Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year 2014: Less Drama. More Peace.

I like to believe that in the year 2014, not only did I grow a year older, but also a little bit wiser (and apparently, a little less modest).

At the beginning of 2014, I had written a grand entry on how I would not be stretching myself this year, but instead, would chill out because I so needed a break. 

Yeah, OK. So that clearly didn't happen. 

Instead, I took up guitar lessons, I completed shoot for 6 episodes of my sitcom, I wrote a feature film script and a short film script for a friend, on top of the episodes for my sitcom. I exercised 205 days (yes, I still count these things), went on 5 different holidays - the highlight of which was our big fat family trip (together with my parents and in laws) to New Zealand, somehow ended up partying a lot (?!) which is rather weird because I am hardly a "party" person, took up photography a little bit more seriously and generally made my life overflowing with activities on top of work, motherhood, domestic responsibilities and such.  

Still, I feel that I have been through all of it, in a manner different from the previous years. This was probably my most peaceful, calm, contented year till date. Or at least half of the year was so.

It all started when I went back home to Kerala in July for a few days, with the key purpose of visiting a dear cousin who was in town from US, after a long gap of five years.

A few things happened then.

Firstly, I had arrived smack in the middle of the Kerala monsoons. Which, as such, is drop dead gorgeous and can turn any miserable person beaming with appreciation for nature's beauty. But this time, I had the added privilege of enjoying them from our new home which overlooked a serene pond and a row of temples that lined it. I spent a lot of hours just gazing out of my bedroom window, at the rain soaked pond with its water cranes and the temple beyond,  enjoying a cup of tea, lost in the view.

Secondly, I was completely cut off internet and phone. There was no wireless connection and my dad's laptop was connecting to the internet only intermittently. Which was, my God, such a blessing.

Thirdly, I realized how wonderful it is to lose oneself to silence. The temples in Kerala have what's called the "chuttuvilaku" - the rows of oil lamps that line all four walls of the temple. One evening, I found myself lighting up these lamps at the quaint, adorable Pathiyaarkulangara temple on the outskirts of my city. The small temple sat on the edge of a sprawling farm, away from crowds and traffic, immersed in silence and when I visited, drenched in rain. 

There were hundreds of lamps on the chuttuvilakku and I moved from one to another - filling them with oil, dropping in the wicks and lighting them up with a blazing torch. It took me and a couple of other ladies more than an hour to complete this exercise and it was probably one of the best hours spent ever. There was the blissful silence broken only by the drizzle of the rain and the occassional bird that flew past, and the therapeutic exercise of lighting one little lamp at a time. I felt so much at peace. Everything felt so right then.

Back in Singapore, I began to create these moments of silence for myself. I started to meditate. Not too frequently, unfortunately, but at least I have started and I feel good about that. I have taken up more yoga than before - not Bikram Yoga that I was practicing earlier but Ashtanga Yoga that also focuses on breath and sight. I feel like it is moving meditation and 50% of the 205 days of exercise mentioned above was spent on yoga. I attended a Kriya Yoga class and have just begun to practise those techniques of meditation.

I leave my phone behind at home, when I am out for dinner with the hubby. I leave my phone in a different room when I am with my daughter. I try to reduce TV time, internet time, phone time and instead, try to have dedicated time for the little one. In other words, I consciously am trying to remove the noise and be more mindful of what I am doing.

At this point in time, you may be going... OK madam, that is way too much wisdom, but how did it all help?

Well, for starters. I am far healthier this year than last year. This information is factually based on my annual medical check up results. Those horrendous cholesterol levels from last year are well under control! My diet hadn't changed - so I would like to attribute it to everything else including the yoga. So that's good.

Next, I have completely made my peace with being a mother. In fact, I am really enjoying it now. A lot of the blog posts from 2013 were in the camp of "holy-freaking-God-I-am-a-mother!". I don't feel that way any more. I find it truly fascinating to watch the little one grow. Maybe because she is picking up language skills right now and can be a real hoot when it comes to communication, or because she just loves dramatics, and I am already making plans to cast her in future movies. Whatever maybe the reason, I am able to set motherhood related thoughts and palpitations aside and simply watch and play with her for hours. I enjoy our (phoneless) activities a lot - shopping for accessories together, painting together, making a photo wall together, playing with stickers together, acting together and what not.  I don't stress out any more about being a good/bad mother.

In fact, I don't stress about many of the things I used to any more. Maybe stress isn't the right word. Maybe it is fear? I try not to scare myself by thinking too much about what could go wrong and worry about it. Sitcom shoots not on track? Pressure at work? Too ambitious a film project in the pipeline? I try not to imagine the negative consequences and lose sleep over it which, by the way, I used to do a lot previously.

Just as well, because recently I happened to come across an email I wrote the hubby a few years ago, when he was travelling abroad on work and I was still in Singapore. The email, without going into details, was full of how my life sucks. So much so that, according to the email, I went and pierced my nose and dyed my hair with streaks of red, as a form of rebellion. It was evident that it was something related to my work but I have no idea today what that was! Whatever it was had gotten me super frustrated, but today I can't even vaguely remember what on earth it was!

Lesson learnt - Less Drama. More Peace.

So what next?

Well, this is just the beginning. I might have sounded like I am close to attaining nirvana from the above, but the truth couldn't be farther. I still have many moments when I feel like screaming (and sometimes I do scream) or at a minimum wanting to rip off the head of the person annoying me but I am trying to get away from such violent thoughts. I need to go a long way, and I mean a really, really long way before I can get to the discipline needed for regular practice of meditation, yoga, more mindfulness and less drama in my life. It is going to require a lot of patience and effort.

And it is going to be critical because 2015 promises to be a one of a kind year for me.

I don't have a resolution to chill out this year. In fact, it is going to be quite the opposite. I am planning a series of things that I have been wanting to do for the longest time.

This also means that I will be more regular with the blog for the next few months, because I do not want miss out on capturing these experiences that promises to be bumpy but beautiful.  More details on that coming up soon.

Have a beautiful 2015!

P.S. I just discovered a post from 2013 titled "Older & Wiser" where I am freaking out about health and motherhood. Fascinating read. Thankfully, things are at a much better place now.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Another Beautiful Day] The Point of Living.

Yes, I am supposed to be taking a break from blogging and yes, I plan to continue taking that break after this post as well. But I decided to take a break from the break right now and write this post because... well, I guess I just had things to say and I couldn't find a better way to say them.

So here we go.

Recently a friend asked me what was the point in living.

This person is going through an extremely difficult time, something I can't even imagine right now for myself, which led to the question.

Then the question was elaborated - what was the point, because some day all of us are going to pass on and "nobody would care". I guess the intent was to say that nobody would care for long and the world would function exactly the way it did before and the way it would after. Which is, of course, true.

In the spur of the moment I said, "That is exactly why you need to maximize this time you have."

At that point in time, I had not put in much thought behind what I said and I think I just wanted to say something not stupid or upsetting, but later when I did reflect on it, I realized that at a very fundamental level, that's pretty much why I do whatever I do.

