Now a FAN………………………

It was the fight of the century “Conor Mcgregor Vs Floyd Mayweather” – whilst the latter was coming out of retirement to fight this one and was undefeated in 49 fights, the former was making a debut in boxing. Mcgregor was making a switch from MMA to boxing for this fight. Two of the greatest in their respective art were going head to head, and no wonder it attracted the imagination of millions around the world.

There was a lot of trash talking, eye balling and verbal intimidation between the two warriors. August 26th was the scheduled date and Vegas was the venue. And as expected, Mayweather defeated Mcgregor in Round 10 via TKO, taking his record to 50-0. Mayweather retired undefeated. Mcgregor on the other hand, a defeated warrior – would make a return to MMA.

There was so much hype surrounding the fight that a sport enthusiast was bound to get sucked into it. And so I did. Also I don’t normally follow fight nights, be it boxing or MMA, but I have taken the time to see big fights(big hype) such as Pacquio Vs Mayweather,  Joshua Vs Klitschko and Mcgregor vs Diaz. I was ready for the fight of the century.

For some reason I was rooting for Mcgregor on this one. The odds were stacked against this man. Yet, here was a man who had defied expectation and stood up against all odds to be one of the most prolific fighters in MMA. So you could be forgiven if you believed that he’d actually be able to win this one. On fight night though- He lost. He fought though- took the fight to Mayweather, but Mayweather was just too good for him.

Both the fighters made a lot of money and the battle ended. It was after the fight something hit me – which made me admire Mcgregor even more. And now I can officially say I am a big fan.

Why?

  1.  Taking on the challenge

 Mcgregor knew when he took this fight that he was taking on one of the most successful boxers. May was undefeated in 49 professional fights and Mcgregor was well aware of the humongous task in front of him. Yet, he did not back down. The expert said it was a mismatch and he would get annihilated. But he was up for the fight, trained hard and took the fight to ten whole rounds, and even managed to win few rounds.

Mcgregor’s story is an inspiring one- going from a plumber, to a full time MMA fighter, to one of the greatest MMA fighter and now dancing with one of the greatest fighter – he was always up for a challenge and never backed down.

2. For money, himself and the family

Both Mcgregor and Mayweather made a lot of money from the fight. When I say a lot- the money was huge. It was one of the main reason both the fighters agreed to fight this one. The lure of money along with it being the fight of the century was what got the two fighters in that ring. While people called it a circus and talked how it was more for money – I did not see anything wrong with it. At the end of the day aren’t we all working or doing what we are for money. And don’t we all want attention.

Mcgregor has been through tough times financially. He had been collecting welfare check and worked as a plumber to sustain himself and his family. And he’s worked through that to get where he is at – so it is only fair for him to want to make money – for himself, and for the family. Given the opportunity – we’d do the same.  At least I know I would.

3. Because he is cocky

Mcgregor does not give a rat’s ass about what is being said about him. He concentrates and focuses at the task he needs to get done ( at least when it comes to fighting) and is cocky in prediction. He trash talks and insults his opponent with his words before the fight. Most fighters do this before the fight – but Mcgregor is different than most because on most occasion he delivers what he says. “I am cocky in prediction. I am confident in preparation, but I am always humble in victory or defeat,” he said after his win against Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 in September 2014.

This statement speaks volumes of the man. And even after the defeat against Mayweather he was humble and gracious in defeat. Given the aura he oozes, I think it is okay to be a cocky.

 

 

 

 

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What have I been doing?

Over the past few months, I have hardly written anything on my blog. Whilst I am a bit disappointed with myself for having failed to do so, I don’t want to be overly self-critical. Mainly because, although I have not scribbled on the blog, I have taken the time to start a bullet journal since June and started a self reflection diary since May. That is why I am not beating myself about it.

Having said that, the ideal scenario would have been to have had written something. But then again- it is what it is. However, here I am and I want to take this time to give an update on the things I have been doing.

I’ve started keeping a bullet journal and a daily journal since May. I’ve missed a few days here and there, but on the whole, I have been updating it on a daily basis. I will definitely take the time to write about them in a bit more detail in later posts.

I have also started planning and training for my next marathon which is scheduled for November. I will again attempt a half-marathon (21K) rather than the full 41K. Along with the marathon training, I’ve also started working on calculus. Though the progress has not been what I would have wanted, I would like to give myself the credit of having started.

