Or maybe I'm not. But there's something I've been thinking about. I've been reading diet tips since I was three and diet books since I was 4. In my lifetime, I would have easily read about 40 diet books and innumerable health magazines and believe it or don't, that makes me more qualified than most of these authors to write my own diet book. But I don't need to write a book. I only need to write a page. And this is what it would say.
Wake up as early as you possibly can, if not with the sun.
Eat within half an hour of waking up.
Eat every 2 hours.
Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before sleeping.
Eat as slowly and chew as much as you possibly can.
Enjoy every morsel of your food. An attitude of thanksgiving for it and towards it can go a long way.
Have a carbohydrate light dinner.
The best way to eat fruits is as a meal.
Go organic as much as you possibly can.
Choose lean cuts of red meat if you must eat red meat.
Eat desserts and sweets as a meal and first thing in the morning if you must eat sweets.
A cup of green tea with lemon is the best dessert.
Drink a glass of water along with your meal or after it but do not drink too much water before and within half an hour of eating.
Drink at least 2 liters of water every day.
Consume as much fiber as possible in the form of whole vegetable, fruits and grains.
Avoid refined and processed foods as much as you can.
Use healthier fats like olive oil or coconut oil, rather than butter or cream.
The white poisons are refined flour, sugar and salt. Try using the most unrefined versions when you do.
If you really crave for something, go for it, but choose the healthiest or most wholesome version – have real coffee over decaf and bitter chocolate instead of a Mars bar.
Get at least 40 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a day.
Do not exercise more than 6 times a week. Your body needs rest too.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep every day.
Smile more than you frown and be nice to those along the way.
At the end of the day, learn to love your body for what it is every step of the way.
There. And I didn't even need a page! Does it need to be more complicated than this? Does it really?
Please feel free to make additions to this list. I promise to include them if I do in fact write a book. ;)
And I leave you with this.
At the end of the day, this is just the way life works. Go to someecards if you want a laugh or a line!
Oh my god, just look at this lamp! It's the most beautiful thing that I ever saw. I want it so bad I would walk all the way to the shop to just see it and touch it and hold it and take it home with me to keep under my quilt forever. I want it as the centerpiece on all the tables at my wedding. I want it as my cake topper. I want it in every room in the new house I'm going to live in after getting married. In fact, I want no electric lights; I just want these lanterns all over. I feel bliss just thinking about it.
If you want it, go buy it. You don't even have to walk anywhere, actually. It's available online at Pacha Design. And as for specifications, it is made of plant fiber and skeleton leaves and is treated with a fire retardant. And each lantern comes in a little box with a tea-light & care instructions. Is that convincing enough for you?
Or you could just try and make your own, but good luck with that.
But get it either ways, because now that I have seen the ultimate acquisition, life without it just does not seem worth it.
I seem to have erroneously committed a grave mistake by not making a submission for Tatter Beans' ABC Mondays last week. I didn't add the 'I'. So now I hope that Rachel will take me back into her fold and I have for her an 'I' and I have for her a 'J'.
'I' is for 'Incense' today, you lovely ladies and fine gents. And this incense has come all the way to you from Rishikesh, high up in the Himalayas, where I had gone last winter.
I know what you're thinking. Who goes to the Himalayas for winter! But you already know the answer to that possibly rhetorical question, so I present to you without further ado.... Incense.
So this is how the story goes.
The most seemingly significant incident that seems to be happening in Rishikesh is the 'Sandhya Aarti' (or 'Evening Fire' when literally translated) on the bank of the holy Ganges River at dusk. It is spoken about in length in every guidebook and all the locals and tourists talk about it as if it is a Marian apparition of sorts. So we went to the site in the afternoon bought these little flower pots (aarti), lit it and cast it afloat on the Ganges. We would be doing this again in the evening, only we imagined it to be an event replete with a beautiful and sacred fire ceremony and thousands of lit 'aartis' floating down the holiest river of India.
What transpired in actuality was the probably the biggest burst bubble of my life. There was a slimy, slinky priest, prayers in anglicized Sanskrit, scores of young boys singing along with the priest (yeah, your line of thought is definitely in the right direction!) and a handful of tourists from different parts of the world. Any story you could put together in your mind with all these characters would be about accurate.
So at the end of the day, I was grateful for my moment in the sun with the aarti in the afternoon. It was special and it was memorable and it is the closest I got in that trip to a dip in the microbial cesspool called the Ganges, that is believed to cleanse one of all past sins.
