SLOW, SMOOTH & SIMPLE!

While Good Health is something that we almost take for granted in our day to day lives, it is sometimes necessary to strike the right balance between work stress and a healthy body.

Yes, the right food coupled with the correct diet and sufficient walking time normally do manage to keep most people fit or afloat to keep going – and then there’s never a dearth when it comes to advice when friends are around. For the many suggestions that my friends/colleagues have showered upon me, I smile, listen & moved on – till this one thing they said…

Read on!

Massage
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

I guess the above picture says it all, doesn’t it? A good massage after a stressful day at work

At first touch, our heart rate slows down by 10 beats per minute and our blood pressure lowers by 8%

To say I was nervous before settling myself on the fairly narrow leather-ed table/bed, was an understatement. I had read up on the ‘various technicalities’ that happen in course of a massage session (which lasts anything between 45 minutes to an hour) and only after being satisfied with it all, I decided to take the plunge.

It wasn’t a new concept and my friends (who had previously had massages) advised me to be all cool about it – but there is so much of chill you can feel being in bare essentials covering you up. It did feel very comfortable though, I will have to admit.

There were thoughts galore in my mind. Should I ask my masseuse I wondered. Music played in the background, I decided to talk. Now, needless to say, my masseuse was young, pretty and very Indian, my eyes scanned her briefly – at least she’d have soft hands or that is what I had thought initially. As she went about the oils and the rubs, I felt so relaxed… almost felt a song in my head.

She finally beat me to the first question…

“Is this your first time?”

Now, as a  single guy, when you’re asked a question like that from a girl… (irrespective) you’re not sure if you want to tell the truth (I was ‘A Massage Virgin’).

Very quietly I replied “hmmm”.

Not sure if she took it as a pleasuring stroke evoked from her firm hands on my bare back or an answer to her question, but she didn’t find the need to clarify.

…and just like that, we got talking… while she massaged me so well with her now fully oil glazed hands… I could tell, along with being a good masseuse, she was made an excellent conversationalist. Her English though could do with some improvement. (I may be clothed 5% on an otherwise normal dressing day, in front of a total stranger, I will still judge her English).

Not sure of the bonding that happens between a masseuse and her customer in the little room, converts into a friendship outside of it – but in those 45 minutes, we got to know a few things about each other, which clearly states that, it wasn’t just a massage that happened in there, probably a budding friendship too.

45 minutes of body massage, healthy conversation, and a shower later, I was served Ginger tea.

“How did you like the massage?”

Considering I had nothing else to compare it to, I replied,

“It was nice”.

I thought that was the right thing to say. Did I have any say in how the masseuse was? A feedback form perhaps?

.

.

.

I received a text message from her yesterday…

“Hi”, it said…

Yes, we’re connected on WhatsApp and I guess she’s missing her customer, its been some time I haven’t been there…

…or then maybe she is just doing her job.

Whichever way you look at it, My First was pretty memorable, fresh on the mind-n-body, also a learning experience. Oh! …and I felt great after I got out, almost like a new person.

If you haven’t tried one out yet, what are you waiting for?

You are ONE massage away from a good mood

To sign off – A piece of advice to parents and to the old school…

Let’s not write off ‘an appointment with your therapist’ as one of those taboo topics that can’t be spoken out openly. It is as much important as any other of the treatments and luxuries we give ourselves from time-to-time, to help us get up and be ready for a new day. Who would not want to look and feel their best? 

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MULTITASKING: FEW INTERESTING CASE STUDIES

It was a winter time when my beloved cousin sister hurried to the bathroom for taking bath and poured warm water on her body before mixing cold water in it… And guess what… She burnt her skin. Her mind was elsewhere…probably on a multitasking mode. As we know that there are tasks which don’t need our sole engrossment and our concentration can be divided. My sister knew that taking bath doesn’t need her soul engrossment though she forgot that her soul concentration was much needed before pouring down warm water on herself.  She had a tough time managing her wounds though we had so much fun discussing her absentmindedness.

Guess what? I just called her up right now and we had a laugh talking about the same incident all over again.

