CHANGE IN MY LIFESTYLE- Exercising my way to a new life



Going for a preventive health check-up was an impulsive decision last year in March-2012. I was sensing some discomfort in my overall fitness and well-being. Finally, the trend to go for a preventive health check-up caught on me.

I was never so unfit in my life. I have a past of a sportsman. I did some rigorous cycling during my college days. My fitness levels were- weighed 65 Kg (for a 5ft 10 inch height); heart beat in resting stage was 60 beats per minute (indicative of the stamina); cycled some 3000 km in a month.

 
 
Today, 15 years hence, I had enrolled myself (unknowingly, just like others) in the rate-race club. While getting my love was my decision, rest all events in my life unfolded, as if they were freebies with that one decision of mine. However, no excuses on my laziness and negligence. I WAS RESPONSIBLE and I AM RESPONSIBLE  for my health and fitness.
 
 
My test reports were out in a day’s time and was shocked to note that atleast five readings across lipid profile, liver function and kidney function test were out of the normal range. Nothing alarming medically though, but shocking to me personally since my body was expected to work for some 40 years more to take care of seven dependents. Outliers in my medical tests may be acceptable to a statistician and a doctor but no way acceptable to me personally.
 
 
Finally, I had that one reason to stretch myself to come out of self-created web of reasons of not having enough time to exercise. Since that day, I am awake before alarm goes-off on my mobile phone- Good Morning- at 5:30 am.
 
 
I started initially with 2-3 km runs and then exercising at home. I exercised a min of 4 times in a week. First one month was an acclimatizing phase when my metabolism was increased to a level that demanded I ate more and rested post workouts. But resting was not possible. I had to be at work by 10:00 am six days of week.
 
 
I was entering a phase where I needed some motivation to continue my new routine. I tried hard to restrict my diet to multiple but short bites during office hours. I kept narrating my workouts with my colleagues to ensure their encouragement kept me to go-on.
 
 
Then my dream of being back to cycling once again turned out to be a reality. One Sunday evening despite having fever my wife accompanied me to buy a racing bike.
 
 
That night, I could not sleep. I lived through my past life 15 years back, when I cycled. I could not wait for the morning alarm to go-off. First day, I cycled on my new Canondale cadd 8 series was Jun 29 2012. I covered some 32 km at 20.5 km/hr i.e. I took some 1:33:51 hrs to cover the distance. Compared to that, today, I average around 27 km/hr for same distance and same route of cycling.
 
 
Since my first day of cycling, after a chasm of 15 years, I have covered some 3,776 km at an average speed of 26.1 km/hr. I have burnt some 128,132 kcal in total. So after such an effort and with a balanced lifestyle, I do not have the urge to redo my medical tests. I have lost some 12 kg of fat and reduced waist size from 38 inches to 33 inches.
 
 
June 29 2013 was the first day of my workout recorded on the sports-tracker app. Today, I covered 48 km on same Gurgaon-Faridabad road and despite being a humid and hot day was averaging 26 km/hr.
 
 
I aim for competitive cycling now in my age group. I am assured that I have managed to change my lifestyle permanently but will not take it for granted. Today, I can cycle for some 40 km in morning and still me active through out the day. I have the luxuries to break rules of a controlled dieting over weekends. I sleep deep and sound. I am happy and less stressed. I have been impressing people around me with my new hobby and fitness levels. My wife is the first one to adopt the new regime in her life as well, easy for her since she has been a great swimmer through out her life. Since then, I have impressed upon my father and my chacha ji to buy a bicycle.
 
 
 
I intend to impress upon others as well- known or strangers- take-up fitness route to life.
 
 

Why will you not fall in love again?

Love is one of the most exploited word in this world. Its understood less and experienced even lesser. Any deliberate attempt to experience it and one may fall flat on ground. Its just like any other emotion best enjoyed when allowed freely within us. However, in our quest to live better we have defined everything quite tangibly in our life and hence the deafness to the sensation of love. Our definitions of happiness and contentment are linked to wealth that we yearn for. We do not believe in giving and being selfless.
 
 
Suchit and Sushi were attracted to each other while they were MBA students at SIMS (Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies). Suchit belonged to middle-class family from Bokaro in Bihar while Sushi was second daughter of a trader from Manali. Both had a very contrasting upbringing. Suchit had that bold Bihari touch  in his approach just like some Bollywood movie in which the hero could romance any girl but the guy who eyed his sister was not be spared.
 
 
Sushi, on the other hand, had grown in an independent family where the mother suffered ill-treatment by her father. Sushi had quite a few males friends since school days. She had grown to talk to boys without any hitch of gender difference and her frankness at times came straight on the face leaving the person (male/female) speechless.
 
 
Despite subtle differences in their nature, Suchit finally fell for Sushi. Sushi got attracted to raw, unpolished nature of Suchit- one who enjoying evening drinks with male friends unlike a chocolate-hero type romancing girlfriends in a hostel room. They had a live-in for a two years before they decided to get married.
 
 
 
After some 5 years of marriage they were still not well settled in a traditional sense of Indian marriage, atleast. Sushi did not want to have kids while Suchit wanted for the sake of his parents. The differences in their approach and behavior towards each other were well known to them. Suchit given his conservative upbringing had developed an insecure feeling about Sushi’s friendliness and openness. He doubted everything that Sushi did but dared never to be upfront about this with Sushi. He feared Sushi’s angry nature and outburst when she did not mind throwing things at him and creating a nuisance. Suchit’s worst fears- What will neighbors think of him?
 
