Category Archives: Lifestyle

Skating by…

It’s been nearly two whole weeks since I have last posted. Kind of a first, since I have never stayed off the blog for this long. Well, who do I put the blame on ? Shuttling between duty hours and my pre-post graduation preparation; time has been flying, leaving me stranded . That’s when I wish I had lived on Venus, but that’s too long a day ( 243 earth days per day) and the years would never go by. So here I am now, immersed in books and coffee and not to forget the white coat !!

Coming back on track, the only way to cut on time was to run around without actually running around ?!! Kind of weird, but do you remember that dusty old pair of shoes with wheels on the base !! I found mine hidden in the boxes up in the attic, not worn out with the laces in tact. Great, it’s time to get back on them. And with the entire ensemble of the knee and elbow pads, running from one block to another, especially during duty hours is like a whizz !! Practically that never happens, when I have to stop by and talk to ten different people on the way. Yet it feels great to be back on skates!!

It’s fun, to put on the full gear and dash across the streets, like in childhood. The only problem is that I keep on falling, but that is “the beginner’s block”. Thankfully, the felt pads never let me down.And even with the falls, getting around on skates is worth it.  Honestly, I can hardly remember the last time I ran on the lawn, chasing  and getting chased ( don’t count the family gatherings, I’m mauled by my nieces and nephews, and the rest of gang of cousins !!). The perks of technology, doesn’t make up for the lost time of fun, frolic and leisure.

But think of it, it’s time to put the laptop away and get some fresh air. Time to get some physical activity done ( exclude the laundry and the morning hustle-bustle). And now, I wonder where my skipping rope went ? That’ll be another hunt so I’ll settle for my skates now.

Getting those muscles back into function, was there any game or sporting event that you were crazy about in middle or high school days, and that you haven’t done for a long time ?!! And this doesn’t include the spectator part !! I have along list starting with the throw ball and volleyball nets. Gym is fine but it get’s boring at times. Maybe May is the time for some community play and matches !!

Have a great week ahead !!

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Post Thanksgiving: Day 04

It’s been four days since the dinner. Well, it wasn’t like at home. A bit different, yet the spirit of the thanksgiving dinner still stayed the same. For one, I was on 24 call that day and second, in India, at least where I stay; turkey is not a common preparation. So swapped the turkey with the chicken and switched the pie with the cake. And minus family, but plus friends; it was a different dinner from the usual.

With yesterday, my call got over and yes, I can finally put my feet up. Thankfully, even though my quarters are a mess, I can still manage to pick myself around. Add it,( clean up !!) to my list of “Things-to-do-later”. So finally, my grey cells get a chance to foray into the world of procrastination and as what “we, thinkers” like to call it as the “thinking mind”.

Thanksgiving , black Friday shopping( missed on that one) then soon followed by the start of Advent; it is indeed the starting of festive season.

Coming back to thanksgiving, if there is one thing I learnt about Grace, is that it comes in many forms. From people who you least expect to help you out, turn out to be your big supporters. Among the critics at work who love to point out the errors, there are a few who actually say it out of genuine concern. And they were your help at crisis point.

Though when was the last time you met them post-project or post help? When was the last time you re-connected to your ex-colleague who moved to another town? When was the last time you called up your distant relatives? When was the last time you send a little thank-you note to your neighbor who takes care of your lawn when you are out-of-town? And when was the last time you met your old chums who got scattered thanks to work and life ?

Well, post thanksgiving, day 03 was when I sprung into action and dusted the cobwebs clustering around the gratitude’s. Gratitude may sound over-rated, yet it feels good, both to say it and to hear it. As said,

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson”

So here it is, specially for love and for friends, the chums of old times (miss you all) and the new friends, the fellow bloggers and readers, especially the ones who have to hear out my every thought and tantrum !!!

And to thank Him, for all the good things, the not-so-happy things and the “oh-why-me things”. After all, you can’t have cake all the time, but when you get, I think it’s best to say grace and gobble it up !!!


“Ichigo Ichie” and the truth of routines….

It’s nearly midnight and looking back, today was just another ordinary day, filled with the usual routines at home. My sister just called and classified my day as “boring”. Well, I wouldn’t say that, ‘cause after days of madness there is a comfort in doing the usual daily chores. Maybe that’s the beauty of routines.

Routines. It becomes a part and parcel of your life. And in a way, there is some comfort in routines. Getting up and heading to the porch, with my morning cup of tea in hand, armed with the newspaper in the other, to connect to the world outside and to watch life go by; that is my day starts. Routines are an essential part of life. It brings some kind of order and balance in the daily buzz.

