Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 120: An April That's Been Worked Out!

I have been keeping a log of my exercise plan since October 2009 and I realized that this April has been my fittest month since then!

I exercised a total of 19 days out of which 12 were spent in hot yoga - which is like my gold standard for exercise. My previous best record was 19 days out of which only 9 were yoga, which was a few years ago.

So this is a clear win!

Feeling oh-so-cool about it! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Day 119: Drama Talk!

A friend of mine wants to do a play in Malayalam and is currently in the very initial stages of the production. He gave me a ring to know whether I would want to be involved as part of the cast. As much as I would have loved the experience, with a heavy heart I had to decline the opportunity because really, regular rehearsals are not something I can commit to at this point in time.

But as we spoke more, it struck me that sure, I can't be part of the cast but why not the crew?! I could be in the backstage which will require time commitment only for a few days prior to the performance dates. It would be a few days of intensive commitment vs. regular commitment required over a longer period of time as with the cast. It seemed like something I could totally do!

I got super excited and shared my thoughts with him. I suggested that maybe I could be his stage manager, I have enough experience and can easily work with the sound and lights. He was totally happy with the idea and before we knew it, we were rattling away about all sorts of production details! It was SO awesome!

I really hope the production takes place - he is still trying to gather the cast, get an afffordable venue and put all the the nitty gritties together. If it does, I will get to be the stage manager and do something that I have been sorely missing for a few years now! My last production was in 2009, which was really too long ago!

Am not sure where this will go, but for today, just discussing about a theatre production has got me so very excited! Beautiful! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day 117: A Weekend of Discovery!

27 - 28 April, 2013

This was my third weekend after I got back to work post maternity leave. And for the first time, I realized how much I am missing out when am at work!

Each hour, I was discovering something new by the little one. It ranged from her new expressions, her new ways of crawling, sitting, "talking", how she rolls her bottle right and left while feeding, how she loves to be in the playground pretending to slide down the slide and ride the wooden horse, how she interacts with other kids, how she is jealous and starts to scream when I talk to other kids and how she puts up her best behaviour in front of strangers but readily transforms to a terror the minute she is inside the house. So many fascinating new things!

A part of me feels bad about missing out on these as and when they happen, but the other part was super thrilled to keep discovering one new thing after the other during the two days. This journey is surely gonna get increasingly fun and increasingly harder but for the time being, am happy with it just as is! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Day 116: Until 1:30 am!

That's how long the hubby and I chatted away with a close friend.... until 1:30am!

This, of course, would not have been anything special a while ago but ever since the little one came along, we get back home latest by 11:30pm or so.

But today, we stretched it a while longer.

It all started with dinner at my favourite place Maggie Thai followed by a movie. The movie was rather boring, so we left at interval point and decided to spend the rest of the evening chatting away.

Best decision ever!

Over cups of Starbucks drinks (mine was a Mocha to help me get through this rare late night), we chatted for a few hours straight! About life, dreams and happiness in general.

It was the perfect night out.

Before we knew it, it was 1:30am and we took our leave. We got back to a fast asleep baby, thereby missing out any play time for the day, but I realized that I really needed this night out. I was beginning to miss it, i.e. spending time as and how I liked it, vs. having to plan every single detail out before stepping out of the house.

So this helped me appreciate everything a little bit more - the good evening, the company of a wonderful friend and the joy of getting back to my own little one! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 115: DVD Workout!

As much as I love my yoga classes, it is terribly hard to make my way to one. The whole process - i.e. the commute, the 1.5 hour class itself and the post class shower, takes about three hours in total. These days with my work as well as desire to spend time with the little one, squeezing in three hours is getting increasingly difficult. So I was looking for alternative ways to get some exercise. Sure, there are always options like swimming and walking etc. but with Singapore's weather conditions, these are not really guaranteed. And no, the gym isn't an option either. For some reason, I absolutely hate going to the gym.

So I decided to check out some workout DVDs. I wanted something that was high impact but that doesn't take much time either. It is hard to make three hours to go for yoga classes, but it is even harder to take more than 30-40 minutes if I am working out at home, because the little one makes her displeasure loud and clear, if I do not pay her enough attention.

And I found what I think is a perfect fit! I came across this DVD by Jillian Michaels called 30-day Shred which is three levels at 27 minutes each of pretty intensive workout, as per its numerous reviews on the internet. I don't have much weight to "shred" but its combination of strength training, cardio and abs workout looked promising. So I got myself a DVD from Amazon.

Today, I did my first level 1 workout, following the DVD!

