Drain Bamaged!!

Inspired from Life, Love & Laughter

First World Syndrome

The world’s plagued with poverty, war, terrorism, humanitarian crisis and what not but my colleagues and friends bicker about their everyday problems with so much intensity that led me to write this. This list is in no way referring to all the developed nations of the world or even the majority of the population of any country. I only seek to poke fun at and question some of the thoughts and ways of privileged people of the first world and the first world problems! If this post offends you, am afraid, you are one of the snobs described below, my friend 😉

Untoasted Unbuttered Banana Bread
First of all, yeah, Banana Bread – it’s a rage which is essentially bread with banana pulp as one of its ingredients. I was caught munching on one and people who saw this debacle were alarmed that I hadn’t buttered and toasted it. That’s when I coined this title, obviously borrowing from the term ‘3rd world Countries / problems’, after their passionate speech of how best to eat it. Why would you want to lather fat on top of this rich sugary bread and then crib about the amount of calories?

Multiple Cars
Yeah, you’d think that multiple cars would be a solution to a problem of multiple people getting around to multiple places. But no, let’s carve a problem out of it. My workplace implemented a parking policy due to limited car parking spaces for the growing workforce. One had to register their car plate number and nominate 4 out of 5 weekdays they wanted a spot – people were either expected to take the public transport on the last day or work from home. So the company tried solving the issue by offering the employees a work from home day – solution! But it was registering ‘a’ car plate number that was the problem. How to just pick ‘a’ car when people have kids’ child care / school drop offs and pick ups and how only 1 car has the car seat (It is mandatory for a child to be in a car seat until a stipulated age or physical growth) and how they don’t want to put in a car seat in their premium car which they drive on the days of no drop-offs / pick-ups (if you haven’t figured out why – to keep the car clean of course. No food crumbs and pukes in an expensive car!). Seriously??

Change Rooms
‘The change room’s disgusting; I found a couple of strands of hair in the wash basin – God knows when they cleaned it last.’
Just amazing to look at what the first world can take for granted which is a luxury elsewhere. No proper toilets at home / village is a violation of human rights but here we complain about a slightly dirty sink. People would have obviously dried their hair with the hair dryer next to sink after taking a shower in the change room using soaps and shampoos provided for free in the showers and after hanging their towel to dry in the drying area that has a fan running the whole day.
Wowie, could you please ask the girls on overnight bus trips dreading to go to the filthy toilets when the bus stops for loo breaks and ask them how they avoid liquid intake to avoid peeing and ask them about how, in the extreme situations of having to go, especially in a western style toilet, they hover just above the commode in an angular squat position somehow aiming it into the bowl, holding the clothes but no part of the exposed body ever touching the bowl? And now imagine the filth if it drives us this insane.
I think the best bit of having seen a tough life is the gratitude that comes with it when you get a better life. And which makes many more issues seem real petty and teaches not to take things for granted. Because once we start taking things for granted, we start complaining – some times silently with a sigh and a nod and sometimes verbally and thinking that we being just us is a favour to this world.

This is in line with taking things for granted and feeling totally entitled. The feeling of everything on the Earth is just to serve us; the constant urge to have the latest gadgets and updated decor (thereby increasing the amount of things thrown out whilst in perfect usable condition); the impatience while waiting to be served if not given the priority – “my coffee took forever. I was behind a 100 people, so annoying”. This is what would have given a few counties the title of ‘First World’ and many others the ‘3rd World’. Downright audacious!

Specially the Easy-Go Pouches. Tiny packs of biscuits, yogurt, munchies, dips, tetra packs of 100-200 ml of milk/ pouches of flavoured ones are common on the supermarket shelves and in turn the shopping trolleys. The marketing of ease-of-use of these increases the plastic usage per person and no wonder 1st world’s usage (of anything in general!) is way higher than developing nations’ though these privileged countries only have a fraction of the population in comparison. How much easier is it, comparatively, to buy smaller packs than to buy regular / big sized ones and apportioning them into boxes? A few minutes a day is what the difference would be, I think, but I guess it is worth all the extra trash that we won’t generate. As long as it is available, people would buy. There has to be restrictions from the industries and governments. Restrictions without loopholes – like how now in many cities in India there is a total plastic ban and if you forget your bags while shopping you pay for ‘cloth’ bags but if you were in the same situation in Oz, you can still buy a ‘plastic’ bag. What sort of ban is this? Obviously plastic being cheaper than cloth, people now are used to buying them over the more expensive cloth ones. Because the stores claim that they are made of recycled plastic and are recyclable they get away. But how many get to the recycling plant? Isn’t cloth longer lasting? Isn’t it cheaper in the longer run to stick to cloth bags production than produce, process, and recycle plastic?

