Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 181: First Rehearsal!

Had the first rehearsal for Aravindum Aarumughamum today. As expected it was great fun! It was good to be back with my two fine actors, assessing the characters, reading the lines, improvising and seeing the visuals that were so far only in my head, coming alive! There is still a ton of work to go for sure, but this was a great start!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 180: Saturday Highlights!

A pretty nice Saturday. My in-laws are to return to India tomorrow, so the whole day was spent together with them.

Some of the highlights include:

a)  Morning chai & chat with mom-in-law. Only the two of were up while the men slept in. So we caught up for a bit in the morning, with our own girl talk.

b)  Heavy & yummy brunch at Antoinette. It’s already been established that Antoinette is a favourite of mine, and the in-laws too enjoyed the d├ęcor, ambience and the food.

c)  Swimming with the little one - The last time I took her to the pool was almost a month ago, so I was doubtful whether she would still remember all that she had learnt in the water before. But she did remember! In fact, she seemed to have improved her sense of balance and was evidently very happy in the water. All of us watched her having fun trying to float on her tummy and on her back, go in circles in her floating ring, and generally enjoying the water.  

d) After dinner walk to 7-11 and getting ice creams, a routine that had been established with the in-laws when they were here last year in June while I was pregnant.

e) Chatting away until late at night, clearly indicating that the last couple of weeks were nowhere close to enough when it comes to “catching up”.

It was a lovely last day and now, until the next trip! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Days 175 - 179: People, Plays, Films, Yoga, Work, Music And Such Happy Things!

I am having a good time! Yup... all up, hardly any downs (touchwood). The past few days have been pretty happy and I feel good!

Why? A variety of reasons!

a) I went back to work on Monday and got showered with a few more compliments on how well the offsite was organized. Am not one to shy away from compliments and yes, these made me very happy!

b) I went to watch a play after more than two whole years! And I loved it. It was a locally produced play called Fourlies and I thought the writing, direction and performances were brilliant! It is always great to watch such splendid works of art and considering that this was a completely original work from Singapore, it was even more heartening.

c) I watched Raanjhanaa, a new Hindi film and fell in love with it! As far as I am aware of, it was a romantic drama made like no other romantic drama from India so far in terms of its storyline. It was funny and tragic at the same time. It had both the leads playing not white but very grey characters. It had a dark, scrawny guy from South India making his debut in the highly discriminating fair-skin-loving Bollywood, and flooring every single person with his talent alone. It had brilliant music and very good integration of the songs with the narrative instead of force fitting them. Nett, I felt really good watching it.

d) I went for yoga three days in a row, which is a big deal because the last time I did that was some time in March! Once work had started, it's become increasingly difficult to hit yoga. And the irregularity had also contributed to laziness. So it took all my willpower to do three days in a row. But I did. And it was awesome.

e) I had a great chat with my editor friend from Mumbai in which I narrated an entire feature film story. And now we have just that - a full feature film story! Surely there is a long way to go from a storyline to a final film but it gets me super excited when a new idea brews. So yes, I am excited!

f) Got to spend a lot of quality time with the in laws, which included long chats, chai time and bargain shopping, even! It was a good last week, as they will be on their way back to India this Sunday.

g) I discovered the wonderful, wonderful songs from three Hindi films - Raanjhanaa, Lootera and Fukrey and I can't stop listening to them. They are definitely fodder for happy thoughts and glazed smiles and I love them!

i) I had the most amazing lunch with one of my best friends. One of those where we don't talk about our daily mundane lives but our takes on what our lives have been so far, where we think it is going, where we think it should go and what we can do about it. I feel really good post that 1.5 hour Friday lunch.

h) The little one has discovered the art of clapping. Or rather the art of repeatedly slamming her right open palm on her left closed fist, in the name of clapping. She crawls all around the house and demonstrates some over the top excitement when she sees me (as well as her other favourite like her dad, grandparents and nanny....but I am there too!). It is such overwhelming joy to see her break into her toothless wide grin when she sees me early in the morning or after I can back to work. I can see that she is already not just the little vague baby but a full individual with pretty much her own unique personality and this journey of motherhood is getting more fascinating by the day.

So yes. I am happy. With all of the above and more! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Days 171 - 174: The Offsite & the Celebrations!

The offsite my team and I had been working so hard on, took place on 20 - 21 June. And I am extremely happy to share that it was a phenomenal success! Like, P.H.E.N.O.M.E.N.A.L success! SO, so happy!

