Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31: A Good End to a Great January!

I have been tracking my workout schedule and progress since the beginning of January, when I was 13 weeks postpartum. Till then, I was not too disciplined about it. Except for some walking, and in-home floor exercises to strengthen an injured pelvis, I was not doing much. But at 13 weeks postpartum, I felt that it was high time I started putting some thought to fitness and I started working out with my focus on Bikram Yoga.

So today, on the last date of the month, I tracked my progress and realized that I have done 12 Bikram Yoga classes and 4 long walks! I.e. an average of 3/week of yoga and 4/week of exercise!

Which is awesome!

 I haven't been able to keep up such a schedule ever, even pre-pregnancy, so I was super happy about this. Of course, the maternity leave and the time on hand does contribute to the progress but I am glad I spent the time well.

After I made this discovery about how much exercise I managed to get in January, I decided to take a break today. No yoga, no walking, nothing. Just sit at home and spend time with the little one. Pretty much of an anti-climax I admit. Still, the chilling out was very welcome.

But then night fell and I felt incredibly guilty. How can I spend a whole day doing absolutely nothing?! I felt that wouldn't be the best way to end the month, so I decided to work on the editing for my friend's novel. With the little one asleep by my side, I spent a couple of hours working on it, and managed to complete an entire chapter in a single sitting.

I hit the bed peacefully and happily after that.  It was a good end to a great January! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Days 29 - 30: Reasons to Cheer!

29 - 30 January, 2013

Pretty good two days with a few good reasons to cheer!

1) I completed the short film screenplay, my first screenplay based on a short story and my first work for another director!
2) The screenplay was approved by the director! Yay! It's one thing to write for my own films and totally different thing to write for another person. So I was eagerly looking forward to his feedback. Except for a few minor additions, it's all good to go!
3) I managed to drag myself to yoga even though I was feeling incredibly exhausted and didn't want to do anything other than just sleep! But I went and I didn't regret and felt really proud of myself!
4) Post yoga, just when I was wondering whether to go back home or treat myself to a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte, the hubby called and said that his company has closed a deal. That definitely called for a celebration, even if a really tiny one because we had to get back home to the little one, and he joined me for my cup of Chai Latte! Loved that celebration!
5) I had a meeting with my manager to close out my work review for last year, and I got pretty good feedback, which made me super duper happy! It was not an easy year with my rather colourful pregnancy, and I had to work extra hard. So the appreciation was very welcome and it also makes me look forward to getting back to work again!
6) When I went to meet the manager, I also got to meet a few friends there for some highly overdue catch-up. And as always catch-up and conversations are very welcome!

Like I said, it's all pretty good! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28: Short Film Screenplay - 75% done!

Like I mentioned here yesterday, I had taken up a new project to write the screenplay for a friend's short film based on his short story. This is an addition to my list of writings to do for the year.

Given that the short story is ready and all I need to do is the screenplay, I decided to start working on it immediately, putting on hold the rest of the more-time-consuming projects on my writing list.

So after putting the little one to bed, I sat down to work on it and surprised myself by completing 75% in one go! Sure it is only a 15 minute film, so the work isn't huge, but I didn't think it would progress this fast.

I would have loved to complete the whole screenplay but couldn't because a certain bit needed a lot more thinking and my brain had begun to give away by midnight. Hope to crack that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I can definitely say that I went to bed a very happy person! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27: Food, Friends & Us!

Like every Sunday, our small family of three set out together for our weekly outing today.

Today's agenda was lunch at Muthu's curry with my cinematographer friend (i.e. cinematographer of my films It's Magic, Mausams and Inganeyum Oru Katha) and his brother. Over some biriyani rice, crispy ladies finder, masala chicken, chicken 65, mushroom masala and lime soda, we discussed food, movies and life in general. We also got into an agreement that I will write the screenplay for a short film based on a short story by my cinematographer, which he would then direct and produce. That would be fun! I have converted short stories to scripts for the stage before, but never for the screen, so that would be a creative learning process!

After the lunch, during which the little one was extremely well behaved, we got back home and rested.

In the evening, it was time for our "couple" time. Another weekly routine, which usually takes place on Saturdays but given the hubby's trip to Hong Kong, had to be postponed to Sunday this week.

The couple time was spent by
a) Having dinner at our new discovery "Five & Dime" where we had delicious Mushroom soup, Mentaiko Pasta (super yum except for the cod roe sprinkled on top, of which I am not a fan), Fish & Chips (great Fish, but oily chips) and very very yummy "Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake".
b) Taking a long walk from Five and Dime to Clarke Quay in search of a cab.
c) Visiting the temple and catching a bit of the Thaipoosam celebrations on the way! Every time I watch the Thaipoosam celebrations in Singapore, I am wowed! It must take some crazy devotion for people to go on a 5-km march, with spears and skewers piercing through their cheeks and backs, carrying super heavy kavadis, and singing, dancing and playing drums along the way. It is one major cultural phenomenon and I am very glad that I could catch it this year too!