Let’s move on to the next cases…

It was a morning time and my wife was screaming at me, asking me to store water in the buckets before the water runs out. And I was about to get inside the bathroom when my aunt called me. I received the phone and kept talking to her while filling the water in the first bucket. I was fine till the water came to the brink of the bucket. I bent down to lift the bucket keeping my phone between my left shoulder and head. The handle of that bucket was broken and I had to lift it by using both my hands. As soon as I lifted the heavy bucket full of water, my second wife, my beloved Nokia E63 slipped out of my embrace and ‘plop’ drowned in the deep sea water… Oops, I mean in the bucket full of water.

I quickly rescued her, took off her clothes, applied resuscitation but to no avail. She went into a lifetime comma. I had to divorce her and claimed an alimony of Rs.500 from the bakra (scapegoat) that I handed her to.

I had loved her so much and regretted multitasking at her cost…. 😛

Many times I have climbed to the 4th floor leaving my office flat which was on the 3rd floor while chatting on WhatsApp or talking to someone on the phone. Many times I have thrown the tablets into the dustbin instead of the torn wrappers while my mind is occupied with my work on the computer.

Found them funny? Did you have a good laugh? Good! I wanted it too… 😉

So to speak I am not at all good at multi-tasking. I usually give up on one while doing the other. And when I am asked to multitask, I shout back literally or show my displeasure. When my wife requires my attention while the TV is on, I ask her either to switch off the TV to talk or let me watch…do just one thing at a time.

Rajnandini, offered some good advice this week as she usually does every time and most importantly she talked about how multitasking adds heavy loads on our shoulders like – Reduced effectiveness, Lowered productivity and performance levels, Increased stress, Disorganised and cluttered mind, In many cases, more time spent than saved. Don’t you think we should get rid of those loads before getting into troubles, either with the funny ones or the serious ones? Keep thinking about it.

In the end, I am happy to close this week by bringing smiles to your faces.

Stay blessed!

DID I REALLY HAVE A CADBURY CHOCOLATE 20 YEARS BACK?

They say a simple Hello could lead to a million things. Well, in my case it led to nothing but a little embarrassment. It happened in my own wedding. Yes, you heard it right, it happened in my own wedding. I was supposed to be the center of attraction but I became the center of embarrassment, at least for a moment, if not more!

I was all decked up in a heavily gold – embroidered saree, layers and layers of makeup, a fancy hairstyle weighing more than 2 kgs and all sort of gold ornaments from head to toe. Thankfully, the major part of the traditional wedding was over and we were only left with accepting best wishes from relatives and friends. You can call it a mini reception event. With all the tiring ceremonies from early morning, changing sarees five times (yes, we need to change 5 times as per the tradition), and countless relatives, friends and well wishers buzzing around us, I was looking for someone who can get me a bite of a snack and a sip of water. How cruel is it to make the bride and groom eat the last in their own wedding? Whatever!

To add to the frustration, I was getting overwhelmed by the unending queue of well-wishers waiting to come on stage and greet us. With my energy levels going down to bare minimum, my patience was on the verge of betraying me but there was no other option than bearing that plastic smile while many aunties, uncles, mom’s friends, dad’s friends, sister’s friends and God knows who all were busy shaking hands and blessing us. In all this commotion, I clearly remember that at times I really used to get confused whether the people greeting us are from my side or my husband’s side. Well, you can’t blame me for that, after all, Indian wedding’s guest list does include who’s who!! Endless introductions like, ‘This is my school friend’ or ‘Meet my boss – I worked under him from 1994 to 2000’ or ‘Meet Mrs XYZ – she is the aunty of ABC who was in your school, 2 batches ahead of you’ (What?? Why did you even invite her? Oh yes, she must have invited you in her son’s marriage!) by my parents were making me go bonkers. The only relief was either of them was present alongside on the stage to receive guests and introduce them to us.

But there came a moment when my husband and I were alone on the stage and a group of ladies walked in. I was flashing a ear to ear smile (that’s what a bride supposed to do, right?) and was thinking these ladies seem to be my husband’s relatives (obviously, because I couldn’t recognize them). To my horror, the ladies walked up to me and the comedy show started.

One of the ladies seemed like a leader of their group and initiated the conversation

“Hello!!”

“Hello Aunty!”

“Congratulations!!!”

“Thank you Aunty!”

“My God! You have grown up so much!”

I was thinking to myself – yeah, obviously, I wouldn’t be getting married otherwise! But I reciprocated with a very humble smile.