I can write a 2000-word post on it, but I shall refrain from doing so. Let's just say that everyone from the VP to the entire leadership team to every other person who attended the offsite told me that they had the best time! They loved the venue, the speakers, the awards ceremony with its Oscar-like videos, the red carpet with its live video streaming, the photobooth that gave them instant prints as well as the super cool goodie bags that was a parting gift. Some said that it was their best offsite ever and my VP said that he can't think of one thing to change about the offsite and that it was so perfect! I felt incredibly good and extremely proud of the work my team did to pull this off! It was so totally work all that effort and sleepless nights!

I personally loved staying at Changi Cove hotel, the venue for our offsite, with its writeable walls, espresso machines, bean bags and swings! My team dressed up on a "gothic" theme which basically meant black nail polish, scary, black kohl-ed eyes and a black dress, of course. That was fun too! One highlight for me was having the privilege of having a long conversation with our guest speaker for the offsite, Mr. Chris Moon, as I briefed him on the event. Chris is a Khmer Rough captivity survivor (one of the very few to be so), lost an arm and a leg as he was clearing land mines in Africa, ran the London Marathon within a year of leaving the hospital, is the first amputee ultra marathoner, runs the toughest Death Valley marathon and has a 100% success rate in taking groups to scale the Kilimanjaro! How unbelievable is that! Meeting him and listening to him speak, would remain one of the high points of my life.

I got back from the offsite incredibly tired but incredibly happy!

The weekend was spent on recovering from the offsite and celebrating its success. This basically meant shopping, gorging on a lot of good food, giving a celebratory treat to the hubby and the in laws at our favourite Da Luca, going for a midnight Teh Halia (ginger tea) at Al Afrose hawker centre near our place, and watching the rib tickling Fukrey!

A few awesome days!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Days 166 - 170: Hectic & Happy!

Am super swamped these days and guilty of not being able to write the blogs more regularly. But good news is that I am enjoying myself thoroughly even though am hardly getting time to even breathe!

Aravindum Aarumughamum has been kicked off! We had our first cast meeting together with the photographer who would be helping us with the photoshoot for the posters. We discussed the script, the character sketches, the poster options, the locations possible, the costumes as well as schedule. So now we are all set to do the photoshoot on 20th of July! How exciting!

My new role at work has been announced. As of August 1st, I will move from Head & Shoulders design role to Olay design role and am super duper excited about that. I absolutely loved my H&S days - three whole years, excluding my maternity leave - and I enjoyed every minute of it. My team was terrific and my work was inspiring. Sure it had its share of ups and downs but it has been an incredible learning experience and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work in that assignment. My H&S stint was also when everything from this blog to Mausams had happened, so I am very thankful for that too! But I am happy to take on a new role now... a challenging one I hear, but a thrilling one at the same time. So here's to another new beginning!

The announcement process of my new role itself was a high point for me. It was done by my manager in front of the whole haircare organization and he had a few nice things to say about me. This was supported by our GM and it was super nice of both of them. Needless to say, it left me feel all glowing inside!

My in laws have moved to our place from our brother-in-laws' and it is good to have them around. We get to spend more quality time together now!

Am keeping up my exercise regime in spite of the hectic schedule, so am happy about that.

The offsite I am organizing...well, it got royally screwed up with the current haze conditions in Singapore. We had very painstakingly planned out mural painting at low income childcare centres as part of our team building activity. But now with the haze, today, it was decided that will not have this activity any more. And the offsite is tomorrow. What a bummer. You can imagine the confusion this had caused in terms of logistics and communication. But more that I felt quite upset about the humungous waste of effort because really, it was not at all easy to organize this. So yes, I felt blue but then our leadership team was very sweet and supportive about the whole thing that I did manage to feel better later on. I guess this is "beautiful" because while it was a tough and undesirable situation, I did manage to move on pretty soon and appreciate the support received from everyone.

On the bright side, the offsite preparations were on in full swing. I saw myself packing 140 goodie bags with a ton of "goodies", one whole morning. It was like I was back in school! Total fun! Goodie bag packing, run sheet developing, amendments, printing, preparing and sending communications, final check with vendors, etc. etc. etc. - there was an endless list of things to do but as of this evening, they are all done. Now hopefully the offsite - or whatever is remaining of it after the cancellation of the mural painting - will rock! Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Days 161 - 165: Turned On Its Head!