With much careful thought and rational consideration, I have decided to name my future son Ben.
Ben stands for Benadryl (fondly known as 'Bennie' in my head).
Naming my son Ben is the only way I could give due credit to this steadfast friend who has stood by me through thick and thin.
I have turned to this innocuous concoction of Diphenhydramine, Ammonium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Menthol and Ethanol in times of heartbreak, fear, loathing, jealousy and illness.
Bennie has been there for me at times when I was so wrought with nervousness that I would stand and shiver at the mere sight of a fly.
Bennie has been my saviour when I had so much to study that the thought would keep me up cringing all night.
Bennie has been my warrior when my pesky little brother would be behind my back to teach him how to sing 'Jack and Jill'. A shot of Bennie disguised in his milk was all it took then.
Bennie has shaken off my blues and brought in rainbows a million times and he never fails me. Bennie never fails. He stands guard on my chest of drawers day in and day out, waiting to tend to my needs, whims and fancies.
Bennie is what a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label is for my father and a phone call to a girlfriend is to my mother.
Bennie is always always there for me.
Do you have such a friend too? And if you do, what would you do for him?
Undoubtedly, the week that passed was a testament to the unpredictability of life and the immensity of the joy that can be in it if you just probably stop thinking, reasoning and planning.
So last Tuesday, I boarded the train at the unearthly hour of 7:00 AM from my city, Trivandrum, to go to Cochin, 5 hours away, to meet one of my bestestestest friends, Suey, and spend a day with her. She has been in Dubai all this while, and has now come down to India to find a job for herself and start a new life. She was in Cochin for 5 days because her bestestestest friend Sun, (whom I had never met), was getting married. And being from Dubai, Sun had prepared pretty much nothing for the wedding and therefore, Suey's help was critical. So I planned to meet my darling girl, remain as unobtrusive as possible for a day, and then head back home to my life of mangoes, martinis and manicure sessions. (Did I tel you, I love my life!)
Suey and Sun's brother met me on a sidewalk, enveloped me into this giant warm hug, commented on my small backpack and how small it was for a girl, and then took me to this awesome restaurant where we ate lunch.
And we were still doing that at out third food pit stop when Sun walked in with her suave 'investment banker from UK' fiance. (For the record, at the restaurant, she had a bottle of mineral water and he had a double of a double espresso. Food choices absolutely reflect your statement of mind, I believe. Don't ask me what I ate if you don't want to hear 'Double Walnut Brownie, Blueberry Cheesecake, Rich Chocolate Cake and Irish Cold Coffee' as the answer.)
Then she told me, 'Oh by the way, you are invited for the wedding. I hope you can be there.' I think my exact reply was, 'Mmmm Bop' (Yes, much like the weird pop song by that name by the Muppets or the Muffets or some such thing.) Then I think I told her that I would go back and then return the next day because as she could see, I had no clothes on me except for the next day. And we left it at that. I didn't really plan to come and of course, I assumed that she invited me to be polite.
But over the next 4 hours we became the thickest of friends... thicker than a Snicker... thicker than a thicket.... that's how Sun and me were. And I decided that I had to stay for her wedding, come hail or hell fire.
So I stayed. And I helped. And I stood by 'Best Girl' Suey as she performed the most important task of her life till then - helping Sun glow. (Maybe I'm going overboard with this now.) The next three days went by in a whirl of parties, shopping for the bride and shopping for me. I needed a complete wardrobe for three days and the entire outfit replete with shoes and jewelery for the wedding. And we did it. Everything was ready by 6:00 PM, the day before the wedding the next morning.
The wedding was in a beautiful resort by the lake and we ate and sang and posed for pictures for all and sundry because we were so good lookin' and everyone wanted to take pictures of us! (Let me have my delusions, ok?)
In retrospect, the whole thing was insane because while I have been the bridesmaid for 3 weddings before and about 10 of my closest friends have been married, this was the wedding I was most involved in, in terms of helping the bride get ready for the wedding and the events that surround it and hanging out with the family and her the entire time. And I knew her for precisely two and a half days before that. I also met a whole bunch of people that I probably will stay friends with the rest of my life, which is more than what I can say about the last 10 months of my existence.
And this is when I feel that life is strange. And that life is wonderful. And that there is nothing quite like the thrill of its unpredictability.