Since my last post here almost two months ago, much has happened.  I completed the film I was making and as of last week premiered it and also uploaded it on Youtube. I went on a holiday to New Zealand with my family - which included the little one, the hubby, my parents as well as my in-laws. I have my uncle and aunt visiting us for a fortnight and I spend long stretches of time just talking, relaxing or rediscovering Singapore with them. I went to concerts and plays, learned new pieces to play on the guitar and had the best work out month this year so far. I spent some real fun times with my friends and went on romantic dates with the husband and I have kicked start reading and discussion sessions for the next project, the Malayalam sitcom. Work's going good too. I am busy, stressed at times, but overall happy at work. I managed to raise funds for a couple of charitable causes so that I feel less guilty for having a more fortunate life than many other millions. I am watching my little one growing into a fascinating young lady, with a lot of attitude and personality, which makes me feel proud, thankful as well as amused as I discover how babies grow into young adults and how adults grow into not-so-young mothers.

Many people, especially after the release of the latest film, ask me how I manage to do all of the above.

I do all of the above, because I feel this constant urgency. I feel like time is so limited that I have no choice but to stretch out every minute, every second as far as possible.

So I want to spend as much time as possible - talking and laughing - with all the wonderful people I have in my life.  I want to go on as many holidays, discover as many places and share as many adventures as possible with my closest people. I want to make as many films and tell as many stories that make people smile. I want to read and re-read the good things they say about my film and share that with my team so that all of us collectively feel awesome about ourselves. I want to make as much impact in my work and in my team as possible, I want to listen to as much wonderful music, read as many inspiring books, do as much energizing yoga as possible. I want to help out as many people as possible and I want to marvel at all those people, whom I have not even met once, who have helped me with my work, my films, or just dropped a kind word on Facebook. I also want to just sit and stare out of the window when it rains outside and watch the world pass by because it is oh so beautiful and it would only be a blip in time that it would last for.

Is there a point to all this in the larger scheme of things?

May be not. In fact I am most certain there isn't.

But what is the alternative? What is the alternative other than to hug, smile, makes others smile and tell yourself that this is the best you can do?


P.S. I know this isn't a typical blog from my end, but I feel like this day is as beautiful as it can get. Thank you for reading. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weeks 11 & 12: From "Mainstream" Producers to Indian Plays!

First I was blogging on a daily basis. Then I changed that to a weekly basis. And look like now it has moved to a fortnightly basis. It is rather sad. I see this blog dying a slow death. But before we get to that, let's recap all the awesomeness from last couple of weeks. 

Firstly I had the good fortune of watching an Indian play featuring none other than Naseeruddin Shah and Rajit Kapoor and directed by Ratna Pathak Shah. The play called "A walk in the woods" showcased the conversations between an Indian and a Pakistani diplomats and in two acts and four scenes, it managed to engage the audience with a socially relevant, thought provoking and highly entertaining conversation between just these two individuals.  

I spent a nice Vishu day. I took off from work, met a friend for lunch, visited a charity organization to discuss potential tie up for Aravindum Aarumughamum as a fundraiser for them, went to the temple with the little one, and finally, very unexpectedly, managed to catch the Vishu Sadya (feast) at Swaadhisht when the hubby rushed back from his work in Malaysia just in time to make it for a late night sadya. Overall, it was a pretty good day. 

I had written a feature film script during my maternity leave. It was what I call a "mainstream commercial film" which basically means that to make it, I need more money than I usually tend to put into my films and people who really know the craft in the technical team. And that means it needs a real producer from the industry. It so happened that my editor friend in India knew one such producer who expressed interest in reading the script. I was excited to share it with him - not because I think I will be making this film with real stars or even a real camera for that matter - but because, I was curious to hear what a "real" producer would have to say about my "mainstream commercial script". I even have added song sequences in there to make it totally Indian in feel, so I was eagerly looking forward to his feedback. His feedback came and apparently he loves the script and was asking questions on whom I planned to cast etc. Needless to say, it made my day. 

I also had a reading session for my Malayalam sitcom with one of the actors. The sitcom is to feature only two key characters and I wanted to kick start its making at the soonest. I know whom to cast for the lead male role and I am contemplating about the female role.However, it was good to do a reading because it gave me a good idea on whether this is going to work at all or not. I tend to think that the first reading was promising. After a few more rehearsals, we should be able to kickstart the shooting. This is going to be a totally different project from all that I have done before, so that's going to be exciting. 

I had an almost private lesson at yoga ! It was a Friday and there was a major downpour in Singapore. As a result my yoga class saw me and just one another girl during that time slot (usually there would be more than at least ten of us in a class). So the teacher made it a super customized class with really good individual attention and I think I gave my best and the got the best out of it too! I felt closer to yoga than I had been for a while now. It was wonderful! 

There was a nice gathering in my house of all the creative people I am close to here in Singapore. It included the full team of Aravindum Aarumughamum including by incredibly talented music director from India who happened to be in town, as well as a few other friends. It was fantastic to have all of them together and I had a lot of fun chatting away and felt blessed to have this team to associate with. 

Last but not the least, a few compliments came my way too - on this blog, on my film Inganeyum Oru Katha and my performance in it, as well as at work. Needless to say, I love compliments and it felt good. 
Alright, on that note...I am going to take an extended break from blogging and will get back when I figure out how exactly to go about this in the future. I don't think this weekly process is working for me - the summarizations kind of ruin the detailing and beauty of all that was beautiful and yet I dont have the time nor commitment to write on a daily basis like I used to. So let us see what's the best way to go about this. 

Until I figure it out, Adios! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week 10: Routine, Wine Cricket and General Lack of Memory!

31 March - 6 April, 2014

So am writing this blog on a Thursday when I was supposed to write it on  a Sunday.

Oh hum...

I wish I could say that it was because my life has been rather happening but not really. It was just laziness.

In any case, here's all the good stuff from last week (atleast as far as I can remember).

Firstly, my helper is back! Phew! This also means my mom returned to India, which is a bummer. But the good news is that my life is back to normal. Soon after the helper reached, I was back to yoga and back to the movies. I had been dying from not watching a film for a month and I finally watched the much acclaimed "Queen". And like everyone else, I loved it too.

But more that anything else, it felt good to be back to my routine.

I also joined my friends to watch the India vs. South Africa cricket match at Singapore Cricket Club. One of my crazy friends was convinced that India will take a wicket in the first over if I promise to do a bottoms up with my port wine if that happens.

(Yes, even in their 30s people behave this way).

I told him that I drink only one glass of wine in a week and I would like to enjoy that by sipping from it and not gulping it down. He retorted by questioning my loyalty to my nation.

To calm him down, I agreed. And India took a wicket in the first over.

Clearly I have magical powers of making national teams win with my consumption of alcohol.

Oh well.

And yes, I did keep my promise.

In other news, my mom has figured out the joy of Whatsapp. These days I find myself sitting in my office and receiving random messages like "hi" followed by "haaaai" followed by "in office?". followed by "what's up" and it goes on. Such excitement!

And then...

... And then...

....Well, nothing.

That's pretty much all that I can remember right now. For some reason (actually, the reason is prolonged absence from blogging and simply moving on with life without putting any thought to it....or it could be the delayed effect of that bottoms up), I seem to be suffering from a general lack of memory on what else happened last week.

