KARMA

Ever feel like you’ve read something that you need to share?

There is no significant relation to your life at that very moment but it seems like it’s a thought for food for life in general.

When a bird is alive, it eats ants…
When the bird is dead, the ants eat it!

Time & Circumstances can change at any time…
Don’t devalue or hurt anybody.

You maybe powerful today… But remember,
Time is more powerful than you!!

One tree makes a million matchsticks,
But when the time comes,
Only one matchstick is needed to burn a million trees.

So Be Good. Do Good.

Law of Karma

Earth Day

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”
-Wendell Berry

Earth Day 2019

Am I about to patronise the day and ask you to be more like a certain X, Y or Z?
NO.

I’m not 24 hours late on expressing my feelings towards the day, but I believe that just about any day on the calendar is good enough to start talking and working towards the earth.


It was pretty recent, while talking to a friend over coffee that we discussed the infamous topic of ‘Believers v/s Atheists’. Let’s just say that I’m more than glad that there was a lot to take back from that conversation and I’m glad that there were no casualties at the end of it unlike most other times. We threw our understanding of the concept at each other and patiently looked at what stuck with the other, lending an open mind and quite lips. The coffee lost its heat while our thoughts ran warm and greased. It is safe to say, I respect her a little more than I did before.

I walked out of the coffee house with a vague sense of satisfaction, even though we did not completely agree with one another most of the time. But there is something that I knew I was about to carry with me for a long time.
I’m not who said it or who thought it, but we agreed that being an Atheist is not the lack of belief or faith in God. But its just the lack of belief in anything. And somewhere down the line we realised that, if our idea of atheism is the parameter, then there aren’t many (any) who are atheists.

If that is the case then who is a believer?
To get to the point, we thought that anyone who believes in the existence of something bigger, stronger and more valuable than themselves in this world becomes a believer.
To ride over examples, someone who values honesty over everything and believes that it is the universal necessity, then s/he is a believer.

Feeling fully comfortable in sharing my thoughts without the fear of judgement or social awkwardness, I admitted that I do not understand organised religions and the competitions they uphold. I still do believe that there is an all knowing and consuming force in the nature which will continue to exist even when we are long gone. And this force is made up of five elements according to my belief system- Earth, Sky, Air, Fire and Water.
While I’m no expert in religion, I respect them all for I have realised that all religions have one thing in common. All the traditions that they promote are, at a grass root level, actually in line with respecting nature. So how could I not?


Remember, we are only above it while we are alive, but these bodies that we love so much are about to spend a larger amount of time under it. Just like our homes above, lets make sure that we create and leave for ourselves a resting space worth our while.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

cảm ơn

A language is more than just words, its an entire culture.

Sleep deprived, queued up for immigrations, holding a cup of iced espresso and filling out my form… *clang*… someone dropped their metal water bottle and it rolled to my feet.
I pick it up in my daze and look for its owner. In under a minute a middle-aged woman walks up to me and asks for her bottle. Even before I knew what was happening, she had bowed down with the most genuine of smiles and whispered “cảm ơn“.

It was a day later that I got to know that she had said Thank You!

It wasn’t something new to hear from someone or a stranger for that matter. Like, on offering my seat to an elderly gentleman on the bus, on sharing my pineapple plate while hiking up a hill under the sun, helping with the directions to a place I’d just visited, allowing a toddler to mess with the travel tag on my bag or just hiring a taxi service to go from one town to the next.
But somehow, the expression felt far more humbling and heartfelt this time.

My trip to Vietnam gave me a perspective that I’d taken for granted for all these years. Its not about the words that we speak, its about the way we speak them that makes the difference.
To say something as simple and common as ‘thank you’ but with a smile, some respect and a little bow- it hit a home run every single time!

Some facts about Vietnamese that could interest you:

  • It has five dialects- Northern, North-Central, Mid-Central, South-Central and Southern Vietnamese. They are mutually intelligible
  • It has three different accents and the tone can change the meaning of a word
  • Modified Latin script is used to write Vietnamese
  • An estimated 90 million people speak it, making it a great foreign language option to study

18 Going 25 Something- looking back and moving ahead

Dear 18 and mid-20s,
Its okay, you are Fabulous!

As an 18 year old, fresh out of high school and waiting to start college/university, I remember being excited to have finally grown up.
There was a little extra bounce in my steps and extra swing to my ponytail. There was an air of confidence and my eyes glimmered with hope. The clarity of thought was unparalleled and my shoulders a little extra squared to take on the world!

I was willing to go down to the minutest of details of everything that I was asked, expected and even wished to do; simply because, you know… everything I did then was supposed to turn and mould the rest of my life. Every decision supposed to solidify the path that I follow for the rest of my life, every relationship I nurtured was to last till the end of my days, every belief system that I adopted was supposed to define life for the rest of my living.

