Monday, 23 November 2009

The tag of Eights'

Preeti Shenoy tagged me long back with a tag of 8’s. She is right, its hard. Stuff I never thought about in my whole life I had to think up now. It took me 2 whole days ++ to put this together.

8 TV shows I like to watch:
I don’t watch them everyday but do try to catch them whenever I’m free.

1. 'Everybody Loves Raymond' on Star World
2. Nigella’s Bites/Feast on Travel and Living
3. Movies on HBO and Zee Studio
4. Friends
5. WWF – whether I like it or not I get to watch this everyday. I even know some of the names now……John Cena, Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Kali and a guy called Punk;-/
6. Any channel which plays Hindi Songs from the 60’s, 70’s & 90’s
7. 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai' on Star Plus
8. News on NDTV 24/7

8 favourite places to eat
1. Food made by my mother, Bangalore
Such a pity really since its only after marriage that I truly started appreciating all her dishes
2. Absolutely anything made by my husband’s mother, Kerala
3. Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant, Dubai – The buffet and the view is superb
4. Nandos, Dubai – A favourite with the family..
5. Nagarjuna, Bangalore – The combination of chicken biriyani, chilli chicken and pepsi enjoyed just before the noon-show at Galaxy next door is unforgettable.
6. Ebony, Bangalore – The food, the view and the company made it memorable.
7. Asha’s, Dubai – for special occasions.
8. Shaanbag, Residency Rd, Bangalore – their Special Masala Dosas were amazing.

8 things I look forward to
1. A short holiday before the year ends.
2. Buying new furniture for the living room
3. Waking up 1 morning and finding out I lost a lot of weight miraculously
4. Taking my parents to Goa for a holiday
5. Getting regular pocket money from the kids once they start working
6. Finding a pair of Jeans which were made for me
7. Life with the better-half after the kids are out leading their own lives
8. Winning Mashreq Millionaire atleast once

8 things that happened yesterday
1. We listened to Nikita go on and on and on about the school picnic she went for
2. Watched a movie “Fool’s Gold” on Zee Studio I think.
3. Made Penne pasta in Alfredo sauce for the 1st time & it came out good.
4. As I was coming back home after picking the kids from the bus stop we saw our next-door neighbour carried out in a wheel-chair. He’s been sick for sometime now.
5. Went to the stationary shop to pick up some pictures of birds and some clay.
6. Watched Nikita make a clay peacock for a science exhibition. I have no idea where this peacock fits in but she is quite sure her teacher is going to love it.
7. Better-half sprained his back…….again.
8. Saw lot of flashing lights thru my kitchen window late last night. Opened the kitchen door out of curiosity & looked down…there were 3 police cars. At first I thought it was an accident scene….looked more closely and realized some guy got caught with a lot of liquor in his car[Liquor etiquette in Dubai : One cannot just go to a store and buy it off the counter, you need a separate license to pick up liquor here. So the next convenient thing(esp for the lower income groups) is to buy liquor from guys like these who sell them out of their car but you got to know where they park their cars].

8 things I love about winter
I’m not all that fond of the cold but after 9 months of summer one tends to appreciate the change in temperature. Anyways, let me see what I can come up with….

1. Kooddling under the blanket[thts how the kids use to pronounce cuddle at first and now its stuck] with the better-half and the kids on fridays.
2. Frequent visits to the parks
3. The smell of fresh and cool air as we step out instead of the usual humidity blasting onto our faces
4. Looking forward to wearing brightly colored warm clothes which are otherwise packed away.
5. Winter is also about looking forward to going home to celebrate Christamas and New Year with family but this year it’s just us since we already went home in July.
6. Lots of shopping is also associated with winter mainly because of point no. 5.
7. Christmas and New Year
8. Eating Butta[corn] seared on coals with spicy green chutney.