Towards the end of July- I’ve also taken up a new hobby. My eldest sister gifted me a camera (Sony alpha 6000), which now I carry everywhere. I make sure I make time to shoot and edit. 

So these are the activities i am currently involved in apart from my daily work.

 

The fitness guru

Back in November, 2015, a spontaneous urge to start running sprang in my mind. As far as I can recall, this was not a conscious thought or a pre-planned course of action. I was working away on my desk, and suddenly I tweeted “I’mma Run the Marathon”. Since then, I have ran two half marathons, numerous 8 ks, 5 k, and other shorter runs. The 41 km full marathon has so far eluded me, but I will definitely run that one – Someday…

My urge to run, back then, has seen me transform myself from a non-runner to a runner. Over the course of these one and a half years, I have started paying great deal of attention to physical health and fitness. I make sure to run, go to the gym and work out on a daily basis. I also make sure to sit down and be mindful on a day to day basis.  I have also started paying a great deal of attention to the food I eat. And this has helped me develop the habit of making my own meals. In-addition to all of these changes, I have started to enjoy the household chores that need to be done. I feel that doing all these household chores combine to make a great calorie burner on a daily basis.

As I was returning home from one of my runs, a question popped inside my cerebral cortex. Who is my inspiration, my fitness guru- someone I look up to? Since I had started running very spontaneously, I really did not have any inspiration as such. Neither had I put any thought regarding fitness guru prior to today. I had no answer.

In my early days as a child and in my teens, I had always been very athletic. I used to play cricket, football, and basketball when I was back in school, and really admired Mark Waugh as a cricketer. Had I been a cricketer, the answer would have been very simple. Had I been a footballer, maybe I would have an answer too. But here I was- neither a footballer nor a cricketer. I had become a running enthusiast by sheer spontaneity, and over the years, the enthusiasm of running had spilled into other aspects of my life. I tried to reason with my head- maybe I did not have a fitness guru in particular. Maybe I was just driven more by the situation and my need to change things around me. I won’t disagree the environment around me was definitely a catalyst behind that unconscious decision to suddenly start running. But this answer did not suffice, and so I continued to ponder.

Then I found my answer. I had been unaware of it, until now-

My mom wakes up early every morning and starts her day by taking a walk with Happy (Our pet dog). She then recedes to the living room and with hot water by her side- she starts her daily yoga sessions. Mom has been doing yoga for god knows how many years now, and she is really good at it. This one time I approached my mom and asked her if she could sit in the lotus posture. Now back then I had only recently started my mindfulness sessions and I was struggling to sit in the lotus posture. Not only did my mom sit in the posture but she actually lifted herself up in the air with the support of her two hands whilst still in the lotus posture. For a women in her late 60’s, that was impressive (at least I thought so).

You should see my mom during her walks. She is super nimble, and fast off her feet. I remember how this one time, she shared her story about how she fell down while walking. And with excitement, she tells me “In a flash, I was up on my feet and walking again.” She further went on to add how one of the onlookers was awed by her energy. I think I, my family, relatives, the not so close relatives and friends have always been awed by her energy.

My mom has been doing household chores way before she started doing her yoga. In her own words she recalls “Pahiley tah hamilay pani sinka bachenam”. She was referring to times before she was married. Furthermore she added it was only after getting married that she started tending to household chores. And that is how she learned the art of cooking and home management. I’d be the first to testify that she’s an amazing professional in both of these. She has a simple philosophy that allows her to do all of this, and it is “I will do it until I can.” This attitude has led her to always be fit and healthy despite her age. She is very active and seldom procrastinates when it comes to doing the chores. This does not mean she tends to all the household chores. My sisters have always been around to help and it is with deep regret that I say that I haven’t. But things have changed over the past year and a half- I have made an active attempt to do all the chores. I apologize to both my mother and sisters for not having started earlier. But now that I have gotten used to doing the chores and have reaped the health benefits – I would happily continue to do it for as long as I can.