Another lovely day spent with great food, fun friends and my happy little family! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26: Brunch, Movie, Art Exhibition, Friends, Hardware & Such!

I had the busiest Saturday since the little one, I believe. I was just rushing from one appointment to the other, to meet different sets of friends, making it a very socially active one.

1) Brunch with two of the girls from my old SK-II team. Venue - Chye Seng Huat Hardware. Yeah, you read it right. That's the name of the cafe. A pretty misleading one but it's actually pretty quaint and nice with minimalist furniture (they actually have the cheapest wooden tables and plastic chairs outside!), cramped spaces and decent food. I ordered scrambled eggs, toast, salad and bacon, with orange juice to go along. One of my friends ordered some chicken patties and that was pretty good. I didn't order any coffee, which is what actually the place is famous for, so can't comment on that. But even otherwise the cafe is definitely worth checking out.

2) Visit by my good friend who has just returned from London - She dropped by armed with gifts for the little one and me. She bonded with the little one who seemed rather happy to see her, we had lunch together, chatted for a long time and it felt great to have her back in town.

3) Movie with friends - I caught a Hindi film, Race 2, with two of my girlfriends. While they were spending the entire day as their girls' day out, my suddenly very active social life let me join them only for the movie. The movie was so bad that we had a great time laughing through it! Atrociously and unintentionally hilarious.

4) Visit to Art Exhibition at Singapore Malayalee Association - I met up with a couple of fellow Mallus and together we went to see the art exhibits at SMA. I had a ball there! The exhibits were of excellent quality and I was thoroughly impressed and even inspired to brush up my painting skills soon. I could also meet so many of Mallu friends, aunties and uncles there and it's always fun to catch up with all of them. I also discovered that the SMA annual magazine, Onopaharam, has extensively featured my Malayalam Short Film "Inganeyum Oru Katha" in it! So I grabbed a few copies of that, and felt really good about it.

In short, a very active, busy, social, fun Saturday - the first of its kind in a long while! Loved it! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Days 24 - 25: Small but Awesome Wins!

24 - 25 January, 2013

Am feeling on top of the world!


Because I have had two incredible yoga classes in a row! I went for yoga yesterday and today and in both the classes, I managed to improve my practice a LOT. This is very exciting for me because yoga after pregnancy has been an .. uhm... interesting journey. I had not been able to do a lot of the poses as well as before and worse still, a pelvic injury I sustained after a fall in the 7th month of pregnancy had been keeping me away from certain poses altogether. But as of the last two days, I am making incredible progress!

Anyway, here are the highlights of my practice over the last two days:
1) Standing Bow Pulling Pose - I managed to maintain the posture for the entire duration for one set, vs. falling out and getting back multiple times. This is the first time this has happened post pregnancy!
2) Balancing Stick Pose - I managed to maintain the posture without losing my balance for both sets on both legs. Again, this is the first time this has happened post pregnancy!
3) Triangle Pose - I managed to maintain the posture through the entire duration and also get out of the posture without losing my balance for both sets on both sides. This is incredible because this is a pose that I had difficulty with even pre pregnancy. I used to give up half way at times or just get away with doing only a single set on my lazy days. Even though I had been able to do this pose on and off post pregnancy, I never could maintain it through both the sets. Worse still, my badly weakened abdomen muscles were making me fall over when I try to get out of the posture, because that requires decent core strength which I don't have right now. So the fact that I got this totally right today, was AWESOME. Plus I actually think that my posture was deeper and better aligned than even pre-pregnancy! SO happy!
4) Half Locust Pose - I had a fall during my 7th month of pregnancy and injured my pelvic muscles in the process. Even post delivery, I had not fully recovered from it and the pain would shoot every now and then. I was not able to do this pose (which is practiced in three parts at Bikram), at all as it puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic area, especially with the wrists pushing up against it. But now I have managed to do the pose, that too for both the sets! And that too with no pelvic pain in the process! This is getting more and more exciting!

I still have a long way to go before I can say that I am back at my pre-pregnancy form (I stilll have two poses that am not being able to do at all), but this is a great start!

All these may seem like rather small wins, but they are super awesome nevertheless! And I am very happy that I am inching closer to a healthy body with no pelvic pain! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23: That Highly Overdue Chat!

The highlight of the day was catching up with a very dear friend over lunch. She works in the same company as me and when I used to go to office, we usually meet up at least once every week to catch up and chitchat on everything under the sun. But now that I am on my maternity leave, we haven't been seeing each other and I have been sorely missing on our long conversations.

