Casual Sexism & Me

” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”

The popular proverb-
” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”,
holds true for me.
I’m only beginning to realise how I’ve been oblivious to my surroundings.

I’ve usually prided myself in being a sensitive person who doesn’t mind calling out people who make insensitive comments, jokes and generalisations. I’ve worked hard to not be the source of exposure, for stereotypes and discrimination, to the people around me. And just as you would know, it has earned me multiple inaccurate judgements which I continue to carry. “She’s so uptight”, “Learn to take a joke at face value”, “Don’t be so overly sensitive”, “Such a joy-kill”, “Stop over analysing every word” and on and on and on.
It continues to feel hurtful being ghosted or ignored by the people close to me for no wrong doing on my part, but that’s life I guess.

Having have said this, in the recent time I was shown the mirror. And boy, was it harsh!
Contrary to my understanding of self, there is one person I realise I’ve failed. I’ve failed because I’ve run along with age old discrimination when it comes to this set of people in my life.
As a daughter I’ve been ignorant and supported sexism in my home, in ways I only now understand through my own experiences.

Casual Sexism is women eating after men at home
Women getting interrupted while speaking, told to lower their voice and watch their tone.
Not making space for us on the couch or at a table.
Us gravitating towards housework at all times.
It’s the little things too.

There is one thing to have gender roles and another to have relationship roles. I’m not sure if it is the right term, but by relationship roles I mean the roles imposed on a person based on the relationship status in the complex equation. To make it simpler, as a daughter I have different roles as compared to as a daughter-in-law. It is like a sub-categorisation of gender roles- a deeper pit.

It was through an instagram reel, where two successful celebrities were being interviewed and they shared how as a woman their family doesn’t mind interrupting and/or disturbing them in the workspace while their male counterparts were available at the same time.*
For a moment I was disappointed by their families and almost a second later I was ashamed. I was ashamed of perpetrating the same- and no I’m not being harsh on myself.

Every so often, I’ve assumed that my mother was always available for what I want without checking with what’s on her mind, while I’ve always enquired with my father if he wished to help me on his day off. Only today, when my mood, willingness or need isn’t acknowledged before assumptions are lathered upon, do I feel frustrated. It’s more like tasting the same medicine, and I understand it is taxing physically mentally and emotionally.

This isn’t me venting. This is me working on my block one aspect at a time, as I promised myself.
This isn’t me venting. This is me sharing what I feel and what I’ve understood, so we can help one another and realise that we are not alone.
This isn’t me venting. This is me putting myself out there and hoping that it helps someone learn from my mistakes and not having to learn it the hard way.

Casual sexism is real. It is so real that we do not even realise that we are the victims and perpetrators of it, all the same.

I’m currently being more aware of my assumptions and generalisations with others and trying to be more patient with the ones making the same mistake that I’ve made all these years. Everyone has a different learning curve and the best I can do is start a conversation to kick start the process. Because like I said at the beginning
” You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”

Essential Summer Saviours

The soaring temperature has had me flipping day and night to a point my husband wishes I had an assistant with whom he could check on my mood before approaching me, true story!

Hello there!
I’ve taken my sweet time to get back to this space and I’m glad to be back tapping at my keyboard and letting my thoughts flow. I hope you’ve looked forward to reading me just as much, if not more, as I have waited to write to you.

The world has been heating up over the years and India seems to be lapping up heat wave upon heat wave. The soaring temperature has had me flipping day and night to a point my husband wishes I had an assistant with whom he could check on my mood before approaching me, true story!

On the not-so-contrary, I wish I could walk around with a personal air conditioner in my pocket which ducted across y body and over my scalp so I could get away from the feeling of being bathed in sweat all the time. Or maybe, only if, the heat took away some fat from me instead of just sucking the energy and water out of me. I mean, right, why not?!

So…. So to get away from this ever prevailing and presiding attitude of annoyance I tried and tested things to create an Essential Summer Survivors list!

