Return of the Cycle

Cycle in the mountain

I was a big time cycling enthusiast during my college years. I continued to cycle to work during my first jobs but had to  give up cycling when we moved to Mumbai after marriage. Kids, jobs, transfers and business managed to keep me away from my favorite sport for about 13 years. For some reason, even after all this time, the dream of cycling did not abandon me. It just sat there patiently in my heart waiting for the time when it could rewind. That day came sooner than I had imagined when a good friend introduced me to Cykul. I was literally jumping up and down with excitement after placing my first rental order for getting my first cycle. In my heart, I knew there was nothing stopping me from hitting the roads again. I could cycle again. I could fly again. I was free again.

The cycle was promptly delivered to my doorstep (with a safety helmet), while I was still at work. I could barely sit at my desk the rest of the evening, itching to hit the roads. By the time I wrapped up work, school homework and bed time stories it was 9:30 PM. Was it too late to step alone into the winter evening? Would it be safe? I pushed the fears aside and took out the cycle from our ground floor parking and onto the road. As I settled onto the hard seat, I felt oddly uncomfortable. My back arched and my butt ached. The handle bars seemed so far away from my arms. This was not what I had imagined in my mind. I had assumed that I would be able to fly right after pushing the first pedal down. But that had not happened. I labored with each push of the pedal and my breath was soon heavy. My lungs wanted to burst from lack of oxygen and my arms ached trying to control the heavy handlebars.

I realized I was sooooo out of shape. Even though I managed to cycle around the neighborhood for the next 30 minutes, I realized the dream of flying on the cycle would need more work than I had originally planned for. I had to sadly accept the fact that even though I could still feel and behave like I was 16, my body was definitely not there, anymore. It needed lot more work to get in shape before it was light enough to fly.

I woke up the next morning with a stiff back which got worse over the next few days (even though I had not dared to take out the cycle again). I could barely walk, leave alone think of cycling. The constant ache made me realize, for the first time in my life, how it feels to be sick over an extended period of time. The back was finally cured with some specific yoga exercises and thankfully I am back at a stage where I can finally run my normal day.

Even though I am fine now, I am not ready to step back onto the cycle again. Today, I placed the request to return my rented cycle. I am not sad. I am not happy. If anything, I can say I am more determined to pursue my dream of flying more than I have been before. The whole experience has taught me that my body is really growing old, quickly, and I need to intervene quickly before it gets too late. Oh! How far I have come from the days when I could go up and down mountains without breaking a sweat. One day of cycle ride has been like an Assessment Report with a big, fat, red color F written on top of it! I might have failed this time, but I am not ready to carry this failure forward to the rest of my life. For the sake of this F, I will need to get back in shape soon.

I write this blog today, to publicly declare my failure and my resolve to turn this failure around. For those who believe in New Year Resolutions, this is my promise to myself for the coming year.

I also write this blog today to share my experience with middle aged youngsters, like me. Most of us are focused on keeping our mind healthy and growing, but we lose the focus on working on our body. Since we started our lives with a brand new healthy body, we just assume it is going to stay the same way. The irony is that as the mind grows each passing day, the exact opposite is happening to our body. If we want to have the slightest hope of physically keeping pace with the speed of the mind, we need our body to stay young.

I am thankful for the accidental F in my life for this realization. Given this realization, my only wish for all my friends and family for the new year is a happy mind and a healthy body to go along with it.

 

Law has to be Blind but Humans need not Be

Photo Courtesy: Huffington Post

As the whole country seethes with anger on the release of the juvenile, I feel anger and frustration rising too. I am a woman myself and a mother of an innocent girl. But I am sure, it is not just women like me who are seething. I am sure men of all ages and caste are furious too. We all know that if there was ever a man who deserved capital punishment, it would definitely be this Juvenile.

Alas, I was once a law student myself and I understand why Lady Justice has a cloth tied on her eyes. A law is a law and has to be upheld unless the basic facts of the case are changed like that done successfully by Salman Khan. I give complete credit to Salman Khan for teaching us an important lesson. “We cannot officially take the judiciary for a ride. But we can officially change the facts associated with the case, one by one.  Once all the facts are changed, the law will deliver the justice you want it to deliver. ”

Going by this learning, if we really had to ensure that the Juvenile was sentenced to a more serious punishment, we should have officially changed his date of birth. With just a little collaboration, we could have made anywhere near 25 years old. Sigh! But we did not do this in time.