A ban without loopholes is what 1st world needs and it looks to me on the outset that it is harder to get the politicians and citizens of the developed world on board in comparison to the developing world, which could partly be due to the earlier topic of feeling of being entitled to an easy, great quality life. I have lived in Europe and though they too are in the 1st world league, they don’t come across as resistant to change; they are willing to embrace the change the earth demands. Most of the countries in the EU are far ahead in this game of sustainability, renewable energy and the like. Again as stated in the beginning I only want to highlight the sections of the society that suffer from the 1st world syndrome!


People follow road rules to the T that honking is considered rude. I can only imagine their plight if they were to visit a country like India or Pakistan! No honk would be a disrespect. You don’t exist if you don’t honk! But it makes total sense if you think about it – people here honk only if the person in front of them makes a mistake on the road. So the honking is justified when no road rules are followed 😉


This part of the world is generally a place where people pay for their gym memberships and USE the god-damn gym! So unheard of from where I hail!
And not just 1 gym membership – multiple memberships for gyms near home and near work place or go a level up with Fitness Passports that allow you to use any gym in the city. Crazy, eh? I have only known people who sign up on new year every year, as part of the new year’s resolution, buy great gym clothes but never see that place ever after day 1. Same story year on year  but with new clothes every year as the previous year’s one don’t fit anymore – yeah must have gone to the gym!

I will have to agree that this is a good problem to have though! People want to be fit and age isn’t a deterrent – they workout, run / bike into work, enrol in group classes etc. It is good to be bitten by this bug!


Though I write about problems, the most common phrase, at least in Oz, is ‘No Worries’. Absoloodly! Except for trivial things. Global warming? No worries – more beach days. Climate Change – USA’s President says that they don’t believe in it – so No worries. (In fact the new physicist leading Trump’s Environmental Board says CO2 emissions are good. What the!!!) Ozone depletion? No worries – SPF50+ sun cream. Not segregating waste properly? No worries – the council will sort it out.

But veggies are slightly out of shape? Chuck them out. Some one honks? Let out an audible shock. Rain slows the traffic down? Crib the whole day. Public transport interruption? Make that the breaking news and blame how badly it has been handled. Something’s on sale? Buy it even if you don’t need it.

It is a funny world, this one, where different demographics, different geographies have different priorities and different levels of tolerance / offensive subjects. I wonder at some, laugh at some and crib about some. In fact problems are like Newton’s 1st law of thermodynamics (yeah 1st law not the 3rd!) – Problems can neither be created nor destroyed; problems can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

These are just a few, mind you, do let me know if I can add to this list!

Vishuddhi 2018

Yet another gratifying day of the year when I get the opportunity to meet and provide some help to a handful of students. 37 Students from The Children’s Garden Higher Secondary School, between classes 6 and 12, received educational scholarships of Rs.2000 each through Vishuddhi on the 20th of November 2018 due to the contributions of, the ever supportive Rohit Patnekar and Family, and my friends (Prasanth, Divya, N Crew, E Crew, Akhila, Sonam). Thank you, people!

Vishuddhi 2016 & 2017

With immense support from the Patnekars, Sonal Matai and family, and a friend Rajkumar Chandru, Vishuddhi helped 35 students in 2017 by awarding them scholarships of Rs.2000 each.

MRC Nagar Corporation School also received a sum of Rs.10000 as part of Teach for India initiative to help improve extra-curricular activities.

In 2016, again with their support, the below beneficiaries received monetary support.

Building fund for The Cuckoo Forest School – Rs. 10,000

Exam Kits for rural children – Rs. 10,000

Science Laboratory Renovation of the Children’s Garden Higher Secondary School – Rs. 25,000

No pictures but thank you, people 🙂


Conquer Plastic

This is a ‘Plastic Ocean’ documentary inspired post. Highly recommend watching it to realise the magnitude of our Plastic Problem.

Plastics are choking up our planet at an alarming pace. We have, almost involuntarily, fallen into this vicious plastic Chakravyuh without a way out. I say involuntarily because manufactures have gone the plastic way to make business cost-effective and we are, in most cases, left with little or no choice. But we still have time to mend our ways; we still can ask industries to be earth-friendly; we still can spread the word.

We could start tackling the ‘disposables’ first. A total con of a word!  Dispose it after one use but where? Earth is our home and backyard; there is no place called ‘away’ to chuck these. They all end up in a landfill and most of them find their way to the ocean. The enormity of this issue is perfectly captured in the Plastic Ocean. (Links to the Film trailer)
Tuvalu, once an island paradise, is dying a plastic death. The pristine blue waters of the oceans around the world are layered with tiny microplasctics, called nurdles, micro-beads, and disintegrated plastics. These look like food for the fish. These fish pass on the harmful effects of plastics up the food chain – so much so that it is even affecting the dolphins’ reproductive system. And on top of the food chain is us, humans.