DISCLAIMER 
(using teleprompter voice while reading this)
All items, tricks and things are a creation to serve my needs (need for survival). Anything that helps you too is a welcome mention in the comments and anything that stands against your systems is also welcome in the comments. But remember to keep it a mutually supportive system because remember its summer and its already hard for most of us.

Here’s comes my Essential Summer Survivor kit includes

  • HYDRATE
    As often as we hear it and no matter how well we know it, hydrating is the most important ingredient for surviving summers and the heat. Making sure that I consume a good 3 litres of water is usually a task as using an app for it every time isn’t exactly my thing. So I just got myself a nice glass bottle and keep it on myself all the time. Even when I move from one room to another its always at hand.*
  • CURD & YOGURT
    This is a key element to me summer saviours list. Due to my stomachs sensitivity to curd, I usually prefer it in diluted form. At the end of my breakfast and lunch I consume a glass of freshly made butter milk, salted or sweet depending on what I prefer at the time. It also helps settle down the spices consumer hence saving me the acid reflux on days when I consume something very spicy and is great for digestions as well.
    Note: It’s a great practice to follow year round.
  • WHEN LIFE THROWS LEMONS
    It’s true, but I collect them all for the summers. An essential summer survival item is lemonade or lemon soda/ virgin mojito is I’m feeling fancy.
    But a glass of freshly made lemonade is as close to heaven as I’ve gotten in the summers.
  • FRUITS & SALADS
    Since all fruits and most vegetable are packed with water along with other essentials, I find it a great way to snack and hydrate at the same time. As a snack between meals or just for a light meal, I find a bowl of a whole fruit or vegetable salad with a basic vinaigrette dressing really handy. Also, I’m more of a whole fruit person more than a juice person since I find the fibre and chewing really satisfying.
  • ALL THINGS COLD
    As tempting as it is to consume something loaded with ice or super chilled, I am not used to it and quickly end up with a soar throat to runny nose. So I try to have things that are at room temperature or slightly cooler instead of heat to hot food and beverages. Like instead of a hot Americano I prefer it with cold water or just water that stayed in an earthen pot or matka instead of directly from the
  • EYE HYDRANTS
    I experience burning eyes or dry eyes quite frequently doing the summers when compared to the rest of the year. So I prefer keeping eye hydrating drops handy (nothing specific, just off the counter stuff).
  • BATH WATER TRICK
    As the temperature rises I prefer a drop in my bathing water. It could be absolutely psychological, I don’t know, but I feel that If I take a cold water bath my body temperature for some time is lowered helping my feel better. On the contrary, I feel that a hot water bath will just up the body temperature even more and refuse me any respite from feeling warm and sweaty.
    Especially a cold bath before bed is a blessing like no other.
    *Try adding a slice of lemon to your water bucket, it leaves you feeling fresh and lemony (do not use the lemon water on your hair)
  • ICING ON THE FACE
    Picked up from one of the late 90s or early 00s advertisement of a summer drink, I began to ice my face at home and fell in love with it almost instantly. I just pop a couple cubes in a bowl and send in front of the mirror for a dew minutes; just gently applying the ice all over my face and neck.
  • COLOURS & FABRICS
    A large part of being comfortable during the day also includes what we choose to wear. I stick to comfort fitted clothes in lighter and neutral tones. Just breezy outfits that help me breath better, linens and cottons are my go to choices.
  • SUNBLOCK
    There is not a single day in the year that I start my day without applying a nice neat layer of sunblock on my face neck and arms. A routine as simple as this can take you a long way. Immaterial of gender and age, it should be a must on every one’s routine. But of course, I do not apply it in the early morning hours when the sun is not so harsh as some exposure to the sun is also essential.

This pretty much sums up everything I try to do as an Essential Summer Saviour for myself and the ones around me. What do you think?
Do you also have little things that you swear by during this weather, if yes, then do share! 

*Glass Water Containers that I personally love currently:

Coming A Full Circle

On completing a year!

