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Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Aankhen mili, fir zindagi, fir raaste
Din bane hafte, mahine, aur barah saal!
Woh toh kehte hai woh nahi badle
Par unhe pata kaise kya hua hamara haal!

Arre ab, arre ab, kehte nikal gaye nau saal
Tab jakar aaye hamare baal gopal ;)
Woh bole ab toh kamre ki kamar hone do
Hamne kaha ek aur issue ho jaane do!

Fir aayi zindagi mein ek nanhi pari
Ho gayi duniya hari bhari
Na kamar rahi na kamra
Ab toh antique piece ho gaya hamra!

Woh kehte hai woh nahi badle
Unhe kya pata kya hua hamara haal
Barah saal ki kahani hui nahi purani
Antique piece ab hoga museum ka maal!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Animal Encounters

When I think of the various animals that I have encountered in my life, the list is pretty long. Loads of animals and memories that go with each one of these creatures.
My very first memory is of tiny pink suckling mice pups that my cousins and I used to find under a drain cover as kids and pulled them out to play with them by placing them on a bed of hibiscus leaves. Disgusting, I know. The thought gives me jitters now but yes...did it. The cats that stealthily came in from the back yard and lapped up the milk that was left on the gas stove. There would be the sound of the lid clanging loudly on the floor and one of us would dash to the kitchen. As an 8 year old, while cycling around the neighbourhood park, I encountered a bunch of kids pelting stones at some abandoned pups. I threatened to hand them over to the police if they did not take them in and happily cycled home with one of the pups myself. Jimmy, a cross breed, who lived to be 16 and the last pair of socks he chewed up were those of the husband on the day our wedding got fixed. I can't imagine why ;) but yeah I could smell the jealousy.
Then there were monkeys that some how found their way to our homes during the summer and left behind half eaten fruits on the trees and the terrace. There was also a group of monkeys that would come in to our classrooms in school. The school building was an old, single storeyed structure and access was easy. I remember all of us shrieking and scrambling out of the class room while the monkeys made merry with all our bags. On many ocassions, our lunch boxes were sadly carried away by these monsters. Then there was the parrot that a tarrot card reader would carry. The pigeons and sparrows that came in to feast on the various stuff (papads, vadiums etc) my mother would leave to dry out in the sun again during the summer. The two fat lizards that lived in our house and had a special attraction towards me. I used to enjoy late night conversations on the phone with friends and had a couple of close encounters with these two. Once on the shoulder and once on my head.They would normally hide behind my grandfather's photo frame on the wall but after these encounters, I would closely be on the watch and believe me when I say that they would come out of their hiding the minute I settled in the room and would slowly make their way right above me....shudder! One day, I decided to take it up as a challenge and brought in the big handled cobweb cleaning jhadu  (broom) & we went around the whole place, me after them or them trying to terrorize me  with their ready to jump at me pose. Those were terrible times! I seem to have a great affinity for these bloody reptiles as another traumatic memory I have is from university times when I lived in the campus hostel. The campus was in the city outskirts and surrounded by a forest area, so sightings and encounters were common. This was a morning encounter on a particularly busy day when I got into the shower. Hung the towel and the clothes, got out of the last remnants of what I was wearing and chucked them out of the bathroom and saw a wild lizard (the monstrous black grey ones you would normally see in the wild) creep in from the window. We both stared at each other in shock for what seemed like ages and then as I made shooing sounds to ask it to go back the way it came in, it seemed hell bent on coming my way. These wild ones know no fear. I learnt it the hard way. Just as I decided I would need to escape from the tiny bathroom and reached for my towel, the wretched lizard made a quick dash and jumped right into those clothes hung on the hooks behind the door, making me a prisoner. I had to holler loudly and get someone to throw in a fresh towel from the top of the door before I could make my way out. After that incident, hostel showers were a quick 3 minute affair with my eyes glued to the bathroom window!
The next memory I have is of the first time I visited Gurgaon. Hubby was a resident managing vet on a horse breeding farm. We had a bungalow right in the middle of the farm. It was the month of December and a very busy foaling time. He got called away for a delivery the same night we arrived and I was left to myself in the bungalow surrounded by a paddock on two sides, a farm area with alfa alfa on one and a huge lawn area in the front. I was woken up by a loud thudding sound from the top of the house and just as I wondered about the source, I  was shocked by a loud snorting from the bedroom window. ;) To my total wonder and surprise, the place was surrounded by horses. It was early dawn and I decided to venture out to get a closer look at the horses from the fence that separated the paddock from the bungalow and opened the front door to find a peacock jump in right in front of me from the roof (the source of the loud thudding). Life on the stud farm was filled with many more animal memories but the horses and peacocks remain the most memorable.
Later, after we moved to Singapore, I worked with a French company that was doing research at the Singapore zoo on the long tailed macaques(monkeys) & had the opportunity to watch and work with a colony of 52 monkeys. Each one had a unique personality. During this time, the zoo authorities had rescued two gibbons which were also under my care. The female was a cute little thing called Wahila. The male was a ferocious bugger called Bosley. Wahila was temperamental and threw tantrums very often ;) (very female) but it was Bosley who surprised me the most. He was a charming guy and enjoyed all the attention I gave him. On one occasion, I had a couple of interns who had come in to watch the colony and I spent lesser time than usual with Bosley that morning. He went on a rampage within his cage and made a complete battle field on the place. As the interns finished and were stepping out, Bosley put his arm out from the one square  hole in the cage and grabbed one of them by the throat, literally choking him before we could could set him free. Jealousy!!! Even gibbons!!!

