Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

LifeCycle of “Like”

I met somebody a few days back, supposedly the one who can look right inside you. It’s scary because the layers that you managed to keep for long are now exposed, you feel naked. But we terminated our conversation with a thought of “What I want .”
Ok, so you are asking a woman what she wants. The most learned people have failed to answer this question what will my tiny brain do? He was triggering the most intricate, unpredictable and complicated thing – a woman’s brain.
Before I could think, “what I want,” my mind wandered and thought hard for “What I like ”
Again, a tricky business. My likes have changed so much since childhood that if I start thinking what I like I’ll need a century to figure that out. I like many things. Yes, materialistic too. Oh! Common I am a woman, and I love dresses, that lovely liner, new matte finish lipstick. I’ll surely try to squeeze myself in a short dress and then blame my trainer for all wrong workout.
I am a woman, and I have full right to blame another person for my folly. I am blessed with this power.
Coming back to what I like.
Let me narrate the lifecycle of my likes.
I have always studied in all-girls school and then all-girls college. Somehow I managed to do my post graduation in a co-ed. Thank god, that’s where I met my boyfriend now my husband else I would have never explored my female sexual side.
In my school, I always liked army girls. I was in a convent school which was in a cantonment area, and we had a lot of girls from the army. I used to find it very royal when they came to school in that truck cum bus. That big huge truck, with stairs at the end, driver, and conductor in army uniform, Wow! I instantly disliked my father. I was always a specy girl and always wore huge, plastic frame glasses which used to cover almost half of my face. I never knew life without glasses. So, I liked the girls with big eyes. They had so much drama around their eye movements.
We had Miss.Braganza type of a teacher named as Mrs. D’Costa, oh man! I was in total awe of that lady. Her short skirts, matching lipstick, hairstyle, speaking English with attitude. Wow!
She used to check us; girls don’t’ walk like this, girls don’t talk like that. Wear your skirts four fingers above the knee. You need a bra ask your mom to get one for you. I liked girls who wore a bra when others were just blossoming.
I liked other girls
As I have grown up in a township and you can’t mess around if you are in this kind of a small setup. One naughty business and parents get to know within no-time. In government townships, everything is rank and caste based. Things might have changed now, but back then an official of a general category was respected more than an official with the much higher rank of a SC ST category. We had our own circle based on the unsaid rules. I chose to like girls who used to wear night suits. Why? Because I used to wear nighty. That long tent, which you keep pulling down even while sleeping because mom said, girls should be all covered. I still wonder how did I obey this?
I also liked girls who used to wear jeans/denim. Why ? because I never did. I got my first pair of jeans in my graduation. I used to love the way legs moved in that pair of my dream dress, the curve of the bottom ( covered mostly). I used to look up to girls who wore tight denim in public gatherings. They were real divas for me, and I used to flutter around them just to have a closer look.
I liked other girls.
Then came college. Well ! what new? Girls again. Ah ! I have seen it all there. Lesbians, girls having a crush on me, someone madly in love with me, flirting with only bald head sir (lucky chap, I must say), girls claiming to my elder sister or mother or some platonic connect or just you, and I types to assure the connect. By this time I was like that child who demanded one ice cream when his /her parents were in a bad mood, and they offered a cup of ice cream with multiple scoops. Same was with me. Just too many scoops in my cup, I inevitably burst. I turned a rebellion. The tomboy in me was now up in full swing. But, what I did? Remember I am still at an all-girls college. With so many girls around a tomboy will stand out, and it did. I didn’t like any girl now and not even the boys. Well ! Poor me, where were the boys?