Over the last few posts, it would have been evident that I have been going through a relatively rough phase. First I wrote about things being tough, and then I wrote about how I felt like my body was falling apart, and what had not been mentioned so far was also that work's been quite hectic. I am in charge of my business unit's offsite, the preparation time for which was reduced from the normal 3 months to under a month (!) and also several important presentations, all of which have been driving me nuts. So much so that even in my sleep am having meetings or writing proposals in my head. I haven't been getting any reading done, I have not been watching movies, I have not been doing even a bit of thinking about my own short film venture, I haven't been able to write this blog regularly enough nor have I been sleeping proper.

Nett, it's been crazy.

But post the Koh Samui trip where I got a short but good break, I came back energized to get into things head on and turn the situation on its head.

And this week has been super, duper hectic but really amazing!

1) I made significant.... and I mean really SIGNIFICANT progress on the offsite preparations. The offsite is next week and till now there was absolutely no clarity on how things would fall in place. All I had was a list of things-to-get-done but no sight of how that's going to happen. But that's all fixed now. It took several meetings, several phone calls, several rounds of negotiations and several hours of me breaking my head on my laptop, but it is now all done. I feel really good about it!

2) I also had a couple of good presentations with a few different General Managers with good feedback from all! That's, of course, good as well!

3) My in-laws are in town and even though I didn't get to spend too much time with them, due to my crazy busy schedule, whatever time I did get to spend was fabulous!

4) I got a lovely note from a girl who said she was inspired by my blogs and given that that came in on Monday morning, it was enough to lift my spirits and keep me going for the week! God bless her.

5) I got a few more congratulatory messages on Inganeyum Oru Katha!

6) I am apparently getting a raise! Yay!

7) The little one now has begun to smother me with kisses - or rather the open-mouthed, gooey licks on the cheeks which is her version of the "kissie"! She has also begun to react to scolding - either by upturning her lower lip and pretending to cry or by growling and scolding me back. She is also moving around rather freely around the house with her tummy crawls, and that's an entertaining sight too! And last but not the least, she slept through the night on one day! Woot! Never ever happened before! Only bummer was that in spite of her sleeping through, I kept waking up to check on her. But if she makes this a habit, maybe sleeping through the night would be a habit for me too! Can't wait for it.

8) I had done only 3 yoga classes in May (due to sleep deprivation and bad schedules) and that was quite disappointing. I still do DVD workouts and all that but nothing beats hot yoga for me. So I wanted to d a few classes in June and squeezed in 3 so far. It was pretty tough the first couple of classes due to the long break, but in the third class was almost like a come back for me. I even got a "that's pretty good" for my Standing Bow Pulling pose from the instructor. I am not sure how many more lessons I can take this month because of the upcoming offsite and a few trainings I am attending but at least I feel good about it so far.

So yes, it's been a jam packed but pretty productive week and I feel that the relatively tough phase has finally been turned on its head! Feeling super duper awesome!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Days 158 - 160: Koh Samui!

We made a short weekend getaway to Koh Samui - by "we" I mean, the hubby, the little one and me. It was the birthday celebration of a friend, who was part of the gang I had written about in the previous post. He had booked a five-bedroom villa at the Four Seasons resort for all us - yup, for the 12 adults and 5 infants.

Of course the experience of spending time with such a bunch is unique in itself, but what made the whole trip even more fabulous was the resort the friend had picked out for the trip. It was the Four Seasons at Koh Samui. It was beyond anything I have personally ever seen. So much so that I didn't take any pictures. There was no point. There's no way my photography skills could justify the wonder of that place!

And there is no way my writing skills can do any justice in describing the place as well, so I will let it be. But let's just say I absolutely loved my two days there!

On top of the fabulous villa, the gorgeous views, the exceptional service, there was also the joy of having typical Indian cuisine like Aloo Paratha and Masala chai, thanks to the cook who had been flown down from Dubai! Yeah, I know. I was equally stunned when I knew that the friend had gone to such extremes to make all of us feel so special! It was royal treatment indeed!

And then there was the joy of spending time with friends in such a beautiful location. These are technically the hubby's friends from school and hence, I hadn't interacted a lot with most of them before. Even then I didn't feel out of place even for a second and they were all super nice to me.

So yes, it was a wonderful few days - I got to stay in a wonderful place with a bunch of wonderful friends together with my own wonderful family. A big hug to the friend who made it all possible. God bless him!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Days 152 - 157: Older & Wiser!