My stint in the zoo gave me the opportunity to have close encounters with many more exquisite creatures. There was baby tamarin monkey which was abandoned by its mother right after birth and had to be hand fed until it could be released back amongst its own. There was a baby wallaby, Volley again abandoned by its mother and we took tutns carrying the little guy in a cloth bag just like it would have been carried in the pouch by its mother. Volley was released back to mix with his kind but for many days he would still make his way towards any of us who walked into the wallaby enclosure. There was a little doe that hurt it's neck and needed to be isolated and cared for some time before it could be released. It was one hungry little chap that sucked up the feed within a minute. There are so many more memories to share and I will end up writing a book if I wrote them all.
The mammoth sized earthworms during zoology practicals, the cockroach whose salivary glands got me full marks in the finals where I was to exhibit the digestive system and I was the only student who had left the salivary glands intact and beautifully displayed with a black film roll beneath :) Then the days of December when we used to sing Christmas carols and hymns during assembly in the morning and immediately after that had the zoology practical session where, I was busy singing "oh come let us adore him..." , while totally engrossed in a big fat frog that lay in front causing ripples of laughter.  I was a terror in class and always had something up my sleeve. I told the class it was always a good idea to practically see the organism bring studied and told them I would bring in roaches to the class and how they are not to worry if they felt something climbing up their feet. This obviously had them jittery and panicky with random disturbances across the class during the lecture.  Lol! No, I did not carry any roaches. Just the thought gave them the jitters I guess ;)
The lecturer came to know later about the source of disturbance and decided to get even during a practical test ;)
I remember I was to display the venous system of the frog and that's where I was busy singing and just as I was cutting open the skin, the lecturer startled me by calling all the dept lecturers to listen to my singing. I looked up to find the whole dept standing right across with amused expressions. In my embarrassment, I cut off the anterior abdominal vein. 😢😢😢
During a visit to Kerala, my cousins and I went to a hill resort about 50 km from Calicut and did a lot of trekking and walked through the hills to get to a particularly scenic waterfall. On our drive back, my aunt who had taken off her footwear to relieve her aching feet suddenly felt a wetness under her feet and looked down to see a pool of fresh blood! She quickly called our attention and started asking if any of us was hurt. She was quick to spot a dark stain on my jeans just above my right ankle and asked me to pull it up. There it was, happily settled and languishing in my blood, a big fat, tenacious leech, suckling away my blood. The incident took me straight to my zoology lecture where we studied how the leeches secrete an anticoagulant in their saliva that allows the blood to flow easily as well as something about the sucker that made the bite painless to the victim. I was shocked to see the bloody thing stuck to my leg and even more traumatised by the fact that it got into my jeans and I had no clue and no sensation of the bite. For ages, after that incident I kept checking my legs every now and then in the fear of finding the blood sucking parasite. Luckily , that was the last time.

There was the tiger encounter at the tiger temple in Thailand. Back then , it seemed like such a thrilling thing to be able to make a physical contact with the majestic creature but today I understand the implications of what human greed can do to wildlife. I also got to feed ostriches, kangaroos and koalas in Australia.

The latest one is of a pink necked green pigeon family that decided to make our balcony garden their home. The kids and I got to watch them build the nest,  saw the eggs and were able to follow the entire journey of the chicks until they flew away. .

Monday, July 25, 2016

Women's Web - Womb versus Work

I have always wanted to be a mother. This was something I felt very deeply about. So when motherhood came to me after an agonizing wait of 9 years, it was but natural for me to consider changing my role to a stay home mother and attend to my new born. Having said that, I also knew I would not get back to my career if I took too long languishing in the comfort of the said role, so there was never a choice. There was tussle between the pull to stay home versus going back to work. When I did get back to work, post delivering my first child, leaving this new found love of my life at all of 3 months was next to impossible. I cried myself to work every single day for a few weeks and couldn't overcome the guilt of missing out on all my baby's first milestones. I felt stay home mothers were really fortunate to have all that time to spend watching their little babies grow, but in retrospection, I realized, being away from my baby for those few hours in the day gave me a different perspective. I learnt to value the time I had with him and was focused on utilizing it to the very best. I was able to manage time effectively, more on top of things, more able to multitask and at the end of the day felt more satiated and content for having achieved what I did.