In spite of that, I am happy. Which at the end of the day, is all that matters.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 9: Rasgueado, Golpe, Efforts for Sympathy & New Feature Film Script!

24 - 30 March, 2014

It was a rather quiet week where nothing much seems to have happened. Or at least nothing BIG seems to have happened. 

But there were several tiny little gems of experiences along the way. 

1) Finally... and I mean F.I.N.A.L.L.Y, the edit for Aravindum Aarumughamum is locked. The full & final edit. Sure, we still have the sound design to be locked before we can release it, but this is already a big milestone so I am happy about that. 

2) After a gap of about a month, I finally got to meet the regular gang. And that always gives me a lot of joy. It was great to catch up and each of them bonded with the little one (yes, she had tagged alone too), in their own unique ways. 

3) I learnt two really cool things to play on the guitar called Rasgueado and Golpe. Both are techniques used in Spanish guitar (Flamenco guitar, specifically) and I was given an exercise where they needed to be used. And I LOVE it! SO MUCH FUN! 

4) The Little One is turning out to be a real hoot. Her new found technique of earning my sympathy is as follows. If I scold her for something, she walks up to the coffee table and very purposefully, yet very, very gently, bangs her head on to the glass top of the table. Then she rubs her head, looks up with puppy eyes fully expecting me to melt and sympathize with her. I told her that the technique would have worked had I not seen her deliberate attempt to go and bang herself. After a few unsuccessful attempts at earning my sympathy this way, she decided to garnish the theatrics a bit. So now, she goes and bangs her head first and then rubs it gently while looking up at me with sad, pleading eyes. And then, for full effect, she goes back to the table and reprimands it, just like the way we do when she falls or hurts herself any way - we scold the object that caused her the pain which quickly seem to make her happy. So now she does that herself. What can I say! 

5) I signed the Little One up at a playschool. Yet another milestone. This place is only a stone's throw from my house and one evening the Little One, my Mom and I walked over and signed her up. She will begin classes from July but for now she seemed rather happy with the bright, cheery place full of children of her age. 

6) I have started to write the script for my next feature and I have completed one scene so far. This is planned to be one with a really small cast but that doesnt mean low budget because it is planned to be set in a location in India (I just don't want to shoot in Singapore anymore!). Because of this thought of an outside location, the working title for the film is "The Destination Film", until I can think of a more sensible one. Talking about titles, I am yet to name my previous feature film script in Tamil. That's currently going by the very creative title of "The Tamil Feature Film". Oh well. 

7) Last but not the least, I have to admit that this event of the helper being away did turn out for good at the end. Sure, it was tiring and quite stressful to manage everything but it did get my mom (and for a short while, dad) down. Once the dust settled down and we got into a manageable routine, we got to spend some quality time together. That was really a blessing in disguise! 

That's about it then. Nothing major. But all good.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week 8: Dramatic Abandonment, Bioluminescent Planktons, Elephants & Mangroves.

17 - 23 March, 2014

Bulk of the week was spent in Krabi, so I guess I will focus this post on the trip.

So yes, what was initially meant to be a snorkelling trip with my dad, turned out to be a full blown family vacation with dad, mom and the little one, given the recent developments at home. I had already booked tickets and hotel, so decided to stick to the original plan which was to be honest not very toddler friendly. But we decided to make the best of it. And here are the highlights.

Dad, Mom, Little One and I went on an Elephant Safari.
In other words, we comfortably seated ourselves on chairs atop elephants that walked through the jungles and streams, and I realized that the massive to and fro motion as the elephant took each step, was not at all comfortable. The Little One probably felt the same but all she did was sit tight without uttering a single sound. It was probably her quietest hour during the trip.

Dad and I went snorkelling while Mom babysat the Little One.
We were picked up by the snorkelling guys in a fancy wooden box attached to the sides of a scooter which resulted in the most fun ride ever, we enjoyed the fast longboat ride over choppy waters, we explored a ton of corals, saw hundreds of multicoloured fish and once even a crab, got bruised and cut all over when we were dropped off at the wrong end of very shallow waters and tall corals, we walked along a sandbank that appeared between two islands during low tide, walked through extremely rocky waters to a pristine beach, watched the most beautiful sunset ever, got stranded in a boat for close to an hour when the boat got stuck in the rocks thanks to low tide, and the best part of all, we, for the first time ever, saw bio luminescent plankton in the pitch black sea - these fascinating creatures are like glowworms, but in the ocean, and they light up when the water around them moves! Watching them glow as I slapped around in the water, was nothing short of magical!

Mom and I went kayaking in the sea and through the mangroves, while Dad babysat the Little One.
Well, initially it was my mom and I on the same kayak, with me trying to paddle away. But when I, albeit my best paddling efforts, fell behind all the others in our group who were primarily being driven by tall, strong, beefy men, my Mom got cold feet and wanted to get a paddle boy for her kayak. So I was unceremoniously fired as the kayaker and we switched boats. While she lounged comfortably in her kayak being rowed around like a "queen" (words of a fellow tourist), I sat miserably in between two guys in the middle of another kayak, not let anywhere near a paddle. But the experience of kayaking through that maze of mangroves with the constant sounds of crickets and birds, sightings of monkeys (one even jumped onto a kayak!) and cool atmosphere in spite of the blistering heat outside in the open ocean, it was indeed an experience of a lifetime. My mom thought the same too, except that whenever she mentions it, she ends with a "Should have gotten that paddle boy earlier. You could have drowned me!". I did try pointing out that drowning was impossible with life jackets on, but that is simply acknowledged with a "Still, you never know!". Sigh.

Other exciting things happened too.

Dad and Mom went shopping while the Little One and I hit the pool in the hotel. Dad discovered a few tour options as they ventured out, so he left Mom at the beach to quickly get back to the hotel to check my opinion on them. On the way to the hotel, Dad lost his way pretty badly. Mom sat at the beach all alone into the night for a couple hours with no money and no phone. Mom thought she was abandoned by her family (yeah, dramatic). Dad got back to her after much delay and heartache and tension. Dad and Mom got back to the hotel to me and the Little One who were oblivious of anything happening. All we thought was that Dad and Mom were doing a little bit too much shopping.

The Little One made friends with everyone at the hotel. They were all kinda inseparable by the end of three days. She also made friends with everyone at the airport, getting into deep conversations with Russians and Indians and Malaysians and Thais, as we waited for our very delayed flight. In the process, she decided to improve her vocabulary and out of nowhere started saying "Eka" (her name), "apple", "Aana" (elephant), "Dudu" (milk), "eyes", "kose" (I think she means "nose" because that's what she points at), "Kaaka" (crow), and such. I decided that she might just be the scientist that her dad wants her to be and not the actress that I believe she might turn out to be. But then when we got back to Singapore airport, we went to our favourite Ananda Bhavan for dinner, and there, she demonstrated that actress might be more her thing anyway. After feeding herself dosa and coconut chutney, when convinced that she had had her fill, she used the remaining chutney to delicately apply on her cheeks, very much how she does with her (and my) multitude creams, as part of her daily beauty regime. Also, there was one instant when she threw a tantrum and I pointed out to her a bunch of strangers watching her from a distance. She quickly dropped the tantrum and picked her best toothy grin and waved at them. Yup. Actress, it is.

