Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Babyzilla alert!

I have been asked the question "When's the good news?" multiple times in different avatars , disguised in various ways. The usual perpetrators are 'well meaning' women in their 40's, 50's & 60's. Sometimes, even men, even 30 something men have decided to worry about my 'childless' status. Neighbours and acquaintances have questioned me sometimes in crowded buses where there is hardly any space to breathe. I have to find a good answer that doesn't sound awkward when somebody is yanking their elbow into my stomach.
In my defence, ( I really don't need any, but for the record) I Love kids. I am good with them. I can say with a decent amount of confidence that kids love me too. I have 2 beautiful nephews, one is turning 6 and the other is 6 months old. I make random conversations with kids I see in public with relative ease, while their awkward parents make up their mind whether they should smile at me or ignore the conversation.
I have been married for 2.5 years now and the thought has crossed my mind. I do want to have a baby if & whenever but just not now. Why? Just because I really don't have a strong urge to have one NOW! Now how does one explain that to anybody who lacks the sense enough to question people about their personal decisions and worry about your 'incompleteness'. I call such people Babyzillas!
Who decides this time frame of '2 years'? "You have enjoyed for 2 years. Now please settle down". So just because you have'nt really popped out a baby in that prototype time span, there's something really wrong  either with you or your relationship or your ovaries.
The next target will be your age. Being a doctor myself, I do understand the basics of the biological clock. But the clock ticks away at a regular pace, one that you are well aware of. In the same context, Rujuta Diwekar in her book, Women & the weight loss tamasha busts this myth beautifully. She talks about a crowded traffic intersection. If the intersection is crowded, you are stuck. If its free then you move smoothly. If work, health, relationship areas are all smooth ( intersection clear) go ahead, plan a baby. There is no point being 25 years old, 25 kgs overweight and talking about planning a baby.
Its a personal decision, regardless of age or weight and it's nice when the whole world doesnt try & butt their heads into a space they really shouldnt be.

I feel fit, happy & healthy.  My husband is my best friend. My work's going good. I am in a happy space.

 And Im still not ready just yet.


Till then, Ill continue my random conversations with random kiddos & avoid all the babyzillas as much as I can.

My year that was.

Summarizing my 2012 gives me this unadulterated bliss & joy that I type away in a hurry, I want to cram in as much as I can.
This was the year I took charge of my health, my life, myself.

My weight spiralled down by a neat 13 kilos.
My TSH levels are back to normal and Im not taking complete replacement. I found a good endocrinologist finally who makes me feel confident and Ive reached a midway settlement.
My walks have turned into runs.
I wish to run a 5k before 2012 says goodbye.

In 2012, I played a very important role in The Great Indian Dog show, started our own association that looks to brand the Indian dog in a way it rightfully deserves. On the upside, my association was featured in newspapers, some good publicity for the Indian dog. On the downside, I lost some dogs that I loved immensely at the shelter. Some deaths were inevitable, some not. I learnt lessons, particularly related to the manipulative capacity of the human mind. I broke away, I patched up with a few good people in animal welfare. I apologised for my naivete. I moved on.
I adopted another abandoned pom from the same shelter and now my army reached the number of three.
I fostered many. I made a difference I hope.

On the personal front, we bought a flat and Ahimsa is just one of our homes now.
I changed my job and it feels better than the last.
I became an aunt again to a beautiful baby boy. ( Now, now, dont ask me that really annoying question. It tops the list on my most annoying questions ever asked.)
Dad retired and came back home. :)
I went to Goa 3 times in 2012. :)

Its been awesome. .