So today we met up. Had our highly overdue chat. And it totally made my day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22: Another Distribution Offer (In Vain)!

Today I got a note from an agency interested in distributing my film Mausams.

I didn't take it forward because well... this is not the first time Mausams has had such an offer. There have been a few before and I even had gotten into a temporary contract with one. However, none of it worked. For a really unexpected reason. I figured out that I simply do not have the movie in a format that is required for most platforms! Yup, I have a film that these people say they liked but the output quality is not up to the mark. When we made the film and finally rendered it, the quality was just enough for it to go on a DVD. It was a very very last minute job, just a few hours prior to its first screening. Just getting that one DVD working was such a big deal and we never went back to it to afterwards. What I realized later was that most of the distributors need a much higher resolution than what we have, and many even need a HD format, while Mausams was shot on SD.

When I started working on Mausams, it was meant to be purely a home video. My thinking was that ... I have a script and am gonna make a film with no money which then translates to no good camera, no lighting, no proper sound equipment etc. etc. I just wanted to tell the story with whatever means I had which was.. well, nothing much. In hindsight, I should have paid more attention to the production quality from the start but to be honest, just the writing, producing, directing, shooting, dubbing etc. were hard enough for me that I didn't really think beyond it.

And I had no idea that the film would be so much bigger than it was ever intended to be. I had no idea that it wont be just a home video and that it would get the screenings that it did, the award that it did, the film festival selections that it did, the distribution offers that it did. All those were just unplanned (but very welcome) bonuses.

Anyway, back to today... when I got the note from the distributor, I simply wrote back to her saying that I don't have a good enough format and am not interested in pursuing it further. It was a tad bit disappointing.

But it was also incredibly fulfilling to know that yet another distributor found my product worthwhile!  That in itself made the day awesome! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21: Saying "Thank You"!

It's ridiculous how, sometimes, we completely miss out on expressing our gratitude to someone.

I have been guilty of it more than once. Someone would do something nice for me, I will be super grateful, I will think about what he/she has done for me a number of times with gratitude flowing in my heart, I will thank the person a number of times in my head, I would even discuss with others what he/she did for me, but I might not have thanked that person or expressed my appreciation in anyway. Which then kinda moots everything else.

Today, I thought that it's high time I correct at least one my mistakes in this regard.

When I was in the hospital, struggling through a 17 hour long labour, there was one person who was with me through the ordeal and who I believe, was the only reason why I didn't end up with a c-section. That person was Sister Jane of Mt. Alvernia hospital.

Actually, every staff member in the hospital was kind, considerate and really good at their job. I felt very well taken care of during my stay there. However, Sister Jane was exceptional. She not only went about her duties efficiently... she was the one who encouraged me to stick with the labour, she was the one who held my hand when I broke down under the stress of getting an epidural, she was the one who, finally, somehow managed to get me to deliver normally the very last minute, just when a c-section was looking inevitable.

But, in the exhaustion and excitement that followed the delivery, I didn't get to thank her then. I was moved to the ward from the delivery suite shortly and I didn't see her since.

I have been meaning to write a note of appreciation to her and the hospital ever since. It's been almost three months since, and I had still not done it! Shameful, really.

So today, when once again I caught myself sharing the story of" how Sister Jane saved me" with a friend, I decided that enough was enough and Sister Jane needs to be thanked. So I wrote an elaborate appreciation email and sent to the hospital. Hopefully it will reach her.

I felt really good post that. Better late than never!

Once again, Sister Jane - Thank You!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20: When the Inches Fall!

One thing that pregnancy has definitely contributed to is my...well, vanity.

Even though I saw a pretty sharp decline in the weight in the first two weeks (I even could fit into a lot of my pre-pregnancy clothes, including a couple of my looser fitting jeans!), the progress has been pretty slow since then.

While my logical side keeps assuring me that I can take my own time to lose all the baby weight and get back to my pre-pregnancy shape and fitness, my not so logical vain side can't wait for it to happen!

I keep watching my weight and measurements on a pretty regular basis and needless to say, every drop makes me happy. It also makes me happy when I can get into one more of my pre-pregnancy clothes. As much as I enjoy shopping for new clothes, it breaks my heart to see some of my favourite items in the wardrobe, ridiculously out of my reach!

So coming to today, I had double success!

First, I noticed a drop of another 3.5 inches! So happy!

Then, to test that it is not a trickery of the measuring tape because the inch loss didn't seem to have come with any weight loss, I tried on one of my favourite pre-pregnancy dresses which I couldn't get into a couple of weeks ago.

And I could fit into it! Like, comfortably enough! Woah! So happy happy!