So yes, it was an eventful trip. I did miss the hubby who was left behind (rather, he chose to stay behind because 'work is priority' and all that talk), and was very glad to be back.

The Little One on the other hand, didn't seem all that pleased, and immediately walked back to the lift as we reached the door of the apartment. Clearly, she had a great trip.

And so did my parents.

Except that my mom keeps retelling the story of how she thought her family abandoned her with no money and no Thai linguistic skills in the middle of a beach in Krabi.

I guess we will have to live with that.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 7: From Harmonics, Duets & Soundtracks to Laddoo Pottal!

10 - 16 March, 2014

It's already Tuesday March 18th and I am writing the post for last week only now. Two days too late. That's a bummer from a timing standpoint but that's how freakishly busy I have been. But things are good... in fact, quite good.

Highlight from last week.

1) Work's super busy but pretty good. All the guilt I had of working from home extensively (my helper's only returning next month!) was kinda overcome because there's been tremendous amount of progress on a few projects. So that makes me pretty happy!

2) My guitar class was awesome! The teacher was so happy with his student that he gave me a star in the form of a sticker, which then I proudly pasted on my guitar! I think I was excited as his other students who are probably a few decades younger to me! He taught me how to play harmonics, which I had never done before, as well as a duet, which again, I was doing for the first time. I loved the sound of the harmonics and the challenge of the duet - it required an immense amount of concentration to not get what you are playing wrong, when another person is playing something completely different along! Must have been one of the best guitar lessons till now!

3) I had this dream which I never thought would materialize because of an utter lack of required skill set. And that was being able to sing a song while playing the guitar along. I have had low confidence on the guitar part and I definitely have rather questionable skills when it comes to singing. So when I watch others demonstrate this, what I consider an awesome talent, I used to watch with mouth-wide-opened awe. But things are looking rather sunny as far as this dream is concerned now. The latest pop song we tackled in the guitar class was a rather simple one (simple from a chords standpoint) called "Let it be" by the Beatles. As I was practicing it later together with the real song in the background, I realized that this might just be that song that I can sing and play the guitar to! The chords were simple enough, the lyrics were memorable enough, the pitch was something within my range and overall I found it at least hummable. I tried to sing and play the guitar and found that it takes a LOT of effort to play the chords correctly, remember the lyrics and sing without going out of tune, all at the same time. Like, a LOT! But I tried. And recorded. And I was horrified to realize what my guitar and I actually sounded outside my head. So I tried again. And recorded again. And I was pleased to see a vast improvement after my 10th attempt or so. I think it was one of those moments when I physically lived the phrase "manasil laddoo potti" (the laddoo, a sweet Indian delicacy, burst in my heart). Aaaah! Sure, the singing is still rather questionable and the guitar playing needs to be a lot smoother, but it is at least no longer a dream that is confined to the "never gonna happen" territory. It has been promoted to "might just happen, after all!"

4) My music director in Chennai and I had regular connects in the virtual world and finally we lock the full soundtrack for Aravindum Aarumughamum! The film is now very very close to getting completed and I can't wait !

5) I wrote not one, but TWO episodes for the Malayalam sitcom, in the midst of all the hullaballoo happening around!

6) My dad flew down over the weekend and he is an extra helping hand at home now, which is of course, awesome! And yes, I am immensely pleased to have him otherwise also.

7) In other news, the little one can now say "Apple". What a milestone. She puts her doll to sleep with the Malayalam lullaby "va vo va". She does her version of Bharatanatyam eye movement, which goes from top to bottom, instead of left to right. She is mastering her skill of dramatics with her focus areas being acting coy and imitating her granddad burp. Yup, she is growing up.

7) Last, but not the least, I watched a really interesting play called Re:Play by a colleague's wife. It was my first time watching what they called "immersive theatre" that involves interactions with audience, I really enjoyed the experience. I was wowed by the thought process being the concept (based on traditional Indian games) and the flawless execution. It makes me want to watch more theatre, something I have been so out of touch for so long now!

So that's that. A pretty happening week, if any. And now my parents, the little one and I will be off to a 3 day trip to Krabi. This was meant to be a snorkelling trip for just my dad and I but given all the changes at home the last couple of weeks, this has now turned into a full blown family vacation. Am not sure how much snorkelling we will get done, but we will have fun sure. So long!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 6: A Lot to be Thankful for!

3 - 9 March, 2014

Am down with a flu, am still juggling work and the little one since the helper will be out for the rest of the month, hence, I am gonna keep this very short.

Things are not as bad as the introduction might let you think. In fact, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my mom who is in town to help us with the little one. Even though she cant manage her all on her own and I need to be home to help out, it is still a huge load off my chest.

I am thankful for my wonderful company which has let me work from home 5 out of 6 days so far, so that I can manage the little one.

I am thankful for the hubby and the good friend who offered to take care of the little one over the weekend so that my mom and I can take a break and go watch a Malayalam film.

I am thankful that that particular Malayalam film, Om Shanti Oshana, turned out to be exactly the simple, sweet, entertaining film I was looking forward to.

I am thankful for still being able to squeeze in some form of exercise - even if just walks with the little one in the stroller or quick Ashtanga Yoga sessions at home - in spite of the craziness of these days.

I am thankful for being able to complete all the work that I am supposed to in spite of all of the above.

And if I really am honest, I am thankful for being able to spend so much time with the little one. The last time this happened (unless we are on holidays) was during my maternity leave a year ago!

So yes, there's indeed a lot to be thankful for!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 5: The Temporary Superwoman!

24 February - 2 March, 2014 

Alright then. Where do I start?

Had things gone according to plan, this post would have been my usual laundry list of "highlights". It would have included some work on Aravindum Aarumughamum, some achievements of the little one (she can now say "Ello", "Na na" (no), "toooo" (two) and "thee" (three) and apparently takes great delight in walking with her hands on her hips in an attempt to ape her mom; I had no idea I walked liked that until she pointed it out...), some work stuff (an event I organized turned out be a great success), the new food joint we have discovered - "PODI" at Raffles City which served some really cool fusion dishes (like linguine aglio olio with curry leaves in it!) and maybe about a Malayalam movie which, in a very rare turn of events, the hubby had agreed to go to but which both of us didnt end up going to in spite of already having bought the tickets.

Instead, am just gonna write about how I feel like Superwoman at this point in time.

You see, because I make films and plays while holding on to a full time job, people tend to call me "superwoman".

But that's a joke.

I am no superwoman and the only reason I could do all those plays and films is because I always had adequate support at home. Either in the form of part time helpers who cleaned and ironed or since 2011 September, full time helpers who cooked, cleaned, did laundry and ironed and when the little one came along, looked after her too. If I had to do all of these myself like how, many of friends have to in US and Europe and other parts of the world where domestic help is scarce, I really doubt whether I could have managed all that I seemingly have.

To me Superwomen are those that maintain their homes and husbands and children and work all on their own. That does take some super power and I definitely do not have it.