Now Im all set for 2013. Cant wait to take charge again!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The doc has asked me to cut 5 km from my walk & just walk for 5! Now how I hate that! 1 hour 15 min of total me time and Im asked to cut that short.
I walk at Sankey and I love it.From little kids to grandparents, parents, lovestruck couples, fit senior citizens who take their walk & run very seriously, from celebrities to athletes, they are all there. No snacking inside ; basically not getting into anybody's way, doing your own thing & getting out is pretty much the culture that you'll get used to if you visit Sankey for a couple of days.
I feel so good to look at the worn out soles, its almost therapeutic to just stare at them. I bought 2 pairs of walking shoes from Decathlon & Im all kicked for my Monday walk. Infact friday evenings I'm  elated if I followed my 5 day routine, yet Im sad that I dont walk on the weekends. Monday Mornings I am glad that I can walk again!
The Cardiotrainer app is a must if you want to keep an eye on your speed so you dont find yourself strolling.
I'm asking hubby dearest to be my running partner, as I want to begin interval training. All that motivation hasn't still rubbed on him yet. So I'm trying to motivate him to motivate me.
Before 2012 takes a bow, Id want to run my first 5k. :)
Now that I have announced it, I'll find a way!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Walking away the Hypothyroid blues!

It has been over 6 months since I walked into a lab & got myself tested for my thyroid function. I vividly remember my reaction when I held my report in my hand. It was a very mixed response. I was feeling relieved that I finally found some plausible half baked reason for my weight gain in the last 2 years.You see,  I wasn't really pigging out or become a couch potato. I was at my wits end carrying all that 'happy' weight "Post marriage" around. That page of random values answered a lot of my questions. My TSH values were twice the normal reference range. In a weak bid to placate me, my T3 T4 levels were still floating around in the normal range. I knew what I had. Subclinical/Mild Hypothyroidism. I was relieved because I finally identified the nasty enemy. I was upset because I knew this would be a condition that I would have to endure probably for the rest of my life. I met a couple of endocrinologists none of whom satisfied my questions.
That is when I decided to take the onus on myself. I vaguely remembered a few details here and there from what I studied in college. But hey! This time , the patient was me.
I demolished page after page on hypothyroidism, but I wasnt really prepared for people around me. I will get to that some other day.
Most people live with hypothyroid with a morning pill & dont really bother too much about it. I am a little obsessive about these tiny details. You see, for most part of my life, I have been healthy, I just did not like the concept of being plagued by some chronic disease. It just did not fit into my scheme of things. The doc told me that i would not be able to lose weight, my metabolism has slowed down blah blah. Go for a walk. Dont eat 'fatty food" etc. This was all I got as nutrition advice.
I finally decided that I wouldnt resign myself to a slow metabolism.
All those " Oh my God! You have put on weight!" "You have put on more weight" "You have put on some more weight!" flashed past! At that time, I really did not know how to respond! and when I finally found the answer, I couldn't tell them. 2 years of bearing opinions, suggestions & advice had worn me down.
I was relieved & angry; relieved that I finally had some clue & angry with all the people for pointing out something that I already knew & did not enjoy.
I began my journey by walking for 4 km at a stretch. I had burnt 200 calories or that's what the App I had downloaded on my phone told me. A friend stumbled on the value & laughed at me for burning only 200 calories. He said 2 biscuits were 200 calories. I heard crass jokes by relatives, colleagues & friends. Yes even my friends. I stopped socialising. It made a difference. Suddenly friends were angry. Calls went unanswered, invites for lunch/dinner/coffee went unattended. I totally withdrew into my shell.
My shell was protective and secured my self esteem with my supporting family & a very loving husband.
I did not want to socialize at the cost of my feelings, my self esteem.
Once inside the shell, I took complete charge. I increased my walks from 4 km to 7 km. 7 to 8. and finally I touched the 10 mark. I just walked the weight away. from 74 to 72. 72 to 71. 71 to 69. 69 to 68. 68 to 66. and finally 66 to 64.
At my comfortable best, I would be 60. So my journey is ongoing. But one very valuable thing I learnt from my known enemy was that my weight is just a number. I got fitter. I got smarter and most importantly I got my self esteem back.
Now I can walk for 10 km, I can skip a 1000 counts with my jumprope and I can practise yoga. While most 'thin' people would not be able to manage half of what I do.
My Hypothyroidism did not make me fatter. It made me fitter. I would have never known if I had not stared at that paper with the random values that evening.

P.S - I have also forgiven all the crass jokes, comments & advice. I would also not like to say that they motivated me to get fitter. That is too much of a compliment.