To celebrate, I stuffed myself with chicken biriyani from a nearby hawker centre. Not an healthy option of course, but these things need to be celebrated you see.

It's a beautiful day indeed! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19: Writer's Block Unblocked!

I had written here that one of the things on my long writing-to-be-done list for the year is a collection of short stories.

Today, I started working on the first of the stories.

And I completed a grand total of 1 page.

Yup, that's it.

By then the little one decided that I have better things to do.

But hey, I got at least one page done and I am reasonably happy with that! It meant that I have finally gotten over the writer's block that I have been dealing with for a few days now.

Great progress, really!

To celebrate (and also because it was Saturday and it would be sinful to spend the whole day at home), the hubby and I hit Clarke Quay where we treated ourselves to kebabs from Marrakesh and dessert from Haagen Dazs. Yum.

Looking forward to completing the rest of the pages now!  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18: Lesson Learnt from Yoga Classs (& Wind Removing Pose - Check)!

Another small win at Yoga!

I got a "Good, Shilpa!" for my Wind Removing Pose or Pavanamuktaasana!

The interesting part here is that I was having a pretty weak class for the first 50 minutes or so. It happens. Even though you are somewhat regular with your practice, you have an occasional class that becomes more challenging than usual. You feel the heat is too much, your focus is elsewhere, your flexibility seems to have gone for a toss, your muscles feel more like rubber, and so on. It can get super frustrating and you would be looking forward to the end of the 90 minutes of "torture".

I was pretty much in the same place. But for some reason, instead of giving up from the frustration which I was very well feeling, I decided to push through. I told myself that it was important to still give it the best because my postnatal body needs it!

So I tried to ignore the frustration and continue to give my best for what it's worth.

And when this small win came by, it became totally worth it!

Lesson learnt - Stick with it. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17: Eleven Years of Love!

Yup, it's been eleven years since the hubby and I got together as a couple! It all started on one chilly morning in National University of Singapore when he told me that he thought I was awesome and I told him that I kinda have the same opinion of him and then we decided that there was only one way to make sure the awesomeness remains and gets appreciated forever and that's by being boyfriend-girlfriend then and husband-wife in the future.

And it's been awesome so far, really.

To celebrate, we had dinner together at Antoinette (I love their all-day breakfast that comes with hot chocolate and the hubby ordered grilled chicken with mushroom sauce), followed by drinks at the Ion Skybar which has a lovely view. And over the food and drinks we had long, long conversations, just the way that I love it.

Eleven years down. Looking forward to the several more to come! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16: Remembering the Rhymes!

The little one is in constant need of entertainment. Today, after the ceiling fan and the view out of the window were no longer entertaining her enough, I thought that maybe she is ready for some nursery rhymes.

So I went back done the memory lane and to me surprise, discovered that I still remember a LOT of them learnt in kindergarten! About 15-20! It's pretty amazing how these things are really ingrained into our brains and refuse to leave even after a few decades.

Anyway, now that I discovered that I know a lot of the rhymes, the next step was of course, to sing them.

So I sang. Rhyme after rhyme.

And she listened. Rhyme after rhyme.

Lovely bonding time it was!  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 15: Inspiration from a Figure Athlete!

Today I came across this blog and found it oh-so-inspiring!

Here's the link:

It chronicles the journey of a new mom over two years when she transformed to a figure athlete champion! She did her training (as much as 3 hours of working out daily!) together with caring for her baby and holding a job as a customer relation manager!

The best part was that she was not one of those really annoying women who think that it is important to snap back to pre-pregnancy physique within weeks of delivery and even worse, who actually achieve it. She took her time and kicked ass in the process. Her win in the figure athlete championships was really wow!

You really gotta read her entries to know what it took her to get to where she did. Summarizing it here will not do any justice.

I love reading about people who take up challenges, go beyond the conventional and live life to the fullest. And given that she was also a new mom when she started on the journey, it was even more inspiring to read her entries! There is a lot there about commitment, time management and the art of balancing.

Totally made my day beautiful! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14: Chapter One Done!

Yup! I have completed the editing of the first chapter of my friend's novel!

The writing marathon thus begins! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 13: The Nuclear Family Day!

Today, for the first time since the little one came around, it was just her, the hubby and I the whole day. No mom in town. And helper took the whole day off. We were the ultimate nuclear family, all on our own.

And it was a fascinating day - challenging to some extend, fun to a bigger extend!

We picked up the little one and went out for a morning stroll that ended in breakfast from Toast Box. Eggs, Kaya & Butter Toast and Tea. Yum. The little one co-operated and slept through the whole thing.

Lunch was at home. The helper had thankfully made some lunch before she left, which we heated up and consumed.