You were so small when we saw you last. You remember I had given you a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig cadbury chocolate. You used to accompany your mom sometimes to work!

I was like, “Oh, really? That is so sweet of you Aunty!” But obviously, who remembers a cadbury after 20 years!

And then came the most embarrassing question –

Do you remember me?” Aunty was so pleased with my polite response to her memory of cadbury that she was almost certain that I have been thinking about her all through my childhood, adolescence and now “grownup” (as she referred to me some moment ago) phase.

Bang on! I got a hint that I am in trouble now. My eyes were frantically looking out for my mom, while my right hand was still held by Aunty as a gesture of a handshake that started right with a hello!

Of course Aunty!” I replied (not so confidently) because I thought telling her upfront that I don’t know who she is would sound too rude.

Awww, so sweeeet….” said Aunty pulling my cheek

Arrrghhh… who pulls a cheek of so called grown up girl??? More than that, I was worried that she might just pull out a layer of my makeup. Anyway, I thought, the worst was over. – Aunty was pleased with my response and will soon end the conversation and and proceed towards lunch. But I was wrong! Prompt came her next question and it felt no less than the bomb attack made on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tell me, who am I?

OMG!!!! I really didn’t know who the lady was. All I could figure out was that she was some colleague of my mom, that too from very early years of her career. I didn’t know what to say. How I wished my mom would have not moved from my side! Since I was on my own, I made some feeble attempt.

Well, Aunty, I remember but I cannot recollect…” (What??? Did that sentence even make sense?? What was I saying???)

Aunty was having fun watching me get embarrassed and my husband couldn’t stop giggling. I had no option but to call out for my mom!

Thankfully, I saw my mom reappearing on stage and I heaved a sigh of relief. Then the formal introductions happened and finally the Aunty was satisfied that I finally really recollected who she is and she gladly proceeded for lunch though the truth was, I was still in haze to understand who that aunty really was. Thank God, other ladies from the group were not as enthusiastic as her to test my memory and just chose to be the spectators of my embarrassment rather than embarrassing me more!

I had gone pink in the face and warned my mom not move from my side until the reception is over.

What I learnt from that incident is that some guests can be difficult and tricky to handle. But being sweet to them doesn’t help. Instead, being honest can make it easier for you!

And, I would like to make one request to all of you. If you are going for a wedding of someone in distant relation or acquaintance, please, please introduce yourself to the bride and the groom. For God’s sake, do not quiz them about your identity, they have bigger things to think about!

LOOKING FOR THE LOO

I have a great relationship with my bathroom! I see it so often and spend so much time in it that it could very well double up as my bedroom. What isn’t there to like about a place that relieves you of that niggling pain, or helps you relax and cleanse yourself? Which is why I love putting up potted plants, paintings of more potted plants and magazines in my bathrooms. Makes sense to make it comfortable when you want to spend so much time there, no?

But as much as I like my bathroom, I hate my bladder because it has always been the source of embarrassment for me. As far back as secondary school, I’ve had ‘pee’ issues. I was always infamous for being the girl who went every period. At college, if us friends ever decided to go anywhere as a group, someone would inevitably joke, ‘Pradita, make sure you’ve done the necessary before we leave… and no water afterwards!’ What a shame!

Things didn’t improve for me when I got married. My MIL especially would always reproach me for how frequently I needed to go everywhere… and in a Sari too! I think if there is a Guinness record of visiting the most bathrooms in a city, I must be the record-holder because within the first three months of my marriage I had acquainted myself with the insides of each and every one of our family friends’ bathrooms, and the public loos at supermarkets and malls in our area. It got to the point that if an acquaintance wanted to find a toilet in a public place, they would ask me!

It was heaven to know that no one judged you for going when I was pregnant, seeing as how pregnant women have to go a lot. Surprisingly, it’s become better since the birth of my daughter, but even now the odd unfortunate incident does occur, and I still have to maintain my ritual of relieving myself before I venture out of the home… and no water afterwards.

So yes, I hate my bladder and what I hate even more is that it has not an iota of control over what it’s supposed to control and contain – pee! I’ve had misfortunes like missing the school bus, getting an earful from teachers and relatives over my urgency. I’ve lost out on friends and even a potential boyfriend because I got too irritable and screamed at them, all thanks to a bursting bladder. I made friends with Meftal Spas to counter the pain when I had a hold-it-in-thon.

