Stuff’s been going on

Hi guys, sorry for my long absence. I have been super busy, with work and non-work stuff. My in laws got here a couple of months back. This is their first visit ever to the US. In fact to any country other than India. 

When they reached Newark airport, I was unable to receive them as I could not take a day off from work. I was expecting them to be severely jet-lagged and hoped they would rest till I get back from work. But they were so excited about coming here and seeing their son that they weren’t sleepy at all and started doing household chores immediately!

As this is their first visit, we have been taking them around. So far we have taken them to Niagara falls, all over New York City, Lake Placid and surrounding areas to see fall colors and Bushkill falls in Pennsylvania. This is their last weekend here. Sam and I are so going to miss them😦

At first I wasn’t sure if I would get along with them. This is my first long stay with them. I expressed my apprehensions to my sister who assured me they will be nice as they’re the parents of the nicest person in the world! And sure enough, within the first couple of days itself I started feeling at ease to be around them. 

Amma and Appa are both extremely nice. They love their children (especially Sam, I suspect) more than anything else in the world. Amma is a really good cook, like all mothers are. Sam and I have been very busy devouring soft idlis, dosas, other different sweet and savory south indian foodstuffs that are hard to spell. Appa cuts vegetables, amma cooks, and appa does the dishes, does the laundry and cleans the house. They don’t let me or Sam do ANY work. We have become increasingly lazy and I have no idea how we’re going to get back to all the work when they leave😦

That’s pretty much what’s been going on in the non-work section. Work stuff deserves another post! On a side note, both my sister and my sister-in-law are pregnant😀😀 More babies in the world!!!😀

A surge of emotion

I, like many other Indians, have lamented plenty about the condition of India, the poorly constructed roads, the corruption, the sexism, the racism, the poverty, overpopulation, uncleanliness, and so many more. I used to love living here, and usually dreaded even talking about the moment when we will decide to move back to India for good. Lately though, things have changed. The change is ineffable. I can’t pinpoint what triggered it.

How I realized it –

One of my American colleagues, lets call him DP, recently made a trip to India. He stayed in Hyderabad for about a month except when he visited the Taj Mahal on one of the weekends. When he got back, he made it very clear that he had a terrible time there. He complained continuously about the food there – “Even their breakfast is spicy. Who in the world eats spicy food for breakfast!”; he complained about people – “The men are so touchy feely! I had a tough time figuring out if they’re gay or just have bad manners.”; he complained about lack of women – “I was hoping to find love there. On day one it was clear I wasn’t going to find any (unless I turned gay, heh)” and he went on and on.

Hearing someone else talking crap about my country affected me in a strange way. I found myself getting riled up and wanting to justify every complain he made. Sure my country has its drawbacks, no country is perfect! I found I was getting really bothered by it. I tried to laugh it off when he talked about it with me, but I found it very hard to not snap.

I guess you only realize how much you love your country when someone else criticizes it. I have lately started feeling this dull ache and a sense of longing when I think about moving back. I hope the time comes soon when we take the big step.

The funny part is, Sam used to tell me all along that a day will come when I will want to move back to India. I hate it when he’s right.

Food for thought

“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”

This is one of the weight loss inspirational quotes I have come across in the recent past. I have recently embarked on a long journey. To lose weight.

This time is different from all the previous times I have tried it. True, I can’t be called fat, but I would love to become thinner than I am now and subsequently healthier. A few years back when I was a student, I weighed way less than I do now(around 125 pounds). Now that, for a 5 ft 6″ female is a dream weight to achieve. It is perhaps too skinny as well. 4 years and a lot of food later, I weighed 140 pounds. Then I went to India to get married and reached 150. That’s right, I PUT ON A WHOPPING 10 POUNDS IN A MONTH!!!

My clothes stopped fitting me. I grew conscious of all the fat and started wearing large clothes. My size has gone up from a 2 to an 8 in these 4 years. While I don’t want to go back to being a 2, I wouldn’t mind being a 4. That’s when I thought its high time to start getting into shape.

The next step was to find motivation. My husband is of no help in this regard. He keeps insisting I eat more and more. So I turned to technology. I downloaded an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps you record the calories you consume in a day and the calories you lose to exercise. You can weigh yourself and input the weight into the app and it helps you set a target and advises on calorie consumption and spending. I input my 150 pounds and set a target of being 135 in 3 months.

I didn’t cut down a lot on my food intake, I just adjusted the times of eating and also started switching to healthier options. I also increased the intake of fresh fruits and salads a lot. I started going to the gym regularly. Two weeks into the app, one fine morning I made my way towards the weighing scale with a sense of foreboding. What if this hasn’t worked? I stood on the scale and could hardly believe my eyes. It read 144.6! My happiness knew no bounds. Who knew that making small changes to your lifestyle could make such a huge change! You don’t need to starve to lose weight🙂

I am less anxious now. I know that if I keep this up I will reach my target well ahead of time. I already feel healthier due to all the gymming and eating healthier food. Since I keep my dinner really light I don’t suffer from heartburn or acidity anymore. I am able to wake up earlier than before and my work has also been affected in a good way.

Folks who want to lose weight / become healthier don’t despair! Persevere, and you will definitely win the prize!