Then we chilled around until evening. And by chilled around, I mean we entertained the little one, changed diapers, fed her, watched TV in between and then repeated the entire routine over and over again.

In the evening, after much brainstorming, we decided to go to Great World City to our favourite Ichiban Boshi again. Reason being that it is a great mall to take babies to - not very crowded, has good baby stations, plus it has Starbucks, McCafe AND Ichiban Boshi! What more can one ask for?!

So we dressed the little one up, equipped ourselves with her stroller, diaper bag and other such necessities, got into a cab and started out for Great World City. But just after a few hundred metres, it struck me that it was way too early for why not hit the beach instead?! And just like that we were off to East Coast Park, for the little one's very first visit to the beach!

And we had a lovely time there! The little one was super fascinated by the trees and the sand and the water and looked around with wide eyed wonder. The parents treated ourselves to a cup of our favourite Starbucks Chai Tea Latte and we strolled around for a bit taking in the breeze and watching the sunset.

Dinner was at Ichiban Boshi as planned, but at the one in Novena Square because it was closer to home and all that. While the hubby stood in the annoyingly long queue for a table, I found a place to give the little one her bottle of milk. Just as I finished with her, we managed to get a table and as the little one sat cooing and stretching inside the stroller, we enjoyed our dinner.

And then we got back home, put her to bed, watched some TV, spent some time on our laptops and finally called it a day.

And thus, a pretty nice Nuclear Family Day came to an end. We managed pretty well, I would say!

Here's to many more!  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12: Editing Begins!

I had mentioned here that one of the projects I have on hand is editing a friend's novel.

Today I started working on it!

It's my first time as the editor for a written piece and I must say that it's quite an interesting experience.  It's challenging because you gotta keep the original work's style intact while figuring out how to refine the rough edges. You gotta read the piece multiple number of times, internalize the content, make the edits, and then re-read multiple number of times to see whether it makes any sense. You gotta make tough calls on whether a particular sentence is needed, and if yes, whether it's placement goes with the current flow. Etc., etc. etc.

Am not sure how good a job I am doing with the editing, but I would say that in spite of the challenges, I am definitely enjoying the process! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11: Writing, Writing, Lots of Writing!

This is getting very interesting!

All of a sudden, I am finding my hands full of projects...all writing projects. If we are to do a quick list, it would go like this:

1) I have a friend's story to edit - this is the first time I will taking up the role of an editor and while I honestly have no high opinion of my skill in this department, I am pretty excited at the opportunity to try it out.

2) I have another friend's story to turn into a feature film screenplay - this is the first time I will be writing a screenplay for another person's story. Am certain it's gonna be quite challenging to come up with something that is in line with the other person's vision, but I am looking forward to the process.

3) I have my short story collection to work on - so far I have only listed down the threads, now I need to flesh them all out.

4) I have this daily blog.

5) I have my own half completed screenplay which I need to rework based on a recently hit brainwave.

In short, looks like this year is gonna see a LOT of writing. And that suits me just fine. Writing is probably the most practical thing for me to do right now, with the little one around. It would keep me productive without making unreasonable demands on my time, which would be awesome!

So yes, busy and exciting times ahead... and I hope to complete at least most of the above, if not all! Fingers crossed! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10: 25,000!


My short film Inganeyum Oru Katha got 25,000 views on Youtube within three weeks! So happy! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9: Short Story List!

Looks like maternity leave is a good time for brewing of ideas! Just yesterday I had written about how I struck an idea to make a half written feature film script far better.

And today I have a completely different idea!

Firstly, I have decided to shelve the above mentioned  script and get back to work on it later on. Reason being that I have just completed one full length script last month - a rather romantic musical, and I don't feel like working on another script just yet.

Instead, I have decided to get back to my plan that's remained just a plan with no action against it for ages. The plan to write a collection of short stories!

I think I have been wanting to do that since 2008 or so and I did get down to writing three stories then but that was that. I caught the film making bug after that and no more short story writing happened.

But now I want to do it. I feel like with a bit of better time management I will be able to squeeze it into my schedule that's currently focused on baby sitting and yoga.

To kickstart the process, I drew up a list of ideas for short stories that I will work on. And I have nine ideas listed down with a logline each!

Plan is to write about one in 1-2 weeks. Fingers crossed and super excited! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 8: When The Idea Strikes!

I think one of the most exciting parts of any creative project is when the idea first strikes. And that's exactly what has happened today!

The idea is for a feature film script. It's not technically a brand new one...I had been working on this particular script for a while now but recently  have been feeling that it's lacking in something. And annoyingly enough I hadn't been able to put my finger on what that something is and how I can fix it.

But today, out of the blue, it struck me! An idea on how to totally elevate the current script!