Finally, her diet is something that really amazes me. There would be days in the past when I often complained that she was eating too little, especially for dinner. Her dinner looked like a dinner fit for a bird and I would ask her to eat more. Her response would be “I eat as much as my body needs.” She has a larger meal (fit enough for a human) for lunch, and has a fulfilling breakfast. Also during the day, she takes refreshments and finally after dinner, just before retiring for bed, a glass of milk. Her philosophy for eating is simple – “regardless of the taste of the food, I eat as much as I should”. My meals aren’t quite as small as hers, but they are definitely now as per my body requirements.

Unknowingly, I had just been doing what my mom has been doing all along for all these years. I know I have a long way to go and I am just starting out. But the ideal scenario would be to continue and keep on striving to get better.

I am really glad that I was able to ponder upon this question regarding fitness guru. The response made perfect sense to me and now I know who my Fitness Guru is – My MOM.

Happy Mumma Day!!!!!!!!!

 

The number that finally ran

As soon as I saw the ad for the Kantipur half marathon in the papers one morning, I knew I was going to participate. Quickly, I recalled my unfortunate incident from last year – “The number that never ran”;  however, I had already learned from that silly mistake, and I was certain that this time, I would run and finish the race.

At two hours and fourteen minutes, I crossed the finishing line. I had done it. Completed the entire half marathon. Ideally, I would have liked to crossed the finishing line around the  2 hours mark, but anything under 2 hours 30, I was taking it. After crossing the finishing line, and once the initial excitement of crossing the finish line had subsided, my thoughts went back to how far along I had come. A year ago on this day – I was fumbling through the dates, and was realizing what a blunder I had made. I had unfortunately not been able to run the half-marathon as I had planned on February 2016. Since then, I had kept running and had completed a half-marathon on November 2016 – my first ever. I had taken three hours and twenty nine minutes to complete that one. However, that was on a different terrain and was more of a trail run, but the Kantipur marathon had been my first proper street half-marathon.

My mind goes back to the day when I missed what was supposed to be my first race and was livid with myself. Now that that I have completed the race one year later, I realize that this event how different the outcome had been from last time. Now looking prospectively into the future, this accomplishment gives me further encouragement to continue running.

 

 

Conquering a different demon

After almost a year of planning, preparation, and training the day I had been waiting for finally came. In between there had been two injury layoffs, but on the day of the run I had no injury concerns. I was ready for the long distance running session albeit only for the “half marathon”. I had originally wanted this run to be a marathon but instead chose to enroll only for half-marathon as I did not feel quite ready for marathon. Nevertheless, I was excited and rearing to go.

The date 26th of November, the venue- the hills of Kakani and I was running 21 kilometers. Days before as I was enrolling I had asked the organizers if the run would be on flat land or would we encounter hills and trails? They laughed at me and said you do realize we are in Nepal, right. I did know this but I was only hoping for the terrain to be a bit merciful. However, regardless of the terrain I was ready to go conquer the 21k.

On race day I felt ready and my gut instinct told me I would be able to see the finish line. I did not know what was in store for me during the race, that, I would have to find out as I ran. Before the start of the race I got the chance to meet a champion runner Mira Rai, which in itself was quite a moment and she even wished me luck. J  And then the race began at 10:00 in the morning –

 

The Start

I got off to a fairly decent start, I knew I had to manage my pace and race management was the key. This was my first ever half marathon, but my months of preparation had at least given me an idea that I needed to plan this race. It would only get tougher as the race progressed that I constantly told myself. Also, I kept on telling myself that if I start to compete with others then I might as well throw the towel in. I mean I really wanted to get to the finish line in about three hours that was my primary target. In other words I was telling myself to run my own race and not be concerned about what others did. I managed to stick to this idea and though I felt I was getting overtaken left, right and center, I stuck to what I had to do. I got through the first check point at 1.3K without any concerns and forged on.

Then the race took a turn a different turn as the track converged into a narrow trail. Surrounded by trees the trail was a great place to run and it provided cover from the sun, but since the trail was narrow and slippery. Honestly, I did not like running on such a trail especially because they were slippery, also I was weary of the narrow trail because I was concerned for my ankles. I have twisted both my left and the right ankle in the past year. The left ankle suffering a ligament tear back in December 2015 had kept me bed ridden for almost a month. So, I treaded very carefully, watching my steps and not trying to run very fast. The steep climb and declines also made the trail even tougher and it was best to go slow. I did try to keep a decent pace and had to constantly tell myself that I would not do a leisurely walk. Even, when I did walk on the trails, I tried to make sure that I was walking a decent pace. Then came checkpoint two at 6.2K and it was time for some refueling – biscuits and water.