Countless water bottles, straws, non-recyclable plastic bags, take-away containers, food tubs of butter and yogurt, that we throw end up in the ocean. It rests on us to make the alternative choice. I do agree that just our choices are insufficient to address this without a large-scale movement and involvement of governments but we could do our bit. And the perk for us is, though convenient, plastics – even the BPA free ones are anyway not good for our health.

Facts on how it affects us here: https://www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/ and https://www.plasticoceans.org/infographic-ocean-pollution-affects-humans/

It’s seems tough at first to not buy any more of the tupperwares, to carry own coffee mugs but eventually that would become a habit. Say No to anything that’s single use to begin with. Say No to plastic cutlery, straws and water bottles. Carry your own. Buy bigger servings of food tubs. Opt for wooden toys over plastic and once the child outgrows donate (plastic specially) and do not trash them. Don’t cling wrap food – use containers with lid instead. While shopping, choose products with the least packaging. If you get grocery in plastic bags, use them to line your bin and don’t buy separate bin bags. Switch to glass and steel boxes. Don’t buy cosmetics with micro-beads (face washes and toothpastes are the most prominent offenders). Carry your own mug for coffee; if that isn’t possible, please say no to the lid. New parents, give reusable cloth nappies a try. Ladies, give menstrual cup a go. Segregate trash. Find if your community has a recycling program that you can participate in– for example : Colgate has the Oral Care Recyling Program is many countries to recycle anything related to toothpastes and brushes as they are not recyclable in the usual government operated program. Check out various other recycling programs at https://www.terracycle.com and see if it is available in your country.

Ask companies not to wrap couriers in enormous packages. Sign the petition here – https://www.change.org/p/amazonnews-in-flipkart-commit-to-ecofriendly-delivery-50-less-plastics-plasticfreedelivery

Think of all the aspects of your daily life where you can substitute plastic with earth friendly choices and encourage your family and community to follow them. Please do share your ideas that can help others. Every aspect of plastic in our lives might not change overnight or not even in totality over time but we could begin somewhere. The animals and the earth deserve better.


Picture Source: https://www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

Giving Common Cold its due credit

We talk about finding cure to so many dreadful diseases out there and fear their onslaught but the humble ‘Common Cold’ is too a disease without a medicine or cure. Think about it, all your chest rubs, Vitamin Cs and Ds, decongestants, throat lozenges, off-the-counter drugs, home remedies etc. can help relieve a blocked nose or control the symptoms but they actually don’t cure. Scientists have left it to the body to fight it and destroy it and build immunity against it because, one – each cold is caused by a different strain of virus (unless Bacterial infection) and two – majorly because it is not deadly. But it can get very annoying and strain you out. People would laugh at you if you take a day off work / study ‘just’ due to a cold! But let me tell you it is not as simple as it sounds –

I was heavily pregnant, looking like a ‘Deathly Hallow’ with legs. The resurrection stone (uterus) had squished all the lungs, stomach, chest, pancreas, and there was just a small part of elder wand (oesophagus) left. An entire course of antibiotic did not cure it and was fearing that one of those from-the-bottom-of –stomach coughs would just pull my lungs off of me. Had my child not come out the downward passage in time, am pretty damn sure he would have come out of my throat and mouth with one of the coughs. He was anyways closer to this passage than the other one! We have heard stories of delivering while peeing, imagine delivering with a cough or a puke! How simple!

And know what annoys me further – apparently blowing your nose in public is not a decent thing to do. Whoever came up with this brilliant rule! If that’s the case I would have to move my desk to the loo permanently during a bout of cold. My theory is simple right – I blow out as much as mucus I can from my nose into the tissue every time the nose fills up rather than letting it go down the throat and cause phlegm. It is already as crowded as Silk Road Junction and why to put in more and more into that narrow strip? And since the wind pipe is so full you have heart burn when you eat a good meal – they just honk their way down the strip – burp, burrrrrp, burrppp, buuurp, screech and when they have travelled the entire distance they park at the destination again by honking – farfarfarfarttt. But the brilliant rule again – we can’t fart in public right? You suppress it to let out a pssssss (nishabhdham prana sankatam!) and offer others around you your tissue – I mean a clean one! Yeah gross to read and grosser to hear the nose motor run throughout the day but who cares? Not me; I guess my French neighbour at work does cause he was complaining that he too caught cold now – courtesy ‘You Know Who’. But guess who is blowing the nose now? Heeheehaa!