This means discarding almost the entire script I have written so far and just keeping the basic premise, which in turn means a lot more work before I have a complete screenplay once again. But this new direction is a lot more exciting and am really thrilled!

Now only if I can find some time to work on it...But let's take one step at a time!    

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7: Visitor Joy!

Now that I am almost always at home with limited access to other fellow humans, it gives me great pleasure when I have visitors. And usually the visitors that I have are people I really enjoy the company of, so it's added joy.

Today a couple of friends, recently married to each other, dropped by and I had a ball with them. It's been a while since I had met them so it was lovely to catch up. We yapped, laughed and I had the loveliest evening! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6: The Priority Exercise!

When I went for my Yoga class last Friday, I took some time to read the articles that were pinned on the notice board there. Most of them focused on the New Year and how people make resolutions and what needs to be done to actually stick to the resolutions, etc. One article in particular caught my attention.

It recommended a simple exercise to come up with an inspiring yet actionable list of resolutions. Key to note is that it forces you to prioritize the resolutions so that you don't end up with a laundry list.

Now, I do have a list of resolutions for the year already (but of course). How can the obsessive compulsive list maker in me not have one already. But I do feel that its not really an optimal one. Sometimes I feel that I am not maximizing my capacity with this list, sometimes I feel that anything more would be unrealistic, sometimes I struggle to break down what I need to achieve between the short and the long term.

So yes, this article was fascinating for me. I read it with much interest and then..... completely forgot about it.

Until today.

Today, when I caught myself with  some free time, I decided to go through the recommended exercise from the article and see what comes off it.

And lo behold!

After quite a bit of back and forth, after some major contemplation on the various options and their pros and cons, I got a prioritized list of things to do for the year. To be honest, some of them were hard choices to make. For e.g. Do I actually shoot a film or do I just focus on scripts? Do I get back to work as fast as possible or do I spend some more time exclusively with the little one? Do I pick up my astrology lessons once again or do I only focus on the yoga? Etc . Etc.

And I think I have a rough idea where I want to be. I won't say I have completely cracked it all, but I do seem to have made some progress.

So yes, the priority exercise helped. I am a little clearer and less confused and that's always welcome! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5: 'Us' Time!

One thing you realize once a baby comes is that life as you knew it has pretty much gone for a toss. And that includes the exclusive time you spend with the hubby.

You see, am a sucker for quality time that I spend with the people I care about - family, friends, colleagues - and by "quality" I mean, exclusive time spent together, and having long conversations, with no distractions. So for e.g. watching T.V. together doesn't necessarily count for me but simply lounging on the couch and talking about the most random things under the sky does.

Of course, I love spending time with the little one and since I am on maternity leave, I do get a lot of time to do that. But I can't say the same about the time I now spend with the hubby. Once he is back from work, he has his own much needed exclusive time with his daughter and over weekends, there would be one or the other errand to run, leaving him and I with little time for ourselves.  

So whenever we do get some "Us" time, to me, it's a rather big deal. And today was one such day. 

After spending the whole morning with the little one, the hubby went for his yoga class. I was initially planning to meet him for dinner after his class and bring the baby along, but the very last minute I decided to leave her behind with our helper.

Because I felt that the 'Us' time was highly overdue. I felt that if we didn't make time today, we probably wouldn't be able to for another week or even more. 

However, this inevitably led to a major guilt trip. I felt like the worst mom in the world for having left her behind. When I saw other parents with their infants tagging along, I felt even worse. 

But then, ultimately I really enjoyed our 'Us' time. Over a dinner of Chicken Katsu Don, sushi like Golden catch, Egg mayo inari and California roll and hot green tea from my favorite Ichiban Boshi, we had our long conversation. This time it was all about what we wanna do in 2013 and I had great time having that much needed chat for 2 hours.

Back home, we got back immediately to the 'three-of-us' time, which then rounded off a perfect evening! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4: Rabbit Pose - Check!

Now that I am pretty much starting from scratch on the yoga post pregnancy, every time I get a pose right or at least back to the pre-pregnancy levels, it is bound to make me feel exhilarated. While I am prepared to work my way to it slowly, I was quite surprised that the first "check" on a pose came so soon - on my second day back in the hot room.

The teacher said, "Beautiful rabbit, Shilpa"! Ah, God bless her, for I could have cried copious tears of joy!

Yes, it was exhilarating and I hugged myself in appreciation! Feels so awesome!

Now to slowly work my way through the remaining 25 poses!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3: Conquering the Fear!

Major milestone this is!

After an absence of TEN whole months, I hit the hot room and took my much needed Bikram Yoga class!

I was not totally off yoga all the while, because I had practiced the pregnancy version of it at home until I was about seven months pregnant and then did a few sessions at home post delivery as well. But all that is a far cry from the Real Deal in the hot room.