The only person who is responsible for my new founded discipline & success is me alone. :) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

A dog is a dog is a dog is a dog.

Every time I take Jerry, my 2 month old paralysed pup out with me to the vet, I meet people who ask me one question “ Ayyo pappa, yaav jaati?” For my friends who do not understand Kannada, it literally means “How sad!Which Caste?” . In this case, they mean “Which Breed?” & I tell them Indian. For a second, they are thrown off, then regain composure & answer with a slightly amused “Oh?”. Trust me, I want to ask “ Neev yaav Jaati?”(What breed are you?) .

Let me clarify my stand here. I am not a hater of Labs & Golden retrievers & Cocker Spaniels. For me, a dog is a dog is a dog. I love them all. The problem I have is with the derogatory status attached with the term “Indian” dogs. For practically everything else, we celebrate our patriotism; we celebrate our “Indian-ness.” But why is it, that when it comes to our dogs, we shy away from calling it our own?

I understand that there is some confusion related to the term Indian Dog.For more details about the Indian native dog you must visit http://www.indog.co.in/ by Rajashree Khalap.

A ‘stray’ dog does not necessarily have to be an Indian Dog. It can be the purest of pure breeds heartlessly abandoned by the owners for various reasons. So a Bull mastiff can become a ‘stray’ in an instant & a stray dog or beedi naayi can become a pet in an instant.

My 10 year old Indian dog Sam does not know a thing about life on the street. I picked her up from my friend’s place, got her home & she has been our pampered brat ever since. Yet, I have heard people describing her as a “beedi Naayi” or “stray dog”. I have also heard “Even if it is a stray dog they take care of it so much, Mad people.”

I understand why she is called so, the reason being we have more number of dogs that look like her on the street.

Why is that? Maybe because the breeding business does not cash in on the Indian dog. Why don’t they do that? Because there is no demand. Who creates the demand? Us. Indians. Therefore they are easily available on the street. No demand. No value. But excess numbers present.

I know of people who leave their pedigreed dogs free on the street. Dogs fortunately or unfortunately are unlike humans. They do not understand all our breed/caste/race paranoia. They go out, do their business & walk right back in. The result : puppies on the street. If never spayed or neutered, a female dog, her mate, and their puppies could produce over 66,000 dogs in 6 years!

So we feel smug with our golden retriever who is not spayed/neutered & wonder “why are these animal activists against breed dogs?” while we marvel at his independence & intelligence of going for a walk on his own.

No animal activist is against any dog. We love all dogs the same. They can be blind, lame, with 3 legs, with 2 legs, with maggots for all we care. For us, I want to repeat again :A dog is a dog is a dog.

We just are not too fond of 2 sets of people

1. Breeders – Unlicensed, Unchecked Breeding for Profit.

2. Irresponsible pet owners

It is easy to blame breeders who I admit are one reason for the problem of stray dogs. But who will blame pet owners? Responsible pet ownership is the need of the hour. Dogs are not commodities. A lot of pet owners abandon their dog for reasons like

“Too much responsibility”

“The dog is sick”

“The dog is aggressive”

“We are moving out of the country/state/town”

Blah blah blah.

& the end result : We have organizations that ask for culling of dogs to make Bangalore stray dog free.

How will it ever become stray dog free when people are busy abandoning their pets that they acquired from a Sire & Dam that were both show champions.

Indian dogs are intelligent, affectionate, easy to maintain & handle, don’t fall sick often, if they do, recover very quickly.