I knew that by the time I was in my mid-20s, I would be an independent being with a certain professional stability with nowhere else to go but rise higher and higher. I knew I was going to be this person who would be wise and generous, witty and intellectual, smart and funny, attractive and well-built.
I would have a Masters degree in Economics and a passport full of stamps, speak two foreign languages and have friends across the globe, play the guitar and read minimum three books a month, have a walk-in closet and people whom I could trust with my life, a labrador with a person to share its warmth with.

Today, it’s been eight years since I was first 18, and to my comfort I haven’t really done most things that I had planned out for myself.
I’m a Psychologist who writes to understand myself better and somedays to just get through the day. I read, but more on the rate of a book a month and sometimes it takes two months to complete it. I have an inconsistent workout pattern and an unparalleled love for food. I’ve not yet filled my passport with stamps but love looking through the Atlas every now and then, and I know i’m collecting experiences to share with my kids and their kids in the future.
I don’t play any musical instruments but have a diverse playlist that caters to my every mood. The only amount of foreign language I know is what Narcos has taught me. Somedays I wonder what is it that I’m doing? But one thing has become abundantly clear, that I’m not looking at breaking any glass ceilings, professionally.
I do drive a stick pretty well and have made friends from different walks, ages and beliefs. I do not have a dog, but do take every opportunity to play with one when I find it. I still love dunking my cookie in the milk and finding shapes in the clouds!

Not wanting to start my 27th year on a low note I asked for help on my personal Instagram account (because that’s where we are the most responsive, as a society).
I asked for people to help me see me through their eyes.
I mean, looking into myself wasn’t looking very promising and uplifting in comparison to the 18-something’s image of current me, because you know- self doubt and esteem issues.

Surprisingly, what started with the intention of licking my wounds turned out to have more of a therapeutic effect. There were responses that spoke of my physical appearances and other socially polite things that we all do at some point or the other. Then there were those that put a smile back on my face and made me realise that I might not have become all things that I’d dreamt of as an 18year old, but I surely on the right road no matter the destination.

It began with “It takes a very secure person to do something like this”; it made me realise how I’d been open to all kinds of responses and willing to go on. But this response just prepared me better.

Some said that I have grown up to become a sensible woman, understanding and simple. I realised that I do have quite a few virtual friends whom I’ve rarely or never had the chance to meet in person, and real ones whom I meet as often as I can.
There is family who are like friends and friends like family, and I couldn’t have wished for more. They find me annoying and incorrigible, but adore me none the less. I do have sour patches, but I know in my heart that I’ve done enough to sweeten them before I gave up; no regrets there.

It was repeatedly mention that I do travel quite often and that helped me make peace and hope for more in the future.

To think about it, the most rewarding feeling was the realisation that I am happy. Inspite of all the things that I’ve not achieved, received, earned and created in comparison to my dream for myself. I’ve been blessed with more than I could have asked for.
Not everything has panned out the way I believed it would, somethings never even materialised. After all, what did I know then when compared to now?

I’ve lost people who I thought would last forever and have company in the ones whom I never thought I could understand.
Plans have changed multiple times. Some of them have felt like a train wreck, like hitting a dead-end with no where else to go. Very rarely does anyone ask me for my grades from high school and college, even though at the time it meant like the world depended on them. But everytime I meet somebody now, they want to know what I do; as do I about everybody.
Things that seemed like the indicators of the quality of my future at one point, seem so frugal now!

I still look for approval and validation every now and then, but I’m also learning to segregate the feedback. I’m learning to find it within myself rather than the world; and to the ones who are seeking it elsewhere, trust me pleasing and appeasing the universe inside yourself makes you more beautiful and appealing to the world outside of yourself.
To the 18 year old me I’m a grown up now, but today I’m still growing. I’m yet to make mistakes and learn new things about myself. I’m still setting goals and targets for my older self and setting my heart out to wander and understand itself better. I’m not perfect, but I know that there is no single universally accepted definition to perfect, either.

Making yet another time capsule for the next five years and allowing myself to be swallowed by the world. the world lead me. They say ‘Maturity is the price you pay for growing up’, I think I’m just keeping the child in me alive!

When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks,When you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks, When you’re 60, you realise no one was thinking about you in the first place.

-Winston Churchill

And this here feels like my theme song!

ALHAMDULILLAH

“Praise be to Allah/ Lord”

It was after a regular work evening, while I was scrolling through my phone and getting my social media fill for the day, that I entered into a conversation with an old time acquaintance turned friend.
I had responded to her comment on one of my posts with “I’m not sure if its the right Urdu word, but all I can say is ‘Inshallah'”. And she ever so humbly replied with “Its an Arabic word, love.”
And thus began the germination of an idea that I had been considering for my Birth-month (if there is such a thing to celebrate). I’m dedicating the next four Weekly Words, starting now, to gratitude in different world languages.