It was hard, sure... but not as hard as what the reviews were making it out to be, which is good. It basically means I am not that unfit. But it definitely got my heart rate up and my muscles sore, which is awesome!

The recommendation is to do the routine for 30 days at a stretch (and hence the name) with 10 days for each level. I will not be following that schedule surely, because Bikram yoga is still my first priority but this is a great replacement for days I can't make it for yoga! Plus it is short, so there is really no excuse for not doing it.

So yes, am indeed very happy with my latest discovery of a workout routine and actually working it out! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 114: Cobra Pose - Check!

Whew! This is really something! The last time I got any kinda appreciation for my cobra pose - one of my least favourite poses at Bikram Yoga, was sometime in 2010, as per my 1000-day blog! So getting a "Good One!" on this today made me feel on top of the world! There's still a long way to get to my previous form, but am definitely making very, very slow but steady progress in my postpartum yoga practice! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Days 108 - 113: So Much Happening!

I really wish I had the time to write individual posts for the past few days because there simply seems to be much happening these days! But I am too caught up and my bullet-pointed highlights will have to suffice. So here we go!

a) Housewarming - My brother-in-law and wife bought a new apartment in Singapore and had their housewarming. The hubby, the little one and I were there for this very special moment in their lives. It is always lovely to see people's dreams come true and I know that this was a big one for them! It felt really good to be part of it!

b) Farewells - Both my mom and my father in law left for India over the last few days. Farewells are never nice but the upside is that you really treasure the last few days and hours spent together! It was no different this time as well and I thoroughly enjoyed the quality time that we spent!

c) The Pool - This is a real big one! The little one took her first trip to the pool and it was nothing short of awesome! Initially when I placed her on her floating ring in the water, she started to wail, probably due to the cold. So I took her out and got her to dip only her feet in the water. After the resulting acclimatization, she seemed to enjoy a lot better. Before we knew it, there she was comfortably settled on her floater ring and thoroughly enjoying her "swim"! All my maternal instincts came out and I felt oh-so-proud of my water baby! Of course, she spent more time trying to eat the floating ring than playing with water, but let's ignore such small distractions for the time being. I had the best time with her and after her time in the pool was done, it was my turn! My last swim was two days before delivering the little one, so it's been a while now. But my first postpartum swim wasn't bad at all. I managed to complete eight laps, which is a decent average for me. Loved the water, loved the experience, loved the evening!

d) Compliments - Who doesn't love compliments! When someone comes and tells me that he/she likes something I had worked on, I am immediately transported to cloud nine. And over the last few days, I was told by one person that she loves my blog and by another that she watched my film Mausams for the second time and by yet another one that she loves all my films so far! Not one, not two but THREE! Which means triple trips to cloud nine! Very thankful, very humbled!

e) Duxton Hill, Lucha Loca & Auntie Kim's - These are my discoveries over the last few days. Duxton Hill is a pretty "happening" place in Singapore and the not-so-happening me had never been there before. But I really liked it. It had old shophouses that have been converted to pretty nice retaurants. I had dinner at a place called Lucha Loca which was pretty good too. I absolutely loved their grilled fish which came up with an awesome spiced sauce and their housepour red wine was great, unlike the watered crappy stuff that's usually served. Another discovery was Auntie Kim's Korean restaurant on Thomson Road. It looked like pretty authentic Korean food. I had noodles with fried meat in soy bean paste (which is black in colour) and it was super yummy! I love it when I make such discoveries...it's great to have a few new very promising places to go to!

f) Work, Reading & Schedule - Work's progressing wonderfully and I am really enjoying myself. I had two late night calls and by late night I mean schedule like 7 - 10pm and 7 - 11pm on the two days. It's crazy but I am still enjoying it because I managed to squeeze in a yoga class on one day and play-time with the little one on the next, so I really can't ask for more. I am also managing to get some reading everyday especially  during my commute to and from work and sometimes during bedtime, once the little one has slept off. This is something I am enjoying a lot too. During the weekend, I also managed to watch a few movies (the Tamil film "Pizza" was my favourite!), which is of course, an activity that I always enjoy. I am still a long way from having a regular routine but for now, I am at peace with things just the way they are.

Like I said, too much happening. All exciting, all beautiful! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 107: "Ladies Coupe"!

I am in love with this book, "Ladies Coupe" by Anita Nair!

Like, IN LOVE! 

Based on the lives of six different women who meet inside a ladies coupe in a train, it is one of the best books I have read in terms of character building, with deep insight to the lives of Indian women, especially the ones from the South. 

