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,


Day 15- Let’s talk about the unfortunate 4 AM club

Day 14 was mired in household chores, literature review (for work) and contemplation. I went to bed early (i.e. 01:00 AM rather than 03:00 AM) and hoped to wake early.

I did wake up earlier than usual today. 06:00 AM is much later than my pre- COVID 04:00AM start, but the past couple of weeks have been “off”. I wanted to have the luxury of not setting an alarm. My natural clock wakes me up at 08:30 AM, always has. And I fight it every darned day of my life, by trying to kick myself out of bed at a god- awful hour such at 04:00 AM. It is the bane of my existence, but I must endure it if I harbour any hopes of having a productive day.

I am often asked how I accomplish this seeming impossible task. To go against the grain of my most basic nature. The easiest answer would be – make it a habit. Of course it is easier said than done. Even after all these years of waking early, any number of factors can throw my morning routine off. A late night, a sick child, rainy or cold mornings, spousal discouragement, a presentation to prepare, travel or just pure fatigue. And deviating from the habit for even a couple of days can make it much harder to get back on track.

I have always kept my phone away from the bedside. Not particularly due to fears of radiation exposure, no; when the alarm rings I want it to be far enough to make me get out of bed. ( For the chronic snoozers of alarms -try one of these or Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers. There are several similar apps out there.)

Getting up and brushing your teeth is step 1 to winning the sleep battle. Second is not going back to bed after your morning cuppa. For that I have gotten into the habit of changing into my workout gear as soon as possible. There have been days when I have woken up too early, taken a cup of tea to the couch and fallen asleep there. But I am yet to fall asleep so in my workout attire.

Minimising the number of steps I need to take to get to this point is critical. Therefore, my clothes and bag are laid out the previous night. This seems to help. And once I’m out of the door, there is no looking back of course. So that is all. My secret. I don’t think of it as a long sequence for the day. The aim when hitting the sack at night is singular. Get my arse of bed and into the loo. Period. The rest then falls into place from there on.

Getting home after training in the morning. Getting ready (almost) before the kids wake up. Prep the progeny for school. Get to work. Yada yada yada. The rest of the day is self- scheduled. And falling asleep as early as possible at night is also taken care of. Many nights, I end up passing out mid sentence during story time. I’m that knackered. All that sevofluorane exposure in the OR must also help.

Like I mentioned before, I despise this 4 AM business. I do it out of compulsion. Compulsion to training. And on days that I’m truly miserable, I give in. I sleep. And on other days I thank heavens that the days when the alarm rang at 03:00 AM or even 02:45 AM (residency +3 yr old + 3 months old+ pumping + pre- rounds )are behind me!


Till next time,


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



Bengaluru 27.03.2020- Day 1

I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I sat at home for two straight days. “Sat at home” meaning not stepping out of the door. Not even after the birth of my children , did I do such a blasphemous thing (cue for all Indian aunties to raise their brows in consternation)!


A cumulation of a strange set of circumstances has led to this day.

One being, COVID 19 of course. Second, I have almost wrapped up my surgical fellowship here. I have no place on the rota anymore. I do not have to go in everyday, in a situation such as this. I’m also in the midst of a grand ol’ job change. I was due to move town and start work at a different hospital.


The children have been home bound and locked in for a few weeks now. Withdrawal was hard at first. Unsurprisingly though, they were the first ones to accept the new normal. TV rules don’t exist anymore. And the more lax I am, the less TV they want to watch (I might take this lesson with me if we all survive this).

We paint ad nauseam. (I dread the day our meagre paper supply is sapped.) We dance, fight, bake clay, melt candles, break things, eat lipsticks, cut up newspapers, jump off high places, refuse to eat meat/ milk/ vegetables/ fruits, have ear infections and the like.

We sleep late, wake up late. Re- read One Fish Two Fish. Make pancakes for lunch. Arrange the book rack thrice a day. Lil’ Z “cleaned” her closet today. Boss Man had cereal for dinner.

Que sera sera.

The mind

I am anxious but zen at the same time. I’m steering the ship solo as present. Mr H is stuck abroad. The lockdown doesn’t bother me. It is most likely our only way forward. The doom and gloom newscasters don’t annoy me. They are either truly scared shitless or just trying to milk the situation. The children being bored I can handle. The husband being stuck in another country at such uncertain times, I can deal with. My professional and personal forced state of limbo I can bear.

But, the policeman who stopped me yesterday, brandishing his very endowed lathi; who argued I should wear a mask (any mask!) whilst inside my car, with no co- passengers, with my windows up- chafed me more than all the above things combined. The poor man. Forced to enforce something that he does not understand, or was not explained.

How do we fight a powerful, cunning and fastidious foe when we are so ill- informed. That gentleman harassed me into wasting the one meagre mask I had in my bag. Wrapped in a tissue, treasured. The one I was supposed to use at the hospital the next day. The one I could not leave at the drawer in my clinic, because we are so short supplied that it might not be there when I arrive the next day. We are rationed masks at present. And this is the situation at most hospitals. And this public servant, who is supposed (or so I’m told) to stop me and enquire politely where I’m headed to (I was heading back from the hospital) in these dire times- was more keen on berating me like he would an ill- behaving child, for not wearing a mask inside my car! I couldn’t make this story up even if I wanted to- it’s so senseless.

Also, I wonder – with all the talk of social distancing, why are there half a dozen policemen standing together at some “check- points”. To scare the regular folks heading to their “essential” jobs or to buy their “essential” dahi and aalu for the day? To scare Messrs Corona and company possibly?

The body

Never say never. New city, new jobs, more social obligations, older children with more school work and classes to attend. As a couple who are fond of chucking bits of iron around; we knew time and space would be scarce for such pursuits outside the home.

With talks of our own personal home gym when we move- I always wondered. Would it work? Will my existing motivation suffice?

Well, it absolutely will is the empathic answer. It took me a few days, but I’m now making do. Of course the gyms are shut and I cannot run outdoors (do not want to risk section 269, 270 and 271 being thrust on the poor me), nor do I have any real equipment at home. But I have 50 kgs of myself, and some resistance bands. Also, the universe got kind and I found a pair of rusty, squeaky 10 kg dumbbells lying in a cob- webbed corner; under a bed (I’d gone in to find a Shopkin). It probably belonged to the Mister. It looks like it’s from the 70’s. But it’s serves my purpose well. My last two workouts would probably come under the category of the “best I’ve had in a long time”. In fact, I’m sore today. Sore with bodyweight and a pair of dumbells. Who would have thought!

Till Day 2.

Dr J.