I may be crazy for doing this. Maybe no one else in my place would have stayed on in Cochin without any clothes or agreed to go for a wedding of a near stranger with a bunch of near strangers. But if there is such a page called 'Unforgettable' in the notebook of my life, this wedding would be listed on that page. That's more than what I can say about the more sensible things I do.
When the food is exceptionally good, sometimes I gobble it up thinking that if I enjoy it a little less, I will be punished for it a little less in the form of love handles and double chins. It's a fair deal if you ask me.
Here's a sad little tale from my life for you today.
When I was born, my parents named me Teena Elizabeth.
Contention: What kind of a spelling is Teena?!!!
Response (as given by my free thinking father.) "Read aloud Tina and Teena, the way it is spelt. How is it pronounced and how should it be spelt? Spelling the name that should be pronounced Teena as Tina is exactly what is wrong with the English language and I will be neither party nor a victim to the crime."
Consequence: My name is constantly misspelt, and when it is not, people think it is cute to comment on how strange the spelling of my name is.
When I was 3, right before joining school, my parents decided to change my name to Elizabeth Teena, Elizabeth being my grandmother's name
Contention 1: I want my name as my name! I don't want my grandmother's name as my name.
Contention 2: Elizabeth Teena just sounds plain weird.
Response (as give by my fore thinking mother.): "After you complete your schooling and you go on to become a doctor, during the practical sessions in your final year, your turn is chosen alphabetically, and there are advantages to being in the beginning."
I was three when this happened.
It's just plain weird to think that my mother came up with this. My mother is the most unambitious person for herself and absolutely chilled out about my brother and me. To conceive that she actually thought enough about my future to (wrongly) assume that I would want to be a doctor or be in any way affected by this ridiculous nomenclature is beyond absurd. Maybe my mother was on weed.
Consequence 1: I am constantly asked what my name is, because the first name is your name and the second name is always the grandmother's name, and it's strange to think that a grandmother in Kerala would be called Teena.
Consequence 2: I have a name that just sounds plain weird.
All my life, I have been called Teena. But recently, I decided to simplify my own life and stopped correcting the new people I met who assumed that my first name was indeed my name. But now I have new friends who meet old friends who wonder who Teena is and vice versa. It's kinda hilarious. It's like I have two identities - Elizabeth is the strong, silent, Godly one and Teena is the flake.
I'm naming my daughter Rachel. No middle name, no last name. Or I'll just let her choose her own name when she is 3. It's all about accountability at the end of it.
This, and the blog that it is sourced from, is my find for the day from Pinterest. The blog is an adorable one, called Gypsy Girl's Guide, and 'is a resource and daily dose of worldly inspiration for women with a passion for travel and a bohemian lifestyle.' It's a spunky, inspired and bold blog, which is obvious from the manifesto itself. Go on! Be a gypsy girl. You know how to now!
Bob Marley was sweet. I say this because this is what he says.
"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."
And also this.
"You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there."
But then something strange happened. Someone decided to switch the gender in the text and proceeded to add some other stuff and this is what it ended up becoming.
I first read this on Pinterest but the quote is all over the internet, so I made this little poster. Now I'm gonna read this whenever I get mad at Thom or whenever I wish that he had a poetic tendon in his body and want to be reminded of why I am with him in the first place. Whoever re-edited the quote must be pretty special. Marley couldn't have said it better, I think.
The most awesome thing that I did this week was going to The Leela Hotel in Kovalam, the most awesome beach in the most awesome state (Kerala!!!) in India. This property stands on a cliff overlooking the ocean and is absolutely gorgeous throughout the year. So my H for the week cannot be anything but 'Hotel'.
This is a picture from the balcony, and because it is at a height (H), you can see not only the flower trimmed terraces of all the rooms in the hotel, but a large part of coconut palm carpeted Trivandrum as well. I sometimes can't believe that I live in a place that is as beautiful as this. Yesterday was a day, with a lot of such moments.
H also stands for how hungry I was as I waited for this Mediterranean Pizza to arrive.
Here is another less than perfect picture of the hotel, with a view of the ocean.
Kerala has been renamed paradise and God's visiting next week. Won't you join in?