8 things on my wishlist
1. Learn to play a musical instrument…like a piano
2. Learn any 1 form of self-defence
3. Join a Library. I wish Dubai had more Libraries
4. To go for those cake decorating classes
5. Learn how to swim
6. I wish I were a bit more self-confident
7. I wish I were staying in the same city as my parents
8. I wish I could do something/anything to help under-priviledged Children

8 things I am passionate about
1. Family
2. Reading
3. Writing & reading blog posts
4. My Country
5. Solving Crosswords
6. Sudoku
7. Jigsaw Puzzles
8. Sinfully rich chocolate cake….actually this should have been my 1st point;-D

8 words or phrases I use often
1. Guess what
2. Love you babies, ummmaaaahhh
3. Thank You
4. Did you see that????
5. You better have a good explanation ready…..
6. Read my lips, N-O
7. I have a surprise for u…….tantadaaaaaan
8. I have a headache….ok, ok just kidding;-D.

8 things I learnt from the past
1. Never say “Eeeks, I cant imagine myself doing that”. There's a good chance that you will end up doing it atleast once.
2. Never underestimate anybody. The very person who you consider least important in your grand scheme of things could be the one who finally helps you glue it together
3. There is a time and place for everything
4. Everything is not in our hands
5. Have some chocolate when you are feeling blue. Things start looking better even before you finish the bar.
6. Whenever you are caught in a cross-fire of words, Silence is the best weapon.
7. Do not wait for things to happen to you, chances are you’ll be waiting forever…like me.
8. If all else fails, press control+Alt+Del….in short, reboot.

8 places I would love to go, visit or see
1. Kashmir, India
2. The Pyramids, Egypt
3. Eiffel Tower, Paris
4. Jerusalem
5. The Atlantis, Dubai
6. Wayanad, Kerala
7. Taj Mahal, India
8. Greece

8 things I currently need or want
1. Some company while I try to lose some weight
2. A pair of jeans which fit
3. To change my template
4. A part-time job
5. An extraordinarily good recipe for a Christmas cake
6. A haircut which will make all the difference
7. Brittania Pure Magic Biscuits from India
8. Motivation…again I should have put this as the first point;-/

Phew...its done!!!!! 1 or 2 of the questions sort of kept asking the same things over and over again. It was so tough to dream up new stuff which are true;-D.

And now comes the fun part, I tag.....

Friday, 13 November 2009

Sleep on it

I’ve been very cranky the past 2 days mainly coz the better-half has not been sleeping well. He keeps awaking up at odd times, walking in & out of the room, opening and closing the bedroom door which makes me wake up with a start after which I find it very difficult to get back to sleep.

He’s got some major project at his workplace which is going ALIVE or some such thing and I’m guessing this is what is making him toss and turn. And when I complain about his restlessness he has the cheek to tell me that my snoring is keeping him awake. Giving him a haughty look I bite my tongue and stalk out of the room.

Yeah well coming back to what I was cribbing about….lack of sleep always has brought out the worst in me. It immediately reflects on my day-to-day activities and dealings with everybody but the thing is I can’t get myself to take a nap during the day to make up for the previous night.

The only times I take naps are:

# When I’m frog-marched along with the kids to the bedroom on Friday afternoons for the compulsory ‘family nap’ [incase you are wondering, we live in the middle-east, your Sundays are our fridays] which usually boomerangs on the better-half coz I get up in a stinking mood ready to snap at anybody who even looks at me. Since I don’t drink and don’t know what a hangover feels like I privately think this is a non-drinkers version of it.

# If I’m terribly horribly sick… the time I had typhoid when I was doing my pre-degree; I slept like I was drugged for 2 whole days. But otherwise… even after my delivery when all the aunties with good intentions told me to rest while the baby was sleeping I used to be found pacing up and down the corridor with no particular goal in mind.

# And not the least when I’m pretending to nap to trick lull the kids into taking one….and in the process doze off lightly.