I didn’t like girls.
Finally, during my post graduation, I had boys in my class. I went to the college with a thought that I’ll see all types of superbikes, macho boys, those punches, boys looking at me and I’ll be like that pond’s girl who would enter the class, and everyone turns their head towards me. I even bought the best smelling Ponds talc and Liril soap. I should not miss any fragrance to allure others .
But , what a crash ! Nothing happened. Just nothing.
Why ? I was still a tomboy. Laughing loudly, riding a geared bike, wearing shoes always even with salwar kameez, very short hair. No upper lip or threading done.
I envied girls who wore terrific dresses, had a long mane, had their lips colored with beautiful pink, had shapely eyebrows, nail paints.
Again, I liked other girls.
After the placement, it was a culture shock for me. From a small town to Mumbai. It happened too fast. I was amazed at the pace of this city. Confident girls, moving out even when it was dark, how they snapped at autowalas, managed their way in the train, wore jeans (my dream pair of legs) with a short top (at times cleavage showing too- cheeky isn’t it ) It was overwhelming. I loved every girl in this city.
I liked other girls.
I finally got married to a guy hence was able to prove my fertility and had two kids. Now, I was overweight, sagged skin, unshaped better to say shapeless body, what was once north found the way southwards.
I loved women who got down of the car in their best looks, smelling good, hair in place, clothes ironed, lovely sandals, designer bag dangling on one arm and a mobile phone in the other.The maid was carrying the child and the baby bag behind. How much I dreamt of walking like that with a high head.
I liked other girls.
God I feel is too smart. He might have heard my mumblings and offered me an all-boys family even my dog. Fooling him is silly. My focus shifted to all-boys stuff. Geared motorbikes to geared cycles, all rough and risk-taking activities. I now focus on my biceps than my lipstick shade. I am cool if I have not waxed myself and I have to wear a short or sleeveless dress. I give a damn to “log kya kahenge” (what will people say ). I aim to get super toned abs for my birthday (my mom doesn’t like this ! )I am comfortable in my skin. Those beautiful girls, wearing stilettoes and walking like stilt walker don’t attract me anymore. I love looking at myself and blow a kiss in the mirror. Too-much-self, if you may call. Then please do, who cares.

What I want will take a while to answer but what I like? I like me.
I like myself. Period.

girls

Chin up ,Ladies !

P.C. www.pragatisharma.com

Power a woman holds in her/ P.C http://www.pragatisharma.com

High five to all the mothers!
Remember you are THE BEST.

I was in a workshop when all of a sudden my phone beeped; I had a message from my younger son with all sorts of angry emoji and text stating that I hadn’t fixed the bottle holder on his new bike.I smiled a little, but instantly I thought where I had kept the screwdriver so that I can set the holder once I am back home. The complete boredom of the workshop fizzed away. I knew my purpose for the evening.
How inconspicuous this purpose is, isn’t it? Fixing a bottle holder becomes my purpose. How stupid is that? The purpose is always BIG and something which gives you a feeling of accomplishment once you achieve it, isn’t it? Well, I’ll talk to you about it.

Without beating much around the bush let me talk about some pervasive mental state which many mothers, new or old, working women and homemakers have shared with me and are seeking a way out.
Mood: anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or panic attack
Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Psychological: depression, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Behavioural: crying or irritability
Cognitive: lack concentration or unwanted thoughts
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: insomnia
(courtesy Wikipedia)
Dear mommies, young /older moms / working mothers/homemakers, trust me, there is nothing wrong with you. It is just the horrible hormones that are playing the game.
For young mothers, these can be the symptoms of post-partum depression –which we don’t talk because it is unknown. I have been through a very traumatic phase hence I can relate (with experience but not clinically). For other women, it is mental flux.
We women are born with a trait – “to worry about everything and nothing too.” accept it 🙂
Dear ladies, let me tell you that if you have come out of your current negative state, then no one on the planet can help you until YOU want to do it.
Mark this in bold and put it in the mirror to see as the first thing in the morning
I AM, ME

You got married and changed your surname which you carried since birth (few change their name too), with due respect to traditions.
You decided to quit work in the name of motherhood
You chose to devote all your time and energy towards your family and then give an excuse for NO TIME for yourself
It is YOU everywhere.
But, don’t worry you still have time to take things under your control. Sharing how I fought and may help you too:

1. Think of a purpose each day: When you get up each morning, don’t forget to thank the almighty for waking you up alive.I had a near death experience hence I know what it feels to see the fresh sunlight. Think what your purpose of getting up. How it will be different from yesterday. Extract fifteen minutes for yourself before you hit the bed? Think about your day, not about work but what value you added to your life today. How have you grown as a better human being? Each day has something to offer, it depends on you on how you see it. Give time to introspect yourself.
Think, because thoughts become action.