So when over the weekend our helper had to return to India on a family emergency, with just one day's notice, I was stumped.

How was I to manage work and the little one?!

I think my confidence in my utter lack of homemaking and childrearing skills transformed into a full blown nightmare that I was up wide awake by 4:30am the night after the helper broke the news.

But I guess it is like learning to swim when you are thrown into a pool. Sure, there is a high chance you would drown, but you might just kick and flap around in such a way that you might successfully stay afloat. Luckily for me, it was the latter. At least, so far.

It is Sunday night now and here's what I achieved over the weekend. Without a helper.

I Cooked. Cleaned. Did all that was to be done for the little one like giving her a bath, feeding her, reading to her, playing with her, taking her on a walk, tidying up after her etc. Went shopping multiple number of times because there were always things missing in the house. Did some work and even managed a quick visit to the office. Finalized and did the subtitling for Aravindum Aaarumughamum trailer (the 1 min trailer took me 2 whole hours to get the subtitles right!). Released the trailer (yay!). Basked in all the wonderfully kind feedback that people gave on the trailer. Missed the Malayalam movie that we had gotten the tickets for because there is no way the little one would sit through that. Compensated by watching my own film's trailer multiple number of times. Felt really pleased that it was the little one who wanted to watch it multiple number of times (for some reason, she was absolutely delighted with the trailer!). Had a nice lunch with the hubby at the Professor Brawn's Cafe while the little one slept off. And now, at 11:01 pm, am very close to completing this blog post as well.

Those of you who can cook and clean and look after toddlers like it's child's play would be rolling your eyes at this. But to me, I am feeling rather good about my "achievement" and as of now, I do feel like Superwoman.

And my respect for women who do this on a daily basis have quadrupled. Or more.

Luckily for me, my mom is arriving on Tuesday morning to help with the little one since I have to get back to work soon and this working from home arrangement is not sustainable.

But till then I shall be the Temporary Superwoman and feel quite proud about it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 4: Coaching, Fights, Sparkz & Highway!

17 - 23 February


1) The terrific training on Coaching at work - I not only learnt a lot, but I had a great two days getting to know a vast variety of people and their lives. The training required us to take turns and talk a lot of real, personal issues that would be coached on, to ensure sufficient, relevant practice for everyone involved and I thought it was one of the best experiences ever. It was eye opening to hear people talk about their problems - you are suddenly thrown into so many other different perspectives and I couldnt help but be amazed by the ordeals some people, especially women, are facing and how strong they are to be fighting it out. I left the training a lot wiser, very much humbled and extremely thankful for everything that I have in my life.

2) Guitar lessons - My guitar lessons continue to thrill me. My tutor had figured out what makes me super happy - being able to play to the songs from the 90s when cable TV, MTV, English pop and teenage years had come to my life in a big way. Last week, it was Wonderwall by Oasis. This week it was "If I let you go" by Westlife. Such joy reliving those days as I learn to play to these songs, invoking a thousand memories!

3) Being the judge at Sparkz @ NUS - Sparkz is a talent show at my alma mater NUS and I was invited to be a judge. I was initially hesitant wondering whether it would be a good use of my Saturday evening but it turned out to be the perfect use. Many of the performances were completely mind blowing! The winners - a quartet who named themselves quirkily as the Lorong Boys - completely blew me away! It was also lovely to meet the other judges all of whom seemed to be such dedicated, genuine individuals with a ton of knowledge in music (I was the judge who handled mainly the "visual" aspect of it, given my theatre, film and dance background). And yes, it was also lovely to see a bunch of students giving it their all and putting up and/or participating in an event of its scale. It was nostalgic, to say the least.

4) Highway - The best film I have seen in a very long time, where everyone seemed to have put in their best. The actors, the director, the music director, the sound designer, the cinematographer, the costume designer, the editor - everyone. It was a treat to watch!

5) Little one - The little one is turning out to be a real Jhansi ki Rani. Apparently her tiny 15 month self has been picking up fights with other much older kids in the playground. Our helper came to me looking rather dismayed and said, "But you see... the issue is... the fault is completely our child's!". Her usual victim apparently is this 4 or 5 year old girl who is otherwise her best friend. They are such good friends such that this girl, at one point in time, had even wanted my little one to be her "real sister". I guess that will soon change. After a couple of days I enquired to my helper again - "Did she fight today?". My helper chirpily replied - "No madam!" Wow. I was happy. It was a passing phase after all! But to further the small talk I rather unnecessarily asked - "How come?". She replied, "Oh, we didn't go to the playground today." Yup, that explained it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 3: Anniversary, Nox, Asanas, Sound Design, Wonderwall, Haircuts & 50% Satisfaction!

10 - 16 February, 2014

Alright. The good thing about writing only once in a week is that... well, I only have to write once a week. The bad thing about writing only once in a week that there is hell a lot to cover in one go! I have a feeling that this is going to be yet another super long post! But then the good thing about super long posts on this blog is that, I have a lot of super happy things going on. So, can't complain.

Now that I have successfully wasted enough time and space in writing that absolutely necessary prologue above, let us get to the real matters. So yes, it was another rather happening week.

Firstly it was our 7th wedding anniversary. Yup, like what a friend commented, we are over the "itch". And it's been a good 7 years, no doubt. A lot had happened including a ton of fun and laughter, a reasonable amount of anger and tears and even the production of an entire human being. There is clearly a lot to be thankful for. And am glad to say that we are still in the phase of wanting to have romantic wedding anniversary celebrations, doing "something special" on our special day.

And the something special this time, was dinner at Nox - Dine in the Dark. A restaurant which gives you the unique opportunity to dine in pitch darkness, where you are not allowed to take your phones or even your watches in, where you are guided and served by the visually impaired yet super efficient staff, where you are required to guess what you are consuming over your 3 course dinner of 12 mystery dishes based on their texture, taste and smell and where you, in a nutshell, have the most amazing experience. To me, it was 90 minutes of enjoying great tastes, having a great conversation with my husband of seven years, marveling at the politeness and efficiency of the staff, thanking the Gods for my good fortune and health and enjoying an immense amount of indescribable peace. I didn't realize the shut down of one total sense would do that to you. Nett, it was an amazing anniversary and was totally worth the pain I had to go through to get to the place from my full day meeting in the company's second office in a remote location from where cabs, trains, buses and everything else seemed to not work to my advantage. But, totally worth it.

In other news, I am making fine progress in Ashtanga Yoga. After playing around with the primary standing series, now I am on to the sitting series. And with some practice, to my own huge surprise, I can manage a few advanced asanas now. I can touch my forehead to my knees in Uttanasana, extend my legs in Purvottanasana, lock my knees with legs extended in Ubhaya Padangusthasana and do a decent Halasana. All of which make me feel on top of the world!

My second guitar class also went off very well. But before we get to that, I have to write down what a good committed student I have been. I went and got all the strings changed, bought a cover for my guitar, cut the nails on my left hand so as not to scratch the fretboard, grew the nails on my right hand in order to play the finger style, and practiced whenever I got some free time over the week. The result was that the guitar teacher was very impressed by the progress I had made by the second class and he kept saying how the teacher from my childhood had taught me well. Well, that one goes to P. D. Thomas sir. He is one of the leading guitarists back at home and was an incredibly patient teacher. I consider it one of my biggest fortunes to have had the chance to build my foundation under his tutelage.