To be very honest, I was postponing going back to class as much as possible. I was scared of the usual symptoms that occur after such a break - nausea, sore muscles, dizziness, headache, and the constant self-questioning about why on earth I came back to the torture chamber (even though this last symptom is usually replaced by a giddy sense of achievement post class).

Because you see... every time you take a break, even if it just a two-week one, the Bikram Yoga routine feels so bloody hard, thanks to the heat and the intensity. So I was expecting this to be hell, after a break of 10 months and that too with a body that's pretty much been roughed up with pregnancy.

I had been planning to get back to class for a while now and had even made a promise to myself that New Year's Day I shall be there. But that didn't happen, as my New Year's day post would show.

Even today, I would have considered cancelling the visit, at least 25 times. I think I even secretly wished that the little one would throw a major fuss when she realizes that her mom is taking her leave, which will then prompt me to stay back for all the right reasons.

Well, the little one did nothing of the sort. Instead, she happily gazed at the ceiling fan when I bid her farewell, and I finally had to drag myself to the class.

So yes, I made it. And I have never felt more awesome!

Sure it was bloody hard, and I did end up with a mother of all headaches post the class but I managed to do most of the postures, pretty well that too.

But more than anything else, it felt awesome to finally conquer that fear! Really, sometimes things are not as bad as we imagine it in our heads!

Here's to many more Bikram Yoga sessions!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day 2: Blue Farewell, Not So Blue Feedback!

It was a rather blue day. Reason being that my mom, who had been around for the past three months, finally returned back home to Kerala.

Not only will I miss her presence, her awesome cooking, our marathon movie watching together etc., but also her help with the little one. She was super hands on the past two months and I didn't have to bother about many things at all. So definitely gonna miss that!

But then luckily, every blue day comes with a few not-so-blue moments as well.

I had released my film Mausams online just as we got into the new year. The first screening of the film was in Singapore in April 2011. Since then it went to a few film festivals, the last one of which, the Delhi International Film Festival, just wound up in Dec 2012. So I figured that it is time to release it to the wider audience and hence, released it online.

Looks like a few good souls already watched it and they were sweet enough to send me feedback on it. So the day was peppered with a few messages, all positive (yay!), coming in and that brightened me up considerably!

So yes, just as the dreaded day of saying farewell to my mom approached, it ended up being a little less sad thanks to the wonderful feedback that came in about my little film.

All's well. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 1: New Year Lesson Learnt!

For the past one week or so I had been planning to make the New Year's day rather happening. The belief, as expected, was that if the New Year's day ends up being happening, so will the rest of the year. And by "happening" I mean packed with activities and productivity.

And then the New Year's Day came. 

And I did nothing but sleep until about 2pm. Reason - the little madam decided to be up the whole night with unprecedented enthusiasm, probably in the spirit of the new year. So it was only in the morning that I managed to get those much needed hours of sleep. 

When I finally woke up, I felt miserable. This was not how I meant to spend the morning today. I had planned so many things and the morning was already gone. 

So I immersed myself in some first class mopping. 

The background to this mopping is that these days, it's a constant point of concern for me whether I would be able to do all that I used to - e.g. work, exercise, films, dance etc., in spite of the little one being around. I tell myself that I am determined to continue with all it and make the little one a part of the activities vs. giving up on everything because she is around. But obviously, it's harder than one would think. Getting the schedule working in itself is an uphill task, let alone the energy to do stuff. But one gotta try.  

So back to today.... I made a drama with the hubby about how every other year I would have done SO MANY things on New Year's day but this year, everything's gone for a toss and how this is an indication of how my life has changed forever and I wont be able to do anything for the rest of the year. Etc. etc. etc. It was quite dramatic. 

Then to prove my point, with great pomp and show, I whipped out the blog posts from past New Year's days that my 1000-day blog had covered. 

And then I realized all that drama was highly misplaced. 

On January 1, 2012, my main activity was relaxing at home. 

On January 1, 2011, my main activity was a visit to Marina Bay Sands and walking around there. 

On January 1, 2010, I woke up at NOON! 

In other words, I had never really packed things into a New Year's day but have had pretty good years in terms of productivity, in spite of that.  

There you go. 

Several lessons learnt such as...
1) New Year's day isn't the end of it all. 
2) It's OK to relax. 
3) Stop being a drama queen. 

Post this revelation, spirits were lifted up rather high. The rest of the day went in happily spending time with mom, hubby and little one. Walked around Raffles City looking at the last of the season's sales, had a good dinner at Shahi Maharani, took a short night walk with the hubby, played with the little one, forced my singing skills on her which she seemed to appreciate with a wide a smile and by the end of day, felt thankful, contented and happy. 

