Saturday, July 27, 2013

An Ode to my best friend's brother...


She wrote you are gone...
We haven't met but it's almost like I know you...

A person who genuinely cared for your friends and family,
An easy smile, a positive attitude...

A void you have left behind,
Your children young, wife bereft, parents lost, sister broken

I begin to berate life's very purpose,
Having seen death from such close quarters...

Yet as I pick up the Bhagvad Gita this morning, it says...
The faithless remain pathless...

So I wish you a safe onward journey my friend's brother,
I still haven't lost faith or hope,
There is a coat of cynicism yet beneath that veneer is a hope...
That Life is indeed a journey...you are just walking it elsewhere now.

I promise to be there for your sister,
She is important to me you know...
Time will dull the edges of the pain that is sharp now...
And all that will remain is warm memories of - A Good Soul.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

From the Diary of a Grouch

Have you had days - when all you wanted to do was whine, complain, beat your head with your hands and say why me? Not wanting to meet friends or acquaintances...snapping at will at people, circumstances and even animals (yes, guilty as charged...I had a one-way conversation with this incredibly noisy sea gull on a walk to clear my head)...in sum total : A GROUCH!


What do you do with yourself then? Well - here is what I did...

  • I went on a long walk alone and cleared my mind....the walk with nature as my sole companion really helped put things in perspective
  • Went to a Zumba Class where we danced to what else - Gagnam Style (my least favorite song!) but it makes me laugh
  • Got my fix of Ted Talks on Net Flix...(check out the one's termed Life Hacks). Here is the one that I absolutely loved by Jane McGonigal (creator of the app SuperBetter) on - The game that can give you 10 extra years of life...

So are you going to focus on building your Physical Resilience, Mental Resilience (will power is like a muscle  work it to build it!),  Emotional Resilience ( build three positive emotions to every one negative emotion you feel every hour) and Social Resilience ( build gratitude, reach out to your friends and families...)...seems like simple mantras offering us so much positivity in life right?

So this grouch has decided to work on building her Social Resilience this very moment....and quit being a grouch...Cup of Chai anyone?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tentative Parenting : Just Cook!

K2 : Ma - which is the richest nation in the world...is it the US?
Working Mom (stumped) : Well there are different ways of measuring rich...umm what do you mean by rich? (note the evasive tactic)
K2 : I mean rich in terms of money
Working Mom (fessing up) : K2, very good question. How about I check and let you know by evening?

And I did keep my part of the bargain, while I was at work  in between my lunch of Fried Rice (made with 7 whole grains, Tofu, Red Bell Pepper and Shitake Mushrooms) and Low-Fat Cottage Cheese, I did a google search and the winner is Qatar.

While I try to feed my 6 year old's brain with trivia which he might retain for future use, I worry about the nutrition abuse that he is exposed to in the US.

Some hard statistics:
  • About a third  of the children (31.8%) in the US are obese today 
  • Boys are more likely to be obese than girls
  • Childhood Obesity predisposes our children to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension among other alarming illnesses ( my father's mother and my father both suffered from Diabetes and Hypertension)
What can we do as parents? My blog title sums it all up - Just Cook!

This week I have cooked a couple different meals for my son:
  1. Focus on a good source of protein (cheese, lean meats, dal/lentils, beans)
  2. Ensure that your child is getting adequate vegetables and fruits
  3. Make the source of carbs : whole grains and fruits vs. processed foods
  4. Make sure there are good fats in the meal (nuts, avocados etc)
  5. Focus on Diet but also focus on exercise. We go for at least 2 walks a week of about 2-3 miles.
One of his favorite Indian Meals in : Matar Paneer. I cooked a low fat version of it from scratch. It took me all of 1/2 hour to have the Matar Paneer on the table with brown rice. I rounded the meal out with a fruit.


Fish is a good source of protein...in this case I simply seasoned it with salt and pepper, dipped in egg wash and dredged in panko bread crumbs and oven cooked it in a saute pan.


I do give desserts to my son, but the desserts look something like this. Serve up a slice of this mango pudding (agar agar or china grass makes it set) with a lot of cut fruits.

Net-Net : We shape our children's nutrition choices...their understanding of what is good for their health and what is not...and getting them accountable is key to their health...if I could leave you with one last piece it would be this -
it is not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It is to walk your talk and believe in what you preach and actually practice it. At the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you and keep you in shape and healthy...it is your sense of accountability ...investing in your child's nutrition mindfully

Monday, July 8, 2013

Seven Life Lessons from Vicky...


Vicky is not a relative...she is not a much-loved Aunt...nor a friend not a colleague...come to think of it she is not even an acquaintance. I met her in March in a Zumba class when all I wanted to do was run back into the restroom and cry, or pull the comforter over my head and wish the world away - it was March 21st...only 10 days since my Bapa had passed away. She was standing next to me - old, wrinkled and in really tight bright pink leotards...when she saw me looking at her, with twinkling eyes and a quick smile she said - Hi Honey! Haven't seen you in this class before? I admitted to it being my first class with that instructor...then the music started and we started dancing...we were creatures of habit...so for the next 4 Zumba classes I stood next to Vicky and we had the 2 minute conversations before our classes...Vicky was 81 (more than double my age, more than 2 decades older than my mother)...I don't see her much nowadays ( my schedule changed, so I picked another class)...yet the life lessons I learnt from this wonderful woman is something I will cherish for years to come.

  1. Follow your Bliss - Dancing made Vicky Happy...she lived in a  senior home but came to the gym to meet younger people and instructors. Didn't matter if she missed a beat, or had 2 left feet...DANCING MADE VICKY HAPPY and she did it no matter what
  2. Laugh at your mistakes - I have to say that first day in the class I focused less on the dancing and more time watching Vicky...she made a lot of mistakes...salsa, merengue, cumbia , african beats, bhangra...yet I saw her smile at herself and keep going till the last song
  3. Believe yourself beautiful - I saw her playing the role of a femme fatale with the spin instructor (he was probably in his late fifties)...nothing sordid, just an endearing sort of a repartee that had me spellbound...watching her confidence in her femininity and poise. 
  4. Life CAN be simple again -   Vicky chose to focus on one thing at a time -  You don't have to do it all, and you don't have to do it all right now.  Breathe, be present, and do your best with what’s in front of you. 
  5. Be nice to others - I looked like death warmed over...my hair a mess, my oldest tights and loosest t-shirt, obviously make-up was mostly an afterthought for me... yet after that first class she turned to me with that twinkle in her eyes and smile and said - Has anyone told you, you have the most beautiful eyes?...it was so genuine and from the heart.
  6. Be determined to be positive - this was the most important one for me...she was so chirpy and positive. She had on one of those knee supports and told me that her knees hurt her even to  shuffle...yet with a blase attitude she said - hey I am over 80 and don't yet need a knee replacement...that counts for something right.Understand that the greater part of your misery or unhappiness is determined not by your circumstances, but by your attitude.
  7. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can't believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  In the end, people will judge you in some way anyway.  So don't live your life trying to impress others.  Instead live your life impressing yourself.  Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for anyone....I saw Vicky doing just that!
I think rather than set exacting standards for myself...I will give myself a hall-pass. I don't want to ruminate in nostalgia or wallow in self pity for those that I have loved and lost .... Instead, I want to rejoice in being imperfect and being Me...as Dr.Seuss said it - 
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”