 

The middle

The legs were feeling it now and slowly they were beginning to hurt. I had gone past 7kms and during my practice runs the most I have gone is around 10. I was getting to a point after which I did not know how my legs or my body parts would deal it. Then came check point three at 9.3K, I remember volunteers clapping and encouraging the runners, this and the biscuits were really helpful. I made sure to also hydrate myself and set forth again. I was beginning to believe now and I felt I would be able to finish the race and in a good time, maybe even in less than three hours. And, then again the track changed and this time for worse. The volunteers pointed to the left and as I made a left turn I could see a climb but I had no idea how long the climb would be. It seemed to go on and on and there was no way I would be able to run. I could see other runners also struggling on this climb and they were walking. I started walking too but made sure I kept a decent pace even when walking. I did not want to walk gingerly and look like I was struggling although my legs and back was hurting by now. I had practiced in the streets of Kathmandu and this terrain was different and tough. But, at least I had trained and that counted for something. So, I pushed on and climbed, expecting the climb to end soon but it did not. It felt like it was never going to end. Just when I thought I saw an opening to a wider track and downhill, the climb on the trail continued. Then the sign showed up – 15k. I was elated at this sight, just 6 more kilometers to go I thought but I had no idea what was to come.

 

The Conclusion

I was past the 15k mark now but I felt as if my legs were giving up now. I could feel the pain on my left knee on my every step and my right thighs were hurting just as much. Every time my feet landed I felt as If I would twist my ankles. I started getting more concerned about my ankles now. The more I thought of it the more close calls I got. Couple of times I did get those narrow shaves. Whew!! I would then say that was close and I walked on. I was not able to push myself to run now and inside my head a demon was growing, constantly telling me what if I am not able to finish this? I had planned my race right, I had not overworked myself and it was not as if I was exhausted but it was more a case of my legs giving up and even more, my head was buying into the idea that my legs had run their course.

I was now really struggling and so I made sure that I was looking behind me and that I gave way to the runners behind me when they got close. And then a group of three running in a line came close, and as I gave way, this one guy in the middle just says “Come hop in the running train. We will do this slow and steady.” So, I got aboard and hopped on the running the train and behold I was able to run again. It was not brisk running but more joggers pace but at least I was back to running and suddenly I was not concerned about my ankles. I just tried to stick with the running pack and matched their pace and surprisingly I was able to keep it up. In the way we also made others hop on the running train and this formula worked. It felt good to motivate one another and running like this helped. At the end of the day for all of us it was more about being able to finish the race. We got to the 18k mark and then it was time for some granola bars, biscuits and water. We got going on and now I knew we were close. I did feel I was tiring out now and so I backed up a little bit, but now I knew I would finish this race, thanks to the running train that got me through the little mini rut I had been in after the 15k mark. I forged on slowly and though the running train went on without me, it had served its purpose for me. I would surely be finishing the race.

There was one final climb which again was long and tough. Once, this was done it was running to the finish. The 21k had been done and the demon conquered. It took me 3 hours and 29 minutes to finish the race, a bit longer than what I had expected but I did not care. I was happy to finish the race, under really tough running terrain.

 

My first ever half-marathon.

 

 

When I have nothing to ramble about

As September draws to a close, I suddenly realized that I had not posted anything on my blog. I can make an excuse and say I have been busy ( which I have) for not being able to post anything this month.  So, here I am trying to scramble in one post before September ends. Sitting down on my desk I ransack my head for stuffs I want to write about, I come across none. I should rather say I come across too many things, but I want to write about none.

However, I have to and so I decided to ramble on about having nothing to ramble on about or should I say ramble on about having a lot to ramble about but not wanting to ramble about them. This post might be confusing, ambiguous, unstructured and jumbled up but yet it serves a purpose- a great purpose in fact (now that I think of it). It keeps my blog updated and keeps me in track for that one post a month target I have set since last November. My older post in the past served this purpose too but this post does it better – as it does just that one specific task.