A dear friend of mine filed for divorce yesterday.

She had been going through a lot of turmoil in her married life with respect to her husband and in laws. They had sort of formed a team against her since the past two years. She’s been married for three years.

I know her since childhood. I understand I know only her side of the story, but from what I know of her, she is one of the kindest souls I have ever met. That this should happen to her is unfortunate. When she started having marriage problems, I was one of the first people she consulted. As she is in India, I wasn’t sure what advice to give her. I wanted her to get out of that hellhole, but I wash’ t sure if she will find herself worse off due to the mentality of Indian society when it comes to divorced women. At that point I refrained from giving her any advice.

Her parents seemed to want her to bear all the ill treatment she was receiving. “What can you possibly do? You’re a woman” is what they said. She was devastated. A few weeks back we met again, and she seemed very close to having a mental breakdown. All our friends were furious on hearing her story. They wanted her to get out of the marriage pronto. She turned to me for my opinion. Seeing her hapless state, I had to agree with what the others said.

I fervently hope she’s doing the right thing and that she is happier after the divorce. I am sure her family and friends will stand by her and help her overcome the madness that ensues during divorce proceedings. I also dare to hope that she will find love again. It proved as a reminder for how lucky I am for having such a wonderful husband and amazing in laws🙂

The married life

I have lost count of the people who have asked me how my married life is. The answer is, it’s the same as before. Well, almost. Me and the husband had been living together for more than 2 years before we got married. We already had many unspoken agreements on how stuff needs to be done and who does what and when, without having a firm schedule. Whatever needs to be done is done by whoever has the time and inclination at that point in time.

There have been a few changes with respect to the extended family though. Prior to the wedding, they used to refrain from talking to me on the phone too much, as they weren’t thrilled with the idea of their son/brother/brother-in-law getting married to a non Tam-brahm. Also, since they didn’t know we were living together, they didn’t really have a way to talk to me much. After the wedding, all that has changed. The in-laws want to talk to me every single day. They want me to call them on Skype and sit in front of the webcam for a couple of hours every couple of days.

Initially I was basking in all the attention I was getting. But now its kind of getting to me:-/ I am not a phone person. People who know me know that very well. I don’t call people, I don’t answer calls or respond to voicemail. Text me and I will get back to you within the next 10 seconds. But if you call me, I will respond in as timely a manner as AT&T would (which means never, for people who have had the good fortune of never needing to interact with them)

All that is minor stuff. Compared to the in-laws I have heard and read about my in laws are awesome. They tell me everyday to not do a lot of work and remind Sam everyday that he needs to do as much or more work than I do. They take as much interest in my job and the work I do as that of Sam. My FIL in fact is waiting for my app to hit the app store so he can download it🙂 He has already downloaded all the apps I have worked on so far and keeps showing them to visitors. When we were in India, he spent an hour demonstrating some of my app’s features to the next door neighbour who doesn’t even carry a dumb phone. Needless to say, they have stopped visiting now😐

My MIL has always been overprotective of her son. Now that same overprotectiveness has extended to me. She keeps giving us tips to make ourselves healthier. Some of them make sense, others are outright hilarious. I know she means well, so I just nod along. Here are some of them –

1. Sam should NEVER eat oatmeal or anything with oats. It causes impotence.

2. Do not eat pizza. It is made out of pigs.

3. Put at least a tablespoon of coconut in everything you cook (including atta for rotis). Your kids will be very fair.

4. Neither Sam nor I should ever go to the gym. Or go on a healthy diet. (don’t know the reason for this one.)

5. Not to drink any coffee except Udhayam filter coffee. The others have some amounts of alcohol in them.

and so on. Both Sam and I hear these gems of advice and obviously don’t heed any of them (except the pizza one, as Sam has cholesterol)

They are visiting us this September, so I think I will have many more to add to this list by the end of their stay. Stay tuned😀

Catch up

Sorry for the long absence. The past couple of months have been terribly busy. I finally joined my new job. I was very under prepared for what was in store there. I thought I would get time to familiarize myself with the new surroundings and get a lot of time to learn the product and the technology behind it. But no! On my first day itself they put me on the product development team and assigned me a few defects to fix! So for the first few days I was running around and trying to take in as much knowledge as possible. I must say though, things have improved quite a bit now.

Oh, and I got married! The wedding deserves a whole new post, if not a series of posts. It was very stressful, as all weddings are, and also a lot of fun! I spent the entire month of Feb gorging on wonderful South Indian and equally awesome Mumbai food🙂 Needless to say, I put on many pounds (8!😦 )

People have been asking us where we are going for our honeymoon. Well, we really want to take some time off as I have been very very busy the past month. So guys please give me suggestions! We have already been to Switzerland, Germany and France (though I wouldn’t mind going there again :D) A few places that came up during our discussions were –

Peru (Machhu Pichu etc, maybe make a detour and explore a bit of Rio and Brazil)
London (many many friends and relatives there)
NZ (lord of the rings ftw!)
Hawaii (Not super keen, but convince me!)
Cancun or the Bermudas
No vacation, reserve leaves for next India trip
No vacation, enjoy summer in NYC (Sam’s suggestion, Booooringggg)

What do you think?