So well, after that little bit of ego boost, we got down to learning new exercises one which was the accompaniment for Wonderwall by Oasis! It's one of my all time favourite songs and now I can strum away chords for it, which makes me feel ridiculously awesome! Getting back to guitar has to be one of the best decisions ever. Like, ever!

There's more good news. We have a draft of sound design for Aravindum Aaarumughamum! Once the music is finalized, we will need to do another round of fine tuning and we will be all good to go. This is huge progress and I am so very excited!

No week's entry is complete without something on the little one. This week's highlight was her first hair cut. We went to United Square to a place called Juniors League, which specializes in haircuts for kids. When I saw their sole customer, 2 year old, struggling and wailing in his mom's arms, I had my concerns. It was going to be tough, for sure. But thankfully, I had nothing to be concerned about. The little one settled in comfortably enough in the high chair, playing with the various toys that were lined up in front of her, occasionally glancing at the screen in front of her that played some cartoons, frequently checking out her reflection in the mirror opposite, with only a minor discomfort expressed at times when the small cut hair strands fell on her on face. She was so good that the hairdresser was fooled into believing that she was a real non mischievous angel and to reward her, gave her a lot of stickers, a lollipop and a balloon. The little one, in return, gave her a dramatic farewell waving her hands and shouting "ta ta" across, thereby melting the poor hairdresser's already rather melted heart. It was all very fascinating.

Last but not the least, I think I might just have come across the thread for my masterpiece in films. I had a vague idea to do something that involves some cultural aspect from India together with a family drama which is what I am always interested in, but it never took any concrete shape. But now the whole concept is in my head and after the three people I narrated it to gave me their positive feedback, I can safely say that I am thrilled. This one is super hard to pull off (requires incredible resources - time, energy, commitment, cash and well... talent, so let's see how that goes). But then I guess that's what would make it a masterpiece - it is not meant to be easy.

I am not sure whether I would ever get to it, but for now, like one of my friends mentioned, "Planning is already 50% satisfaction". What he meant by that is, more than the destination, the journey of dreaming and planning about it gives you the joy and contentment that you seek.

So yes, I am definitely 50% satisfied. Or more.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 2: Trailer, Cooking, Guitar, Films, Books & Family!

3 - 9 February, 2014

It's been another fantastic week with a lot of new, exciting developments.

Firstly, I got to see the first cut of the Aravindum Aarumughamum trailer, done by the guy who plays one of the lead characters (who also happens to be cinematographer for my previous films). This is the most progress I have seen on anything regarding the film since last December, so that was exciting. It was also exciting to see that with just a few minor tweaks, we would be very much ready with a full blown trailer. Can't wait!

Secondly, I cooked. Yup, these things do happen. I think the last time I cooked was probably two years ago. So yes, it is a rare but not unlikely occurrence. I had a sudden urge to make something on my own. It is probably because one of my fears is that the little one will go to school and all her friends would talk about their respective mother's home made yummy food and my girl would wonder what on earth that means. Another reason was that a friend of mine was turning 30 and I wanted to do something nice for him. And somehow "something nice" meant cooking on my own. Wonder what stretch of imagination that was. Another reason is also that I kinda felt like I missed all those lovely fragrances that waft off the in-progress dishes as the spices meet the vegetables, the fun sounds of the mustards and green chillis cracking and popping in the hot oil (a frequent phenomenon in Indian cooking), and the blast of steam and conclusive smell of a ready meal as you lift off the lid post some slow heat cooking. Like I said, these things do happen. So I made Black Pepper Chicken and Kerala Egg Roast, while my helper made rice and dal. My guinea pigs were the hubby, the friend who turned 30 as well as my brother in law. I had cooked a lot and everything was pretty much consumed. I think that's always a good sign. Oh and yes, the little one seemed to appreciate the black pepper chicken too. There is indeed hope.

Thirdly, I have started to take guitar lessons. I have had one lesson so far - I found an experienced teacher to come over for an hour every Sunday morning. My first class was great! It was great to be back on the instrument, and the tutor seemed rather impressed by my "skill". I think he was expecting a total beginner and the fact that I could read notes and play basic chords took him by surprise. Anyway, I was happy that he was happy. More importantly, it was felt SO good to be playing music! He made me play lead while he strummed the accompaniment and we sounded good! Similarly he sang while I followed with some simple chords and I thought that sounded good too. The guitar is seriously an awesome instrument and I am thrilled that I am back at it! I have to admit that soon the bubble was popped when he gave me a touch piece to work on. I am used to the pick, but he encouraged me to use the fingers for the strumming, which I really struggled with. So that's my homework for this week. Long way to go, but great start. And yes, I am glad that I had that realization.

Some of the other things I enjoyed over the week was the film Hasee Toh Phasee and the book Mango Cheeks & Metal Teeth. The former was a refreshing romantic comedy with some stellar performances and thankfully, completely clean, intelligent and genuine and I was happy to watch at least one such Indian film after a really long time. The latter was something I had picked up from the airport recently and would not have been my cup of tea had it not been based in Kerala, where I come from. The author has used an ample amount of Malayalam words (it is an English novel), had some good character building, and lot of nostalgic references to Kerala of the 80s. Even though the plot was good, the conclusion was pretty abrupt and unsatisfying, but an interesting read nevertheless.

Discovery of the week was Saveur, a French restaurant in Purvis street. That was where the friend who turned 30 treated us for his birthday. While their food was just decent, I found their desserts absolutely top notch! Pistachio Pannacotta, Cookies & Milk (which was literally a cookie drowned in milk) and Caramel Lava cake were all to die for! I definitely do see myself going back in there.

Last but not the least, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the hubby and the little one as well. The hubby and I hit two yoga classes in a row together during the week, which I believe hasn't happened in a really, really long time. After a hard day of work, it was good to practice side by side with him, just like how we used to all those years ago. The little one has now started to scribble on pieces of scrap paper and when we are not noticing, on books, bags, and also as of today, the bedspread. She has this habit of running towards me with a huge smile and hugging my legs, in true over the top Bollywood style; when I try to put her down on the floor after holding her for a while, she hooks her legs around mine, just like those guys who would climb coconut trees in Kerala, with as tight a grip as you can imagine and when she is overflowing with love, she would hold my face and gaze at it as if it is the prettiest thing in the world. As you can imagine, I am completely floored.

There is indeed a lot to be grateful for!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 1: Some Progress and a Lot of Fun!

25 January - 2 February, 2014 

I have to admit that this blog had not been on my list of priorities for the past several days. Of course, this is evident from the grand total of ONE post I wrote for the whole of January 2014.

It is not that I don't have enough things to write about. In midst of all that relaxation, there's been a lot of good stuff happening and I will come to that in just a bit. But the point is that I still didn't get myself to write anything beyond a single post in a month. I believe the reason for that is with this whole moving away from writing on a daily basis (or at least summarizing something for every single day) with each post even counting the days in its title, to this year's of resolution of "not more than 1 post a week", I kinda lost a structure to conform to. And I work best with structures - I like set process to follow, I like organized way of approaching things than otherwise. Without it, am indeed lost.

