked on a paper all night. And trained at dawn. When did I sleep, you ask? Ha!

That is what I’ve been up to. No movies, no Netflix ballyhoo, no snoozefests. Yes, there were late-night, balcony green- tea rumination sessions and early morning stomach vacuums. Also…

Chaotic water fights under the shower and endless mopping and scrubbing of ‘stuff’ (aka play dough, actual dough, acrylic paint, poster colors, oil paints, glue, glitter glue, fabric glue, juice, ice- cream, yogurt, curry, cereal infused milk, milky biscuits, chocolate, wax, bits of paper, bread crumbs, rice flakes, corn flakes, yada yada yada) from the floor tiles. Arguments with a 6 going on 16 ‘woman’ who thinks math is overrated. And reasoning sessions with a 3 going on god- knows- what man which mostly ends up with me being smacked in the face with various items of the household. Lounge wear and sleep- face. Roots desperate for color and brows like Frida Kahlo.

Aah! I miss my old life.

There have also been loads of curfew- less, non- time-bound pajama parties and sleep-ins. Forced to eat home food, sweaty, impromptu carpet and baby workouts; and the appearance of a flicker of a shadow of an eight- pack (HELLLOOO ol’ friend!). And loads and loads of cuddles from tiny humans who mean the world to you.

I do not miss it THAT much.

Till next time,

J

Day 12- Of symbolism and hope

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Shame me, blame me.

Berate me, belittle me.

Hate me, spite me.

Slay me, burn me, stake me; if you so wish.

Find me kneeling at the alter of science, you will.

Shroud facts under heavy blankets of symbolism.

Mystify truths to cloud our sapience.

Call me faithless and a pariah.

To my outcry for common and uncommon sense.

Faith is incredible and hope is powerful.

But they are only shiny mirages, our paths we must forge.

Women and men of science, cursed as they are.

Wretched lives they lead; to deliver us our extravagant, extended and easy lives.

Clap we may, make noise we may. Thank we may, and light lamps we may.

I only hope the tireless tyrants of science and reason do not abandon our symbolic arses at this mockery and go home to rest.

For the Gods might be busy, or couldn’t care to save our lazy, bickering, whiny, pitiful selves.

Till next time

J

 

Day 11- Better days

Heard this just I opened the page to type.

 

I am happy for the life I have lived thus far. I’ve not had less, nor more. Just enough, of everything; laughter, joy, pain, love, gauntlets, triumphs. Do I regret my choices? If I’m being honest, no. Could I have done things differently? I do not think so. Is my current actuality less than satisfactory? Considering the default human condition, it is absolutely stellar. Do I wish for better? Unfortunately, my humaness warrants that I do.

Till next time,

J

P.S. This is a car song without a doubt (wait…for the beat to kick in). In hope of my next rainy, road trip, once all this is over, I bid good night. Stay safe folks!

 

Day 10- Pursuits less worthy?

10 days

  1. Frozen 2 X 3 (maternal obligation)
  2. Frozen 1 (torture)
  3. Black hawk down
  4. Olympus has fallen
  5. London has fallen (obviously)
  6. Ayyappanum Koshiyum
  7. Action hero Biju (revisit)
  8. Bala
  9. John Wick
  10. A quiet place
  11. Triple frontier
  12. The Witcher- Season 1
  13. The dark knight trilogy (again!)
  14. Sherlock Holmes
  15. Elementary – random episodes
  16. Lucifer- random episodes

10 days.

  1. The anarchy
  2. On hundred years of solitude (again, after ages)
  3. My seditious heart
  4. All the light we cannot see
  5. The Witcher- The last wish
  6. Ruin and rising (Grishaverse book 3)

 

Till next time,

J

 

 

 

Day 9-Cleaning the day away

As a household, we all woke up about two hours later than usual. Besieged by lassitude, we delayed the most basic of tasks. Z did not want to brush, Boss Man refused his morning repast. Me, I wanted to cease to exist for a day. Pause. Freeze.

It was just that kind of day.

We trudged on. I sat down with the little ones with their worksheets and art supplies. The A man usually flays the sheets in about 6 mins. Today, he didn’t bother. He was done with this crap that Mum was enforcing upon him. Z and I engaged in a battle of wills and like always I had to relent. We were done. At 1130 hrs. The day hadn’t even began.

I switched the TV on, and even rescued the iPad from the monster’s lair (where it disappears to most days when I don’t want them to be glued to it!) and passed out on the couch. I have not been sleeping well of late. Must be that, I thought.

The progeny had leftovers for lunch. I felt like sugary cereal and cold milk.

It was just that kind of day.

And then I got to work. Maybe the sugar rush helped. *See, even sugar isn’t truly evil.* I had to rid myself of this weird and inexplicable fuddle.