2. Be a ruthless planner: I was told this by one of my dear friends, “you are a ruthless planner.” I thought over it and realized, yes actually I am a very strict planner. Plan your day, your week and even your month.Get yourself organized. Maintain a timetable of your daily routine like getting up, breakfast, house cleaning, Television, afternoon siesta, everything. For working and traveling moms like me sync your calendar with your children’s dairy and school routine. For instance, no matter in which time zone I am going I always keep a check on my kids and house routine. My alarm beeps as per their schedule, and we don’t miss out on anything.

3. Homemakers to treat their job as a corporate work: I was a homemaker for a very long time and was extremely annoyed with my time management. How to fix this? Treat yourself as the chairman of your household. Now make things run around it. Most important, get ready for office timing, dress up well and not into same boring household clothes. Have breakfast with your partner (on time) and allocate time for everything. You are running an organization where you are the master, manage it effectively.

4. Delegate work/hire help: Don’t try to be a superwoman, if you can’t handle then hire a help and delegate tasks. Get some free time for yourself. Even while at home I had three maids coming over for help, I was questioned this every time. It pinched me purely because I was not earning that time and I thought I am wasting my husband’s hard earned money. But I gulped it the way it came to me. I needed help and it ends there.

5. Your partner is not Gautam Buddha, talk to him/her: We very often miss out on the significant part, “communication.” Men will not understand until you scream and tell them, it is in their DNA while women will want men to understand everything without saying a word, it is in our DNA. So until you express what you are feeling how will your partner understand you.

6. Lift weights: I always find it amusing when women share pictures of festivals, celebrating in full fervor but the same women will never show up for a morning run, walk or yoga with the excuse of “too tired to get up this early”. When you can get up at 4 am at karwachauth, can be so meticulous in your festival then why can’t you be disciplined for yourself. Remember, female body deteriorates faster than a male, you need to take care of yourself without any excuse.

7. Be independent: Don’t depend on husband or driver for small chores. Learn to fix a tube light, gas cylinder, depositing the cheque at the bank, online banking, car servicing, etc . Why only kitchen work is for women while outside kitchen is all men? Learn to do everything. I am thankful to my dad and two elder brothers here who never treated me like a girl . I knew how to change spark plug of papa’s scooter, how to charge the car battery, change the fused tube light, lift my bags , banking errands. Be a help to your partner than another luggage to carry . Share your responsibilities.

8. Be financially independent and occupied : Most homemakers get an allowance from their partner to run the monthly household chores . Start saving that money and term it as your salary . Keep asking for a hike too(Oh ! common we can do this ). Get yourself busy. If not for money but to keep yourself mentally occupied. A hobby class , volunteering , blogging or anything creative , take your pick .

9. Give a big tight hug : Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Hug your children often . It is an excellent exercise to build trust . get intimate with your partner and share a warm hug. Sex doesn’t mean only penetration but cuddling, hugging, laughing together releases same hormones that can give you pleasure.

10. Never sleep over issues : There will be fights and tiffs with children , partner , maids , boss or neighbour but basic rule is – never ever sleep with negativity . If you want to maintain silence and refrain from talking, do it but then find a way to release your negativity. My approach is, I run or lift weights. When you get up the next morning, you should have an afresh mind and a positive outlook towards the day.

I have tried to cover most of the pointers as asked to me but as I always tell myself and to my boys that, “ only hard work and discipline can change your life .”
Discipline your life with one step at a time, and then there will be no looking back. Imagine the power of universe within you. Only you can nurture a living being in you, to give life to the lost sperm and finally shaping it up who everybody later terms as “our” child.
So, dear mommies lift the chin up, walk tall and high, wear those skimpiest clothes, put the brightest lipstick and don’t’ forget to wear your widest smile because it’s your first step towards making the best of YOU.

the-woman-youre-becoming-will-cost-you-people-relationships-spaces-18610596

 

IndiaGate to Wagah Border- Ride for Mental Health Awareness

The two things which I love the most as they let people move forward without any wastage are books and bicycles.