We have all learnt that a circle by definition is a closed two dimensional figure with has no edges and no starting and ending point. But the circle that I’m about to talk about has a well defined starting point. This circle is my journey from the point when I rode high on an impulse of starting a blog with no theme or planning in mind to today when that night and the conversation that led to it are always going to remain a story I love to re-tell.

In the summer of 2018 I took a trip to Manali. This trip started with fifteen strangers huddled together for some camping and hiking and a week later we were all friends with stories and thoughts exchanged. While I was busy being lost in myself and absorbing my surroundings, there was someone who was taking notice of my repeated moments of rush to scribble something on my notepad.
Fast forward two months, and I see a link in my inbox with a message saying you should apply for a certain creative writing retreat. Thus began a late evening soiree of youtube videos on creating a blog to digging up old notebooks and scanning the last pages for a half decent piece of writing.

With 52 weeks and 52 posts behind me, I know I have some more clarity than I did that evening. But I’m still as clueless as when I had started. But between the beginning and now, a lot has appeared, disappeared, grown and changed. While the words “I would like to be the first one to receive a signed copy of your book someday” seemed like a good motivation with not a single freckle of reality, but today I do imagine a book in the future.

Speaking of travel, perspectives, mental health, simple living and just simple pleasures… I have also found a more constructive and grounding way of thinking for myself. On some of my blue days, it’s this platform that has made me realise that I’m not the only one. Talking about little insecurities on such a large platform is difficult, but the acceptance and responses have made me realise that I’m starting a conversation that’s much needed.

A principle that I’ve stuck to since day one is that I’m going to keep my truth honest and naked. So, in order to write about being responsible towards the environment and nature I made sure that I was switching to more sustainable habits such as bamboo toothbrush, metal straws, reusable water bottles and menstural cups. Talking about health only happened after I had personally quit sugar and observing intermittent fasting and found cost effective ways to support the habit.

Of course, there have been weeks when I have just disappeared with no word. But the love that some of you have shown by just dropping a message and asking if I was doing fine got me back onto it. Life has been quite a wave of change in this period; from being someone who was travelling once a month to being engaged- I like how @thehazywhisperer remains a constant that I’m proud to call my passion child, that I’m nurturing and growing all by myself.
Somedays it has been my venting space and some other times it is my reason to try something new. Somedays I’m drawing satisfaction from the fact that my words have brought support and a smile on someone’s face and some other times I have spend hours scratching my head and putting my education to use by spreading the word on a larger scale.

So, I’m just trying to find the right words to say thank you to each and every element that has gotten me here. I’ve started conversations and become a more attentive listener because I’m always wondering what new thing can I learn and which alternate perspective can I bring forward and share with you guys!


A humble gift request on turning 1: Please do take a minute to share what you think about my work so far & do you feel a connect and if yes then how. Your feedback is the fuel to my engine of things, do be generous 😉
Write back through comments,
via email (thehazywhisperer@gmail.com)
or on instagram (@thehazywhisperer)

Viet Weak

Ever since I remember traveling, I know I’ve enjoyed it.
Ever since I remember enjoying travel, I have romanticized about it.
Ever since I’ve romanticized about travel, I’ve tried making it a consistent in my life.
And ever since I’ve been able to travel often, I’ve started to learn a little more about myself.

Quickly gaining popularity, for all the right reasons, is a country with perseverance like no other. Vietnam is home to a large number of motorbikes, so much so that crossing a street felt like an adventure sport to me. One of the last to fight a war for independence among 195 countries of the world, it is a land of farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth and soldiers.
I had the fortune of visiting this admirable country for a week and here is what I found out!

Here’s how the itinerary looked:
2 days in Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh (the commercial capital)
1.5 days in DaNang (a beauty by the coast)
1.5 days in Hoi An (lantern town)
2 days on Phu Quoc Islands (blue waters like I’ve never seen before)
(I know I skipped some of the must-go-to provinces and places, but there’s only so much I could see in such little time!)