Routines and monotony. Not necessarily. Sometimes, monotony is needed to bring life to normal. Imagine every day, if it was filled with uncertainties about what would happen next. As it is, every day has the usual surprises and shocks. Minus routines or the regular daily stuff, it would feel that every day is like a roller coaster. You don’t know if you would be sitting tomorrow or hanging upside down. Thanks, but I would rather stick to the routines, whenever possible and not let my stress levels go skyrocketing up.

Besides, monotony gives a sort of regularity and “systematism” to the day. And it’s when you deviate from the regular monotony that creativity happens too. No art or task can be repeated exactly in the same manner. At least humans can’t. That’s what machines are made for. Every mundane chore, when you give it a slight twist once in a while, i.e. Make a small variation and viola, there is a difference. And that makes the day interesting.

“Repetition and routine leads to boredom!!” But who is doing the exactly same intricate precise actions daily. Consider the daily
morning chore of making tea or coffee. The procedure is a set of movements that have been mentally thought as the same, yet no action is the same. That’s why the Zen philosophy says, the day is based on the philosophy of ichigo ichie”, i.e. “one time, one encounter”. And that each moment is unique and cannot be repeated in the exactly same manner.

In fact, I feel that repetition is a concept; every action has subtle differences that make it different from the previous one. And deviating once a while from the routines, brings the creativity to light.

In a way, sticking to routines helps to bring your day into track and makes it productive. Besides, even daily routines have surprises. You just have to look for them to find them. Routines, monotony, balance, creativity…they all go hand in hand. What do you say ?


Uh oh !! Meal time ! Not that green stuff again…

“Oh no, what’s that gooey thing? Do I have to eat that?!” whines my five year old neice, Jo

-“Yep, you do. That or no supper, no t.v., straight to bed”, was the reply.

“You know, I could have an allergic reaction to all that stuff. Who knows, nothing is organic these days,” remarks a very “mature” 13 year old Julie.

-“Its okay.I have very good, tried and tested remedies for allergies. It’ll work for you, too.” Wow, allergies, what next, I wonder. Got to appreciate the creativity though. Never thought of that one.

“Besides, we could have all nutrients through your ‘nasty, vile tasting prescriptions’ (up went my eyebrows!!); they both taste the same,” says a very belligerent 3 year old Ash.

-“Now, since they both taste the same, have this instead.” Wonderful, I have not yet lost my sense of sarcasm.

Oh don’t get it wrong, I am not a terrible cook. I am just having toddler-trouble. Well, here I am, with my three wonderful neices and nephews. And this is supper time. Ask me where my brother and his wife, as well as my sister and my most amazing bro-in-law disappeared off to. To a far way, on their adventures to explore this part of the world . (Forget chasing them!!)  If life could get any better, it would have. I love my three imps, but try making them eat anything that closely resembles the edible variety of the plant kingdom, up goes their noses, shoving of plates and the most-dreaded whining starts. I think it’s something to do with being a toddler, I guess. Come adulthood, or even late-teens; yikes, can’t gain any weight (for us girls) and got to build the muscles (that one is for you, guys). And the greens somehow become edible then.

When I worked in the Paediatric wing, almost all the parents, I came across were complaining , “They just won’t eat veggies or even milk. Do you think there is any tonic, which builds their appetite?” Well, sorry, I do understand your problem, but no tonic is there like that. They’ll get their vitamins through the syrup but, appetite-stimulants at this age, hopefully avoid.

It’s not like they are on starvation mode. If lil’ Jo spots her fav’ crisps, or anything with cream, fries…hey she’s hungry. Once in a while, when she gets the mood, she’ll have her fruits. Blame the current scenario of the food industry for eating problems of the toddlers. It’s high time that McD’s, KFC, Burger King issues a statutory warning on the packaging of their products saying, “Too much intake leads to obesity”. Same goes for all the crisps packets, coke and all the other “junk” stuff. And as for in schools, they say they would regulate the lunch menu, but that’s more like straightening the tail of a lil’ piglet. All talk and changes that last for less than a month.

Growing up, Mom had a way with the veggies. If anyone thought that I was any different; nope, I was a toddler to the core. Mom resorted to trickery to make me eat my veggies. She would make chicken salad, but I swear there were more veggies in it than meat. Same goes for the sandwiches and the desserts, more frosted fruits than cream. And the neat trick, of placing cut veggies on the dining table. We usually ended popping a bite and before supper, the bowl would be empty.