I cleared the toys. Sorted the overabundant crayons, color pencils, sketch pens and pastels. Chucked a whole lot of them into the bin. Arranged every book rack in the house (trust me there are more than you’d expect).Mopped, vacuumed. Dusted every surface. Shined every mirror and glass. Changed the sheets. Washed every sink. Scrubbed every bathroom wall and scoured the floors.

I cleansed and decluttered. It tidied both my home and mind apparently. I cleared the cobwebs from the ceilings and also my brain it looks like. My hands are pruney and my back is sore. But The Needle has stymied it’s relentless push toward despondence. I successfully cleaned the day away, literally and figuratively.

The children are fed and watered. We are alive. Productivity and routines can take a break. Sometimes, all we have to do is get by.

Sometimes, it’s just that kind of day.

Till next time,

J

Day 8- WhatsApp fuckery!

My post today is going to be be a tad different. I’m a very hesitant user of WhatsApp. For several reasons. But I must admit, it has it’s uses. And of the millions (of course I exaggerate, or do I?) of messages and forwards I receive, I do not usually bother with the forwards. But sometimes, I get riled up. I did so today.

I think I need to share it.

This was the forwarded message-

Amazon, they use to give full two pages advertisement in all newspapers. Flipkart, don’t know how many times they celebrated Big Billion Days in a year. They flooded with Chinese products to Indian market. Sold them and made huge money.

Big Basket, Grofferrs, their notifications was ringing every hour till last week. Malls, Super Markets, Big Bazaar. Where are they now? They stopped all services! No delivery at all. Tomorrow when dust settles they will come again with 20-30% discount sales. We forget what they did in these difficult times and go again to online and super market. Think again!

Who helped us during this tough time? Our own street Grocery storewala. He is supplying grocery and necessary stuff in this lock down period. The milkman is supplying milk everyday. He has not shut his service and ran away. That small vegetable shop run by lady is still open. Don’t know from where she is bringing vegetable but she is feeding us. Will you forget this help?

I will not. I have decided henceforth I will not go to Amazon, Flipkart, Grofferrs or Big Basket. No malls, no super market. I will shop in Kirana store, local dairy and small vegetable shop which helped my family to survive. It’s okay I will spend some more ruppes. But I will not forget what they have done for me and my family.

Thanks 🙏

( Don’t know who penned this but a point to note )

And this was my hastily, almost subconscious, frenzied reply. Copied and pasted. Not even edited for grammar or spelling.

I have ruminated for a while before replying to this. Please do not be offended, or take this personally. You guys must have noticed that I am quite reticent on WhatsApp. My replies are abysmally delayed, and a forward from me probably means I’m sick or delusional. But sometimes, replies are warranted, even to errant forwards from strangers.

The quantum of misinformation and rubbish that we are bombarded with on the daily, on this very useful platform is mind- numbing. Generally, I consider it a nuisance, but now I realize that daily shots of this, even in minute doses is enough for mass indoctrination and amplified mob frenzy. To make matters worse, our current political climate seems to fuel the mania.

I urge you all to read, from every source you can. Widen you horizons, wisen up on local, national and international matters. Have a world view. We are all (on this group at least) people of science no?

Consume from the left media, the right wing, the centre, middle- every fucking publication and media if you have to . Look for evidence, not conjecture. Start looking at news as you would a scientific paper. What level of evidence is it? Among the five (or six, or seven) levels, Whatsapp in my humble opinion is level 100. Worse than nothing.

Or you could chose not to know at all. Forget the media and their endless rambles. The screechy voices and sketchy on field reporters. The journalists who can’t string a sentence together. (Would I be allowed to work if I couldn’t place a suture?) The 24 hr ballyhoo. Be blissfully ignorant, and therefore happy. And, also not have a WhatsApp account.

Let us look at this seemingly innocuous forward for example. To put the record straight- I am one of those who orders extensively online. It makes my life a lot easier, trust me. And the past week has been hard. I first ordered on Amazon Fresh (where the delivery window is 2 hours) on Saturday evening (a day before the curfew), and received a slot for the next Wednesday! I knew then, that this was a portend for things to come. My orders have all since been cancelled, and not by me. Today an email said, deliveries for essential items have resumed in my area. I went online- no luck! System errors it said, then ‘no delivery slots’ apparently. Of course I was gutted, irritated. Suddenly Amazon is the enemy no? Of course, beat the beaten dog to death!

Amazon is a multi- national, billion- dollar, corporate giant. With almost a million directly employed employees and several more indirectly employed. Does any sane man/ woman believe they do NOT want profit at this time? When ecommerce orders have jumped exponentially. During the good times, they could offer massive sales and offers and quick deliveries due to their gargantuam stockpiles and armies of warehouse and delivery workers. The warehouses and stocks are worth shit if the workers can’t show up or if they are beaten half to death on the way to the homes of their consumers! Also, the term “essential” item is a minefield. Ask the folks who run the companies. (I could elaborate, but that would be too much)

Other countries who have been hit by COVID-19 worse than us, especially the US and UK are still quite reliant on ecommerce suppliers. They consider them life- savers. They write up thank you plaques outside their doors for these folks who get them their milk and bread. They are no less heroic to them than any ER nurse or physician.