“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in making happen for you”

Something similar happened with me.

The itch to ride

I suffered my first major fall from my bike on 19th March, 2016 as I remember the fateful day of my operation. It was the day when my right arm was operated upon, so as to insert a metallic plate for treating my broken bone. The accident just broke my bone not my spirits, as I was back on the saddle with the support of my fellow group riders after a prolonged recovery. To fight my fear and to face it eye to eye, I rode through the same spot on 5th November 2016. But the fate didn’t want me to defeat my fear this time on the way back a bike banged me from behind. I almost flew and landed with a thud on the right side of the body and got dragged for a distance. This one left me with almost three weeks of limping, bruises and lower back injury. When I look back at 2016, it was a year witnessing some major falls and some painful recovery period too. I was itching to get up brush off the past, and get back on my saddle to ride towards happiness. It was not easy though, the pain and the fear to fall again started sinking in my psyche too.

I was in Delhi for work in January, 2017. It was then that I shared my will to ride again, with my cycling buddies in the city. Passionate people have a different kind of enthusiasm and energy around, which never fails to attract me, so were these  riders and I was already in for a nice, long ride with them. Sai Pratyush ,my rider buddy in Mumbai helped me selecting the best bike for my ride and coordinated with Mukund of Mastermind Bike studio for the right fit for me . But this time I wanted my ride to stand strong for a cause, and I chose ‘Mental Health’ for the same, as it was close to me in many ways.

The three important men (senior and the juniors) in my life came in full support (read hubby and boys). But my little one had some sincere advice to pass on as I buckled up for the ride. He considerately said, “ride properly mumma , don’t’ have a fall this time ”.

I also shared my fear with one who is the force behind me picking up endurance cycling, Rajesh Kalra and as he always says.”Just Do it” and I was determined to DO IT!

Obstacles

It is rightly said, the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. There were few obstacles in our path too, so as to make our journey more glorious may be.  The tougher one came out to be the already stirred jatt andolan across Haryana. We were to pass through the most active belt of andolan (protests). We made up our minds to ride through and take a call regarding the completion as per the situation confronted.

All other obstacles were a passé. I had to face the major one: fear of rising on streets and downhill (courtesy my previous falls). I mentioned this to Saurabh (one of my riding partners) and he assured me that I’ll be fine. I took his assurance.

So, it was all set and I was ready to fly to Delhi on 2nd March 2017.

IMG20170302115342

Bike all packed and ready to fly at Mumbai Airport

Day 1 (3rd March 2017) Delhi to Kurkshetra

3rd March 2017, the day decided for the commencement of our ride and also the day to defeat all my psychological fears. Our ride was flagged off from India gate at 5.30 a.m. I and Saurabh took a deep breath, sat on the saddle and soon we were zooming through Delhi streets. So, here we were riding for a cause and we were enjoying it. The first halt happened to be at Murthal, which is precisely remembered by us for the yummy paneer parathas. Saurabh constantly accompanied me to comfort me against my fear. The weather was pleasant, making our ride an enjoyable and fantastic one. Halting at fields, clicking pictures, interacting with the local people and sipping sugarcane juice helped in smoothing our ride. By the time we reached Kurukshetra in the evening, we were dead tired. A comforting shower helped in relieving the physical tiredness. Yummy Punjabi food satiated our hunger and was a perfect full stop for the day. My inner self was already patting my back and I was thinking, “Yay, I could cycle on the highway. It was a battle which I think I was slowly conquering”.

Day 2 (4th march 2017 ) Kurukshetra to Ludhiana

We started the day at leisure as the distance to be covered was less. As usual we had our amazing paneer parantha to kick start our ride. What we thought to be an easy ride turned out to be the most treacherous one. It was very strong head and cross winds that were not allowing us to pedal ahead. We were pedaling very hard, forcing ourselves to move forward but we realized that we were cycling at snail’s pace. All this made us stop at several halts; we had to continuously sip water, drink sugarcane juice, even ORS (to keep ourselves hydrated). We pedalled with all our might after every stoppage. We kept on noticing the trees on the roadside bending with the winds, which made us realize the strength of the air currents.