But the most embarrassing moment for me was in Secondary School when I had moved to another city and so had to join a new school. I was new to everything in that city. It was my first day at school and I was, like how most newcomers are, lost. Needless to say, my bladder wasn’t happy with my nervous condition and it quickly starting pinging me evacuation messages. I excused myself from the class and went looking for the loo. The school was huge and old, which meant that I had to walk a lot from one wing of the school to the other as per the directions given by my bench-mate. I ran at the first sight of ‘Toilet’ written on a placard and nearly skidded to a stop when I saw urinals inside. Oops! It was the Boys Bathroom.

Now my bladder had already reached its limit and I was just barely holding on. So my inner-self screamed, ‘The Girls Bathroom is a whole storey up. No one’s here. Just go into one of the stalls!’ And I did. And the moment I did, a boy of about my own age appeared (we must have been ten). He came to a dead halt and so did I. And then he squeaked (obviously because he was embarrassed to see a girl in a boys bathroom. Maybe also because a girl saw him zipping up), “Didi, this is the Boys Bathroom”, and he snuck out of there.

I didn’t pay him any heed. The moment he left, I rushed to one of the covered stalls and relieved myself. Thankfully there was no one else in the bathroom to add to my shame. But when I finally reached the classroom, what do I see? The boy who I had an encounter with was, in fact, my own classmate. He looked at me and giggled, and I could almost see the rest of my future in that school flash before my eyes – being branded “Pee Queen” or smart mouths at school mocking me, “Hey Pradita, looking for the Loo?” Oh god, why couldn’t my bladder just let me be?!

That whole day I kept imagining the worst, that people were staring at me, that they were making jokes and that no one would ever be friends with me in that school. But nothing of the sort happened. Weeks went by and eventually, I got over that incident. I made friends, lots of them and though they all would joke about how frequently I  needed to go, no one ever mentioned that incident. However, I could never look that boy in the eye and never made friends with him throughout the two years that I spent at that school. Also, I double check now if I’m using the Girls Bathroom.

But just four years back that boy got in touch with me through Facebook and when I asked him if he remembered that incident, he said, “What? That really happened? I don’t remember that.” (No wonder I made friends and no one called me Pee Queen at the school) I thanked him profusely for never mentioning it to anyone. He didn’t seem to understand why I was making a big deal about it.

When I look at this incident now I realise just how funny life is sometimes. Such incidents, to some, they mean a lot; they could mean the end or the beginning of something; they could leave a mark on or even scar your memory. And yet to others who may even be connected to the same incident, such incidents could mean nothing at all. This only taught me that I should never take such silly episodes seriously in life because life is much more than that.

Our embarrassment over something is a state of mind. Like how public display of affection is okay with some, yet embarrassing to others. That day I may have been embarrassed by using the Boys Bathroom in an urgent situation. Today? Well, let’s just say my bladder doesn’t leave me an option.

Pradita Kapahi

Image Source: Zorro4 / 142 images

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN …

I am not sure why our brain remembers the most embarrassing moments so well, whenever someone asks me of mine, this particular one I am going to write about stands out.

One day after office, I had been for grocery shopping. Yeah, one of those days when I get to return back from office while the sun is still out there, it’s a rarity. Walking towards the breakfast cereal section, my eyes were rolling over tier after tier of various varieties of stacked up cereal, for my favourite Apple honey almond muesli. I think they were out of stock, so I picked up some other flavour. I was engrossed in reading the ingredients of the pack, when a hand landed on my shoulder accompanied by a greet, “Hey Aastha, long time, how have you been ?”.  Overlooking my shoulder, I turned around, before I could respond, she said, ” You haven’t changed a bit …”

In response I greeted her back, with out taking her name. Hell, my brain was very busy trying to connect the information stored in neurons, failing to reconstruct the memory of her, coming up with several other questions in the advent of her identity. 

My inner voice chipped in, “Aastha, you know her quite well. Please, please, please try.. I am sure you would recollect. Is she from school ?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I remember her with the exact same face I am seeing her now, which means I have met her most probably after my late teens ?”

Inner voice: “Sure, sounds very true. Some coaching centre ?”