Anyhow, I have still not lost hope of having this Juvenile being awarded the punishment he deserves. The good thing about this decision is that Judiciary has freed this animal from it’s own protection and delivered him to us, the people. He is ours from tomorrow. So what if he has a tailor shop to eat food? It is we the public who have to still enter that tailor shop and give him business. The only thing we need to know is the name of this Juvenile and his Huliya (body description). Let us plaster this face and name all over the country to ensure that not a single soul shows him mercy. We do not have to castrate him or even put a finger on him. If we boycott him together from our society, he will die the slowest, most distressing death that a man has known.

Justice would truly be denied, when we, as a society, fail to do so. Justice will be denied, if we let this Juvenile get back to a hope of a normal life. Justice will be denied, when we sulk inside our homes and let this animal run wild, violating any one of our daughters. The Law can free this animal but the Law cannot force the public to accept this animal as one of us.

My humble request to anyone reading this blog. Please share the name and photograph of this beast. Let us jointly make him more popular than he is right now.

Photo Courtesy: Huffington Post

My Husband Lost his Wife to an Alien

Aliens and Us

A good friend sent a message late yesterday night with a simple line, “We are pregnant!” followed by, “I need to speak to you!” My heart swelled with pride, love, joy, gratefulness and every other positive emotion that is humanly possible. From this first sentence on, I knew he got the whole thing about pregnancy right. He didn’t say, “She is Pregnant!”. He said, “We are Pregnant!”.

While on the face of it, some folks might think that men don’t really have to do much with pregnancy but the fact is that they actually contribute equally to the whole thing, literally and figuratively speaking. Just as an example, most lucky men have run out of handkerchiefs, patience, money and the biggest of all – time with their wives, by the time pregnancy draws to a close. This is when, they realize that all their hard work to create and get the unknown creature into the world, actually culminated in the unknown creature (hereinafter referred to as the “Alien”) possessing the mind, body and soul of their, one and only, wife. The sexy partner that they once knew could now only serve the purpose of a fat, milking cow who was either feeding, sleeping or crying 24 *7 * 52.

Jokes apart, being a two-time mother, I know what it takes to go through the pregnancy and the first six months of child care. No matter how beautiful it feels, it is physically and emotionally draining. Under the circumstances, women tend to get a lot of sympathy and support but no one really turns around to look at the Father. I have never really been a first time Father myself, but I can imagine how it must feel like. You are as alien to this new born creature as it is to you. You have not had a decent night sleep in months, but you are still expected to work hard during the day  and earn double the salary, as you now have an extra mouth to feed. You can never differentiate between the zillion of reasons why this Alien keeps relentlessly crying. But your wife can decipher the exact reason just by listening to the sound of one cry, even when she herself is in the shower. Yeah! there is a code language somewhere in between there, which only the Alien and your wife can understand. In before alien times, you would have hugged and confided in your wife about how helpless you feel. But now she doesn’t have a second to hear you, leave alone see you cry. Congratulations!! You won a baby (oops Alien I mean) but you just lost your wife in the process!

This blog is, therefore, dedicated to all Dads who once upon a time, had a wife. I know being a Dad is as difficult as being a Mom. Being a Mom, you are responsible for the welfare of the children. But being a Dad, you are responsible for the welfare of the Aliens as well as their Mom. You have to watch out for the entire clan and keep it safe. Being a Dad, you are an equal part of the miracle and you should keep it that way. So yes, “Congratulations once again to both of you on being pregnant!!”

One solid advice that I can give you at this stage is – Like all other Dads, out there, if you cannot defeat the Alien, join the Alien and you wife on the journey to the Aliens planet. On this planet, things are pretty simple, yet miraculous. The biggest rewards for hours of hard work are simply given in the form of a “Burp”.  Smelling, feeling and dissecting Poo Poo is considered part of a days job. When the Alien goes to sleep, you can actually feel the time stop still. And if you haven’t really found the purpose of your life, as yet, chances are you will discover that as well on this planet.

P.S – It has been two and half years since our latest Alien inhabited our world. Honestly speaking my husband is still fighting a losing battle trying to find any remnants of his once wife clothed under layers of motherhood.