Pronounced as “Al-HAM-doo-Li-lah” , it is an Arabic word which when broken to simpler elements looks something like this-
Al meaning the
Hamd meaning praise
Illah; which is understood as Al+Ilah i.e. The+Deity/Lord

There are four common contexts in which Alhamdulillah is known to be used:
1. As a secular expression, like ‘Thank God’ used in English
2. In Prayer, while thanking the Creator
3. As a term of acceptance, in times of trial and difficulties placed upon us
4. As an expression of gratitude to the God
*when I say God, I’m referring to the form of energy or higher power that you believe in

Originated in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic is one of the six most spoken languages in the world. In fact, Arabic literally means ‘nomadic’, which makes sense as it was first spoken by the nomadic tribes in the northwestern frontier of the Peninsula.

Some amazing facts about Arabic are:
1. It is the official language in 26 countries
2. Arabic words are written from right to left, numbers from left to right
3. Unknowingly we all know a little bit of Arabic; few English words that come from Arabic are algebra, alchemy, cotton, mummy (the ones in Egypt, not the one at Home), carat (for gold), sugar and lemon

NOTE: Art work credits to Afreen Khundmiri who has been doing some amazing work through her art. She is an Atlanta based Arabic Calligraphy artist, who through her art supports and funds medical treatment for the underprivileged. Do check her out and show some love on instagram and follow her Blog on http://afreenkhundmiri.blogspot.com/?m=1



This was the Weekly Word!
Like, Comment and Share your views on the choice of word and its content.
If you wish to recommend or share a word that you'd like me to explore based on my perspective, then please do send it in through the comments, email or on instagram.
*You can now follow THW on Instagram @thehazywhisperer for regular updates*

Until next week!!

The Comedy Of Normalcy

“At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvellously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

“If you are always trying to be normal, you may never know how amazing you can be.”

-Maya Angelou

Each one of us is made of the most unique combination of cells, thoughts and personalities. I know I say it all the time, in different words but always the same meaning; and I am not scared of repeating myself because I truly believe so.
In light of this acknowledgement (or fact), it is only fair to say that we all have something that makes us stand out, in our own small and big ways, in this crowd of a 7.7 billion (and counting, literally!).
Lets proceed for once with the assumption, as the base, that you agree with my belief and believe in my thought too.

“I think every person has their own identity and beauty.
Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring.”

-Tila Tequila

With such uniqueness and distinctiveness, the world should be a ball of creativity, bursting with ideas; and yet there seems to be an increased need and pressure to be different and also difficulty in achieving the status of standing out from the rest.
Isn’t that intriguing? Isn’t that something worth being curious about?
There have been days I’ve had conversations at length, with myself or with the forces of this world and found myself increasingly lost rather than at peace.

E.E. Cummings once said that “To be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting”.
Why do we have to struggle and battle for something that has been given to each one of us, so unconditionally?

Could it be that a select few, whom we know nothing of, have created a divide between crazy and acceptable?
We are usually so scared of accepting anything that isn’t what the majority follows that we label, shame and stereotype them. I’m not talking about the big taboos, I’m hinting at the smaller habits of everyday life, the hobbies one wishes to pursue, the things that one doesn’t like, the chores that the family divides, the way we address our kids or the things that we strongly say NO to without even a thought.

It’s funny how the normalcy that everyone wants to achieve is defined by someone we’ve never met and cannot quote. Its interesting how the world demands uniqueness and we are eager to judge the ones who are different and readily abandon them. And miraculously, we are coerced into being like everybody while still holding the volcanic potential of being somebody.
So, is normalcy what we achieve when we can’t achieve what we independently and personally want to achieve??
Isn’t it ironical?

Life’s no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe’s my own to fool with.”

-Murakami

Come on, I know we live in a society. And in order to survive we have to co-exist. And in order to co-exist we need harmony. And for harmony we need to co-ordinate or just be more alike.
But could it hurt so much to just replace our straight ‘No’ into a waited silence to hear them out??
After all, there is strength in diversity!

*The population estimate has been taken from World Population Clock

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!

VALIDITY

Its necessary, but more from inside and almost never from the outside. Ironically we do the opposite.

In general, it is a criteria to measure the quality of any information. It is indicative of its logical and factual soundness.
Eg. “You make a valid point/argument.” or “There is no proof that validates your stories” (basically means that you think the person is lying).

In case of statistics and research, validity is understood as the extent to which the results or findings correspond to the actual reality.

To think of why this concept has made it to my choice of word for this week, it is because of something that I caught myself doing.
I willingly went ahead and undid my hour long effort because someone’s opinion of the outcome didn’t seem very positive towards it, even though I was convince that it was fairly good for the occasion.
I’m not saying that valuing and respecting someone’s opinion is wrong. But make sure its someone else’s opinion, not necessarily your reality!

Have you ever felt like you have used validation as a tool to measure your affection towards someone, or someone has used it for you? I know I have allowed people’s validation drive me from one task to the next.
It doesn’t confirm their love for me, but it sure makes me distant from who I am. And the worst part, when you pay attention to someone post validation, its never a long term result or unconditional love. It becomes a cycle- there is constant need to fit into the box or match a certain expectation.

The day I caught myself doing this and realised that their approval was not always bringing me happiness I decided to try and be more conscious of this and evaluate my actions.
After all, Life is too short to please everyone while making yourself uncomfortable and disconnected!