Me: ” I don’t remember, but that sounds untrue”

Inner voice: Job interviews ?”

Me: “No way, I have attended only two interviews till now, one when I was in college, I haven’t made any new friends during the interview process. Second one, I went alone, met no one and all the interviewers were men”

My brain was confused between me and my inner voice. Meanwhile the girl was also talking. I was secretly wishing that she mentions some one or some experience so that my brain can create the pattern and connect the dots. I was smiling (such a fake smile which I am totally not used to), I was feeling quite uncomfortable to have not remembered her. She was taking my name again and again making me feel really bad. 

Inner voice: “Is she from your current work place ?”

Me: “No, that can’t be”

Inner voice: “Now, please you have almost ruled out all the possibilities, she remembers you and you don’t.. “

Me: “Really, is that it ? I have known her for a long time, it is definitely not that I met her once or twice”

She was wearing her ID card ( she must be returning from work too ), damn it, it’s flipped on the wrong side, I was praying while we were walking around that her ID card flips so that I can read her name. My stupid thoughts are making me all the more ashamed. First of all, I do not remember her name, then I want something to remind me of her ??? This continued for around 10 minutes. By this time, my guilt took over me, I didn’t want to waste any more time, but ask her.

I started with an apology,”I am really very sorry. I know we have met several times, I know you well too, but I am not able to recollect your name. Kindly can you please remind me ?” She smiled, then she started laughing. May be it was my facial expression. ” Hmmm… We started our career together and worked for the same company, we stayed at the same place too”. All the memories came back to me in no time. We talked for some more time, I apologised again before we departed. How didn’t I notice the company name written on her ID Card tag, that should have reminded me. I have not just forgotten her name, but how we were connected too.

It was the most embarrassing moment, I can never forget it as well, including the color of the dress she wore 😀

Once I realised that I am very bad with names and how embarrassing it can be,  I have made some modifications.

  • I sincerely tell them before hand if I cannot recollect who they are.
  • I pay attention to the conversation, when someone is being introduced.
  • I started storing contacts in my phone along with the relationship.

Forgetting names is not a serious illness or anything. Our brain has got better ways to store faces than names. Facial recognition is what many species including humans use to identify similar species as well as things. If someone says they have a pen, we can visualise it, but if they say it’s a Parker pen, our brain runs us through the different models Parker has in market. We are naturally not wired to remember names very well. Having said that, there are two types of people, who can remember names well and others who don’t. Undoubtedly, I belong to the second type. Some have a flashy memory, they never forget the name of the person they met even if that is only once. I wish I had one too !!!!

The ‘oops’ moments are very funny, yet they make us aware of something we haven’t known. What’s your oops moment ?

CALL IT SELFIE, GROUPIE OR USSIE, I LOVE THEM !

I always carry my 📷 for trips, in some groups, they call me the ‘official photographer‘, the downside to it is, I capture pictures of everyone, but I won’t be there in any of those. There are some people who gracefully say, “let me take a picture of you”,that is when the problems start, first – I am camera shy, second – since they are operating my camera most of the time I am giving instructions on how to take a picture, third – consciously I am waiting for the sound of the click to unfreeze myself, the result is a not so good picture. 

Let me share with you the funny moment I often experience. Subject, exposure, positioning of the subject in the scene are very important for a good picture. I know that others may not have an idea to balance these, so I usually make them stand in the scene, do the settings, take a picture and show it to them, so that they can do the same, all they have to do is hold the camera and click !! When I am the subject 90% of people are no where close to how their picture was, sometimes it brings a smile on to my face, anyway, I finally end up with no picture of mine with that surroundings. 

I don’t know who got this wonderful idea of adding a camera to the front of a mobile phone, thanks to him/her. It’s very handy because it’s not bulky, just by holding in one hand, at the press of a button I have my picture. As someone rightly said, a photographer should know how to take a selfie if their picture has to be taken!! 

Most of my problems are solved with the advent of selfie. I don’t have to request another person to take a picture. I can position myself aptly for the scene, I can see what I am capturing, if I don’t like it, I can click many times till I do. Since I am the one taking the picture, I don’t feel shy anymore. Of course, a selfie looks different than a picture captured by someone else, but for me, it totally works…

When I am with group of friends or family, capturing a groupie(ussie), makes me satisfied in two ways, I am the photographer and I get to be in the frame too !! 