Why are we suffering then?

The answer is always the same no. Inadequate, or worse- wrong information handed to the folks in the field. Mismanagement, political shilly-shally, and many a time , ignorant or fanatical idiots at the helm.

As for the kirana shops, I do not doubt that at least some of them have altruistic intentions; but the majority are here to do what everyone else wants to. Make a quick buck, make hay while the sun shines. Exactly like the ones who hoard masks and sanitizers and sell them at exorbitant prices. Prices for essential commodities have been artificially risen to upto 70% in some instances. Again, this is multi- factorial, and not entirely of their making, yet they do play a part. They behave in a patronising manner, refuse to provide bills in some instances, refuse to serve customers who question them, refuse to give items that were asked for (in those shops where the customers wait outside, and lists are handed over to the employees)

Do not get me wrong here, I am not trying to glorify the giant corporations or vilify our poor, small traders, my grouse is with this “shooting from our arses” mentality. Where everyone with a fuckall WhatsApp account is an expert.

Please, I beg of you my lovely, smart , intelligent ladies. Let us pledge to screen every message and forward, scrutinise every “fact” and second guess every image and video before we mass circulate this. Let us not let idiots and imbeciles insult our intellects this way.

I apologise for my rant. I wouldn’t say this anywhere else; except to MY people.

P.S. My milkman is a super star. That IS a scientifically proven fact.

What say, just a tad too much?

Till next time,

J

 

 

Day 6- A tranquil apocalypse

Does’t this feel like the proverbial calm before the storm? Do you sense the worse is yet to come. Like we are seated to watch a blockbuster movie, and the pre- movie trailers and adverts keep running on. If this is truly an apocalypse, it’s seems quite tranquil at the moment no?

I had a neighbour knock at our door today, she stood a metre away from our doorstep and asked if I knew where one can get tested for The Virus. She then went on to talk about how she couldn’t wait for these 21 days to be over. Ah! Naive optimism or blissful ignorance?

I do not have a clue as to what might happen in the coming weeks. Nobody truly does. We can make scientific conjectures, historical predictions; but they are all guesses. Italy and India had their first reported cases at about the same time. Granted, they have tested about half a million people, while we have less than 30,000. Yet, the picture seems curiously suspect. I feel like we are heading to the edge of a precipice- the path to which is flat and non- threatening but at the endpoint of which we are met with a yawning bottomless depth. I hope I’m wrong, I’m but a pessimist after all.

Anyhoo, for now I shall describe something so mundane that it may momentarily confound your cognition into forgetting The Blockbuster Mr COVID-19.


How am I coping with my fitness fervour you ask? Not as bad as expected to be honest. Yes, I have not had a barbell on my back for precisely 17 days now. *Has it been only that long since?* I have not run for 10 days. I have not even taken my bicycle out for my *now rare* grocery runs *and risk having a lathi thrown at my back, no questions asked!*.

Ugh, the early days were hard. But the withdrawal symptoms are abating. Also, about ten days ago, I was at wit’s end in terms of keeping the progeny engaged. I ended up searching for a box of games from my childhood days *Domino, UNO, BUSINESS?* and lo and behold, I found a couple of rusty, squeaky dumbells. The heaviest being 15 kilos, I think. That, coupled with some resistance bands, the kids play mat, my night stand and an Ikea stool- boy am I sore!

The beauty of strife, is that it strips life down to the basics. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and my family is safe. The rest, we shall deal with as they come. If people can get jacked in prison, who am I to whine for not having access to a squat rack. So my friend, we shall get ripped in quarantine. No more obsessing over lift numbers, nay. My goals now are:-

  1. Increase push up strength. Do more and do it better
  2. Master the pistol squat (almost there, just working on the ROM)
  3. And try and keep as much of the gains as possible. Strength can be regained back quite quickly.
  4. And try to do this-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GMr8xV4IY4&t=51s

I have hacked a lot of exercises, and am really having fun with fitness again. I wish I had one of those pull- up bars though. Also, maybe a pair of heavier (20 kgs+ anyone?) dumbbells/ kettlebells. Why can’t a human ever be satisfied?

Oh yes, and also; the progeny have PE time everyday as well. I do the half an hour with them. It’s a perfect warm up for me, as its a good one to get the heart rate up and get a light sweat on.  It’s insane, chaotic, very noisy but loads of fun and giggles. We all like to follow the Joe Wicks kids workouts on YouTube. Trust me, when done with the right heart, these are not as east as they might look to the physically uninitiated!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay fit folks!

Till next time.

J.