It's been a happening few days and I don't even know where to start writing from!

But I can say that these few days have made me feel a little more grown up, a little more apprehensive and yet a little more excited about life ahead and most importantly, made me appreciate life a lot more.

Yeah, all rather tall claims but when I say it's been happening, it's been that happening!

It all started with having a very close friend announce that she is pregnant. I was so super happy and excited for her that I started imagining our meetings in the future with our respective kids in tow. My imagination was so strong that it went from excitement to happiness to doubt to sadness. I was excited and happy at the thought of all the lovely days we would be spending together with our kids but also this visual of having children around almost all the time when we will be meeting in the future....that wasn't...well... very exciting, to say the least.

Whatever will happen to our hours of mindless grown up conversations over coffee or a glass of wine, as and when we please?! Right now, several times, I leave the little one with the helper at home, while I catch up with my friends, and things don't seem to have changed at all. But for how long?

Sure, I know we can always have just the adults meet up but this thought of revolving our lives around children was rather unsettling. It is such a far cry from our independant, relatively carefree lives till now and the more I thought about it, the more daunting it seemed.

The mind games didn't end there. As I was having all these thoughts in my head, a bunch of the hubby's friends from his hometown in India, came down to Singapore and we went to visit them. Only one friend was single and the rest came with their families and by families I mean spouses and a kid per couple. Yup, including the two of us and our little one, we were 11 adults and 5 babies!


If you hadn't guessed it already, it was utter mayhem!

At any point in time, there was one baby refusing to eat, one baby refusing to sleep,  one baby wanting to play, one baby crying for no reason and one baby watching all the fun until it was his/her turn to contribute to the mayhem. And at any point in time, there was at least one parent who looked at his or her wit's end.

It was a mind boggling experience.

One part of me absolutely loved it, because it was my first time with so many young , first-time parents in the same room and it was lovely to see all of us being pretty much similar to each other with the same joys, same miseries and same approach to parenthood. On the other hand , it was ...well...scary! I could now experience first-hand, all that I had been conjuring up in my head and it indeed looks like we will be slaves to our children for a really long time.

That was a lot to take.

But then when I thought further about it, come on... we were all shaping these tiny beings who will take over the world tomorrow and that is a beautiful thought.  Sure it is hard as hell and yes, our lives have changed forever but a part of me kept saying that there was something really wonderful about this experience as well.

Just as I was beginning to make my peace with what my 30s and motherhood will be like, by deliberately shifting the focus to such more positive thoughts, the medical reports for a health screening I had, came out and it said I have borderline cholesterol.

Huh? Cholesterol?!

That, in my head, was something only much older people had.

But no, I have it.

The doctor says it could just be postpartum effect or maybe the consumption of prawns the day before or some other random reason like that but whatever it is, it made me realize it is not just my social life that's changing but it's the body too.

The story doesn't end there. Just as i was wondering how to tackle cholestrol, there I was sitting in a meeting, gently voicing out my precious opinions on the matter in discussion, when ...believe it or not... a part of my front tooth just chipped off.

Yup, just like that. Without me doing anything like biting onto an iron rod to make it happen. Freak show!

After blinking straight for about 10 minutes, during which I felt alarmingly overwhelmed about the thought of my whole body just falling apart, I excused myself from the meeting and rushed to the dentist to save my tooth.

30s clearly isn't 20s. 

The dentist, thankfully, was rather nonchalant. Instead of being horrified at the mystery of the falling-for-no-reason tooth, she simply told me that this was a fairly common problem. People apparently go to her with half of their tooth missing, like all the time. "Why, even I have two of my front teeth chipped off and filled back in", she said proudly. God bless her.

So I got the chipped tooth filled. And as I was relaxing on that dentist's chair, as much as anyone could possibly relax on a dentist's chair, getting my tooth filled, I reflected upon all that happened the last few days.

And there was just one message - really, time is so darn precious.

I am growing up and growing old and there is no denying that. The changing social life, the changing personal time, the changing body ... all of that is part of this beautiful thing that we call life.

Instead of worrying about what my life would be like or freaking out about health issues, I have to embrace everything exactly the way it is meant to be, while making an effort to make the most of every minute remaining.

Deep, I know. But that's what I feel. These past few days haven't been awesome in the usual sense, but they have definitely made me Older & Wiser.