I have 2 at home & I’m bloody well proud of both!Adopt an Indian dog. Trust me, you'll never regret it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The (im)perfect Balance

The first time somebody mentioned about the boy girl difference to me, I was around 8 and I never really understood. It did not come from my parents. It was an elderly waiter at a drive inn called Shyam Prakash(which no longer exists). I wanted to buy a flute and I kept at it relentlessly... The waiter overheard me & told me You cant buy a flute. That's for boys. Buy a kitchen set. I really did not understand. I already had a kitchen set, and my cousins including the boys were equally enthusiastic about a kitchen set. I saw no reason why I couldn't own a piece of wood with holes in it just because.... Just because.
Fortunately, I was spared at home from all the boy girl riff raff. My parents brought us up as individuals and for most part of our childhood we did not hear more from that sort of think tank. Dad pushed us to study harder, marriage was always considered secondary . In fact, both of us got married at our own insistence and to the men we chose.
Mom played her role by never ever mentioning to us that girls need to know household chores. We have also been spared of the dramatic "People will say 'is this what your mother taught you?'"
We never heard of money or gold put away or saved for our 'marriage'. It was always for education & college fees.
Mom never taught 'cooking'. I barely strolled into the kitchen just to give my mum a hug and she'd shoo me away.
Sometimes I even thought something was odd about my parents. Why were they so different from the conventional? Only now do I finally understand.
All those tiny things like cooking, household chores do not need intensive training. I picked them up soon enough when the need arose. I do not spend hours in the kitchen toiling just to feed my famished husband. I manage to make a decent, healthy meal for two in 45 mins. When the maid doesn't show up, I manage to keep my house clean enough.
I can pick up home science without years of training, but I cant pick up my postdoctoral degree without those 8 years of slogging in college.
Education is not just about the money you make. Education shapes the kind of person you are. It keeps you open to learning and it empowers you.
It doesnt matter if you completed engineering & now you are working in a place where what you studied isnt really being put to use. That's what 'they' think. Your degree might not be important, but your education is priceless.
Dad & Mum have still not given up their unconventional ways. Dad still says I'm not done yet.
He says I need to push my limits further.
Mom still doesnt let me enter the kitchen.

Even after the emergence of part time Chef & homemaker Mansi, I'm still doubted for my homely abilities. I don't give two hoots for that.
Being unconventional is something I've picked from my parents & I'm bloody well proud of it.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Holiday well spent 26th jan

Both of us have a dog each -

I have Sam - she's a mongrel,Doesnt know a thing about how life on the street can be,I took her in from a friend's place but yes..looks like a 'stray' or beedi nayi as popularly known.

Jaysal has Poopey, a pom ( not considered a stray), but picked off from the street in a very very bad condition . He tried getting poopey adopted but they were meant to be with each other. If you've seen them together, you'll know what I'm talking about.

and Now we both have Rocky. On that note I'd like to Thank God that both our parents don't follow my blog. I am sure they wouldn't care to read the rest of my post. I can almost hear my mom yell. :)

Rocky is our pet at CUPA. For those of us who love pets, but cant really adopt one because of constraints - time, finance, permission, logistics.....blah blah, there is still a way to come around and still have a pet. All it requires from us is a monthly contribution of Rs.500.00/- per animal and a little bit of time. Once you have "adopted" the animal, you can spend time, whenever you are free with him/her. You will be kept updated on all his/her activities and health status.

It made perfect sense to us. We did face a major problem in choosing one, because they all are so adorable. In the end we had to and we picked Rocky. Now rocky has a small problem with his hind legs and doesn't walk around like one would expect from a healthy dog. But sympathy was not the reason we picked him. Mind you,He's a happy little brat. He looks happier than most normal dogs. We picked him because he was the first one to approach us as soon we entered and I love his whiskers. Don't ask me why, but yeah I picked him for his whiskers.

Sometimes you don't have a particular reason and you make this instant connection. When we visit Rocky, he probably spends just 5 minutes with us, but it really doesn't matter. Its nice to see him happy and taken care of, which is the case with all the animals in CUPA. They don't make a sorry picture. We have a splendid time with all the others at CUPA. The puppy enclosure almost makes me feel like picking one and taking it home. We had to fight the urge yesterday.

Why I wrote this note was to share with you all on how easy it is to have a pet.How easy it is to make a tail wag.

The whole experience was therapeutic to say the least.

For those of you who love pets, but cant keep them for any any any reason, I'd really recommend.

500 bucks is a small price to pay for what you get in return.

You can drop in between 10:30 and 5:00 PM at CUPA, veterinary college campus, Hebbal.