Did you know, Vietnam is the only country that fought a super power for two whole decades without once folding?
Yep! Apart from the preliminary research that one can do from sitting at home, it is amazing how the country proudly showcases its history, struggles and achievements across museums and preserved strategic locations. The country and its people are nothing short of warm and hospitable. Serving bowls of the world’s healthiest food, they are brewery lovers through and through. As a communist country, there is no official religion but there is always a Church, a Pagoda or a Shrine, in whose beauty you can wallow.
With a blend of Communist and Non-Communist beliefs, the country proudly houses underground bunks and pathways (Cu Chi Tunnels) that were developed to convert their limitations into strategic strength during war. With Mekong river in the South and Red river to the North, Vietnam has very fertile lands and houses a large number of flora and fauna.

~that’s where I stop with the over whelming fact file~

Lets Talk About The Experience!!

Every time someone has asked me “How was your trip?”, “How did you find the country?”, “Tell me all about your week long getaway to Vietnam!”, etc… I’ve been consistent with some of these:
“I truly under estimated the country for its beauty and everything else that it has to offer.”, “I’m so glad that I got a sneak peak into it before it became an overly crowded tourist destination.”, “I’m in absolute awe with how someone (referring to the entire population) with such great strength and prowess can continue to remain so grounded and simple.”
Well, its true! The flowers look a little extra bright, the fruits and vegetable are a little extra juicy, the people are a little extra nice and the country is a little extra amazing.

The day I was to leave from DaNang and get to Hoi An, I wanted to visit the Marble Mountain, en route. The only issue was that I couldn’t drag my luggage along with me for four hours up a hill, into the caves and under the sun. So I decided to ditch it all in the truck of my taxi apart from a backpack that held my passport, some cash and a bottle of water, and paid him off for the ride thus far. I was a little skeptical and knew I was being extra crazy!
Now fast forward to: 4 hours, a drenched t-shirt, a few scars, dusty knees and elbows, parched throat, drained mobile battery and a gallery full of pictures later… My phone is hanging by the thread for life and it begins to ring!
Its my taxi driver calling to ask me if he should come to pick me up from the coffee house that we had decided upon. He needed 30 minutes to get there and that’s as much I’d need to get down once I started to wrap up. With our wrist watches pre-matched, we met at the point agreed upon and there he was smiling at my sun baked cheeks and my speed of drinking fresh coconut water!
(Some precautions/ safety tips, if you may)

Living with a local in Ho Chi Minh city, I was briefed about the country in general as I was about to step out for my first ever solo travel in the forth coming days. And this is how it went:

  • Always stay hydrated
  • Do not second guess the street food, if the spot is crowded you should try it
  • Avoid carrying your belongings in your land as snatching is a possibility (thank God for pockets :P)
  • Do not hesitate to ask for help, just smile and ask patiently
  • Its a trusting Country but you should do so responsibly and wisely
  • Women dominate the country in almost all fields and are well respected
  • People here are always willing to have a good chat and get to know about you, that’s just who they are
  • There is free Wifi almost everywhere!
  • Make sure you bargain; everything without a printed MRP is subject to price reduction based on your bargaining skills

This here is the summary to what I think about Vietnam, in an overview format.
I’m looking forward to sharing some more specific experiences, soon!
I hope you now know why I’m feeling Weak For Viet!!

My Intermittent Journey

My journey from five meals a day to only eight hour eating window per day.

For a person who runs away from the thought of skipping a meal and considering fasting my biggest nightmare, I was lucky to be introducedto Intermittent Fasting as Intermittent Eating… think po-tay-to po-tah-to!

Let me begin with a brief about Intermittent Fasting (IF)

There are over 3 commonly known variations to this eating schedule

  • 5:2- here you eat normally for five days of the week and the fast for two days with a maximum calorie intake of 500-600 cal.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat- here you fast for 24 hours (zero calorie intake), once or twice a week.
  • 16/8- here your eating window is within 6 to 8 hours and you fast (zero calorie intake) for 16 to 18 hours.