So that made me think. Do I really want to continue with this blog?  Both my previous blog and this one initially had a clear purpose. The former ensured that the days leading up to my 30th birthday were put to the best possible use and the latter ensured that the first year of motherhood has been maximized (and by that I mean, while I had a fulfilling time with my daughter, I also ensured that I did my best at work, I wrote, shot and edited a short film, I travelled a lot, I spent quality time with my parents and in-laws, so on and so forth). Both were important milestones for me, and the blogs helped me go through them in a way that I am happy with. But now that these are in the past, what next? Should I continue?

I gave it some serious thought and have decided that I should continue. Reason being.... (I will giving this in the usual list format, to further prove how organized I am). 

a) What am capturing here always make for memorable reads later on for myself - be it about a new film I am making, a new place I am visiting, a light moment I am enjoying with my family or friends. Many a time, I don't remember the details had it not been for the blogs. 

b) I still don't want to lose the focus on being happy. Sure, I don't want to stress myself and write blogs on a daily basis, but that stress was exactly what made sure that I do something worthwhile each and every day.

c) Last but not the least, I think it will make a treasure trove of experiences captured of the little one. I can't help but notice how fast she is growing and each day is one of discovery. I would love to capture most of that, and I believe this could continue to be the avenue for that.

So there, my three good reasons.

But then I still don't want to write on a daily basis. Because that really does get me worked up at times. So here is the solution - I will write on a weekly basis. Brainwave, yeah?

Ensuring every week is beautiful one way or the other, is good enough. I can live with that.

So there, that's that. From here on, it's gonna be a Weekly count in the titles. Starting with this week.

Meanwhile here is a recap of what's happened since my last post here.

1) Work - On the work front, things are moving at breakneck speed but I am enjoying myself. There has been some progress on a lot of different projects and am happy with that. On the other fun side, the culture team that I lead organized a super fun Chinese New Year celebration. We had everything from calligraphy contests (apparently am very good at Chinese calligraphy...I thought the characters that I painted looked nothing like what they were supposed to but the Chinese colleagues seemed to think otherwise), to Lo Hei celebration, a God of Fortune who came and distributed red packets with "gold" (chocolate) coins (I didn't even know there is a Chinese version of Santa Claus!), and even an activity of eating dumplings some of which carried a sterilized 5 cent coin - indicating immense amount of luck to the person who got one (I got one!). It was all very enjoyable and I had a great time and felt super proud of my team for having pulled this off!

2) Little One - The little one is a hoot these days. She has progressed to walking with only occasional bouts of crawling. It's almost like sometimes she forgets that she can choose to walk instead. Then all you need to say is "Come, Walk!", and she will be like Oh yeah... and then will get up and walk. Initially she used to hold both her hands high up, to help her balance as she walks but now that she can balance herself without that extra support, it seems like she doesn't know exactly what to do with her hands, so she flops them to her sides and walks around like a drunkard. Which I love. We also celebrated Chinese New Year together. She helped me put up some red and gold decoration on our door (she basically held on to the cellotape and also pointed out where she would like the dangling decorative pieces to be tied up on the gate). Later, she watched the Lion Dance performance next door with much interest. She was the only Indian kid around and the only kid to not cover her ears or wail and also was the first and only person to clap post the performance. She clearly appreciates the Chinese culture. We also have been frequenting her new found favourite place - Spruce. It is a brunch place with decent food but good service and a playground for children. The little one really warmed up to all the staff there, constantly giving them instructions in her baby talk, reading the kids menu with much interest, and enjoying her new found ice cold lemonade with mint leaves (totally an adult drink which the dad and mom had ordered). Am really enjoying watching her as she does her 'growing up'.

3) Writing - I wrote yet another episode for the Malayalam sitcom. I am planning to write another 4 episodes before we start to shoot, which means a long, long way more to go. But still, any progress is good progress!

4) Yoga - Maybe it is an outcome of the "realization" but  I have been totally hooked to Ashtanga yoga. So much so that even during the Chinese New Year public holiday, I woke up early in the morning and did 1 hour of it every day! So proud of myself! In the month of January, I exercised a total of 19 days, most of which was Yoga - Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga and 1 time of Kundalini Yoga too. I am beginning to see small improvements in my  postures and strength, and am incredibly thrilled about it!

5) Guitar - This one is definitely an outcome of the "realization". I dusted up my old guitar as well as my two decade old books with guitar lessons and settled down to play some of the simpler stuff. It was not easy for sure, but it felt great to get back to it after so long. My finger tips started to hurt very soon from the lack of practice but given that I had a very enthusiastic one-man audience - the little one who encouraged me throughout with claps and laughs, I kept at it for a while. I hope to get back to learning it very soon, from the scratch, but this time never to give up.

4) Friends - Thanks to the Chinese New Year holiday, I also had a great time catching up with several friends. I had multiple dinners and drinks with the usual gang, I had a great time at a lunch thrown for the film gang by one of my good actress friend, in short, we made the most of it! 

5) Hubby - I also got to spend some quality time with the hubby. One day we even took a long 4km walk together, something which we have never done before. Such fun! 

6) Aravindum Aarumughamum - This film is currently in the post production stage and that basically means sound design, music, colour correction, final edit and all that. These are being done by my friends in India. The progress has been slow for several reasons, but over the last few days a bit of the background score has started to flow in. And I love it! I think it is going to take the film to a totally different level and I can't wait to see it to completion! 

7) Holidays - Quite a bit of progress on the holiday planning has been taking place. In May, we are planning to do a roadtrip with my parents and in laws and I have finally managed to shortlist the accommodation options at every stop. That was no mean task - given I had to find affordable places big enough to hold all of us. Then my dad is visiting us in March for  a few days, mainly to see his grand daughter and I am planning to take a short break with him as well. After much research and thinking, the destination has been fixed for Krabi because I want to go snorkelling with him. I think that is one activity he would really enjoy. So that's progress on the holiday front and am really looking forward to it all. 

So yes, it was a remarkable bunch of days that went past. There was progress at work, in yoga, in writing, in film making, in holiday planning and in guitar, even. And of course, there was a ton of fun to go along everywhere! So far, this new year has been great! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Relaxation & Realization!

This is officially my first post for the year 2014!

And am writing it on 24th January....after 3 whole week in to the new year!  Clearly, that "relaxation" resolution is coming out really well.

Actually I had been incredibly busy, mainly with work and business travel up until last weekend. Still, "relaxation" is on, especially over the weekends when am doing nothing but generally chilling out (which is different from my otherwise busy recent weekends of filming, writing, travelling etc.).

Much has happened over the last few weeks, but before we get into that, you may have noticed that I am not doing any "counting" of days in the title of this post. Given that the frequency of my posts are gonna be pretty low this year, there is not much point keeping track of that anymore. So that's that.

Alright, so what's happened over the last few weeks.
1) I had a super hectic time at work with 6 major presentations over 5 days and while that broke my back, I have emerged unscathed and victorious, even. In simpler terms, it all went well and was well worth the pain.