 
On the other hand, Sushi continued to live life independently and kept coming back to Suchit to share special moments. She cared for him a lot- kept her clothes ironed, ensured he had food before he left for work, took care of cleanliness of house and while she pursued her career as well. Suchit had a decent job and would have preferred a home-maker wife but could not tell Sushi to be the same now. So somewhere he was compromising inside. The same traits that had attracted him to Sushi were now not welcomed by him when she is with him for life.
 
 
Instead he was getting attracted to a more traditional girl in his office who was caring the way he wanted. Sushi, on the other hand, was connected to a close colleague in her office. Sushi knew Suchit’s attraction to Priyanka and just wanted that he acknowledged it before her. That’s it. She was ok with Suchit being close to someone else as well. Sushi’s approach was more defined. She still loved Suchit for the all good things and did not mind being close to some one other who had traits that were missing in Suchit.
 
 
Moral: We, in our lives have some traits that bring us close to someone. Same traits may attract some one else to us, as well. What we end-up worrying is about accepting and getting this new relation accepted and defined in our lives.
 
 
So while falling in love is un-avoidable, why will you not fall in love again is a question to ponder upon.

LESSON ON CONNECTING



I woke-up today at 5:15 am requesting my wife (Monica) to help me with a cup of tea. We had tea sitting next to each other in the living room of our rented accommodation. It was dark inside since we had not put-on the lights and daylight outside was dim enough to enter through gaps in curtains covering large French windows behind us. [The gaps between the curtains being analogous to chasm in our lives in the age of Facebook.]
 

 
We started our talk amidst the busy days we lived here in Delhi. This talk was not about daily chores and allocation of daily tasks to each other. It was about the chore of our life- CONNECTING. Monica went onto narrate her conversation with Neera aunty, the day before on phone.  
 
 
Monica knows Neera aunty since she was a kid. Neera aunty is free-thinking, frank, bold lady and loved by a great gentleman- her husband (Goyal Uncle). Goyal uncle is an excellent personality, never demanding on his life partner, worked hard through his life to run his manufacturing unit. His dexterity to handle the frankness and outspoken nature of Neera aunty amongst his friend circle who, at times, use to get offended due to remarks of Neera aunty.
 
 
In last 15 years of knowing them, I never saw Goyal uncle embarrassed by any remarks (rude or any other) of Neera aunty passed amongst his friend circle. The independence, importance and respect he showed towards Neera aunty is to be taken note of by other men. If he sensed some over reaction, he just use to say, “Neera!”, not in anger but a strong tone. Neera aunty in an instant, use to withdraw acknowledging the love Goyal uncle had for her- such is the compatibility when they connected with the world.
 
 
Monica continued, “Neera aunty was expecting us to visit them in Chandigarh and stay with them for a night.” Monica finished her tea and walked to kitchen continuing to talk. I said, “You have been able to build some relations in life that are good and deep and without any pressure to sustain them. They are just sustaining with least efforts and yet getting deep with every passing minute.”
 
 
 Monica said, “You know if I connect, its from heart.” “You have the art of knowing people”, I remarked. “Whoever you feel you are close to in office, please invite them home. We should cook for them and connect with them. We should know them and be close to them”, she said.
 
 
I narrated my attempts (irritating one at times) to influence my colleagues (not all are friends) to do things they love in life. I shared with Monica how, I, most of the times centered-around the importance of fitness, good eating habits, the need to pursue what they like – writing a blog, poetry etc.
 
The comfort and compatibility, I enjoyed with some of my colleagues was shared with Monica. She listened attentively and appreciated. I also shared the complaint one of my colleague had with me- when I was not in attendance to share grief of losing her father.
 
 
Monica now wants to extend herself to connect with them for accepting me the way I am.

 

FEELINGS AND RELATIONS

 
We, in life build relations. Some formed as part of customs and practices (formal ones which we are bound to have) and some formed purely from feelings (informal ones). A formal relation gives us a sense of right whether its a parent-child; siblings or husband-wife to reach out and express clearly what we expect or desire. The only problem with formal relations is that most of us end-up using our ‘Head’ instead. 
 
 
The head builds expectations and directs us to seek what we want rather than what the other person has to offer. Somewhere in formal relations boundaries are quite evident and hence devoid of any freeness and frankness. This may not be a universal truth but this is a normal trajectory for any formal relation in life.
 
 
Sufism- defined as selfless experiencing and actualization of truth– is one such path to forming an informal relation with God with no use of logic and intellect. The only thing that a sufi saint has is his feelings for the almighty. Its all about trust and belief and passion to give and share selflessly. This is a feeling felt from heart and not from mind.
 
 
While we all may not be able to connect to HIM/HER (for God) during our life, we do experience ‘FEELINGS’ for other mortals that are pure, selfless and full of truth. This one special feeling is that touches not only heart but across the whole body. We feel full of energy, excited and ready to let go anything to live through it.
 
Lines from an old Bollywood Movie titled Khamoshi state it very well-
 
हम ने देखी है, उन आखों की महकती खुशबू
हाथ से छूके इसे, रिश्तो का इल्जाम ना दो
सिर्फ एहसास हैं ये, रूह से महसूस करो
प्यार को प्यार ही रहने दो कोई नाम ना दो

प्यार कोई बोल नहीं, प्यार आवाज नहीं
एक खामोशी हैं सुनती हैं कहा करती हैं
न ये बुझती है, न रुकती है, न ठहरी हैं कही
नूर की बूँद है, सदियों से बहा करती हैं

मुस्कराहट सी खिली रहती हैं आँखों में कही
और पलको पे उजाले से झुके रहते हैं
होठ कुछ कहते नहीं, कापते होठों पे मगर
कितने खामोश से अफसाने रुके रहते हैं

 
Since we are used  to formalizing anything that we do in our lives- friendship is the best term to relate to this feeling.
In a true friendship selfless give-and-take happens. The flow of feelings is from both side without any selfish intent.