Day#2

Hi folks!

Here is yesterday’s infographic. I had oats and coffee (breakfast), chicken soup and apple (lunch), and pulaav (masala rice with lots of veggies) as dinner.PicsArt_1415852530229

I could not perform my usual in the gym yesterday. I think a change of diet is taking its toll on me. Perhaps my body is adapting to the new diet. So I have decided to go a little low on the workout (generally I do cardio, weight training, stretching and certain yoga positions)

I hope things turn out well!

Day#1

Happy to complete day1 of the YOS diet.

I had sugarless french roast coffee as breakfast (had to rush for a quiz :p ), ‘raita’ for lunch (not a very big fan of curd asPicsArt_1415765496665 the main dish, but as I had bought it with lots of effort at 7:30 in the morning; I did not waste a single drop of it 😀 ), munched on an apple and had a delicious rice recipe cooked by a close friend who had dropped by and took pity in the effort I will have to put in to cook dinner for myself :p (God Bless Him 😀 ).

I continued with my gym routine albeit I was feeling a bit tired today. Burnt off 400 cals. I also moved on to doing weight training with a total of 20lbs.

Hope I am making progress! Would love your reviews, comments, suggestions and wisdom!

Have a good night folks!

c25k Update!

Hi folks!

A quick update! Since the past few weeks I have been trying to regain my lost level of fitness and I have finally managed to achieve it. I am running 5 kms every session of gymming. My primary goal to do this was so that I could be active enough each day to be fully functional with just four hours of sleep. I am happy to tell that I am managing to do it fairly well.

So what next? Well of course I want to keep getting fitter. Therefore, I am opting to eat healthy on a student budget. Any foreign student who has done or is pursuing masters understands the concept of shared cooking and splitwised groceries. Well, my housemates decided to go the independent way today (an opportune time to switch to healthier options while my friends are planning to go on the GM diet :O ).

So my plan is to maintain a blog journal of what I am eating and how much I am working out so that we can track my progress on a weekly basis. I encourage people who have any scope of switching diets to join me as the suggestions that I am getting is from legit source (CEO Yos Forever).

The plan starts from tomorrow! I am super excited!

Lets do this! B-)

Beginnings at New York City

New York Festival of Lights

Captured by Shishir Banchhor

Hello people!

This happens to be my first blog from the United States of America.The gap in my writing (despite your mails) has been so long that most of you won’t call me a blogger anymore. I apologize, my excuse being that settling in a city so far away from friends and family is not an easy task albeit the city happens to be New York 😀 . However events from the past few days have shook me and are compelling me to look beyond the deadlines and the general mastery of academic material. Its compelling me to look for fulfilment and excitement.

Two things have hit me last week.

A friend of mine was talking enthusiastically about the best places to eat, the best cars to own, the best places to see, the best  interview questions and the best experiences to have after we had recently witnessed the Festival of Light at the archway under the Manhattan bridge and I wondered why these things haven’t been exciting me since the day I came here. I wondered how close I have moved to being dead. The absence of adrenaline rushes while I am in my prime age in a city that stubbornly refuses to slow down happens to be a recent development as in India I had never experienced such scarcities. NYFOL took me high, after weeks and weeks of efforts to keep up with the deadlines.

The other event happens to be catching up with an old friend of mine who also happens to be the CEO and Co-founder of Yos Forever. A few hours with her reminded me that it is as essential to enjoy the process of working as it is to work hard at your job. She and I have also entered into a project about which I will share in my upcoming posts.

The whole point of writing this blog is to get my fingers into shape as I will be doing a lot more typing here. Tonight I vow to pump in excitement, happiness and fulfilment in my life through whichever means possible. I will share the things that might be useful for others.

Apologies for absence.

Hope you are having a great weekend!!

Love

Snigs

😀

NEVER A FINAL GOODBYE

(In celebration of the rituals at Mandakini Bhawan)

 

You do the things again and again, things that you did everyday, in the hope that it will last a little longer but it never does. You will go through the same routes, the same roads, each time with fewer friends, having said goodbyes to your dearest ones not a very many few hours ago.You help them pack their stuff, drag it all the way downstairs. Certain things, certain memories are found in the cupboard buried deep.

You try very hard that the realization does not crash upon you.You push it away, not wanting to acknowledge that you can’t run to the rooms where you always found solace, tight hugs, Korean songs ( :p ), maggi, your stolen slippers, solutions, comfort, inspiration, motivation, a shoulder to cry on, gossip, jokes, incessant giggles, magazines, catalogues and much more because those rooms are now only empty shadows of their owners, friends you know by heart. Infact, you can’t bear to look at them. You hate the realization that the people who allowed you to make a home, away from home, are finally leaving you forever.

You weep because a little bit of you is going away with them. You cry because it’s not the ending you want. You make relationships, deep ones, the kinds you never had before and you let it run its own course; never thinking that you leave all of this in 4 years.

You realize that that extremely significant but small time was never enough and you crave for the companionship of the friends who loved you, teased you, fought with you, driven you mad and made you fall in love with them again.