For the past few days, I have been completely looking forward to my morning and evening commute just so that I can read this book! And today I even stayed up real late so I can read as much of it as I can. 

Staying up to read a book has not happened in a while. Loved the book and the experience!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 106: One Day, One Lesson!

A day of learning it indeed was! 

It started with me waking up at 5:30am and being in two minds – whether to go for the 6:30am yoga class or not. After much to and fro in my head, I convinced myself that going for yoga was definitely a far better route to take, and so I dragged myself out of the bed.

I was at the yoga studio by 6:05am and saw that the studio was locked, with a few others waiting outside. That was strange. Usually the studio opens sharp at 6:00am for the 6:30 class. We waited and waited and waited. Until 6:40, when I finally gave up. This has never happened before, that a class gets cancelled without prior notice.

Feeling incredibly disappointed at having missed a day of yoga so very unnecessarily, and frustrated at having wasted one day of early rising as well as the effort and the money required to get to the studio so early, I got back home without any of the rise-and-shine attitude I had when I left it. I was feeling really... like, REALLY annoyed and decided that everything from this day, this week, the people around me and my life in general sucks. 

Once back home I realized that it was only 7am, there is plenty of time before I have to get ready for office and that the weather outside is great. 

Then the golden question struck me - "Why not utilize this opportunity to go for a run?!"

Pure genius. 

Before I knew it, I was out of yoga gear and in my running gear (which basically means that I put on running shoes) and out of my house. Thus I went on my first run post maternity – for 3.2 kms.

The downside of the run was that …well, I realized that I am in no shape to start running yet. It brought back my knee and pelvic injury pain that has been contributed by pregnancy. So I don’t think I will be doing this again for a while. 

But there was a significant upside! I was no longer disappointed or frustrated. I decided that the day was great, the week's gonna be great, the people around me are really the best and my life in general, rocks! 

Learning of the day - Clearly, if you don't get what you want, you gotta do the best with what you get and you shall automatically feel oh-so-awesome! 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 105: Thus the Head was Shaved!

Today, a head was shaved... not mine (am not that adventurous yet), but the little' one's! 

It's a very common practice in India to shave the heads of babies. The belief is that with this, the baby hair will be removed once and for all, to be replaced with better, stronger, blacker hair. Now this event, that of getting the baby's head shaved, usually doesn't mean just taking a walk up to the salon and getting it snipped. It is a “ceremony”. In Kerala, where I come from, it means travelling hundreds of kilometers  and going to one of those big temples like Thirupathi or Pazhani that specializes in head-shaving ceremonies. In Kanpur, where the hubby comes from, this means having a big function, with friends and neighbours pouring in, a feast organized and the ceremony performed at home. In other words, in both worlds, it’s pretty much a big deal and requires weeks, if not months, of planning.

In our case, the planning lasted for about 15 minutes this morning. It all started with a conversation with the hubby, over chat, when both of us were in our respective offices. It started with a mere “We gotta do mundan (the Hindi word for the head shaving)” to “We might as well do it sooner than later” to “ We might as well do it today because parents (i.e. my mom and the hubby’s dad) are in town”. That’s it. Before we really even realized it ourselves, the local temple authorities were informed, the barber was booked, the parents were informed, the little one was ready and we were on our way to the temple, the venue of the mundan.

After a short puja (prayer) led by the priest, the barber started to shave off the little one’s head. She was seated on the hubby’s lap, who in turn clung to her with all his might, making sure she kept still. It’s no fun watching a blade on the head of your child and both of us were nervous. I hid my nervousness behind my camera, clicking pictures incessantly.

The barber did the shaving in three phases, with short breaks in between. The little one kept still, seemingly enjoying the process in the first phase but wailed her lungs out during the second and third phases. But everytime there was a break, she would switch to her wide mouthed, toothless grin, as if she is oblivious of what just happened and in turn making me feel a lot less nervous.  

Within minutes, those tiny little strands, even the ones that she used pull with all her might in her waves of anger, were all gone. (Yes, the girl has a temper and during fits of rage, she used to love pulling her own hair from the back of her head).

As I later (very funnily) proclaimed on Facebook, “Eka became Egg-a”!

Post the mundan ceremony,  all of us, including my brother and sister-in-law as well as her brother who had all arrived by then, went to Kailas Parbat for “post-mudan party” as the hubby called it. There we stuffed ourselves with a variety of chaat topped with a serving of their lovely cutting chai, while the little one figured that she can no longer pull her own hair. As she grasped for a handful of hair, all she got was air, bringing a priceless look of confusion on her face.