♥ I'm getting married on the 31st of August this year. :)
♥ If you want to know the short version of the story, I'll tell ya now. We met 4 1/2 years ago, became friends, and stayed friends until he realized that I rock his socks and I realized that he can make a mean mashed potato side for all my mains. And now we are getting married. :)
♥ If you want to know the long version of the story, you will have to wait until I sufficiently replenish all the strength that I lost during the courtship period. This, I predict, will happen sometime after the birth of my third child or my first grandchild, whichever happens later. Unless you buy me an Apple Martini, in which case I'll be ready to rip right away! :)
♥ If you don't want to know the story at all, but just want to hear me sing 'Bohemian Rhapsody', that's fine too. :)
♥ If you want to come for the wedding, I will be over the moon. I will pick you up on my way back to earth and we can attend the wedding together. :)
♥ If you don't want to come for the wedding but want to send me diamond shoes, that's fine too. But I gotta tell you. The mashed potatoes and apple martini at the wedding will be stellar! And guess what I'll be singing! (Hint - Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me. (Galileo) Galileo (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo figaro.....) Why would you want to miss that? :)
My latest love has undoubtedly been Pinterest, and this wily website has kept me holed up in front of my desktop for 4 days, with no connect with the outside world, also known as my family, freinds, Thom, the blog, my books and the gym.
Pinterest is absolutely fun! There is such great photography and art in there that it has kept me completely fulfilled for these four days.
I sometimes wonder whether my veneer is just a facade, even to myself. Whether my words are just to lull my own self into submission, or at least to suspension. I sometimes wonder whether my proclamations of how awesome this world is, is rendered invalid by my curses for it. I sometimes wonder if the only way I can exist credibly in such a manner is by giving myself a label that says 'contradictory.' Is such a label essential? Why don't I remember the awesomeness of the universe when I am only reminded of the wretchedness of it; the agony of it. If something is true, shouldn't it remain so? Isn't the awareness of this truth the basis of any kind of spiritual transcendence? Doesn't me backsliding on this every single time denote how far away I am from achieving awareness of the permanence of change, the impermanence of everything else and the fluidity of it all? Knowledge is one thing, but knowing is entirely another. I want to know that just because something is, does not imply that its reverse isn't. This knowledge alone will not suffice.
You know what the universe said to me today? That we have highs in our live to remind us that we can all bounce back quickly from tragedies. And I can't think of a truer statement that would sum up the essence of life itself. When you look at the world with this knowledge, suddenly everything seems untainted and spanking new.
A good way to make someone who is ROFLing (Rolling on the floor, laughing) is to use brutal force and make them roll on the floor. That ought to stop the laughter and also teach them a lesson or two about how communication with 3 - 4 letter neologisms alone is inadequate and idiotic.
One of the best things that I have ever ever done, ever, is starting this blog, not because I love doing it, but because of the amazing world it has opened up for me. Every time, I chance upon a new blog, I am awed. Every time I read a new post by some of my favourite bloggers, I am awed. I am amazed at how much talent, passion, joy, hope, sincerity, love and integrity there is in this world. I am awed by the niceness and courtesy that these bloggers show each other. It is a microcosm of what the real world should be like.
I have a long long way to go and I know I have a lot many bloggers yet to discover that will change my world, but as of now, these are the blogs that I don't know what I would do without anymore.
These blogs seriously make my current life worth it, and are probably the biggest reason why I am still in one piece and staying put at home without a job. It's an awesome world as long as these writers continue to be in it.
1. I sometimes think that someone has cast an evil spell on me. At the very least, I am convinces that i am jinxed. Everything I touch turns into sawdust or iron filings or sometimes even lint.
2. I'd rather have a pillow to hug than a pillow under my head when I sleep.
3. Today, I cried when I watched 'How I met your mother'.
4. I love my brother more than anyone else in this world. This is most because I have always felt this insane urge to protect him from hurt. Now that I cannot protect him, the emotion is getting transformed to love. It is strange because I didn't love him as much when he was a baby.
5. In my life, I have been the most affectionate and unconditionally loving towards my dog, Nikki.
6. I have nightmares every single night. I look forward to them because I am always curious to know what will happen. It is akin to how we voluntarily watch horror movies, knowing that we will get scared, only because we are curious.
7. I absolutely love learning new words but I hate using them with people who don't know them. It makes me really uncomfortable and almost guilty that I know them and they don't.