You wonder whether in the coming years you will receive just as much love, laughter, motivation, songs, fun, fame; as many countless acquaintances, juniors, seniors and adorable friends.

It hits you that your entire lifestyle is being snatched away. You can’t rush to a specific room when your coffee runs out or when you have some indigestible news. You cannot run to your friend’s shoulder crying after a movie because only she understands that you are made that way. No one will come to you late at night just to get a hug and some inspiration. Nobody will feel comfortable in your messy room like your friends. Nobody will feed you, walk in scorching heat alongside you, lie for hours on mats in the corridor in humid summer just to enjoy the last days of an era.

After a few days, you contact them again. You find the same comfort, the same soothing voices, the same excited chats. You make yourself believe that nothing has changed even though everything has, because there is a certain ease there. You are scared to say goodbye again because you must believe it’s not the final one. It can never be. It never will be.

Vows in the Soil

The footprints had been made into the soil with turmeric paste. The Gods were being invited. The shehnai-vadaks were calling out to the heavens creating the most blessed sounds. It seemed as if they were enjoying a duet with the mighty Goddess ganga who was hopping along a rythmic gait. Today she was not fierce. Today she was calm and happy, content to be a mother, gratified to love her children.

The banana leaves in the four directions ensured that no evil spirit would linger near. The smell of the wet soil infused with the smell from mango flowers. The sky resonated the celebration and reflected back a golden-orange. The sun was bidding farewell, smiling in all its deep-red glory, making way for the stars. To match the occasion, Ganga wore a golden-red dress too, shimmery and silky. The moon bowed from the horizon. He had been waiting for 28 nights to shine upon the ceremony, upon the ganges, upon the mandap with all his handsomeness.15b10-shehnai_player

The pandit poured ghee into the crackling fire to feast the gods and goddesses above and then, he summoned the bride and groom.

This was not the big fat Indian wedding; there were no huge beautiful tents and fancy chairs but there was a rugged threadbare carpet striped maroon and black. There were no posh cars parked around but perhaps some bicycles. The feast in the afternoon did not have ‘chhappan bhog’ but the best halwai from the village had come, serving jalebi and rabri in ‘kulhadds’. It was not the most expensive affair in the city but was happily paid by those who had been saving up for this their whole life. The celebrations were not pretentious, they were pure.

The bride had donned a rich red lehenga decorated with gota and was walking slowly towards the mandap, her payal singing anxiously. She had grown on the banks of the Ganges and had always trotted faster than the river but not today. Today she was neither as confident nor as sure. She felt only the shehnai understood her. Only the shehnai could convey what she could not, the joy of finding a new life and the sorrow of leaving the old one behind. She took small steps, ‘alta’ flowering in her feet, heena flowering in her hands.

The village girls however, stared shamelessly at the groom clad in a shining white dhoti. He singled her woman out as the chinks of her payal rhymed with his heartbeat each time her feet landed on the uneven soil. They had never seen each other before yet they believed in one thing; this was meant to happen, they were meant to embark on this godly journey together. She had prayed to find her ‘Shiva’ and the goddesses had answered. Sitting by the holy fire, his torso was sheathed with a very thin layer of sweat . His well-built, muscular hands and chest glistening. Finally, the bride was seated to the right of the boy. Every time the pandit asked them to hold each other’s hands, currents ran through their veins.

As they began to circle the fire, the pandit recited the holy vows but they made vows of their own. He vowed to make her the dream in every dream he will ever have. She vowed to love him with a gentle strength as Ganga loved her shores; supporting him, shaping him, inspiring him. He vowed to love her fiercely as he loved the fields he ploughed all day to keep them green; vowed to keep her full and abundant. They vowed to partake the adventures of making a family and of raising one too. He vowed to want her and worship her as the keeper of his family and she vowed to worship him as the keeper of her house. They vowed not just to grow with each other but toward each other. He would be her wind and she would sway with him like a pliable tree. He vowed to be tougher on the plough and ever more soft on her. He vowed to bear more calluses and more blood on his feet for her and she vowed to let her hands burn day and night over the ‘choolha’, all done with a contented smile. They vowed to love each other’s spirits and demons, fears and hopes. They promised over the soil in which they had grown up, a promise too divine to be broken.

The feast of the Gods was over, the job was well done. They smiled down at the mandap, satisfied to see two souls they had crafted for each other, vying to be the one true happiness of each other’s lives. The shehnai no longer sounded wistful. It blowed raag bhairavi out to the universe, to welcome a new dawn, a new day, an exciting beginning…

 

The article was sown by Ustad Bismillah Khan’s Raga Shankara (The Eternal Spirit)

CB JUNKET

Trekking up the mountain in a light rain, the first thing I did after changing into my pyjamas was badgering Ravi (our caretaker at the resort) to provide me with some paper and a pen. Yes, I was cold through the bones, I was shivering and asked Bankoti to lend me his socks because I had forgotten mine at home, I just felt that this one time, I must go for it right now.