But at nights if all goes well I’m out like a light within 2-3 minutes after hitting the bed and have to be prodded, coaxed out of bed at 6.15am by the better-half who gets up earlier to fix the kids school bags.

I rarely recall the dreams I have though once or twice I remember snatches of a nightmare dream that a gang of bloggers recognized the kids in the supermarket but didn’t find me coz I was hiding under a trolley[I was looking my worst, u see]. And ofcourse the Dhoni dream which I would have forgotten long back had I not posted it here.

Coming back to subject, did you know Sleep and the lack of it has many side-effects to it and most all of them bad. On a rare night when I lie awake on the bed my thoughts almost always take me to my father who suffers from severe lack of sleep. From as far as I can remember he could never get to sleep before 2am.
When I was a teenager I used to have very little patience with his problem coz it meant that I could never read late or call a friend and have long conversations into the night. But now I feel so dreadfully sorry for his plight. I mean it’s so unnatural to be wide awake when the rest of the family is sleeping. The weirdest of thoughts come into the mind and refuse to go. All fears are magnified 10fold. Depression and self-pity takes over the system…..atleast that’s how it goes for me.

Well, atleast when my father finally slept he would sleep atleast for 7-8 hrs straight. But there are so many people who are not able to get a good night’s sleep for a number of reasons like working 2-3 jobs to maintain a life-style or suffer from sleep-disorders.
But there are some, who stay up late to read, watch tv, chat on the internet or are out partying hard. And after snatching a few hours of troubled sleep they go back to work the next day as usual.

An article elucidating the effects of sleep-deprivation caught my eye recently, I read it with growing horror and immediately thought of sharing the jist of it with u. Please do go through it carefully. We need to be aware of the extent of damage we unknowingly submit our body to.

Sleep deprivation is a commonplace occurrence in modern culture. Every day there seems to be twice as much work and half as much time to complete it in. This results in either extended periods of wakefulness or a decrease in sleep over an extended period of time. While some people may like to believe that they can train their bodies to not require as much sleep as they once did this belief is false. Sleep is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body, especially the brain, so that it may continue to function optimally.

Recent studies indicate that failing to get enough sleep or sleeping at odd hours heightens the risk for a variety of illnesses…..

> Lower resistance to colds and viruses
> High Blood pressure
> Cancer
> Increased risk of Heart Attacks & Strokes[esp amg young ppl]
> Diabetes
> Obesity
> Early ageing

"Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body," said Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago. "We have nothing in our biology that allows us to adapt to this behavior."

The amount of necessary sleep varies from person to person, but most people apparently need between about 7-9 hours, with studies indicating that an increased risk for disease starts to kick in when people get less than 6 or 7.

Scientists have long known that sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy and chronic insomnia, can lead to serious health problems, and that difficulty sleeping may be a red flag for a serious illness. But recent epidemiological studies found that people who slept the least appeared to be significantly more likely to die.

Recently I got an email about Ranjan Das[42yrs] CEO of SAP-Indian Subcontinent, the youngest CEO of an MNC in India who succumbed to a heart attack. Supposed to be an avid fitness freak and a marathon runner his early demise had shocked the Corporate world. It is believed that one of the reasons for his early demise could have been lack of sleep. He slept for just 4-5 hrs every night.
Which also reminded me of a post Swaram had written last month about her husband’s friend who was in his thirties and a fitness enthusiast who succumbed to heart-attack and nobody knew why.

Try this test out: Its called The Epworth Sleepiness Scale; ESS is a scale intended to measure daytime drowsiness that is measured by use of a very short questionnaire. It is a useful test to help diagnose sleeping problems. Click here to do it.

In short, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of 8 hours of sleep a night. And, contrary to common myth, the need for sleep doesn't decline with age but the ability to sleep for 6 to 8 hrs at one time may be reduced. (Van Dongen & Dinges, Principles & Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2000)

What is your sleep pattern like???????