For obvious reasons my choice was the 16/8 method of eating(as I like to call it instead of IF).

Coming to what is IF?

I wouldn’t call it a diet because it doesn’t tell you what to eat. I would rather refer to it as an eating pattern since it only tells you when to eat!
So, did I have to skip a meal? Not necessarily. I just had to time them better, or if it suits me, I could choose to skip a meal.

How did I move from 5 Meals per Day to an 8hr Eating Window?

  • I took some time to notice my existing eating patterns, the average time difference between my dinners to the next morning’s breakfast. It seemed like I was spacing them by 14 hours already, but the issue was that of snacking after. I took it one week at a time.
    The first week I made sure that I wasn’t snacking post dinner
  • The next week I added an extra hour to my fasting period and came to 15/9
  • The third week I glided into the 16/8 schedule

(Since I tend to have migraine attacks due to acidity from skipping or spacing meals too far apart, this gradual glide-in helped enormously)

The Mechanism of IF
The entire schedule of IF is based on Fed State and Fasted State
The Fed State begins when we start to eat and lasts upto 3-5 hours after, because that’s how long our body takes to breakdown and absorb the food. During the Fed State our insulin levels are high, making it difficult to burn fats
The Fasted State begins at the end of Fed State; it is the time when our body is resting and not processing our meals. The fat burning state begins only 8 to 12 hours after our last meal (post-absorption of all the meals).
Since we don’t easily enter the Fasted State with the habit of unconscious and/or mindless snacking, we store fats. But with IF the fats that pack Glycogen get the chance to be converted into Glucose; AKA Fat Burning State, leading to loss of fat without changing what one eats!
(Interesting fact: the human body can survive on zero calorie diet for eight days)

Working out while on IF?

When I first began this eating plan I was regularly running in the mornings. So, I went ahead with my morning routine of returning from a run by 7 am and made it to breakfast by 10am, which when clocked in for eight hours allows me have my last meal by 6:00 pm.
I wondered if I’d have enough energy for longer runs, but I was surprised that I could comfortably do it provided I had a meal after. Eat Dates (1-2 a day), Otherwise I was bound to feel dizzy and drained.

A friend who has been on IF for more than 18 months now, shared that he practices MMA; so high intensity workouts shouldn’t be an issue either.

What can we consume during the 16 hour zero calorie period?

There are three options. Water. Green Tea. Black Coffee (all of this is without any form of sweetner).

No, fresh fruit juices aren’t allowed either. They carry a certain amount of calories, putting the stomach back to work.

What about the dinner parties and events?

Stay liberal, don’t get obsessed- it’s never healthy. I spent time and created a list of priorities and enjoyed a late meal once in a while. But the very next day I was back on the schedule; no slacking there.

Benefits of IF

  • A better and timely eating system, allowing my digestive system some rest
  • Reduced hassle and time spent on meal preparation
  • Burn body fat and build muscle, and improve body composition
  • Lose weight (mostly around my abdomen region)
  • Feeling light and energetic
  • Reduced workout time without putting on weight or feeing lethargic
  • Learned to say No!

Research based facts: IF can help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It also helps keep neuro degenerative diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay and improve brain health.

Who shouldn’t try IF?

  • Anyone who has a history of any form of eating disorder
  • Those who are pregnant and breast feeding
  • Anyone with a compromised immune system
  • Those with thyroid, adrenal and hormonal issues

Hope my experience helps you start your own story if you’re looking at starting with IF. I personally love it because of its simple rules and the convenience it provides (no extra gadgets or supplies needed).

More love and power to all you guys. Hope all of you had a great V-Day and week!

IGNORANCE

“Not engaging in Ignorance is Wisdom”

The concept of Ignorance and its usage in life has always felt like a cross-roads situation to me. Certain questions such as: Whether to ignore or not, How much to ignore (in terms of quantity and percentage), Until when to ignore, Where to draw the line, For whom to draw the line, How to judge the eligibility of the situation and person in question, etc., etc… have lead to confusion and lack of clarity that has in turn led to further complications.