Finally, after settling 30 odd people into their rooms, he gave me a drenched piece of paper, a very old diary and a neon green pen. By then, I had already put 3 cups of steaming hot coffee into my tummy and had sung a plethora of songs on the two guitars. Under the same hatch, a couple (foreigners) were really amused to see the ruckus we had created there in a matter of minutes and were throwing furtive glances at us.

As Ravi finally gave me my stuff, I quietly withdrew from the group and started looking for a lone spot. I picked my favourite and went there to write only to find that Sangam (my junior) was showing off freezes and teaching mild lessons to his juniors. Three weeks back, a writer friend of mine texted me, “What’s wrong? No updates on Learner’s Pen? I have been waiting forever to read them”. Since then, I have been truly wanting to write something but couldn’t find the motivation to do it. However, here at Binsar, I felt the strongest pull ever to scratch the pen on any paper I could find.

Maybe it was not the amazing setting, it was my 30 odd friends; maybe it was not the light cold breeze and the smell of the mountains, it was the guitar; maybe it was not caffeine, it was the merrymaking all around me; maybe it was not the beautiful trees and the chilling cold, it was the freedom I felt after such a long time. So I sat down on the stone slab and glanced at the view in front of me. It was one of the best I had seen in all my life.

In front of me for around 20 feet was a bed of mustard blossoming a lovely yellow, beyond that was a small cliff and then the ranges started. It was after sunset, nearly twilight and the cold stone table was making my bottoms go numb but nothing could distract me from the majestic wonder I felt. I widened my eyes to absorb everything in front of me – a small range of mountains in the shade of dark green followed by a range of dark rich brown followed by a range of deep cobalt blue; then another; coloured light, happy denim blue and finally the last range playing happily with the clouds in the shades of powder blue and white. The last range kissed the azure and grey sky which had patches and blots of gold, red and orange.  As the sky was turning darker, stars lit up, both in the sky and on the mountains.  A slight mist was descending and due to the rains earlier, the needle leaves were glistening as if to invite me to touch and caress them. I was roped into the charm of colours and I was furiously writing to capture the landscape. Just then, the best male vocalist I ever had the privilege to know came down with his guitar and we started singing our favourite CB songs as he worked his magic on the strings. I was blowing off steam into the star studded sky twinkling right back at me when we were called back for the bonfire.

And then it started, our entire batch dived into nostalgia and we started performing our most famous stage acts for our juniors’ benefit who had never seen it live. Within an hour, my batch had their last four years of life, growth, emotions, gratitude, wonder and inspiration stretched in front of their eyes and they grew quiet as the thought of leaving it behind began to sink in. As the troop descended to the dining hatch, I fed a morsel to every kid with my hands. As I looked at my first-years, I couldn’t bear to think I just had 2 months left with them. They looked so young, so innocent, so loving, so full of life. You could almost feel that they had a lot to say but were hesitant.

Then started the work of my department: washing and cutting 5 kgs of chicken with Shivam in the freezing cold. Wierd as it may sound, it was a relief to put my hands into the warm water turned deep red 😡 The chicken was put to marination as I joined my friends dancing, singing, playing, talking, teaching, cooking and barbecuing. I need not describe the rest. You can yourself imagine what happens when huge speakers, the most creative and talented people, the best singers, the best dancers, the best actors, the best drummers, guitarists, the biggest zehreele (people with an expertise in p.j.s) get together. The trip drew on and we went trekking, bathing in the falls, singing, playing, laughing and posing.

What I can tell you however, is that living and breathing in the company of the most talented, creative and hard-working people on the campus; lying on a friend’s shoulder while watching over the valley; watching 3 years younger kids mimicking you; having all-girls sleepovers; watching love-stories blossom in front of you; taking care of each other; being loved; being fed by your friend’s hands; remembering how you were 4 years back and laughing at yourself, how much you have grown since you first came to college, how much you have groomed yourself and possibly others, how much you have allowed your friends to change you; learning to dance better; to sing better; to write better; to work better; to study better; getting inspired with every move your bureau-mates make; to teach them and groom them; to be taught by them; watching each other get better at everything, finding relationships for life; the feeling of belonging to a community that always inspired you; to give back to it and prune it according to your versatile learning; to watch respect for yourself in your junior’s eyes are one of the biggest privileges of being in college.

When the trip was coming to a close, the final year members were making speeches and everybody was sentimental, one of my batch-mates whispered,”Tonight, everything would end”. Maybe he was right, or maybe we still have roads to fare together, nobody knows. I looked up at him and asked “At no other institution we will spend as much time as we have spent here, does that mean we will never find better friends?” and he said,”our perspectives are solidified now, so most probably not” and I looked at the bus, at the family the 12 of us had grown together, and tears welled up in my eyes… I smiled, grateful, that all of this happened…CB Batch'10Dedicated to Himanshu, Nikita, Aditi, Gurpreet, Kritika, Nikhil, Sachin, Shradha, Monica, Saurabh and Naina 🙂