For Links: Click here, here and here[matter highlighted in blue taken from here]

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Butt of all jokes

Scenario No.1: I could be cutting veggies in the kitchen with my back turned towards the kitchen door.

Scenario No.2: I could be bending down & taking the clothes out from the washing machine.

Scenario No 3: I could be standing 3 inches away from the television and closely following the climax of a movie.

It could be anyone of the above scenes……..but the end remains the same.

My daughters[either 1 of them] would come from behind & give my butt a gentle thwack and giggle in glee.

“Don’t do that” I’d say impatiently.

“Sauwrieee” they’d laugh & dodge out of the way…..until the next time. And I would keep thinking that something has to be done before they get out of hand. Just imagine if they started doing it in front of other people.

Both Nikita & Naina have their own ways in which they conduct this time-pass activity. Nikita who knows very well that I don’t like it often just gently patted it….it was almost as if she couldn’t help it. But Naina, she approached it more matter of factly…...those tiny fists would have a go at the highlighted area like a boxer & the mouth would chant in rhythm “Dishoom, dishoom, dishoom”. I’d then pretend to reach for the stick and she’d vanish from there like an elf who smelt trouble.

And they do it to my tummy too. I actually find the whole thing funny but am always careful to hide the fact. I certainly don’t want them thinking that my body parts were made for their entertainment. Just a hint of a smile & they’ll be all over me……and so I generally do the headmistress act.

Oh and the questions I get…..

“Why is your tummy so….so big Mama????” is usually ignored the 1st time it is asked. But even after 2 minutes the child is standing there expectantly waiting for an answer I sigh & tell her “My tummy was very flat in the beginning…..just like urs. But as you grew inside, my tummy had to grow to make space for u”

“Ooooohhhhh, so that’s why, but..... after I came out why didn’t your tummy go back to being flat???”

“I have no clue baby….it is the many mysteries of nature of which I have no control over” I mutter as I avoid her eyes.

I then change the topic & she lets it be. But one day when she patted my tummy affectionately and poked one finger hard into the middle just the way I do after I knead chapatti atta into a smooth ball. I knew the time had come for a serious talk.

“When I was around your age I used to do the same to my mama” I began.

“Do what Mama????” asks Nikita all bewildered.

“I too used to always make fun of my mama’s stomach, always patting it & irritating her, just like how you and Naina do to me,” I said carefully.

“And then???” asks Nikita interestedly.

“Then my mama used to tell me that if I did not stop making fun of her, one day I would get a bigger stomach than hers but I never listened” I said dolefully.

“And” prompts Nikita fascinated.

“And………..what she said came true” I said mournfully.

I let the silence stretch & watched while the implications of making fun of me sunk in.

“But I’m not fat like u” ventures Nikita hesitantly.

“When I was your age I was thinner than u” said I, drawing a stick-figure on the wall with my finger to emphasize the fact.

My sweet little girl got so jacked that after that day she has never mentioned or disrespected my butt or tummy again. And I patted myself on the back.

Naina[6 yrs] who was not around when the above conversation took place continued to exercise her rights. Since she is a good 2 & a 1/2 years old younger than her sister I used to let it go with a warning. But she was getting more adventurous by the day that I was forced to enact the above drama once again for her benefit.

As soon as I concluded she went into a fit of giggles. Obviously the drama & its dangerous implications did not have the same impact on her. Then when I put on this sad smiley expression she quickly straightens her face and exclaims “Mama I was trying to help you”.

“I was actually helping you push it back in” Naina looks carefully into my face to see whether I swallowed her story. She then gives me 2 quick pats as proof of her dedication and darts out of the room almost as if she expected the level of conversation to deteriorate if she stood there a minute longer. I laughed so much that day.

Hmmm……yeh tho apni ma ki ma ki ma nikhli…...kuch aur sochna padega*

* Hmmm....she turned out to be her mother's grandmother......have to come up with something else