And the most commonly used and referred to quotes have done next to nothing in order to help me with it:

“Ignorance is Bliss”
&
“If you think education is expensive, then try Ignorance” -Derek Bok


I mean, I’m sure they are words of
great wisdom that have been spoken and written with great insights, but I wish they came with a booklet of instructions!

Think of a situation where you are at a market place (age no bar), and you over hear two friends having a conversation about a third person (who is not present at the site). Now lets assume that this third person is a public figure. With no intent of eavesdropping, you do hear a remark that is the opposite of the opinion that you hold about this public figure, who according to you is an influence in society (positive or negative).
So, do you try to get involved in their conversation or do you continue doing your own work-because BLISS!

In an alternative situation, lets say, you have no opinion because you are not familiar with this personality and their work in society and the world. Then do you let it pass or try and remember the name in order to educate yourself about them? Because for all you know, this person could be running for the Presidential elections of your country in the near future or be involved in the biggest scandal of the century or could just be dating your sibling in the future?

My dilemma being, how do you accept ignorance and agree to ignore acceptance. And is ignorance all about ignoring or more about accepting ignorance?

Hope all of you have an interesting week ahead!
I will be dwelling on my confusion for some time now, and will update you on my progress sooner than later.

PROCRASTINATION

This one is special. It is an act that I often rely on. I’m not sure where it stands on the B&W scale, but it has helped me sometimes.

This one is special.

It is an act that I heavily rely on; is it a good thing, I’m not sure.

PROCRASTINATION

‘the action of delaying or postponing something’

it is a habitual and/or intentional delay of tasks despite its side-effects…

This means, to ignore doing things until the last minute or just avoiding them altogether. The idea of putting away a to-do list until the very last minute, giving task the chance to move from important to urgent before executing them.

Why is this word important?

Well, I procrastinated on writing the weekly post. I had known from a while that the fourth week of the current month was going to be tightly packed and also the fact that I am expected to give WW4.

And instead of attending to this important task when I had the time, I let it sit until the last minute aka I procrastinated. And here I am, now writing it when its developed a sense of urgency, instead of just importance.

This word is important to me because I’m acknowledging a behavioral pattern that I have and trying to address it. For me, the act of admitting to ones fault is the first sign of growth (In my head I’m hearing each reader say “More power to you!”… that’s me hoping)

While it seems all bad because I tend to sometimes under-perform in comparison to my potential. I miss out on time that could be used to improve the presentation and save me some last minute sprints. But, I’ve realized that procrastinating has its own small benefits. I don’t spend too much time planning the smaller things and don’t get the chance to sweat them either. It makes me a fast thinker who usually opts creativity to deal with the time deficit. It makes me live in the moment.

Guess then, I just need to learn to segregate tasks on which I can and cannot procrastinate!

Do you procrastinate as well?

Please do share your experiences and hacks of dealing with it.

Bonus: There are people who identify themselves as PROCAFFEINATORS.

These are the people who cannot get started with their day, work or life without first having their caffeine fix. Its a dependence of sorts.

PS: WW= Weekly Word

Asking

Thrive as a lone wolf or bloom in a pack, it is a matter of choice…

Its one week into the New Year and I’m feeling the energy of my resolution germinate into something new. But this something new is coming with its own challenges. The first and foremost being that this is a One Man Page- which means a single person’s point of view, creativity, ability and time.

While I’m aware that that’s what a personal blog means! I’m also beginning to realize that the only reason we “Sapiens” have out-lived our counterparts as chimpanzees and evolved into the phenomenal beings that we are today, is because of our ability to co-exist among hundreds of mutually exclusive groups. What’s more fascinating is that we have the ability to forge connections while continuing to remain exclusive.

