Running for your life

My weight issues were/are almost always a sinusoidal curve.  I have had moments when I could fit into size 2 and other when even size 8 would seem tight (I sit in the comfort curve, if you may )  And going by that, my exercise regimen also followed a similar pattern of rigorous followed by lull activity times.

I was never much of a runner.  I did disastrous relays at sports days and played kho-kho like no tomorrow, but that was it. Later it was only at 18, I treaded the Gold gym and enjoyed the aerobics sessions in the open terrace with the welcoming sea breeze of sultry Chennai. Later there were many moments of hot-yoga, kick boxing, boot camps, treadmills, weights et all and the gym genre had caught on in my twenties, although very haphazardly.

It was in the last couple of years that I had pressured N to join me and we had taken to hitting the road during the warmer months of the east coast. Although now, it’s a great mutual push for both of us and anything seems fun with company doesn’t it? This year we decided to get it in focus and took up the 5K challenge and completed it successfully and N did brilliantly (as I have already raved on that social networking site :P)

But, this time around I have established a completely different outlook. The only thing that used to keep me ticking before were the pretty dresses displayed at the consumerist-jingoism of the malls in the US. The feeling that you are never perfect for the standards set (by who or what is unfortunately never questioned). I am sure I am not alone when  I say that. Let me digress to say that it is for this very reason I developed a phobia to shopping and malls until recently.

So this time, running was a completely different experience – it taught me patience, endurance and focus. It no longer concerned me to crib about a gazillion people who could eat their heart’s content and never show up an iota heavier. It didn’t concern me that Ann Taylor has displayed a new range of dresses for the weak-hearted. It also didn’t concern me that I should strive to fit into my older skinny jeans to feel younger.

been there. Done that.

Running has kept me motivated, healthier, happier and definitely more fit! And that’s whats keeping my purposes in life on check! I am sure there many more challenges to go. 10K is hopefully my next aim before the end of the year. I totally love running now, for it seems to define who I am and not what I am expected to be. The shoes. the road. the iPod. the confidence. I am sure I can conquer the world if need be!

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When I had expressed doubts about finishing a 5K race, this is what drove(ran) the point home.

Even if you finish last, remember you beat the world still parked on the couch“. 🙂

Cross Posted here.

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Recreating butta

I have fond memories of Banglore. I remember visiting my cousins when it was still called ‘Banglore’ and sprawling in their huge bungalow, garden and woods behind, spending two whole summers there. It was there that i learnt to cycle, had my first swimming lessons, ate my first home-made cake and tasted my first butta.

My days there would begin much like Swami’s in Swami and friends. My cousin P and me, who is only a few years older than me, would be succumbed to some mathematics tables practice. Once we cringed and cribbed about this mundane exercise, which eventually did help us, we would scurry away for our swimming lesson. We didn’t have a natural knack for it; not at all, for I am still a clumsy swimmer; I can manage to not drown.

For the swimming competition they had lined up the older and good swimmers  of the lot to open the lanes. P and me, nine and seven, were enraged that we didnt have a go ( for we believed we were master swimmers since we had managed to float) that we jumped right into the middle of the lanes when no one was looking, disrupting the swimmers and confusing the organizers to no end! Following this unwarranted act, we tried to feed the litter of pups by the road side, only to be chased and nearly bitten off by their bitch.

Thus marked our summer days, swim, try to swim, waddle in the water, play holding-breath-games, rush home sun burnt in chlorine water and hog a huge breakfast like we were starved for a week. An imperative haldi and milk-cream bath would follow, for we were two girls coffee colored and needed all the care, so that we could be married into good families (who cared only about skin color ) many years from then. It did little help, as I can well see now and this is why – for by the end of the one hour of wait, we would have fed off most of the yellow-cream from our bodies.  eeww.. yes, but anything works for kids, doesnt it?

The days would thus unwind, in all the bliss and irresponsibility of childhood. Our afternoons would be marked by singing the songs of ‘anginakshatram’ which was all the rage then, like we had newly found our vocal chords and other times plucking all the flowers in my periamma’s beautiful rose garden and blame it on the monkeys ( we were eventually caught however!) . And before the sun set we would head for cycling lessons in the woods behind. No points for guessing that we sucked there too. I had in all spirit of innocence and the movie ‘anjali’ magic, decided to let my cycle fly away like the “magic vandi” and landed in a ditch, that thankfully wasn’t deep enough. I escaped with a tight trashing from mom and some wailing knee bruises.

Our weekends were more eventful, when G-anna P’s older brother and periappa and periamma and amma would head for the Banglore tour. It was here in the famous Cubbon park, under the surreptitious eye of hygiene-freaked amma and ruling out her doubts by a simple “nee podi indu”, my periamma would buy the chilly powder smeared toasted buttas. I can still recall the exploding taste of lime juice and chilly powder blended perfectly with an almost blackened corn cob and helssssss-ing in the spice laden treat on balmy humid summer evenings.

So, it was last week, in our newly bought grill, I decided to recreate the butta. I had tried to repeat the lime juice, chilly powder medley, plastered it to the grilled cobs. Somehow the taste didnt match up, but it had hovered in that vicinity and managed to resurrect memories that I knew not existed, of swims, cycles, zoo-visits and more. How wonderous, it is, i wonder, that the butta I had gnawed almost a million years ago had preserved memories sweeter than the corn cob itself!

Of Nomenclatures

The first thing that had been difficult to comprehend and blend into, when I had married, was the nomenclature attached to each individual in my husband’s family.  It is important the address is not messed up, for if I address his mama as mama and not Periappa, I’d run the risk of rendering my nuptial into a sibling one, or so I was told. If that wasn’t confusing enough, it is considered near blasphemy to address someone by name followed by the direction, like “chandru mama”. And of course, I am not even going into the logistics of addressing one’s husband.

So as you can well imagine, I am still working on getting the directions and names right, while fumbling on tendency to swallow names and repeat only addressees.  My M-I-L has been a real sport and mouths me the addresses while I try to make conversation in broken tamil to my extended family. Having never followed the formalities to the T myself, at home, that even the cousin fifteen years older is addressed by name, I had taken a while to understand the norms and come to realize their need.

In some cases the addressee would be confused to be called “mama, chittapa, athimbar” and what not that it’d finally be rendered easy to take the name or invent new ones like “baby, kunjappa” et all and that’s how it stayed, with akka, anna et all dusted away in the background.

While I had initially regarded the stringent nomenclature a sign of formality and absence of closeness, I believe they are there to show you respect and family unity. And having been brought up without any siblings, only makes it more murky in my capacity.  So when I was eight and my cousin thirteen, she was still V akka to me; today we are still the best of friends and the akka is lost somewhere, that I had almost forgotten that my younger cousins still addressed me akka.

So yesterday my cousin Kichu sent me a file of songs and he called the file “toAkka”. I swelled a little like the eight year old taking care of a 3 year old Kichu, who’d back then shower me with undue pinches and like a proud owner of his new milk teeth, enough bites too.  May be for that tiny moment it came clear to me why N’s family obsessed over the address; Probably the strangeness with which we sometimes fail to relate to blood-relations does unwind with a meaningful address… maybe we should all give it a try… Probably even the Ambanis should.?

When life was all about new beginnings