There might not be a lot to take away from this post ( I doubt if there was anything to take from my other posts) for the readers, but again for me – worth its weight in gold. Maybe I am over-exaggerating a bit here but hey, I am just rambling on. “Ramble, Ramble, Ramble, Ramble On and On.”

 

How I quit smoking?

quit-smoking-illustration-man-speech-bubble-telling-angry-cigarette-character-cartoon-41247975.jpgOn July of 2015 I decided I was going to quit smoking. After more than a decade into smoking I was finally ready to call it the quits. However, this by no means was my first attempt. There had been numerous failed attempts in the past. This time, I felt more ready than ever, and was more determined to do it. Now, more than a year later I can safely say I am no longer a smoker, and that smoking and cigarettes don’t entice me either.

As a former smoker myself, I am aware that many smokers want to call it the quits. However, I also know from my past experience that it is a tough ask, and I also know from experience that it is not impossible.

I want to share my experience so as to encourage myself never to smoke again, and also hope that my experience can be helpful to anyone who is looking to quit smoking.

So how did I really quit smoking –

  1.       Deciding to quit

quit smoking

First and foremost, I just decided that I had had enough of it. I wanted to smoke no more. I wanted to be able to run and play without running out of breath 30 seconds into starting those activities. I wanted to get rid of that constant smoker’s cough (many smokers will be denial regarding the smoker’s cough, but get real).

Like many smokers out there I too have had experiences of deciding to quit many times prior to this. I, however, wanted to really do it this time around.

  1.       Research and a perspective change

After deciding to quit, I jumped into researching all the benefits of not smoking. The findings were very uplifting and I wanted to experience the benefits of not smoking.

060412_1252_ChangeYourP2.jpgUpon my research I also stumbled upon a perspective. This perspective suggested that instead of seeing my past failed attempts of trying to quit smoking as failure, I should rather see them as gained experience. This new found perspective encouraged me, and I felt confident enough that I would be able to quit this time.

  1.       Getting hold of the mind

“Mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” says Robin Sharma, and this quote holds true when you are trying to quit smoking. Smoking, like any other habit, is hardwired to your system because you have done it for so long and quitting will test you physically and mentally. Research shows that it takes around three days for your body to throw out the nicotine present in your system. After which you are no longer physically attracted to nicotine present in the cigarette, and then starts the nicotine withdrawal effect. This withdrawal effect is made worse by the ongoing mental challenge. The mind is a tricky little bugger and it’ll say things to you to get you back to smoking (it did for me). “Just one cigarette,” it’ll say; other times it’ll be like, “you’ve gone clean for a week. That’s something – just one cigarette now. It’ll do you no harm.”  The key is to stay strong-willed and to not let the mind overpower you. Slowly, the voices will die down. The physical as well as the mental addiction will eventually subside.

This is not by any means an action that happens overnight, and as with any other practice, quitting smoking also takes time. But if you stick to your guns, the urge to smoke will eventually disappear.

  1.       Putting them running shoes on (being a freak)

As I quit smoking, I wanted to give myself more reasons ( as if I did not already have many)  to not take up smoking ever again. So, I put my running shoes, on and started to run every day. With no deliberate smoke ingestion, I was able to run without getting the wind knocked out of me in thirty seconds.  Running brought a breath of fresh air into my life (literally). I began enjoying pushing my body to run 3 miles at first, eventually followed by 5 miles, and even 10 miles

.running_cartoon-300x229

Finally,

  1.     Started reading

Also, as a smoker, I know one of the times when people smoke a lot is whilst waiting for someone/something. I used to do it too, but then I found a better thing to do- i started reading instead. I started carrying a book with me everywhere I went, sometimes even in my mobile device. So, in order to curb that urge of smoking, I dove into the books. Eventually, the urge always died down minutes later.

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When I started running…

The many health benefits of running are known to both runners and non-runners. However, there are certain experiences that can be only noticed only when one starts to run. I have been running every morning for about six months now (barring the time when I have been injured), and it has benefited me in numerous ways. In addition to the obvious health benefits, running has introduced me to new perspectives. These are the perspectives I want to share –

  1. The world don’t matter

When I first started to run, I was very self-conscious about it. I would get the sense that people who were watching would judge me if i didn’t run in a certain acceptable way. But soon I began to enjoy running, and I loved doing my weekly 5 miles. On other days, a 3 mile run would suffice my appetite for running.  The more I ran, the more I loved it, and soon I was not self-conscious about whether people were looking or not. Nor did I feel obliged to run in certain style. I would sometimes take huge strides while running;other times, I would run just on my toes. Most importantly, I did not feel the need to run in the conventional style as long as I was running sincerely and honestly and doing my allocated miles for the day. At the end of the 5 mile run, I punched the air and then punched my chest (Djokovic style) in delight. It did not matter who was looking – I was having fun the right way, and that was what mattered.