Thus the Mundan came to an end. Quickly, Happily, Beautifully!

Day 104: Vishu!

It’s Vishu, the Malayalam New Year!

Mom and I woke up early – or rather, got out of the bed early because “waking up” works only if you have slept in the first place. The little one decided that she will turn Vishu to Shivratri and was quite active the whole night. (For the uninformed, Shivratri is an Indian festival where you are supposed to stay up the whole night). Anyway, after getting ready and a small prayer, mom gave the hubby, the little one and I the “vishukaineettam”, a token of wishing prosperity for the year to come.

All of us then made the customary visit to the temple, followed by the Vishu sadya (feast) at my favourite restaurant Swaadhisht. I met a few fellow Mallu friends there, who introduced me to a Mallu couple. The husband told me that he had watched my films while the wife told me that she reads this blog! Woah! Nothing like a bit of ego boost and resulting gratitude on New Year’s Day! So thank you folks – for watching my films, for reading my blog!

Later in the afternoon, one of my most favourite persons, my teacher mentor from my Junior College days, paid a visit to meet the little one. She is one of the nicest, most selfless and generous persons I have ever come across and it is honestly a pity that I don’t see as much of her as I should. We met each other after a few years now, albeit being in the same city! But it was lovely to have her over and catch up with her. Took up the beauty of the day by several notches.

So that’s it. Another Vishu has passed by. But once again, a really special one.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 103: Beautiful People, Beautiful Saturday!

Beautiful Saturday made beautiful by the people around me.

The day began with the arrival of my dad in law who is here for a short visit. He came, armed with gifts and sweets and a big smile. All of us were happy to receive him but most of all, the little one. She was thoroughly delighted as he picked her up and lifted her high and whirled her around! And needless to say, when she laughs, all of laugh even more!

In the afternoon, I went for my yoga class. Nothing new about that but this class was extra special because the hubby tagged along! We hadn’t done a class together in ages and it was real fun to have him huffing and puffing, straining and stretching, right next to me as I huffed and puffed, strained and stretched!

Evening was spent with the hubby and my mom, who is also in town, over a shopping trip and dinner at her favourite place – McDonald’s! And who doesn’t love the McFries!

Indeed a beautiful Saturday with Beautiful people! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Days 99 - 102: The First Week!

The first week back at work was nothing short of fantabulous! Not just because I enjoyed being back in the office with my friends at work, but also because I took up a new routine which I thorougly enjoyed. 


a) 6:30am Yoga - Yes! I managed to hit Yoga twice at 6:30am and then once for an evening class in this week. This feat was only possible because my mom is in town and I handed the little one to her for the nights. This meant I can get a good night's sleep and get up fresh and happy by 5:30am. It was a very feel-good experience - to do hot yoga early in the morning, on an empty stomach, sweating it out and getting your dose of exercise out of your way in the morning itself, thereby freeing up the rest of the day for other fun stuff. 

b) Rising before the sun - 6:30am yoga of course meant waking up 5:30am, way before the sun rises in Singapore. I love the empty roads, the ease of getting cabs, watching a rare jogger enjoying his run, walking into the mall (where the yoga studio is located) when it is dark and empty, watching a few workers setting up the structures for the day's events in the main pavillion, watching the early office goers rushing by as I get out of the studio, reaching my office way before 9am, having a relaxed breakfast and feeling oh so good about everything in the world! I even saw a catwalk rehearsal early in the morning! They had set up a ramp in the mall and the models were there bright and early, rehearsing for the show later. Fun! 

c) Fun training at work - Once in a while, as marketeers, we have these "inspirational" sessions where they share the best in class advertising from across the world, which hopefully would get us to make better advertising for our own brands. I happened to attend one such training where they shared ads from the Superbowl, considered the Mecca for advertising where a single spot is charged 4 million bucks. And like every other such training, I enjoyed this one too... especially since it was held at a very funky venue called Club Kyo. Definitely a really good way to get back to work, all inspired! 

d) Time with the little one - Being back to work also makes me more appreciative of the time I have the with the little one. I have a few hours of us "Us time" every day where it's just me and her, playing. That's a nice part of the routine as well. 

e) Nautanki Saala! - I wound up the week with a "routine" Friday night movie, "Nautanki Saala" which I absolutely loved! It's gotta be one of the funniest Hindi films I have watched, especially in the first half and that ended the week on a real high note! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 98: The First Day Back At Work!


Today I got back to work and I absolutely loved it!