There’s another thing with cold – your body destroys the virus on its own and usually at the end of the war it raises the temperature to burn it alive inside you. So fever after a cold is a good thing, yes? Not in my case. My body is so laid back that I don’t get fever! While at school I used to so proud that I never took days off due to fever because I never got one but now I yearn for it. My body just fights the Mahabharat war for 18 long days instead of going the nuke way and blowing them up. Two of the greatest world leaders, the greatest this world has ever seen, (well probably a close second to the best world Führer) are Pro-nuke and that’s something to learn from. Or the body at least could do some missile testing just to keep the other viruses on their toes – but no, it chooses non-violence. So boring and old school. And after about a 12-day relief, which is the remaining days in a month, my son passes on a new virus from day care onto me and the vicious cycle begins. During winter, it just signs a peace treaty and co-exists with all the virus colonies. Open immigrant policy you see; just that these are illegal ones!


P.S: The last sentence is a light-hearted one and I am no way drawing parallels being an immigrant myself.

The Repercussions

Part 2 of the previous post The Hand.

Fast forward a few years; another large family get-together; another time for fun and frolic. Enter The Hand and The Mouth. She immediately gets up from the circle in the pretext of a phone call. At that exact moment she sees her cousin get up too. They catch a fleeting glance. There is an unspoken mutual feeling of their reflex action. Why did they get up at the exact same time? They both didn’t know each other that well, they hardly get to meet one another but that momentary eye contact creates a bridge. They walk out quietly to the cool night breeze.

There was a sense of calm, peace in their silence. She broke the silence and asked “Have you had a terrible experience too?” Totally out of context for a spectator but it made perfect sense to her cousin.

“One experience?” spat her cousin, “Couple of times by each of them”.

“Arrgh, that’s dreadful”, she gasped. “I am sorry to hear that”

“My self-esteem was shattered even before it formed. I was barely 6. Too young to know what was happening but never too old to forget or overcome it. But do you look at the irony? They inflicted so much scare, and fear of men, and fear of relationships, and fear of sex in me but they are ‘happily’ married and ‘settled’ in life. They are the epitomes of ideal men in this society whereas me – people say I am a failure. My parents say I am a shame as I am unmarried, though I am doing well at work, – because marriage, even if turbulent, is the only gauge with which the society measures your accomplishments. I am not in a relationship even though I know the ‘Not All Men’ theory. Do you see how deeply ingrained the experiences were to form such a social phobia in me? And the best part, they don’t feel even the slightest of repercussions while I am intimidated for life and buried deep underground. And to top it off, people are so unfair to the victims if we speak out. If weak even once, keep suffering forever, get branded. Blame, name and shame the victims and the accused is never in the limelight.”

“Victim shaming is probably the main reason of people trying to cover up or not speak about their agony”

As an after-thought, I wonder how they would ever speak to their children about abuse without any guilt. Yes, they would have first-hand information of how to identify an abuser but at least when they have this conversation, will they realise?”

“They might get their spouses do the job perhaps.


”Did you ever consider confronting them?”

“Yeah, it is ridiculous, isn’t it? We can happily go complain to our parents about strangers but when it is someone we know we somehow don’t bring it to the light. I don’t know if it is because of the self-doubt at that age or the trust on these known faces. I feel stupid when I think about it now.

But yes, I did consider confronting their parents, a few years later, when it all made sense to me but they being so protective and being the kind who turn a deaf ear to their children’s antics, I stopped myself. You know them too, what do you think they’d have done?”

“They would have asked you not to tarnish their beloved children’s names by spreading fake stories..”

“Exactly! And let’s say even if they had a slight sense that wasn’t blinded by the unbound love for their children, they would have just called me impertinent and broken me beyond repair right in front of the villains and later in private would have warned them of not repeating this. The accused would have just walked away with a warning but with an assurance that their parents will get their back, no matter what, and I would have had my belief in this system go to the dogs.”

She put her hand around her shoulder and they stared into the empty night.

The Hand

“You have grown up so much”, said The Hand with a pat. The moment The Hand touched her shoulder, it gave her chills and revived forgotten memories from more than a decade ago. The Hand she shunned, the Hand she detested. The Hand that was skilled at finding an opportunistic moment or even creating one. The cruel Hand, the cunning Hand. The Hand that traversed and caressed her body slowly, when she was mere 10 years old, searching for her non-existent breasts. The Hand that wasn’t that old too, probably just exploring its own body when she had become an experimental piece. The undecided Hand that felt scared to reach inside her underwear and that had then proceeded towards her thighs momentarily, only to muster courage to go back in a few seconds later. The Hand’s finger hurt her and she experienced her first cramps. The Hand stroked, what looked like a bone with skin between its groin with its Other Hand. What had been a few minutes had felt like eternity for her, wanting to run away from this uncomfortable and suffocating moment. She wasn’t taught about such things at home or at school and hadn’t read any such story in her book collection. She did not know that saying ‘No’ might stop it or screaming for ‘Help’ might work. She did not know that confiding to a trusted elder would bring this to an end. She did even understand her own barrage of thoughts to put it into words to an elder. She only learnt that adults don’t understand hints – when the 2nd time they wanted to leave her alone with The Hand, she pleaded to The Hand’s mother to take her along but her grown up child was to teach the little girl how to wash clothes and do the dishes – which were important for a girl to learn during vacation. She spent the whole chilly evening outside, on the lawn, refusing to budge in only to be reprimanded by The Hand’s mother, later that night, for not helping out her dutiful child with any of the chores.