2) I had a good trip to Guangzhou, one of the few work trips there that I have actually enjoyed (simply because it is one hell of a boring place). It's all thanks to the fantastic cold winter there and my routine walks to the hotel from the office every night in the chilling cold.

3) I am picking up Surya Namaskar (a yoga routine) and Ashtanga yoga these days and thoroughly enjoying it.

4) I even tried Kundalini yoga and I must say it was not something I was expecting. Surprising and fun!

5) I read yet another Vish Puri mystery by Tarquin Hall - "The case of the Love Commandos" and completely enjoyed it!

6) The hubby and I completed 12 years of togetherness. That's 1 whole dozen and we are still going strong & steady!

7) The little one has started to walk and it is so fascinating to see her trying out her new skill set! So when I get back home after these days, she doesn't crawl up to me, she "runs" up to me and hugs my legs. Total heart melting stuff, that!

And on top of all of this, I made a major realization.

I realized what are the things that I really want to do in life.

It all started with yet another hypothetical, imaginative Q&A game, one of those that I love to play with the hubby. Over a long dinner or coffee, I like to throw a random question at him (and then answer it myself after his turn). "Where do you think you will be 10 years from now"?, "What are the three things about yourself that you love? And three things that you want to change about yourself", "What are you 3 biggest achievements this year?", "What are the 3 things that you think you should have done this year but didn't" etc. etc.

I find these pretty fun to do (even though the hubby doesn't share this feeling always), because I think it helps to discover a few things about yourself that you were probably unaware of until then.

Which is pretty much what happened over last weekend.

As we had our 12-years-of-love celebratory dinner, I threw a random question at him.

Me: What do you think would be a few things that you would regret on your deathbed?
He: Hmmm.... uhmmm.... erm..... *clears the throat*.... oh yeah... .I don't know.
Me: Arre... think of something.... like, what is it that if you don't do, you know for sure you will regret.
He: But I might do it by the time I die any way.
Me: Yes, but assuming you didn't.
He: Even if I didn't, I don't know whether I will regret. You know... whether there will be any regret.
Me: Ugh. Can you just humour me and play the game?
He: Hmmm... OK maybe after Teamie (the start up he has founded and is currently the CEO of), I might regret not starting up another one.
Me: Hmm! Interes.....
He: Or....I might regret starting one.
Me: Uh?
He: You get it.
Me: No, I don't.

This went on for a while until he came up with his list. And then it was my turn and I, very sincerely, thought about it.

And interestingly, I didn't have any of the things I thought I would have in my list. For e.g....

I didn't say that if I don't try out my hand at mainstream film direction (vs. the zero-budget, independent stuff I do now), I will regret it. So clearly, that is not my ambition.

I didn't say that if I don't spend more time with my family, I would regret it. So clearly, I think I am at the right balance of work time and family time now.

I didn't say that if I don't reach a top position in my company, I would regret it. So clearly, that is not my ambition either.

If I were to step back and give an opinion on this as a third party, maybe the above could have been some of the items on my list, but they weren't.

Instead I made a few interesting discoveries. Apparently, some of the things I would regret not doing would be...
1) Being a good yoga practitioner - one who can hold the asanas with grace and one who practices even in old age.
2) Scuba diving
3) Playing the guitar or the violin (two of the instruments I used to play while in school but gave up completely once I moved to Singapore)
4) Making a real, tangible, sustainable difference to even a small part of the society
5) Meditating regularly

Wow. I had no idea these things had so much importance to me until this exercise was completed. I think it was a useful exercise because unlike making resolutions where you limit yourself to what you can realistically do within a certain amount of time, here you are basically going beyond those limitations and saying, by the time I reach the point where this life no longer exists, there are these things that are either giving me a lot of meaning or are something I would love to experience. How fascinating!

It was also fascinating to note that there was nothing about films or writing or travel or family or career in there. I shared this a friend and she pointed out that maybe that's because I am pretty content with where I am on these aspects - something which I should feel really GREAT about! Wow.

So what am I going to do about these 5 things on the list? Well, I haven't exactly figured it out, but I will do something for sure. More on that in the coming posts!

For now, am happy and am inspired!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 368: Resolutions - 2013, 2014!

It was a rather eventful year and I had been wanting to write out a "close out" blog entry for it. 

However, the last few days of the year were so very eventful that I am getting to this only now, on the 13th of January, after blogging an immense amount of backlog over the first few days of the year. 

So why was this year eventful?

Firstly, when I started on the year, the little one was only 2 months old. If that itself doesn't make it eventful, what does?!

Secondly, since I had a baby on my hands, the obsessive compulsive persona of mine drew up a long list of resolutions at the beginning of the year, covering various facets of my life. The idea was to ensure that I don't go "out of touch" with my extra curricular activities with the new, intensive routine.

So yes, I drew up what I thought was a pretty adequate list of resolutions - not too laid back, not too ambitious.

And like I mentioned here, I managed to not only tick off every single resolution, I even "overdelievered" on almost every single one of them as well! 

Here's what happened.

1) Resolution: Take 1 break every quarter. 

I ended up taking 5.

2) Resolution: Travel to 1 new country. 

I ended up travelling to 5 new ones.

3) Resolution: Write 1 feature film script OR 50 blog posts OR 5 short stories/scripts. 

I ended up writing 181 blog posts, 1 short story, 3 episodes for a sitcom, 1 short film and 1 screenplay for a friend.

4) Resolution: Exercise a total of 100 days. 

I did 169 days.

5) Resolution: Go for 50 classes of yoga. 

I did 66.

6) Resolution: Have a special celebration for the little one. 

I did that by taking all of us, including both sets of her grandparents to Kashmir. In midst of that beauty, with the closest people to her, I thought it was more special than I could have hoped for.

7) And last but the not the least, Resolution: Arrange a special gift for the hubby this year. 

And I did that by planning and executing the Scandinavian cruise with the surprise elements of the birthday decor, birthday cake etc. He tell me that it "absolutely exceeded his expectations", so am happy with that !

On top of this I saved a little more money than I had targeted to and I completed the shoot, edit and dub for a short film (Aravindum Aarumughamum) which wasn't even part of the plan!

Nett, it was a terrific year and I am super thankful for everything! For a wonderful family, for a wonderful set of friends and for having had the energy and health to complete all that I had on my list!

Now, coming to dear 2014. 

I once again drew up a long list of resolutions. It featured everything from travel to films, from writing to family and from work to workouts. 

But then, after a few days, I decided that it won't do. I realized that this year, I don't want to be in a constant state of stretching myself. My work is super demanding in my new assignment and after a few years of what seems like non stop racing, this year, I would like to take a  breather. This year, I would like to relax.

So the original list has been cancelled and now I have a new one where the focus is on relaxing. I am not asking myself to write anything - no scripts, no stories, nothing. I only have a few resolutions related to workouts and better eating, because health is wealth and all that. 

In fact, I don't even have a resolution on the number of blog entries I should be writing this year. If I feel like it, I will write. If not, nothing. And that applies to everything else as well - scripting, filming, everything. 

Atleast, that's the plan. Let's see where that goes. 

And with that, here's wishing everyone a very Happy 2014!