Well sneaky or not, we got our veggies in; thanks to mom. But, at present ‘m stuck with these imps. So far, we made a deal. Eat your veggies and we get to sleepover on the terrace, like a “mini-camp”. For this time, it worked. Need some tricks up my sleeve.  Think I have to make a long-distance call to Mom for help and inspiration. Till then, I may have to declare war with the imps regarding their meals. Dang it, I need another alternative. Is there any trick that works ?!!


At the end of the day…

Sometimes, certain days get highly tedious and stressful. Deadlines have not been met. Schedules have to be made. Meetings to be held and re-scheduled, notes to complete and reports to go over.

Worse still, you get back after work, and there is always more to do. For some, it’s dinner, homework with the kids and loads of housework. For other’s it’s an ailing parent who needs all the attention they can get, but work is needed to bring bread to the table. For others, it could be an empty apartemnt with loads of dished and laundry piled up.

Meals missed. Sleepless nights. Stressed out nerves. Harried personal time or almost nil. In the middle of all the furore, you pause and try to breathe. And mentally, you end up cursing yourself,wondering what have I achieved today ? Why does each day, end up in this harried pace ? Each of us have a different meaning on to how to spend our day. For some, priorities just the main ones, for others maybe all. When it all gets out of my hand, and I reach near the breaking point; I remember something that was told to me by one of my colleagues.

If you planted hope in any hopeless heart,  

If someone’s burden was lightened because you did your part,

If you caused the laugh that chased some of the tears away,

If tonight your name is remembered when someone kneels down to pray,

Then the deadlines don’t matter any more,

For your day has already been well spent…


Going beyond the Hour: Earth Hour

Ever since the entire civilization has been set off on the industrial growth phase, with the ever-expanding phase of modern technology and higher standards of living; we have lost sight of the bigger picture, the real future that we ideally are supposed to hand over to the coming generations – the preserved resources of nature.  As years went by, there has been an increasing awareness and more about the environment and conservation of energy. This is what brings me to this post, Earth Hour which was observed here on March 26, 8:30 to 9:30 and hopefully beyond that.

What humbled me, was that this news reached even the remote areas. Forget the fact that there are major power-outbreaks , that the humidity has set in and the heat is simply unbearable, or there are areas where it was still snowed in. Lights still went off 26th evening and the trend of conservation of energy was spread and discussed about. Major hospitals and the minor ones like where I work, efforts were taken to avoid the unnecessary use of electricity. Though no drastic measures were taken, the small efforts of the various households combined across the country would have a tremendous impact.

True, it doesn’t make any sense in doing this all for one day. Yet looking beyond, the idea of awareness had taken root leading to a growing concern for our resources. These baby steps would definitely go a long way. It sensitizes the community and major cities taking efforts to adapt to a more reasonable consumption of energy. To bring about this awareness, there is no need to burn down oil companies or hold demonstrations in front of the major power houses or factories. Rather, it starts at the very grass-root level of conservation and wise living. At home itself, simple measures can be used to conserve energy and that is where the actual fruitful steps begin. It just involves sitting down and making  list of steps which can be taken. In my hospital, the list has been started and steps are in-place.

From 2007, the WWF‘s Earth Hour has gone a long way and maybe there is still hope out there for sustaining Nature and her beauty for the future. The fact that there has been a massive surge in the involvement of people in this venture globally, and active participation of the people at the local and international level proves that the message is being passed around loud and clear. And by now, hopefully, for many it would be going beyond this Earth Hour, beyond the entitled period of one hour and carry out the message in the remaining days of the year.


Sneezes and sniffles with lots and lots of tea…

Achoo!! Can’t help it! I am going through another episode of sniffles and sneezes. It started since morning with no triggers, unless the thoughts of cleaning up my room could be considered as a trigger. Since it started, as of now I have reached a record of twenty five in a row, finished an entire box of tissues and downed myself in three mugs of tea laced with honey and ginger (Help!! I am more of a coffee person). At least, I have not yet landed with a headache or fever. (And pray not, my fingers and toes are crossed!!) Hopefully it must another common cold, thanks to the change of weather. On the whole, should I crib about or be thankful for it?!! After all, I did get a break from the usual work hours ( it’s midday here) and gives me some more time with my music, my novels…and of course, with my laptop. From the looks of it, if the cold waves persist, it may snow sometime soon. Meanwhile, I have to grab another cup of tea, this time it’s laced with pepper and cardamom, before my cold gets too nasty to handle. I have to stop the writing now, because I can hear the phone ring and from the sound of it, it may be mom with another long list of homemade remedies. No choice but to pick up. Don’t want to listen to the music later!! Well here I go, with sheets of paper and pen in hand. Hope I won’t run out of ink!!!