Goodness finds a good cause itself, similarly Mr. Karanveer Singh and his group found about our ride on the social media. He and his team greeted us with guava juice and also a lot of encouragement. After battling the winds it was such a delight to meet Mr.Karan and his group.

IMG20170303140614

Mr.Karanveer Singh and his group

We finally reached Ludhiana by evening. Our stay arrangements couldn’t be done due to short notice, but help poured in from all sides. One of my rider friends in Mumbai, Swati Sablok’s father, Mr.Jagdeep Sablok, came forward to help us. We couldn’t thank him enough for the way he took care of us like his own children.

He received us at Ludhiana entrance and then took us straight to a cycling expo. The expo was quite wide spread and as soon as we entered the expo we were greeted by Ludhiana cycling club. We were easily recognized as cyclists firstly because of our attire and secondly with dirt all over us. It was fantastic to meet this super energetic group and all our tiredness due to our ride fighting the vicious winds vanished in thin air (ironical).

We then headed to the guest house to call it a day (a very tiring but enriching day).

Day 3 (5th March 2017) Ludhiana to Amritsar

Our tired bodies rested well and we started early. It was the second last day of our ride, and we were super excited to reach Amritsar. The route was beautiful, while the weather favoured our movement. We had a different zing in our ride today (today being the concluding day). The excitement of completion of our journey, made the hard hitting winds from all directions, quite bearable on this day. We chatted, ate good food, stopped at several places and pedalled faster every time Saurabh chanted encouragingly, “Chal puttar pedal maar”.

An old saying goes like, birds of same feather flock together, may be this is the reason we could get to meet passionate riders like us every time. We were lucky to spot few riders wearing fluorescent orange jerseys riding in the wee hours. We stopped them to inquire about their club if any. They informed us about their club called Jalandhar Cycling Club.

IMG20170305091957

With Jalandhar Cycling Club members

They lead us to Haveli, a wonderful huge open restaurant serving most delicious north Indian food we ever had. The morsels satiated our tummies, taste buds and even souls with their taste. We then bid good bye to them as we had to reach our destination.

IMG20170305100328

Breakfast at Haveli near Jalandhar

 As mentioned earlier too, the vibe attracts the tribe, so were we attracted to so many amazing cycling groups on our way. The experience was enriching as a rider.

 We reached Amritsar by evening and were greeted by the gates of the huge and pious Golden temple. Yes, the long stretch of the ride was over!

We visited the Golden temple in the evening to seek blessings and had sumptuous food at brothers dhaba. As the day came to an end at the peaceful and blissful gates of Harminder Sahib, we were the happiest souls around that day.

IMG20170305191838

For all the blessings at Harminder Sahib

Day 4 (6th March 2017) Amritsar to Wagah Border

The final lap was the shortest, hence we were totally relaxed. We started late and started to ride after moving out of the city.  We drove for a distance and then assembled our bikes to ride towards Attari. As our fate was with us throughout the ride, we met another set of riders from Amritsar cycling club. We enjoyed tea together before heading towards the border. Mr. Harminder joined us to the border, as we approached the partition line we beheld the huge Indian flag hoisting with pride up in the sky. The feelings fall short for words and can’t be ever expressed verbally. While we approached the border, I was overwhelmed with the completion of our journey.

Yes, I did it and we did it !

Take Away

This ride was mind over matter for me. I was able to overcome if not all but few of my fears and undoubtedly Saurabh , my co-rider played a major role in making me complete the ride by his encouraging words. He made me draft behind him when head winds were hitting us , he slowed down with me when he saw that I was exhausted , he did not bother about his strava average but rode along with me irrespective of the speed . I owe you a lot Saurabh !

Excuses come handy but to make things happen what it takes is – WILL

Family , children , home , responsibilities  , social image , duties ,expectation will never leave but to find a way out from all this and live for your passion is the key .

 Get up and move! Do it !

IMG20170306094120

End of the ride ,at the border with India Flag flying with all pride

P.S: Special thanks to Apollo Hospital , Sledgehammer Foundation , RiteBite ,DNA,Poineer ,My Powai for coming in full support in very short time .