She couldn’t care less for the next morning she was leaving that house and that city. Luckily. She slept in peace, a little too soon.

Next morning, she had to go to everyone’s room and bid goodbye. She did not enter The Hand’s room; she just walked into the adjacent room.

“You never thanked me for taking you to the movies the other day”. The moment she opened her mouth to utter a word of thanks, The Mouth latched onto hers. It squished and squashed her tiny lips and tried pulling it off her face. She again could not comprehend to the happenings. Why was The Mouth trying to rip her face off? She had never seen her conservative parents kiss in front of her nor had seen any movies to understand that this horrible gesture was a kiss. For her a peck on the cheek was a kiss. All she knew was her lips hurt. The ordeal was over in a few seconds and she ran out of The Mouth’s room and the house and the lawn to the road. She would never set foot inside this horrid place ever again she swore. And she never did, ever.

She never met The Hand and The Mouth, ever too, until this day. All she could muster up to the The Hand’s question was a mere “Yes”, shrug The Hand off her back and walk away. How dare they speak to her? Do they even remember, in vivid details, the episodes she had encountered with them? Or was she one of their many adventures for them to remember? Thankfully, they weren’t interested in her anymore; she wasn’t a child anymore; she just hoped their children don’t turn out to be Paedophiles or even get abused as Karma works in a vicious circle.

Post Script:

This story doesn’t have any names for the characters as it could be any one of us. ‘She’ too is a generic usage – could easily be a ‘He’. If you were ever in the giving end, be ashamed and learn. If you were ever in the receiving end, speak up and stop it. We get to read terrible stories of rape and molestation and always fear about our children; but even small things like in this story could affect a child psychologically. ‘Mild’ abuses (if we could call them that) such as these are more prevalent around a child’s life and their scars could be deep.

Talk to your kids about Child Abuse; empower them to fight back and do the world some good by not just protecting them from abuse but by also raising them not be abusers. The second part could be the toughest; I haven’t crossed that bridge yet, so I don’t know how. Do tell me if you know.

My Team of Freaks

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Disclaimer 2: No, I haven’t put the 1st Disclaimer to save my job.

Fact 1: What is life, if we can’t laugh at ourselves (and at others 😛 )

So, let me introduce you to my work mates!

  1. The Trailer

He doesn’t know what a full stop / period is. His conversations only have a ‘comma’. However, if you mistake his pause as the end of the conversation and start walking away you’d not offend him; he’d first strain his neck to look at you and talk, then raise a voice a bit and then he’d just walk with you to continue it. Last week a person was trying to run, waving him a bye, saying his taxi to the airport was waiting downstairs and he needs to rush – what a big mistake of deciding to bid our guy a goodbye before leaving!

Ask him what he did over the weekend, the casual reply would be – 200 kms of biking. I told’ya, he never stops!

  1. The Nodder

Why say a simple ‘Yes’ when you can exercise your neck muscles? Cock the head to the farthest possible distance in the left, take a big U-turn, reach the right, complete the 360 degree nod by looking down and repeat the process for at least 3 times. Imagine running around a football field but just with your head – and do this for each and every freaking ‘Yes’!

He is also the kind of person who’d start explaining if you let out a , ‘Yeah, tell me about it’. 😛

  1. The Techy

He is so technical that while preparing for his 1st 14km run, he finds out the exact brand and flavour of the electrolyte and the brand of bottled water they’d be handing out during the race and practices with it! Since the race course is far from his place he finds out which route and elevation could mimic the race route and practices there!! His ear pods don’t play music during the run – they provide a live commentary and stats of the current run. And mind you, he is a first time runner; he’d be a pro in no time!

  1. The Brand-wagon

His life can be categorised into B.C and A.D. – Being Cashless and After Degree.

During B.C: He holds a record for getting a speeding ticket while riding a 50cc TVS Luna! He also holds the record of the cop letting him go without paying for the so-called fine or a bribe when he challenged him to cross 35 km/h in that moped and he’d pay him double of that on the fine receipt! He was brave enough to ride triples on that grandpa’s moped for 45 kms on muddy, dusty roads, many a times, unnerved that he’d be fifty shades browner when he reaches the college gates.

A.D years: Now the motto is – The more the cost, the better the quality. That includes everything from a toothbrush to a car! When he moved further away from work making his commute an hour each way, all he had to say was – I at least have a good car for sitting through the choked roads!

