A Place And A Person Changed

I looked out at the traces of memory left in a beautiful place. Anyone who watched me might say I was contemplating the waves, the awe of a body of water so big that the end merges with the sky. I was in our place although they was no longer an ‘us’. The air pulsed with the remembrances of a love gone by, the waves brought crashing back thoughts and feelings I hadn’t given myself the permission to ponder for a while. The questions remain unanswered, the slam of the finality of a decision involving only one of the two.

Once this place was our happy place, our free place, our little getaway from a world in which responsibilities pulled us in different directions. We were happy once. The thought makes me sad now. How did two people go from making each other unbelievably happy to living like prisoners sentenced to some sort of twin torture?

I’m experiencing a new side of this place that for a long time had an exclusivity for our love. Surrounded by crowds from all over the world we felt like we were alone in our little web of love. It was the most wonderful way to be, as anyone who has been in love will tell you. To feel like only the two of you exist in the world, the rest a blur, to have your world beside you and be content. A few years later, the story flipped into a grotesque twisting of the ‘alone in the world’ feeling. This time, it was the feeling of loneliness despite being seated next to the person who was once the only one necessary to dissipate any sense of being alone.

The ocean is still in motion, waves frothily teasing the beach in a rhythm universally soothing. The crowds are still a mix of rowdy students, honeymooners, men out to ogle any feminine sliver of skin, lovers, and families. The shacks still serve you local and continental fare alongside a variety of cold beverages. The sand still feels the same under your feet, soothing away months and years of stress you didn’t know you’d been harbouring.

But, for me, it is all tainted, coloured with a wash of wistfulness and regret. I feel, more acutely than the people beside me, the shape of him who is missing. I’ve felt like this before when I have spent time with friends when he was far away, however that was with a sweet ache and the knowledge that we would be reunited soon. I still find this place beautiful, with the ability to reflect back at you the inner workings of your mind. The ocean still has the capacity to make me gaze in awe and restore a sense of well-being; a trick of the infinite sea that has existed from the time the first person stood transfixed by the cosmic timekeeping of the waves. Everything is still the same, yet I am changed.

The Rewards Of Half An Hour

Who has ever used the word ‘tomorrow’ in relation to ‘working out’ or ‘losing weight’ or even ‘getting up’? Who screamed “Yes!” for all of the options? Yeah, I know where you’re coming from. I was like that too. Something about hunting for the workout clothes, dusting off the shoes and rolling out the yoga mat puts you off even getting off the couch. We prefer to sit there and set very lenient timelines for that elusive washboard tummy and the ability to walk up multiple flights of stairs without huffing like the bellows. Not that that ever happened to me. No way.

I’ve never been overweight. My BMI has always stayed in the normal range but I miss how fit I was during my school years. College and work (where there isn’t a time set aside for sports and games) somehow trumped any physical activity. I am also notorious for avoiding getting up early in the morning. It may be due to waking up at 5 am for years at boarding school. The only things that can get me up early are catching an early flight and special occasions. I did have a friend who used to drag me out of bed to go jogging and stretching in the park nearby where we met the cutest pug puppy by the name of Rocky. After work life happened, every once in a while I’d get spurts of motivation to do some physical activity, I tried zumba and surya namaskars. Even though I love dancing (and am good at it), I found zumba tedious. Also I didn’t like how the instructor could make me feel like a lump with two left feet every time he swivelled his hips in a samba move.

Fast forward to a month and a half ago. Don’t ask me how it happened, I don’t know myself – I got up enough enthusiasm to work out. And I did it, day after day. My muscles were screaming their protest, making even the simple act of sitting down and getting up again seem like a gargantuan task. My hibernating ab muscles started to wake up and boy was I happy to know they hadn’t disintegrated away into nothingness from years of neglect!

I kept at it, nothing too onerous, you understand. Half an hour daily of a mix of moves I learned from the internet – Hail! I do not have any fancy equipment, no dumbbells, no skipping rope (well I do have one but I don’t use it), nothing. I do squats, leg lifts, a variety of ab work, some arm exercises etc. It does get easier with every single day. I confess I do get lazy sometimes and there are times when I’d rather take a nap than jump up and down but I don’t give myself too many days off. I’m a strict boss.

