Parks and Rec

When I feel down, when I am sad, when I am pms-ing, when the world just gets way too depressing I turn to the town of Pawnee, Indiana to cheer me up. Specifically, the Parks and Recreation department. I absolutely love this show, it makes me happy, it makes me giggle and it puts me in the best mood. I adore the characters, they are my friends. I would like to think a place like that filled with similar characters exist. I would like to visit that place. Parks and Rec thank you for always entertaining me and for putting a smile on my face. Special shout out to Ron Swanson, perhaps the best part of the show.

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Before After

I am a sucker for before and after pictures of workouts. I pick workouts specifically based on people’s before and after images. I analyse the inches they have lost, the amount they have toned up and how much flatter their stomachs have become. I hope to have the same results as well, but most times I don’t have the discipline to work out as regularly and as hard as they do. It does motivate me though. On days that I don’t feel like working out I google images for ‘yoga before after’ or ’30 day shred before after’ and five minutes later I am ready to exercise.

A sad day

Horrified and sad to read about this.The Mumbai gang rape that happened last night really hit home. While working as a features writer I have gone on assignments alone. I have taken autos to areas of the city I was not familiar with, I have even taken autos alone past 9 pm. I have female friends and colleagues who do the same. They are passionate about their jobs, work hard and travel for their stories. This rape victim could be any one of us.

Every day I read and hear about crimes against women in my country. It frustrates me, it angers me. Will this situation ever improve? Sure it gets reported more and there is media publicity, but have the number of rapes decreased? Fast-track courts to try rapists have been set up and there have been calls for harsher punishments for convicted rapists, but how much of a difference is all this actually making? I don’t think the situation will improve anytime soon. The problem is deep-rooted, we are a country where there is lack of education, disparity in wealth and corruption. Not respecting women and their bodies is just one issue in a long, long list.

I judge the progress of a country not by its economy or its strong currency. I judge it by how safe it is for women. I do not feel safe in India. I am scared to take autos, I would not step out alone post 10 pm and I am saddened that this is how I feel about my own country. You might think I am being paranoid and that I shouldn’t judge the entire country based on a few incidents. But, I would rather be safe than sorry. I am pretty sure that young photojournalist didn’t think something so horrifying was going to happen to her as she set off to do a story with her friend.

Introvert

I am an introvert. I am not shy, I am not a snob– I am an introvert. Last night I read this, I was surprised with how I identified with most of the signs.

Audience participation shows scare me, I need my alone time to recharge after hanging out with people, I feel like a fake when I am networking and I always sit at the back of an auditorium so that I can sneak out if necessary… I could go on. This does not mean that I don’t get lonely, there are times I need people around, as long as I get my space. I like having conversations as long as it is one-on-one and with a friend/family member.

Growing up I was nudged gently to be more social, to ask questions at talks and to be assertive. My ‘shyness’ was seen as something that would hinder my growth professionally as well as socially. I pushed myself to be more friendly and to make an effort to small-talk at get-togethers, but I always found it tiresome. I would dread going to parties and would make excuses to get out of it. My stomach would ache, I would get nervous and start sweating before a presentation or a party.

Over the last few years I have embraced my ‘shyness’. I don’t go to parties/get-togethers where small-talk and meeting random people is involved. I prefer meals with a few friends or going for a film. My job as a writer lets me work in my space and at my pace. But, at the back of my mind I always wonder if I was taking the easy way out, If I am meant to make the effort to be extroverted to lead a more fulfilling life, if I was missing out.

Recently, there have been a spate of articles, books and talks on being an ‘introvert’, the power an introvert possesses, and suddenly its cool to be an introvert. It is great that introverts are getting all this attention (oh, the irony), but the point is not about one being better than the other. It is about acceptance. It is OKAY to be an introvert and it is okay to need your alone time. At the same time is is okay to be an extrovert and to thrive in social gatherings. I don’t need to change who I am, I need to accept myself and have others accept me for who I am. After all, it takes all sorts to make this world.

Daily dose of the inane

I admit that I check the Daily Mail website at least a couple of times a day. I need my daily dose of Kardashian gossip, celebrity fashion deconstructed and shady link-ups. Most of the stories (I use this term in the loosest possible sense) have more pictures (images of celebrities shopping, carrying grocery bags, or getting coffee ) than content. But, I enjoy analysing what is worn, the hair, the make-up (even better when there is no make-up on) etc — It makes them seem more human.

Most of the stories are inane and some border on the ludicrous. But this one takes the cake (pun intended, I couldn’t help myself)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2392637/Bride-sells-hideous-lopsided-wedding-cake-eBay-looked-NOTHING-like-ordered.html
Gem of a story. You must all read it.

In other news I cracked level 29 of Candy Crush, I am actually on level 37 at the moment. Aaah so much time put to such good use.

Off to Madanapalle and Bangalore tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed the roads are clear.

Random

You know what they say about the best laid plans…ours went awry. C had a long weekend for Eid, so we were going to bus it to Chennai and spend time with the family. I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to the long bus journey but I was excited for Chennai and all the fun things we would do there. We waited at the bus stop for what seemed like hours, mosquitoes biting us, watching the crowd when we realised there was no sign of our bus. We stood awhile watching other people climb on to their buses and leave for their hometowns when C finally decided to call the bus service to find out where our bus was. Our bus had been cancelled! After some heated conversations between C, the bus service and red bus, we picked up some dinner and headed home.

We spent the weekend watching movies and eating. Also while C played video games I played Candy Crush. This is my new obsession (Thank you J!). C was watching me play and he kept ‘tsk-ing’, correcting my moves and telling me to think three moves ahead — this is the problem with being married to someone who is in the gaming industry. I have decided not to play Candy Crush in front of him ever again, I have been stuck on level 29 for the past week and could have used his help, but it is alright I will move to the next level eventually. I am stubborn like that.

What else? Oh, we watched Chennai Express this weekend. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. Deepika’s accent was dodgy but at least she tried speaking in Tamil. Shah Rukh Khan overacted as usual, but it was entertaining. It was a ‘leave your brains at home’, masala movie. Maybe, my expectations were so low that I was expecting far worse

Another long weekend coming up, we are meant to drive down to Madanapalle and Bangalore either tomorrow or day after. But with Telangana protests etc, I hope the roads are clear and we end up going. Fingers crossed! Sigh, just as I was about to post this and go back to trying to clear level 29, the power went off.

(The power just came back, posting this)

Contorting and twisting

I am back to doing yoga. Rather than Suryanamaskar, I am trying Tara Stiles Yoga videos which are pretty hard. I have found muscles I didn’t know I had and been bent into positions I didn’t think were humanly possible, and this is just the beginners level.

I can feel my balance improving with each session, and the poses easier to do. I don’t know how much weight I will actually lose doing this, but I am definitely getting more flexible and hopefully, in time, stronger and fitter. My legs were shaking by the end of my first session and I was dripping sweat, in my book that equals a pretty good workout.

Combining all the five beginners sessions, my yoga workout is about 40 minutes long. I have trouble with the half- moon pose and sway so much I am afraid I will land on my face and break my nose. But, I manage somehow, and bend my knees wherever possible in order to keep my balance. The core workout really works the abs and I have to push myself to get through it. The other asanas are manageable and easy to follow, though I would suggest watching the video once before starting, so that you can follow better and don’t have to keep craning your neck to see what she is doing next. The session is not too slow and so you don’t get bored mid-way through an asana (this has happened to me when I went for yoga classes) and you keep moving. Definitely, a fun way to do yoga.

I am excited to see how much more flexible I will become, and hopefully will crack that half-moon pose.