Walking With You

HCL0023

Each night I walk alone under the star lit sky

The black road beckons and the breeze whizzes by

My heart is full of music of years gone by

And dreams of future waiting for you and I

 

Then, one day, you decide to join me for the stroll

I share my music and you hug me close

We stumble upon feet and are close to a fall

We poke, we push and we laugh aloud

 

Oh! Why do you need to walk with me?

Oh! Why do you need to slow me down?

Oh! Why do you make me stumble and fall?

Oh! Why do I still love walking with you?

The World is a Place to Find Yourself

The Journey

I was born with a disease which can prove to be a big deterrent in ones journey towards exploring the world. Thanks to this disease, I used to dread stepping out of home, into cars/buses or planes. If there was no choice and I had to travel, I had to plan meals and backup options, days in advance. During the dreaded journey itself, I used to try and sleep for as long as I could. God forbid, if I was awake even for a while, the attack was just seconds away. Simple as it may sound but those who suffer from this disease can easily relate to how miserable it can make one feel. Fortunately for me, today, I am no longer ashamed or sorry to say that I suffer from one of the world’s most common disorders, “Motion Sickness”.

Thanks to this disorder, for years, I have preferred to live my life in the small confines of my city. I have made myself believe that waking up at odd hours and staying away from my children would have never excited me. I have concluded that I have a beautiful life and it wasn’t possible to make it more beautiful. Nonetheless, in spite of my hatred for travel, I have been forced to endure it, sometimes for work and sometimes on the insistence of my husband, who for some surprising reason would still prefer my company than any of the most handsomest of males we have in our team.

I started my latest travel for work, 2 days ago. As always, I was complaining and trying to find a way out of this travel. But alas there was nothing more important, than the travel itself, that came up and I forced to fly. This time, the one thing that made me look forward to travelling was the fact that in addition to work, I could spend some cozy hours snuggling in the blankets at my Moms house. In spite of the winter chill, Delhi was warm with the hugs and love of friends and family. Good food, shopping and working made the days just fly by. As I sat down in the taxi back towards the airport, I realized travelling was not that bad. It had actually been fun.

Chugging a heavy bag full of goodies from my mom, I thought I had never felt lighter in life. I was slowly starting to enjoy travelling. Each new place with its new weather, food, people and discussions offered me a tweeny weeny new insight about myself. At the airport, I managed to peek into all the shops and smile at all the sales people offering goods I didn’t need but I still wanted to touch and feel. I checked out the clothes of men and women, trying to guess where they came from – Hyderabad, Mumbai, Calcutta or Raipur? As the transfer bus halted to a stop just near our plane, I mused at how everyone jumped towards the bus exit. What was really the rush to get out from one cramped transport into another? I guess that just rushing from one moment to another moment gave humans an innate sense of purpose. The fact that we are busy forces us to believe that we must have something really important to do with our life. So what, if we don’t know what that purpose is, right now.

I am happy that I am one of the last few to board the plane. I am in no rush. I am pretty sure that the crew will not leave a single passenger on the tarmac. Finally I manage to sit down comfortably in my airplane seat (luxuries of having short legs). To my delight, I am surprised to note that I even have live entertainment available in the domestic flight. There are two young girls just on the seat behind me and I am forced to listen to their conversations. I cannot help but smile throughout the journey. Through their vivid narration of their lives, I get to live the experience of one of theirs first kiss and her breakup, one month, thereafter. My head reels a little as she quickly moves from one sweet boy to another handsome boy in quick succession. When her friend asks her what would be the foremost quality that she would want in her husband, her prompt candid response was “Rich”. The airplane ride is bumpy and the pilot has put the seat belt sign on. I am not worried about landing safely. I know the pilot will have to worry about that. The only worry that I have on my mind  today is trying hard enough, so as not to turn back and look into the eyes of this little girl.

Travelling, in a way, simplifies life. While we might be worried about catching the flight and reaching the meeting place on time; thanks to travelling we manage to distance ourselves from the larger worries that we live in our homes day in day out.

The more I see outside, the bigger the window in me becomes

The farther away from home I go, the closer I feel to it

The more love I carry, the lighter my heart feels

Life after all is a journey wherever we might be