We don’t have a weighing scale at home and I’m not marking my progress in inches. My family have told me how I’m looking trimmer. I feel better too, even though it sounds like a cliché. My aim isn’t to attain a certain dress size or become a waif who’ll get blown away at the hint of a gust of wind. It is just to be fit and not have any loose bits. The only things I like on me that are loose are clothes (comfortably so). I’m using only half an hour out of every twenty-four I’m blessed with and I started seeing results within the first ten days! After less than a month, I successfully zipped up a dress I haven’t been able to get into for more than two years.

I am setting up the way to get back into the professional world again and hopefully that will happen soon. I know it will get a little difficult setting aside that half an hour again but this time I will do myself a favour and just do it (Nike, are you listening?). My advice to fellow lazy bums? Well, if you’re a morning person, it’s a no brainer – just jump out of bed 30-45 minutes ahead of your usual time. If you’re normal not a morning person, just skip one of those half hour soaps you think you can’t live without. No, not Masterchef Australia. You never skip Masterchef Australia! What’s wrong with you?

Seriously, do yourself a favour, take care of that body of yours. The keystone to loving yourself is taking care of yourself. And only you can do that. As for rewards, I don’t need medals and accolades, just putting that dress on, I felt like a winner!

P.S. How does everyone like my new header? Yeah, that picture at the top of the blog. Like it? Let me know because I had so much fun creating it! Have a great day all!

PMA Not PMS

The new millennium has found itself to be an unwitting participant in the acronym game. I say unwitting because the majority of us are struggling to keep up. Half the time I think it’s a spelling error (it is widely known that with the advent of autocorrect, all ignorance of spelling can be blamed on this often blundering butler of words we should, but do not, know) and the other half I cannot help lament the laziness of people who cannot type out a complete sentence. There are so many cropping up that sometimes I just stare at the baffling group of alphabets in question and try to work out what it might be. I will admit I am way more wrong than I intend to be most of the time. The toughest one for me, which was a while back, was ‘lmao’. I just couldn’t figure out whether the first alphabet was a small ‘L’ or a capital ‘i’ since they both look similar except for the heights of stroke. So with that confusion and no-one I knew out of cyber space using this expression, I didn’t know what to make of it. It took me a long while to figure out (don’t worry, I do not understand why the power of Google escapes me at crucial moments either!!).

Now that I’ve sufficiently embarrassed myself with my declaration of lack in the acronym slang department, let me go on to say this post isn’t about acronyms at all. Ha, gotcha didn’t I? Even though I’m terrible at deciphering slang code I am pretty proficient at running off on tangents with topics. See, I almost did it again.

I want to introduce a new acronym to you all – PMA. I do not claim to be the creator of this nor am I aware of this being used before. It appeared in a mail my dad tapped out to me and I thought, hey, this sounds so much better than PMS. Now, we don’t need an introduction to PMS, most likely if you bat for the xx chromosome team you’ve been hunted by this particular pain in the: abdomen, back, legs, head – take your pick. And if you are a xy chromosome wielder who is (un)lucky enough to be around xx wonders during that time you most likely know without knowing what I’m talking about. You know, that time when the gentle creature you are used to turns into a chocolate fueled spitfire that sends even Snuggles running for cover. Snuggles is of course the kitten you named before she tore up all available square footage of skin, soft furnishing and upholstery and made Dettol your scent. You now want to name her Possessed Nail Fury In The Guise Of Cuteness but it’s too late. And too long.

PMA isn’t something you are visited by every 28 days or so. Oh alright, I’ve harped on enough without revealing what it stands for so here it is, PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. Something we could all make use of! I admit, it is difficult in the beginning but as with anything else a bit of perseverance pays off. So next time you feel like using another three lettered acronym (hint hint – starting with W), switch track and yell PMA instead. By being angry, holding onto resentment, refusing to forgive, the only person you’re hurting is yourself. Don’t give anyone your power. Only you can choose what you feel, choose to feel good, great even. So next time, along with “Plot Twist”, yell “PMA” too! Psst, it’ll be so much fun if this catches on.

Sew Much Fun!

You all know I love to write and do art – painting, drawing and all sorts in between, and craft. In the last month or so I’ve been learning something new – how to sew. I haven’t gone to a single formal class, just trawled YouTube for tutorials and experimented. It has been so much fun (hence the title)! Really good materials that all of you in first world countries take for granted are just not available in our little town. I haven’t found a scrap of jersey or any other stretchy fabric. The beginning was shaky as I didn’t know how to allow for the difference in stretchy versus non-stretchy fabric. I started off with the usual suspects, dresses and maxi skirts. I slowly but surely gained confidence and have started coming up with my own creations. I’ll share with you what I’ve made so far. Namely they are (clockwise):

  1. Box pleated knee-length skirt
  2. Yellow lehenga skirt (from a sari that I had got made a while back)
  3. Horizontal striped maxi skirt
  4. Sleeveless gathered top
  5. Beach bag made out of a Miss Selfridge dress I bought back in the year 2000.