  1. The Sweet-tooth

If the sweet craving strikes, which often does, she’d wake up early, meticulously prepare Gulab Jamuns (Milk dumplings soaked in Sugar Syrup) that needs a minimum of 30 minutes for trained hands and bring some over for the team. If her pantry is empty, sugar with left over rotis would become laddus! No brownie points for guessing her favourite vegetable. Naah, not sweet potato; sweet corn, of course! (Sweet potato isn’t that sweet, you see.)

  1. The Salutation

People close emails with various phrases but this fellow opens it in his style – ‘That’s a good question.’ He is the only person who looks good in his ID card and passport. I want to get his voter or aadhar card done just to show how we can distort his sharp French face! Did I mention, he runs, plays tennis and squash, and kite-surfs? He did a kite-surfing exclusive backpacking tour to Brazil, alone – now that’s uber cool!

  1. The Lion who is a Herbivore

The oldest in the team yet the youngest looking, thanks to his surfing, skate-boarding, tennis and a gorgeous dog. (Should I also include his herbivorous diet in this equation?? He has 6 meals a day, by the way!) His Dutch surname means the lion but you’d never see him growl or even put up a scowl! Unassuming and modest. Talk about any sport in this world and he’d have played it or would know about it – even dodgeball, under water hockey, fist ball!

  1. The Carnivore

His sole reason for eating meat is to balance out the herbivores and maintain a healthy food chain! Duh, he is helping the environment by doing so. He doesn’t know what intonation and making an eye contact while speaking is. His comedy and tragedy are delivered in the same tone. You’d mistake him for talking to himself , looking outside the window but he’d be addressing you, possibly cracking a joke! His way of accumulating steps through the day ?? Wear the pedometer on your wrist and type away! An avid cricketer and that is not considering the umpiring he does at home with his 2 kids.

  1. The Fitness Guru

This guru has a personal guru who makes him do upside down crunches in mid-air with just his legs holding onto a beam at 6 in the morning. And what do you get when you merge a great physique with impeccable dressing sense? A smart metro-sexual dude!

I should have named this post and ‘My Team of Fitness Freaks’.

  1. The Thesaurus

Two sample sentences from her – The key main priority for teams members functions is to first analyse evaluate investigate then agree negotiate compromise later establish stabilise and change enhance improve. If the idea is obsolete irrelevant then push postpone delay until you confirm clarify.

Psst: I typed out the words as she spoke in the pretext of taking notes. Would Redundant better suit than Thesaurus?

Well, whatever, let me add the list of ex-members too below!

  1. The Gyaan Guru

He has an opinion on everything and his opinion is always right. From choice of peanuts till breastfeeding (and yeah he is a He!). But yeah he wouldn’t say you are wrong; he’d just say he is right. This is definitely better than the Always-Right in the neighbouring team who would put across the silliest of reasons to strengthen his stance, or that’s what he thinks, and out-rightly dismiss any of opposing views. It could be as trivial as a choice of fruit or clothing. Always-Right annoys the shit out of people.

Back to the actual team member: the fitness segment for him– he’s the fastest runner in the team. He still is, not was; no one has broken his record yet.

  1. The Guitarist

And the salsa dancer. And the walker. And the Tea connoisseur. And the Cake Club member. And the Social Committee Head. And the Universe. She is everything you can imagine and everything you can’t. She’s everything you’d wish for and everything you don’t. She is all-inclusive yet aloof. She is the Zen.

  1. The Grumpy Ol’ Man

If he doesn’t like somebody (that’s everybody!) he says, “If I meet him in a lonely dark alley, I’ll show him who a true Russian is”. He is as strong as he threatens you too – an ace craftsman, carpenter, who also knows to lay floors and build bridges – his house is soaked in his blood and sweat! A physicist by education, a software developer by profession, a sailor by passion. Now beat that.

  1. 2 States

A real life Punjabi marrying a Tamilian story who worked real hard on his 6-pack so that he could look fab in a dhoti! On the diet spectrum, the stench of his food from last week that he is having for lunch today would beat that of a month old, open, tuna can and his response – what does not kill me, makes me stronger. Clap, clap, clap! Food wasters, take a cue!

Fact 2: If my relationship with my colleagues goes sore, you’d see another post soon, with more details on the specific people 😛

Btw, who is your favourite of the lot?




A Laughing Labour

There’s being confident; overly confident; viciously over-confident; and then there is haughtiness.

“Are you signing up for the Epidural?” asked a fellow mum-to-be at the ante-natal class in the hospital. We learnt that there are 3 common pain management options during labour – Inhaling Nitrous Oxide, Injecting Morphine, Administering an Epidural. Without getting into the technicalities of them I will just mention that epidural is the sure shot way of no or least pain and the other 2 are just partial pain numbing mechanisms. On the flip side, epidural, if not injected properly, might cause side effects.