This perspective was an eye opener and it brought about this mindful awareness. The important thing was to be sincere, have fun, and the rest didn’t matter. It also occurred to me then that:

  1.  People don’t have the time to sit there and watch what you’re doing. Everyone’s is just as busy in their own lives.
  2.  If people do make comments, feel privileged that they have time to look at you in their busy lives. You don’t need to oblige, or listen to every comment.

 

2. Every run is different from the previous

When I first started running back in November 2015, I could barely run 3 miles. I would be out of breath, and catching my breath would take time. The more I ran, the better my stamina became, and I was able to run 3 miles with ease. I soon started doing five miles every weekend, and again, to begin running five miles was tough. I was able to complete my first five mile on the first try, and since then have completed many more five miles. There was one stark discovery though – Every day, when I set off to run the five miles, I would have doubts.  I eventually have always finished the five miles I have started, but during every start, my mind has had doubts. I have come to know that every day is going to be different, and just because I have done the five miles previously, I can’t take it for granted. I have to motivate, re-motivate, and re-re-motivate myself during the runs. A small variable change – the wind, the temperature, the sleep I had, the shoe, the feel in the legs could very well change the entire pattern of the run. Every run, thus, becomes different from the previous.

The idea is to stay vigilant, to keep myself motivated, and just like the run, everything that you start is achievable.

  1. Life is a marathon, not a sprint

I know this is a cliché, “Life is marathon, not a sprint,” but it does hold true. When I first started running, my objective was to run a full marathon. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do that. I might have at least participated in at least one, but well, that number never ran. But as I do my five miles and sometimes close to six miles, it dawns to me how tough a full marathon would be.  The distance of an official full marathon is 26 miles which is at least four times more than I normally run. It takes me roughly around 50 to 55 minutes to do five miles, and if I ran at the same average pace, it would take me nearly 3.5 hours to complete a full marathon. This is if I can maintain the average pace, and we know the body tires, so taking that into account, it would take me around 4 hours or more of running to do a full marathon.  That just puts everything in perspective – running a marathon does not happen overnight. When I first started out saying I am going to run the marathon, I had no idea what I was talking about. But now that I run, and have experienced the effort that goes into running, I can understand the effort it takes to run a marathon.

A humongous task like running a marathon cannot be achieved overnight; it takes time. It takes training, eating right, and mental strength to achieve the distance. I have not run a marathon, but even with all the training that goes into it, when it comes to the real deal, many falter. Running a marathon in many ways does sound like what life is. You can be prepared for it, but yet, life brings about subtle variable change to always challenge you.

At the end of the day,this is the beauty of both life and a marathon – to be able to overcome and complete challenges one after another.

 

Intensity beats extensity

My latest endeavor sees me trying to get in touch with various people, converse with them, and get a perspective of how they view life. These people that I try to get in touch with all made some sort of connection with me. They’ve either inspired me, motivated me, or just made me feel good about being a human.

Today, I got to meet one such amazing human. I had written to him few days back on his Facebook page, and he had agreed to meet me. I was absolutely delighted,  Raghu Aditya was going to be the first person I was going to meet for this new project of mine. I came to know about him about a month back whilst going through an article on M&S. Right there and then, I wanted to meet this amazing person.

The article is titled “Friend of the furred and the Feathered”, and the first few line aptly conveys who he is and what he does.

Raghu Aditya has devoted his life to bettering the lives of animals, so much so that he is willing to put his life on hold for the sake of theirs.” – M&S

We sat on this elevated platform of  Krishna Mandir, Patan and he shared his insight, and his outlook on life. Initially, there was a just that bit of silence, and I said him “I did ask to meet you, but now that I am here, I don’t know what to converse about.”  To which he replied, “It’s okay. We need to enjoy the silence as well. Occasional silence is nothing to worry about.” This has  to be one of the most poignant moment of the conversation, as it made me feel easy, and I was not bothered by any occasional silence that crept in later on.