All this is pleasing to hear and further affirms our position on the top of the food chain; what bugs me is my ability to ask.
There are many a times when I’m faced with a choice. A choice to be the lone wolf and complete the task at hand with an average or above average performance. Or to have other people pool in and make the result extra-ordinary, in comparison to my lone job.

Its a situation that has me in knots pretty easily. And in retrospect I’ve often found these knots rather laugh worthy.
Think about it… I’m uncomfortable asking for something that I know, in most cases, improves and even amplifies my experience. And to be rational in the face of the fear-of-asking to make oneself understand that I’m not afraid of the help, I’m just afraid of being rejected on asking. Think if a baby thought that way?
We could as well be crawling our way into old age with no real civilized skill-sets, but just scavengering, hoarding, splattering.. AKA back to being a Chimp!

And since its not a rant, I’m now getting to the point.

A few days ago, I texted a bunch of people who I’d love to get insights from and asked them for Help in writing a piece based on their area of interest and/or expertise….*knots*….*knots*…*knots*…. And then something happened!
Most of them replied with “That sounds like fun, lets plan something”… “I’m looking forward to collaborating with you”…. “I’ll be happy to contribute”.
And now I’m super excited to plan, schedule, collaborate, work and create things that are more than just me.

While this isn’t a post like the ones thus far, but it’s something I couldn’t not share.
Also, its like a re-instated belief in humanity (remember, that’s the religion/ lens that I’m re-discovering my world with?). There are downs but none without ups. There will be rejections but there is acceptance too; but neither will exist if I don’t ask!

And time for some NEWS: I’m usually scrolling down @Educated Unemployed Indian and human am I caught by your “Words have Power/ Word of the Day”! Love what you’re doing there.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to start something similar but just a tad bit different.
I’m going to pick a word every week (language no bar) and share it with all you fabulous readers with the meaning and a piece of my thoughts.
You are always welcome to suggest words from your own language!

The First Run

You haven’t run in a month. Do your best. Remember this isn’t your only chance but this IS your only body. So, be a bit considerate.’

Heart racing at an exorbitant rate, a parched mouth and eyes burning due to the invasion of sweat.

A kilometre short of the finish line, my mind began to make notes of everything that I had to share.

Today,when I woke up before sunrise and got dressed for the long awaited event (read as: very very long awaited), I consolingly told myself, ‘You haven’t run in a month. Your body has been out of touch for way too long. Do your best. Remember this isn’t your only chance but this IS your only body. So, be a bit considerate.’

With acceptance in mind I went ahead and followed all the procedure before the finish line. Before the start mark I took a deep breath and told myself to remember to be at a comfortable pace. Slowly but steadily kilometres passed. I over took a few co-runners and was overtaken by a few. And the longer I ran, the more I wanted to run. After every checkpoint, I wanted to see if I could continue running until the next.

Just like the climax scene of most movies, things started to go on in a slow motion in my tenth kilometre. I could see the finish arch. There was a reinstalled sense of confidence and it felt like a secret packet of energy had just been released in me because my steps were more rapid than the last few kilometres.Oddly enough, while everything was getting faster, my thoughts seemed to begetting clearer and time seemed to be passing slower.

And in the final 1000 meters I started to make a list. A list of things that I had done right, things I was going to get better at and things that I’m going to keep doing.