“Naaah”, said I. My husband had an ‘are-you-sure-question-mark look’ on his face. I smirked and told him, “You see, female mammals are designed to give birth. We are super beings. We have high pain threshold unlike you men and your man-flu. I can manage, don’t worry”. His face changed to ‘are-you-even-sane-puzzled-question-mark’. I raised my eyebrows and said, “Ever heard of laughing gas before? If only you had paid attention in Chemistry classes. Duh! That’s what Nitrous Oxide is. I will inhale it as and when I have pain and laugh my way through labour“. Now his face turned to ‘fine-you-know-better-but-I-am-not-at-all-convinced’.

Fast forward 7 weeks. I started getting ticklish sensation in regular intervals. It induced laughter! It was as if the foetus inside was tickling me! Laughter! I ate like a famine stricken hyena and went to the hospital. Need strength to push, you see! A mid-wife checked the contractions and told me that they have just begun and I won’t deliver at least until the next morning and asked me to go home. People were tensed about going home but I was cool. I said, “Mine is going to be a laughing labour, remember? So chill and let’s go home”.

The laughter lasted only till the night when I started feeling the pain each time a contraction occurred. Ouch, it hurt and then it was gone.  Repeated every few minutes until next morning when the interval between them was just 5 minutes. Got admitted in the hospital and learnt how to use the gas mask.

The Nitrous Oxide is usually in a cylinder connected to a mask and lies right at the head rest of the bed in the labour ward. Whenever there is pain, one needs to place the mask over the nose and mouth and inhale the gas. Easy. Easy?

Easy till the pain gets intense and you don’t have the strength to take it and place it. Imagine not being able to lift a tiny mask! That’s when the husband helped. As the contraction graph on the monitor spiked, he kept the mask on me. The exercise lasted for about 45 minutes or so until I found myself screaming for the mid-wife. I pleaded her to give me a morphine injection. Later, I was heard saying things like “If ever anyone utters a word about more children”, “That is if I survive this ordeal”, “I can do it but I can’t do it because the world’s ending”, “Adopt, people, just adopt.”, “I am going to poop, goddamnit, the baby is pushing the poop out “(that was while the baby was crowning and the doc calmly told that that’s the baby sliding out and I, supposedly, was yelling, “No that’s a different hole!”) etc., to an extent that a nurse came in and said that she could hear my screams at the other end of the corridor (to which I, apparently, explained to her that I wasn’t screaming, I was just exerting pressure to push) ! Thankfully, people inside and outside the room did not have to hear me for long.

Even the baby did not cry as soon as he was out as he still had fluids in his mouth and nose. It was just me!

A week later at the doctor’s I met the lady from the class again. She eagerly asked me, “So, did the laughing gas work?”

“Yes, it did”, I said feebly, “but on others. They laughed at my plight and I delivered!”

The 100 Kilo Story

Talking about weight seems to be an unending fad. The internet is filled with detailed chronicles of people’s success stories, cheat sheets, tips and tricks, workout regimes, topped with intense emotions of initial rejections and low self-esteem, followed by never-give-up spirit and dedicated efforts for the coveted beach body (ironically for a nation where the majority don’t know how to swim!), the before-after pictures, the selfies, the compliments, the confidence, and at times the flatulence.

Now, don’t get me wrong here – I am definitely not belittling any of the hard work. With my laziness I don’t deserve to ridicule either. I can only admire, appreciate and yearn for such a story. I am just enthralled by how vivid they get; how just a small number plays a vital role in one’s life. Again, I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t focus towards a healthy lifestyle. It is just about the other half of it – trimming down to impress. Same journey, different goals.

However, that’s off track. I too want to join the band wagon and speak about weight: how companies and organisations impose strict rules on us and make money out of it, and the tedious process of losing it. Trust me, accumulating is easy, eliminating isn’t. It took a good 1 week for me. The process broadly is divided into these categories:
Acceptance: Coming into terms with “Yes, I do have lot of extra weight.”
Identification: Finding and listing all the areas that need a shedding.
Implementation: The main step of working out to cut out all the excess weight.
Weighing: To keep track with the goal in sight and weighing regularly.
Motivation: Celebrating the achievement and motivating to push further.
Iteration: Repeating all over until the goal is reached.

And as the wise say, the effort is even more after pregnancy and child-birth. Both contribute towards some weight that either you can’t eliminate or won’t. But the end goal remains – it doesn’t consider these factors. The scale is tough and demanding.

I set mine at 45. A meagre 45. Underweight, isn’t it? But I couldn’t afford any more. 45 it was. And until I weighed, I never imagined in the wildest of my dreams that the scale would point to a whopping 72. Yes, that includes my pre and post described above. I had to make a choice. I had to move forward. I had to leave all that dragged me down behind.