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In the picture below (from left to right):

  1. Red top and maxi skirt (can be worn together or separately)
  2. Red knee-length dress (pardon the wrinkles)
  3. The palazzo pants that have the same print as the gathered top above. Can be worn together to make a cheat jumpsuit.

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I did also have a failed attempt skirt from an old sari that belonged to my mum. Another one (though not a complete failure) was a pair of pants that shrunk in the wash and so I adjusted them to my little sister’s waist and she now wears them with joy. I also made a little purse out of a pair of jeans that I cut to make into shorts. I’ve made my sister a top and maxi skirt similar to mine, a pair of palazzo pants and a kurta.

I’m quite proud of myself to be honest. I never knew sewing could be so much fun and so easy as well. The sewing machine has been and will continue to be an investment, no more running after tailors for alterations! Yay!

Crawling Back Out Of The Cocoon

I’ve been home for more than 9 months now. Months that have helped me get back to my center and reorient myself with what I want from life. I had lost sight of it for more than a few years, accepting the path I had chosen for love, but which lead me way out of my depth. I’m a wanderer, I love to travel. I haven’t yet found a place I can call home. I’ve lived in many places, for various reasons, most of them education and job related. Don’t get me wrong, the place I was born in and now live in is in one of the most beautiful places in India. I have a connection to it that goes beyond defining. Having said that, I don’t see myself setting down my roots here.

In these months I’ve been home I haven’t gone anywhere further than a couple of hours away. I’ve noticed I get the urge to ‘be anywhere but here’ every few months, always within a year. This prospect excites and scares me in equal measure. I would love a life of travel but I also want things that cannot be achieved if I never stay in a place longer than a year. I want children, I want pets and I want a garden in which I can grow some things I love. I am unaware of possessing a green thumb so far but I’ll never know until I have the garden and the seeds. I did grow four lemon trees from seed a few months ago though and they’re alive and growing well. I have an affinity to the citrus family; lemons, limes and oranges. Even the smell of citrus is the only one that can rejuvenate and relax me at the same time, anyone who wants to gift me bath oils or shower gels, you know what to get now.

As usual, I have veered off topic. I’m set to travel again this month, something I’m really looking forward to. I’m not going very far but I will be visiting a couple of friends and having some time to myself. I will also be joining one of these friends for her bachelorette party in Goa. That I am really excited about! I always feel like my batteries are recharged when I’m by the ocean. I’m not a tan junkie, far from it, I’ll slather on a ton of sunscreen and laze under a shady umbrella but sitting in front of the magnificently temperamental ocean does more for me than therapy ever can (not that I’ve had therapy, yet). Fresh seafood doesn’t hurt either. Another plus to this trip is that I haven’t had any time spent with my girl friends since I went to a friend’s wedding in December of ’11.

Even though I’m brimming with the excitement of travelling, there is a side of me that has less happy feelings. It isn’t anything tangible, just a few fluttery wings in my chest. It is the first time after my separation that I’ll be meeting people, I’ve been interacting only with family and neighbours and that too reluctantly. It is also that both my friends are poised to tie the knot by the end of the year and here I am back to square one. I have been one part of a couple for so long that thinking of myself as single takes effort. I am not in any way, shape or form ready to think of getting back into the dating game. Heck, I was never even part of the dating game. My husband was my first real date ever. And that was nearly 10 years ago.

Every time I’ve spoken to friends they have been understanding and told me I will find someone who will value me one day. It isn’t that a life alone scares me, I think I’d do alright. I have a bit of OCD and I find it’s easier to live to my own standards than pick up after other people. I do realise this might not be the case, no doubt I’ll have my parents or my sister living with me at some point or the other once I’ve set down roots (in the land down under if I have my way). But what I’m talking about is a significant other. Will it be enough to adopt and be a single parent, would it be selfish of me to deprive a child of a father, will I be okay never having someone hold my hand in a way that settles my heart? I don’t know. All these questions are for a far off future though according to my life plan I should have been a mother before I eased into year 28 of my life.

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Maybe I should just follow the advice of this wise kitten above and yell, “Plot Twist” and move on now, eh? I am aware that the only moment we have is now, the past is gone and cannot be changed, and the future appears only a second at a time. That time loses relevance when the plot twists is another topic entirely. For now, sun and sand, here I come!!