Couple of years ago, I had an accident in the kitchen while I was on business trip in the US. I took some selfies on my friend’s request, may be he was worried, I had burns all over my face and hands. It made me feel so better that someone is caring for me from other side of the world, I tried to portray myself strong in the pictures so that I don’t scare him of, it boosted my confidence. 

Few months later I did skydiving when my face still had dark scars from the burns, all the selfies captured on go-pro show the marks of the accident I had. It took more than an year for me to completely recover, but those selfies, ah, even today they do remind me of the accident scene, the pain, the struggle and a fighter in me. Thanks to my friend, if not for him, I wouldn’t have captured any pictures or had a chance to reflect on them later. Nevertheless, it was possible because of selfies. A selfie taken at hospital while I was on my way for medical procedure made me relax, imagine, how do we ask someone else to take a picture while we’re on the hospital bed 😋

I won’t say I am obsessed with selfies, my selfies are only for those whom I am very very close to. I won’t mind taking it any time of the day, even when I look half dead. Sometimes, I do ask people to share their selfie, and when they do, it’s a feeling of being together. I can feel that connection with a person thousands of miles away. It is as if the person is with me looking into my eyes. I wish they weren’t that far, but selfie makes me forget that distance at least for a few moments. 

Last but not least, I came across a video on WhatsApp, where a man expresses that selfie is for those people who are alone, don’t have another person who can take a picture. I differ, selfies are for those who are happy and content with themselves, who can love themselves and express themselves. Selfie has a lot of positives when we put it to good use !!

By the way, my gravatar display picture of WordPress is a selfie !!!! 

​THE BLACK HOURS OF MY 28/1

28th January 2004 – an unforgettable day for me and my family!

Like everyday my parents sent me to school but they never ever thought that it could be the last day for their son. My sister never thought that she would be the person to bring the bad news to my parents. My younger brother never thought that he would find his brother almost dead in another classroom. My father never ever imagined that he had to bring home the corpse of his son. I never thought that I will be carried back home like a mentally retarded boy. Yes…barely at 15 such a day dawned in my life! In an atrocious accident, I lost my memory. Still those black hours of my life are like a tale for me…whereas it is a reality for the whole world.

At 12:05 P.M., I fell back from my classroom bench and at once hit the floor. I fainted, lost my memory and got intense internal head injury. I went into a serious concussion. My brain stopped working. I was unable to identify anyone and behaved like a mentally retarded person. And in those days, my family was going through severe financial crisis. Unable to even afford the ambulance cost, my father took me back home. Their dreams for me were worn-out within a few minutes… I turned to a corpse…There was no human being to help us…No one to wipe away the tears of their eyes. In the hopelessness, my parents went on to knees and prayed thus, “Jesus, we don’t know what has happened to our son. There is no helping hand for us. We believe our son is your gift and now we commit your gift into your mighty hands. Whatever you will do, we will respect that. Amen!”

Nobody knows what happened to me, WHO did what but lo…I sprang back to life! Though I was unable to turn my head to any side, I started recognizing everyone. I was able to flash back to the hours before the accident. After a day, my parents took me to the hospital and at the first sight the neuro-specialist asked my parents, ‘How is your son alive? He is supposed to die on the spot or ought to be mad or else in coma. How can he recover to a good condition, when medical science has no answer to this? IT IS THE GOD WHO ANSWERED YOU!!!’ My diagnosis report still says that I am not supposed to go out into the sunlight till I turn 25…that I can’t study further; that I can’t memorize anything because of the internal damage is that serious and can’t be operated. Medicine and time had given an answer for me.

But I continued my study. Like every other child I finished my University study at 21 and within 3 months of my graduation, I was inducted as an on-field professional.

Will you still say there is nothing as MIRACLE???

Miracle is never ever possible without the interference of God in our lives. Humans can say great words, science can give great innovations, witch-crafters’ magic will produce destruction but nobody can give NEW LIFE apart from the One who has trampled the sting of death and has given the HOPE of resurrection with New Life and New Meaning. Bible says, ‘God has given us a new life through Christ Jesus’.

Finally I quote C. S Lewis, ‘Nothing can seem extraordinary until you have discovered what is ordinary’.

Stay tuned…