It was a good New Year's day indeed. Looking forward to the rest of the year! 

Day 0: Starting All Over Again!

It's the New Year and am back to blogging!

After that wonderful experience of chronicling the 1000 days until I turned 30, I had a good break for about 4.5 months.

To be honest, it was tough to write 1000 posts consecutively. There were several occasions when I wanted to give it up and the only reason I probably didn't was because... well, my ego. If I gave up, I would be a quitter. Rather, people who knew about the blog would called me a quitter and that would hurt my delicate ego. So there. I didn't quit and I completed the 1000 days of writing.

So then the question is why am I starting it all over again. But before we get into that, let me lay down how this blog would differ from the previous one.

1) Unlike the previous blog, this one may or may not be written on a daily basis. I have a 2 month baby on hand and given that motherhood is a fascinating journey where one recurring lesson you learn is that time is no longer ever enough, I don't want to put the added pressure of daily blog-writing on myself. But what I do commit to, is a weekly entry at the very minimum and that entry would hold all that's been awesome over the week. So, the daily quest for something to smile about would continue, even though the writing might be a weekly affair.
2) Unlike the previous blog, this is not a countdown to anything. I am not saying that I will write until I turn 31 or 35 or 40 or anything of the sort. This blog will continue for as long as it makes sense for it to continue.

So back to the question - why am I starting it all over again? Several reasons, really.
1) I miss writing!
After I stopped writing the previous blog, I was rather relieved and quite enjoyed the break. But as time passed, I realized that I do miss writing. It did feel good to put all those thoughts out there and I want to do more of it.

2) I don't want to lose the memories.
Given that every post was about finding something beautiful about each day, the previous blog had captured some of the most beautiful moments of my life which I absolutely love going back to and reading. Details of everything from big occasions like the screening of my films to small moments like a conversation I have had with the hubby over a coffee, that blog is a treasure trove of memories I never want to lose! I realized that moving forward too, I want to safeguard such memories including those spent with my little one.

3) I want to do, not just be.
Anybody who has read the previous blog would realize that I am a sucker for to-do lists. I make a list for everything - I had one for "Before I turn 30" and then an annual one for each year from my 26th birthday onwards, which culminated into the "30" list. I have one now for "Before I turn 40" already and one for 2013. It's something I am keen on doing because my biggest fear is that time will pass so fast that I wouldn't be able to do all that I want to in this life. So I make lists, keep constant track of my progress and feel rather good about it. What I realized with the 1000-day blog is that it made me more productive than I ever was. My to-do lists became longer than before. In an effort to find something beautiful every day, I ended up doing far more things than I otherwise would have had - I wrote scripts, made films, travelled extensively, sketched, painted, made cartoon strips, sky dived, picked up cycling, cooked - sometimes with my own recipes (jeez!), ran, swam, did Bikram yoga, trekked, etc. etc. etc. I packed my days and weeks and months with activities and at the end of the day, achieved a lot more than I would have had I not pushed myself on a daily basis. So in the same spirit, I hope that continuing with the blog and making an effort to find something beautiful on an ongoing basis, would help me be productive and not waste time. This is even more crucial now that I have my baby. I want to ensure that I spend a lot of quality time with her and at the same time not become too laid back. For all you know, it might help me do more things than my current "Before 40" to-do list holds!

4) It's a shitty world that we live in.
Yeah. Over the last few months of my pregnancy, when I became increasingly sedentary, I took to reading newspapers. Bad idea. About 85% of the news is about humans who act worse than animals. It's like we have lost any sense of morality, compassion and empathy. Wars, murders, sexual violence, corruption, discrimination... the list is endless. Maybe the world was always this shitty but it is now that I am realizing the full range of it. Maybe because being a parent, I am looking at it more closely given that this is the world my child would be growing in. I am not gonna list the details on all that disturbs me about the world today, but let's just say that I am disturbed. Very, very disturbed. And unfortunately, I don't know what to do about it. I don't know how to make things better when much of this is not caused by a real need but unfathomable, unreasonable desires and greed. But I will try. It takes some figuring out, but I will definitely try. Importantly, I do know one thing - instead of getting disillusioned by the atrocities, while we work to make it a better place to live in in whatever capacity we can, we need to ensure that we still smile. We need to still celebrate what's beautiful about this world, celebrate the people who still care, celebrate the goodness that's still left. Because there is only one life and we gotta live that. Hopefully, consciously working towards it, discovering reasons to smile with my family, friends, strangers and people am yet to meet, and chronicling that journey would help me with all of it.

So there. I guess that pretty much sums it up.

With that am bidding goodbye to 2012 - a rather eventful year personally - and looking forward to 2013.

Here's to new beginnings! Happy New Year!