  1. Wearing a pair of shoes that my feet were familiar with rather than new ones seemed like a great advise I’d implemented.The comfort of wearing the right shoes was an added support
  2. My first stop was because my shoes suddenly felt too tight. I’d forgotten to factor in the swelling up of my feet once they were strained
  3. I lasted more than I expected because I made sure to slow down every time I felt out of breath or exhausted
  4. To stop running and just walk for a bit seemed enticing, but I remembered that it would also make me lose my momentum. So I reduced my pace instead
  5. To avoid an excessive raise in body temperature,I shifted to breathing with my mouth as soon as I felt hot and continued the same.
  6. On seeing my fellow runners fidget with their sponsored t-shirts, I was glad to have remembered to wear an old t-shirt under the new one
  7. Halfway through I realised I should have carried my own Gatorade. While there were multiple refreshment pit stops, your body isn’t conditioned to get dehydrated based on the proximity to a re-hydration supply
  8. ‘Short-term goals’: That was my constant mantra.I was constantly setting short distance and visible goals based on landmarks or objects (not once on the basis of time or distance). Only after crossing the current short distance goal, would I pick the next one. Yes, I was tricking my brain into regularly releasing dopamine along with the feel-good endorphin. But I didn’t want my brain to feel cheated, so I only set the next goal after I had put the current goal behind myself (literally)
  9. Short steps reduced the load on my knees and also improved the frequency of my steps
  10. A regular and longer arm swing improved my momentum at the times when I wanted to be a tortoise. Thanks to stationary, arm swing exercises that we were asked todo, by a marathoner, with 1kg of weight in each hand
  11. During the last few minutes, when I was only a few hundred meters away from the end, I knew I’d superseded my expectations. Being the fickle person I am, I wanted more than I had and knew I could have had more only if I’d been more consistent
  12. SMILE!I remembered that I could release for feel good hormone by smiling and I did that. As the run got more taxing I started smiling larger- as was suggested tome
  13. The last 200 meters was a single sprint. I’m not sure of the how I could do it butI know why I did it. Maybe because I was so excited to have completed it!

WhileI sit washed, in the comfort of a sofa while writing this, I have mixed thoughts about having have had enjoyed every second of the salty water running down and entering my mouth when I first got into a shower. It was strangely exhilarating.

(With all things said and done, I feel gratitude towards an inspiring friend who started off as being my mentor 10 months ago. He has always shown faith and supported me despite my inconsistencies. Thank you!)

Afloat in Mulki

And just like that she knew that even though she had rested, she never really had parted from the sea and it was time to be back in it!

Back flat on the grainy floor of a front porch, eyes closed, she truly enjoyed the burning of her skin under the sun. It was hotter than usual but her body continued to feel like she was bobbing on the river in a kayak. The harmless insects took their own time starting at the heel and climbing to the toe. The slow crawling felt oddly welcoming.

The heat soothing the strained muscles, the coconut trees making the light play peek-a-boo on her face; nature’s care in the most tender form. Clothes a little damp from all the water splashed by her amateur paddles, the skin was well pickled by the minerals of the sea. With a colour block vision of lush green and muddy blues, her brain seemed to be playing games with her relaxing eyes.

The fresh water caressing the parked kayaks on the shore created a prolonging sensation, amplified by the smell of moss, mush and all things tropical. Moist hair, dressed in a bizarre runway fashion, feeling flakey against the pruning fingertips didn’t seem like a concern anymore. The soreness between the index finger and the thumb from rowing, a sweet reminder of ticking another experience off her list and enjoying it just as much as she had imagined. The circular, dance-like movement of the vultures in the sky will always remind her of them joining in her own merry making.

The land was solid and stable yet the mind believed that it was drifting under bridges, around groves. The reflection of white migrating birds and their graceful flight inches away from the surface still had her wondering. She still felt an unreasonable pang of jealousy when she saw fishes skipping with no worry in the world and the jets leaving a relatively permanent trail like a longer lasting reflection of the water lines cut through to move ahead.

The frogs croaked gleefully like in a fare, the dragonflies wheezing around occasionally and slowly the crickets were starting to claim their space. Pockets filled with sand, the lips were smile kissed.

There was a nearing sound of moving tarpaulin under approaching feet and she heard her name. And just like that she knew that even though she had rested, she never really had parted from the sea and it was time to be back in it!

*An experience this beautiful is to be credited to its curators. I first met Rakesh in Manali on a trip put together by Wandermile (Chennai based). This group’s experiential itineraries are soul-felt and enriching.

Read more about them at http://blog.wandermile.com/ or get in touch through contact@wandermile.com