I was really eager to know what  got him to start caring for the animals. He recounted his story of how he used to not be as kind to insects as a kid, and his father told him that those insects felt as much pain. Upon knowing that these insects felt pain, he decided to not take part in such activities. This childhood awareness got him to being the person he is today.

“Animals understand the basic language. Not justdogs, but every animal and birds.” he said. “We just have to be patient enough to learn it.” he added. He then exemplified this concept by saying when talking to dumb people using sign language, if one is patient enough to learn the sign language the conversation will get better and surprisingly the dumb person will seem interesting. However, if one loses the patience, then the person able to speak will not find the dumb person interesting.”All animals understand love, compassion, and kindness. You just need to be patient enough to learn it., and when you do you understand love –  non-judgmental  and pure” he says referring to love he gets from the animals.

As, we conversed  we touched on the topic of choices and our many interests. “What seems like many things right now may not be many things.” he said. Giving his own example he told me, he himself had a lot of things, but now connecting the dots he looks back and sees they were all related. His love for animals, his passion for music and other things. “Intensity beats extensity every time” he quoted.

By this time we were sipping tea that had been brought up to us by a local vendor. After we were done with the tea Raghu asked me if  I wanted to join him. He said he had to check up on a dog who had had an eye surgery few days back. I agreed and followed him, and very soon saw a dog lazily sleeping. Raghu approached him and called out “Lucy” upon which the dog excitedly started wagging. Raghu checked Lucy’s eyes, unfortunately the injury had not healed and it looked as if the stitches had come off. Raghu made few calls and applied ointment to the dog’s eye and we left.

By then it was time to go home, and as we bid goodbye, I was mightily pleased having met Raghu. I feel privileged to have had the chance to meet him and converse. I am glad I wrote to him and now we are “Strangers No More”.

Raghu’s message is simple “I am not a vet, nor was I trained to do this. But if I can do it, we  all can practice the act of kindness in our own community.”

 

Life’s sweeter without the added sugar

About a month ago,I decided to give up eating sugar (sucrose) for the next month. My decision was influenced by a video I watched on Youtube. Not the greatest place be influenced from, but I was, and so I set forth on this challenge – No Sugar for a month.

By no sugar, I meant I wouldn’t be eating table sugar or any product that had additive sugar. I also wanted to do this challenge because for the past year or so, I have really focused on running and fitness overall. And one of the fitness mantra (after having done the workouts) is “NO SUGAR”. Cutting off sugar means cutting off a lot of unnecessary calories and replacing them with much needed calories required by the body(at least this is what I think).

The first two weeks were relatively easy. I sometimes had the urge to eat chocolate (of which i am a big fan), burgers,carbonated drinks and other sugar laden edibles, but I refrained. I stayed true to my words for the first two weeks without much discomfort.

And then, on the third week, as I woke up one Monday morning, I had a bloated stomach. Not having sugar was supposed to make me lose weight, help me get those shredded abs but it had just done the reverse. My tummy was bulging out(so it felt), and I was feeling lost. The following days got even worse – my digestive system was all out of sorts. Those awful burps and gaseous tummy made my third week tough. I did not know what caused this and then it struck me “Does that have something to do with me not eating sugar?” And so I googled. And presto! There it was – “Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms”. This self-diagnosis made me feel a bit better, and after having talked to my friends and loved ones, I was sure that my change in diet was the reason behind my digestive system disarray. I wondered if i took sugar would the queasiness go away, but i did not want to. I did not want to falter after having gotten this far, and with only one week to go did not want to eat sugar.

And, I did not – I went four weeks without eating sugar. The sickness has disappeared and I feel fit and healthy. I have started running again after my mini-illness had prevented me from running for three days. I won’t lie: I can see the abs getting a better shape.

Above all, I have started eating a lot of fruits. In my attempt to stop eating sugar I have turned my attention to fruits that provide me with necessary sugar and a lot more. I have stopped eating a lot of sugar laden food – meaning i have cut back on a lot of junk food (if not all). And I intend to maintain this diet – No sugar.

It thus, would be fair to conclude “Life is sweeter without the added sugar”