I am back with my old team for a short term special assignment until my more permanent assignment gets fixed in a couple of months. This means that I am back to an environment that I am very familiar and comfortable with and one that I absolutely love!

It was wonderful to catch up with everyone. The whole day I was just running from one catch up to another, squeezing a couple of official meetings and some onboarding in between. So much so that time passed by faster than it had over the last many days. Before I knew it, it was lunch and before I blinked again, it was time to go home! Awesomeness!

I know this joy will not last for long. It's onviously going to be a very different story once the deadlines loom, the pressure builds and the long hours hit. But till then, I am gonna enjoy this thoroughly! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Days 96 - 97: The End of the Maternity Leave!

Just as I had predicted last weekend, this weekend was filled with swinging emotions. One moment am pretty excited to be getting back to work, another moment I am dreading the maternity leave coming to an end. But to end it on a high in any case, I decided to indulge in three things that I usually love - Family, Food & Fun! 

"Family" included some quality time spent with the hubby, the little one as well as my mom. 

"Food" involved everything from sushi (Ichiban Boshi) to momos, coriander chicken and gobi manchurian (Fifth Season); from bacon and cheese rolls, chicken drumlets and my latest discovery -  wonderful cocktail with Creme de Cacao (Marche Bistro & Bar) to kebabs (Marrakesh).

"Fun" included Yoga practice, shopping, watching a film, and taking long walk carrying the little one in my arms when she refused to sit on the stroller any more. 

Now am all set for the next innings at work. Bring it on! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 95: The Works of M. T. Vasudevan Nair!

M. T Vasudevan Nair is a renowned Malayalam author. Even though I had watched a few films based on his stories or scripts, I had never read any of his works before. It was only on my recent visit to India that I had gotten myself a collection of his short stories.

And I finally got down to reading a few of them today.

Man! They are all so beautiful! Simple writing without the use of any bombastic language, heartwarming situations, genuine characters.

I am so enjoying reading his stories! Totally beautified the day, I must say!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 94: Mom, The Food & The Movies Are Back!

My mom's back in town!

And as usual, she has come loaded with awesome food, my favourite being the super yummy jam rolls and beef fry!

Once she got her rest after the overnight flight and after we digged into the above mentioned food, we quickly got down to business and watched a Malayalam movie together. This had become something of a routine in her last visit, to watch a movie with me every single day! It was possible then, thanks to my maternity leave and we wanted to make the most of the remaining days of leave I have.

So yes, today was awesome with some awesome food, an awesome film with her awesome company!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 93: Three in a Row!

Today, totally out of the blue, it struck me that I haven't been watching any Malayalam movies recently.  How terrible! 

So I decided to watch one. 

I watched one.... 

And then another...

And then another....! 

Three movies back to back! How awesome is that?! 

Clearly I am making the most of the last remaining week of my maternity leave! 

I love movie marathons! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 92: The Diet & Exercise Regime - 10 Day Progress!

I had written about the new diet &  exercise regime that I had embarked on and after 10 days on it, it was time to take a look at the results!

But before I share the results, let me be forthright with a few important points:

1) I wasn't very true to the diet. I had decided to "take a break" on weekends and public holidays... you know, in true holiday spirit and all that. And in the first 10 days, there were 5 such "break" days. Sigh.

2) My exercise was also not too awesome. Even though I did exercise 8 out of the 10 days, I only walked (about 3.2km each day) for 5 of those days, with the remaining 3 being Bikram Yoga. And I honestly believe that while walking is indeed better than doing nothing, it isn't gonna help me tonnes in my mission. I gotta add in more hot yoga days to my regime!

To put it in a nutshell, I think I would give myself about 5 points out 10 in terms of how well I stuck to the regime.

And here are the results.

While I had not dropped kilos any further vs. the previous update, I have now lost a total of 3 inches! Yippee!! This is my lowest postpartum statistics, even better than my pre-India-trip numbers!

Awesomeness! I am indeed thrilled!

Now the real challenge is to keep this progress up. With my maternity leaving coming to an end and a new, more hectic schedule beginning, I will need to figure how things go.

But for today, this small success is more than enough! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 91: "Bhavaaniyammayude Vishu"!

"Bhavaaniyammayude Vishu".

That's the title of my Malayalam short story that's been published in an online magazine, "Ithalukal" by an organization called MIS (Malayalees in Singapore). This is my first short story in Malayalam ever and I believe also the first time any short story of mine is getting published!

Needless to say, it's a beautiful feeling!

Here's the link (am on page 26!): http://www.sgmalayalees.com/fourth-edition/march-2012-issue.php