8. I drink water from my cup or bottle only with a straw. I avoid plastic using like plague otherwise.
9. I stopped sucking my thumb only when my grandmother told me at the age of 4 that otherwise, my hands would look like those of the wicked witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
10. Today I drank 1 liter of coffee and ate a bowl of cornflakes. That's it.
Do you know the song ABC... Easy as 123? That's the song that I sing when I do the ABCs every week. And my heart sings along in a joyous note. This was especially true this week because its time for some F and F is for.....
One thing I don't see any point of, is making beds. You're gonna be right back on it in a few hours anyways! Why fold and unfold and fold and unfold. It's totally counter-productive, if you ask me, and I am all about efficaciousness.
(Actually I am all about efficaciousness and using fancy sounding words like efficaciousness. They make my socks roll up and down!)
But I can't wait to have my own house and live out all my theories! You are of course invited to come and watch, as long as you don't insist on making beds and performing other such silly activities.
The thing is that I have been obsessing about learning photography in a structured manner from an expert, and I have been looking for an institute that teaches photography, but there is none in this awesome (read @#%$%^*) city that I call home. So I have been looking for other places around the country and I actually don't know where I could learn photography from! Would you believe that? There is no place, really! In the entire country.
Maybe I am being particularly choosy because I don't wish to repeat my former mistake of doing my postgraduate degree in a mass communication college with a specialization in Audio-Visual Communication with photography as one of the main subjects, with the sole purpose of learning photography, and then ending up not only learning no photography and but also detesting cinema! No sir! No risk taking behaviour for me this time round. I prefer to take the well trodden path, thank you very much!
If only Brooks Institute would start a branch in India! That would be the beginning of world peace! Because I believe in the power of one and Gandhi said that we need to be the change we wish to see in the world! So the way to world peace, really, is me becoming peaceful. And photography is the key, I am convinced. (Are you listening Mr. Brooks!!!)
By the way, if you hear about my history with photography and the unfulfilled dreams that have resulted and are growing faster than any tumor, you will weep. It is a woebegone tale of love, loss, agony and rage. *Comingsoontoatheatrenearyou!* But if there is any reason I will remain self unactualized, it will only be because of photography. Otherwise, I feel unnaturally accomplished in life.
Strange self perceptions I agree, but I digress from my point. We are talking about Christina Greve now and I don't want to be known as the person who can only talk about herself.
I saw the ad on her blog and I thought, 'Holy cow! This would be perfect for me!' I have been following Christina's blog for a while now and she is a fantastically fabulous photographer. I even take part in her weekly challenge on flickr. This course is divine inspiration channeled to her by Goddess Venus herself, keeping lil' me in mind, I convinced myself as I did a shimmy and a skip.
Then I clicked on the image and all was well in my world until I saw the despicable written in bold!
$500 for the course!
And it was precisely at this moment that I stopped the skip and the shimmy and fell in a sweep heap. 500 dollars was half my salary in my heydays when I was working and earning a living. 500 dollars is 400 dollars more than the rent I paid when I first started working. 500 dollars is 10 months of my pocket money right now plus change. 500 dollars is what my good kidney is worth. On a good day. Where was I gonna conjure up 500 dollars now. I don't even know why I didn't see it coming, because conducting a workshop in photography, I'm sure, is very expensive. Any school, even in India, would charge way more for probably much less.
But anyways. That was the end of my dream as I knew it. But only for a moment. Because then I shifted into reverse gear and channeled Mike Dooley from Tut's Adventure Club, who ever so graciously sends me Notes from the Universe everyday, and he had told me expressly, that 'thoughts become things', and that's when I decided that Christina would definitely host a contest and give away at least one seat in her workshop for the winner. It was time for the thought to become a thing. And that was that.
So yesterday, when I was reading her blog, imagine how stoked I was when I read that she was giving away one seat in her workshop to one lucky reader.
So this post is really to tell you that I won the seat! To be true, Christina is going to announce the winner only next Friday, but hello! Did you not listen to my story? I am a shoo-in for the prize! The contest was made for me! Christina channels Mike Dooley too probably, and I reckon that he told her that for my thoughts to become things, her cooperation is imperative. And that's the story as we know it!
But of course, the contest is still open. Y'all should enter too! Because Christina is sweet. And her writing is sweeter. And her photography is the sweetest. And because it will be beyond fun to be a part of something like that. Not that you stand a chance against me but still, the more the merrier is what my friend Ro always says and I tend to agree with her. She's a smart girl, that Ro.