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 19- Imagination

I am not sure if this is normal. Sometimes, the inner workings of the human mind are hard to unravel. I do not know if this is how everyone thinks, functions, lives. I am curious though. I cannot imagine somebody not having this at their disposal, life would be unbearable if it were so.

Imagination.

I have an 8K, ultra-wide-angle, super- vivid, 8-dimensional imagination. I can dream up elaborate stories, concoct layered, multidimensional scenarios, paint picturesque landscapes; all within the safe confines of my head. No storyline is too far fetched, no goal is unattainable. I have been a hacker, an MMA fighter, a special ops agent, Barack Obama, a modern day Onna-Bugeisha, Hermoine even. I have seen the Northern Lights, lived in Tokyo, worked as the erstwhile Brangelina’s nanny while looking like Jessica Alba and went on a cruise with Jack Sparrow. I have even been Gaby in The Man from Uncle (I ended up with Solo rather than Ilya!). I have recently met my high-school crush, who is currently undergoing a physical and mental mid-life crisis, and therefore makes me look and feel like a goddess in comparison. I travel all the time, almost every day. (You get the drift.) All in this wonderful, magical, unparalleled world that is my head.

I have often heard that in life nothing is impossible. That human capabilities are limitless. But it isn’t true though, is it? We are limited. In a lot of ways. There are a multitude of things that we might never achieve, despite our efforts. Nothing is guaranteed.

If there was one guaranteed, infinite resource, it is our imagination. I wish to teach my children this- imagination is truly greater than knowledge itself.

And imagine (pun intended) my rush when Z told me tonight at bedtime that she can “imagine any dream she wanted”. She apparently does that every night. Imagines herself to be whatever stokes her fancy that day.

Bravo, little one, Bravo! May your tribe increase.

Till next time,

J

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 https://alar.my 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,

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