Good Writers Are Great Listeners

themusingsofacolourfulmind:

This is a wonderful reminder. Thank you for this post and I’m reblogging it. Cheers! :)

Originally posted on TIPSY LIT:

good listener

Photo credit: Leanne Boulton on Flickr
Design credit: Ericka Clay

We often talk about how powerful it can be to speak your mind, to say something, to talk it out.

And while there is no denying the importance of being able to adequately verbalize how you’re feeling, to appropriately articulate your side of an argument, or to be the voice for someone who has lost theirs, we often forget about how imperative it is to not to do any of those things, and just listen.

To listen to the opposing viewpoint, listen to life going on around you; listen, because maybe if we’re not talking, someone else will finally get the chance to say something.

Because when we take the time to shut our mouths and open our ears, we are allowing our minds to become sponges.  We are able to absorb sights, sounds, and opinions.  We are letting the…

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Ridiculous Things That Have Been Said To Me

This post could go in the category of Life (because it happened to me), Humour (if you take pleasure in laughing at me because it happened to me) or I could add a new category called Ridiculous but I won’t because I hope not to collect too much of ridiculousness in my life henceforth. I’ll just make do with putting this in both the first two categories. You might be appalled or you might snigger, don’t let me limit you. I have shared these Ridiculous Things That Have Been Said To Me verbally with a few people and I wanted to widen the net simply because the whim took me.

Now, most of the most Ridiculous Things That Have Been Said To Me are courtesy of my soon to be ex in-laws. Either they have no boundaries or I have way too many. Oh, all these things also came out of the mouths of the female in-laws, you know as they say, women really understand women best. Sheesh.

1. Why didn’t you change your name? I thought this was being asked of my surname which I had not changed after marriage. I was at once put right on the intent of the question, she meant my first name. Duh!

2. What do you wear to bed? Asked by the one person who should have never asked me this question. I’ll let you guess who that was.

3. You have big teeth. I have been to several dentists, none who have stumbled backwards, backtracked and tripped over things in their hurry to get out of the room and away from this person with giant teeth.

4. Why is your hair so black? I was so tempted to say something sarcastic about how I was born a blonde and then got cursed by an evil witch who cast me into the darkest shades of brunette-dom. But I didn’t. Because the sarcasm would have been wasted on that person.

5. You must get your eyes fixed. You cannot marry with glasses. Oh, how had I missed the masses of unmarried spinsters who ended up that way due to myopia!? *I did get Lasik surgery done, but that was for the pure pleasure of being able to wear sunglasses, not marry.

6. I haven’t heard you sing or dance yet. Um, last I checked, that is not part of the job description of being a daughter-in-law.

7. You have been married a year now. Time for a baby. Alright, since you clearly are the right one to make that decision.

8. If I had time, I would redecorate your whole house. Yes! That makes complete sense because I am the architect and you are……..? Also, I love how everything in your house is pink, totally my colour. Not.

9. Are you sure you want to wear what you picked out for your engagement ceremony? Why not wear what we bought for you? (Something you have never seen or tried on yet. Or bought jewelry for.) Do I need to respond?

10. Why did you buy:

  • These curtains
  • These knives
  • This tablecloth
  • These cushion covers
  • This table
  • These plastic containers
  • These coasters
  • This dress
  • Those earrings
  • That bedsheet
  • Those ornamental candles
  • These teacups
  • This flask
  • Those slippers
  • Those glasses
  • That frying pan
  • That oil
  • That flour
  • That brand of dishwashing liquid
  • That ladle
  • And on and on and on…………….and on and on and on…………..and on……..

11. Why don’t you dress like me, or her, like us? Because I am a different entity, with the right to have my own choices, with an aversion to the kind of things you wear, especially all that pink and sequins.

12. Don’t talk to my son while he drives, he’ll get distracted. Don’t talk to me ever, I’ll believe in your intelligence a little less with each word.

13. He’s a child. Fondly said of my above 30 year old husband.

14. You mustn’t use birth control. Ah….like the ancients.

15. Why did you have to work? Why couldn’t you just look after the house and my son? On learning of the imminent separation, from my mouth not her cowardly son’s.

Is it just me? Do I attract people like this into my life or was this just one of those times the person up there thought, let me throw this girl into a world where she will never fit in and have a few laughs. If so, person up there, I am waiting for the apology gift and it better be good.