I began the workout. Looped through it several times until after strenuous ups and downs I finally hit the magic number. I did it with a fair share of self-pity and the hardship of letting go. The biggest motivating factor was a new wardrobe – new clothes.

I wasn’t alone in this journey. My husband too was involved. I assigned him 55 kilos and made him iterate through the same trauma. And as cruel as it would sound, the child was also in it. 10 kgs was the cap. The poor thing obliged.

The day finally arrived when we had to present ourselves for scrutiny. Their scales were unforgiving. They wouldn’t allow even an ounce more than specified. We heaved and panted and waited for the red digits to roll. 100 it had to be and a 100 it was! Plus a 10 for the baby. Phew!

The airline check-in officer beamed at the thought of writing a hefty receipt for the extra 40 kilos that we checked in apart from the allowed 30 kilos per adult; I beamed for I was within the reimbursable amount for Excess Baggage by my company!

Well, did you think my body weight is just a 45?!

Vishudhhi – Scholarships 2015

Vishudhhi grew a little more this year by awarding scholarships to 27 deserving girl students from class XI and XII of The Children’s Garden Higher Secondary School. Though the amount reached a bit late this year, owing to holidays and unprecedented rains, it was assured that they’d be financially helped just when the academic year began.

Again, as with last year, heartfelt thanks to The Patnekars (Rohit, Monica, little Mahi and the new entrant – tiny Jiya) and their friends for their unwavering support. Thanks to my school and street buddy, Krithika, for her contribution too. With all your good wishes, the girls would go onto pursue their preferred path in Life 🙂

And, thanks to my pals Shanthu and Sangeetha for sorting the logistics and getting the scholarships through to them!


Reach for the stars with feet on the ground

Have you slept under the sky, on hard-ground or on soft grass, counting stars, tracing constellations? Do you think of them as twinkling little stars, so tiny or get humbled by the thought that you are not even a speck of dust in this wide universe? They are probably bigger than our own sun and someone in that galaxy might not even see our sun as a twinkling star, let alone our planet and the microscopic us.

As a child, every time there was an electricity outage at night, I used to get out of the house and sleep in the open, on the terrace of my house. Thoughts moved from perceiving the stars as tiny sparkles to perceiving humankind so as I grew up. Yet I fail to understand why we, human beings, even while we know that just the known universe is enough to bring upon this realisation, think of no end of ourselves? Why do we fill ourselves up with so much ego? Why do we ooze out so much pride on materialistic things? Why do we fail to acknowledge this short beautiful life and all the lovely people? Why do we not spread love and only spew hatred and jealousy? Why can’t we take jokes on ourselves. Why can’t we laugh at our misdeeds and shortcomings? Why do we take this body so seriously when we all know that it is destined to rot?

We take pride in the new house we bought; show off our expensive watches; brag about our lives to everyone; hold dear all the prized, expensive possessions; think that there is no one as loving as our spouses, no kid as smart and as cute as ours. We always try to impress everyone around us by our goods and not by a good nature. We buy stuff just because our relatives/friends have them. We have reduced our lives to comparison. We measure our success with it. Our choices like vacation travel, cars, clothes etc are made to outsmart the peer group. We envy them when we can’t achieve what they have achieved and brag when we outwit. Isn’t life peaceful when the whole comparison goes out?

“My honeymoon location has to be more exotic than my cousin’s”. “My phone has to be better than my subordinate’s”. “Now that I am at on-site I am superior than folks back home”. “I am cool because none of my friends own a Ferrari but I do”.

We don’t realise that others either might not have favourable circumstances to buy something or might choose not to buy because there isn’t a necessity. We don’t comprehend that not everyone chooses to stay away from family. We don’t understand life is not just measured monetarily. We get judgemental and hate people who don’t perceive whatever we perceive as right or wrong. We scoff at people who don’t support our favourite political party, music band or even as trivial as clothing. We don’t understand the difference between a healthy argument and arrogance. We rush about our lives not minding that we share space with fellow living things. Our manners are dying. We gossip and back-bite. We fall for flattery. We push and shove in public transports, choke the earth with our choices, corrupt kids’ minds and teach them to value the finite things more than the infinite nature and boundless love. We are getting poor, not rich.

No, I don’t mean to say that we need to give up on life, on ambitions, on goals. I just say that there is a fine line between taking pride on what one has achieved and being egoistic about it. Sure you’ve hard-earned all the feathers on your cap but so have others. Even if you can’t appreciate them at least don’t degrade their efforts. Shun the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’. Grow your knowledge, improve your skills, perform better at work, chase your passion, win titles and awards, read more, build houses, buy jewellery, look your best, hit the gym, travel to different countries, conquer hearts but don’t take anything to your head. Work hard, strive harder, stay humble..

Dream Big and Reach for the Stars but plant your feet firmly on the ground.

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