Talking to mummy friends in the same boat, told me that I was far better placed in terms of being connected with the world and was in a better shape on the emotional radar as the exposure to work meant my brain focused on actively working, thinking and creating. In short, I was able to keep my sanity intact.

Motherhood in itself is a challenge and when one has to juggle it with work, social networking, hobbies/ passions and keep the magic in the marriage alive, it takes a lot more than one can imagine. Some aspects that perhaps helped me retain my sanity and kept me enjoying the ride were to set my priorities right. Being a mother was the first most important job on hand and there was no compromising there. I learnt to trust my gut instinct where it came to decisions that required me to weigh motherhood versus work and the former always took precedence. I choose to work on my terms without giving up on family time, manage to make time for the much needed social networking and friends to help keep my happiness meter on the high always and do not hesitate to get my partner to chip in to get the much deserved rest when I feel I need it. One of the things working mothers face is guilt for not being there for your child 24/7. At one point, while leaving to work with my 8 month old crying for me, my then 3 year old first born asked me a question that jerked the ground from beneath. "Aai how can you go to work leaving my baby sister crying?" A question that hounds me till date. There is nothing wrong in choosing how to manage your motherhood journey. It's your own and you set the limits. Although motherhood is the single biggest thing to change your lives forever, it is a beautiful journey of self discovery! No wonder then when it's said, with the baby is born a new mother!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Year of Running

I started my year of running on the 23rd of June last year and today marks the completion of a year of a fitness focused lifestyle. It was far from easy when I first started and I still remember the painful claves and absolutely aching thighs that weighed me down initially but I also remember the excitement of each and every single milestone I reached during this period. There was a bad calf injury that left me in a limbo for almost a week and I can still feel the seething frustration I experienced at not being able to go out and run, and this just within a few weeks of running. I knew then that I was addicted. J The rashes from the sweat, the cramps in the calves, the heat and the sheer exhaustion from the runs did nothing to waver my determination. Exactly 2 months into running, I ran my first ever registered uncompetitive 5km (colour) run with my regular running buddies Shalini, Jitendra and my other half Shripad.

Although, it was more of a fun run, it inspired me to register myself into my first ever 10 km (Straits Times) run and I did it. Again, far from easy and the unknown running trail added to the challenge. This was my first ever running medal and I was in love with it.

The love for running persisted and I registered myself for a couple more 10 km runs in the following months. One of them a (Puma) night run, to get a feel for the same and another an exclusive women’s (Great Eastern) run.

By this time the addiction was a focused obsession to build up my stamina to keep getting better and there I started toying with the idea of my maiden half Marathon. It was too early and I had no real training for this sort of a mammoth distance. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally made up my mind to try this distance out on my own to see if my body could cope with this. On the 25th of October , 2015, just 4 months into running, I managed to run my first ever half marathon distance and completed it in 3.5 hours. I knew I could do it J and that’s all I needed to register for an official half (Standard Chartered) marathon. My maiden half marathon was a tough lesson in many ways. I realized in the middle of my run how my mind could play with my resolve and despite the painfulness of what I was enduring and pushing my body into, there was a grit and a determination to finish it come what may and there I learnt, although extremely agonizing, it was critical to keep placing one foot in front of the other and keep going. The euphoria of crossing the finish line is something, that will stay with me for ever! <3<3. I have to state at this point that “Marathons change you.. You are an entirely different person before and after the finish line.” While I was struggling to cross the finish line, the only thoughts I had were to put a stop to this mindless stupidity of making my body go through this unnecessary pain, but the moment I completed the run, there was this immensely thrilling feeling of achievement and I knew I was not going to stop at this. If I could run a half marathon in just 4 months, then I could certainly train myself to complete a full marathon in a year’s time!

I started this year with a determination to run at least one registered run every month, with a half marathon every quarter. The ultimate aim is to run my first ever full marathon this year. So far it’s been a fantastic running year and not only did I run a registered run every month, but between the 30th of April and the 1st of May, I managed to run two different runs (10km Performance Series and 43 km Non-stop run) covering more than 53km.

Now the big question that many want to ask me. What is it I have gained from this mindless running for a year? J I weigh 12 kg lesser than Day 1, have dropped in size from XL to M, feel good about what I see of myself and have this amazing confidence that I can do anything I want to if I can stay focused and the most essential bit is that I love what I am doing & I AM HAPPY! J

A huge factor in the success of my journey so far has been the undeterred support from my family and friends who have stood by me. A special shout out to my partner for always being supportive. I am truly happy for those who got inspired by my journey and started their own journey towards a more fitter life. Kudos to you and I wish you the very best!

Does it stop here for me??? For all those who have been wondering and asking me what next after this…. Fitness isn’t a destination! It’s a lifestyle! It’s a choice. It’s a way of life! It’s my way of life and I intend to go on like there is no finish line!

Monday, February 22, 2016

The thoughts keep coming and yet the mind seems empty, rather dead! Another one of those phases, post steroid therapy I tell myself but can't stop feeling irritated at the loss of focus.