In India, from childhood itself, we are taught to, and diligently follow some traditions, like for example touching feet of elders to get their blessings. Touching the feet of elders is an age-old Indian tradition that is considered to be a mark of respect. This gesture can be seen in almost all Hindu families, both in India and abroad. In our culture, living with parents and grandparents, even after we get married is not a taboo or a social embarrassment; it teaches us that just like our parents took care of us when we were babies and helpless; it is our duty to take care of our parents or grandparents when they get older and helpless. It’s a very closely knit culture which essentially teaches the importance of living harmoniously in joint families under one roof sharing responsibilities towards family, children, spouse and society. Personally, I consider it to be a blessing to be born here, and, a bigger blessing to be a daughter to my parents. I call myself extremely lucky and rewarded to inherit the upbringing, values and love that I have procured.
In some parts of India, the birth of a girl child is not welcomed. Right from her arrival, she faces discrimination, humiliation, and oppression at every stage of life. When it comes to healthcare, education and growth opportunities, she is at times neglected because of her gender. For me, being the middle child and a second girl child, not even once I had to think that I was neglected or ignored or my brother or sister were given more love and attention than me. We were all loved and cared for equally with the best education, lifestyle and values. In a world where disputes within the family are common, siblings fight and sometimes don’t even talk to each other for years, increasing domestic violence, and many other family issues, I consider myself to be truly lucky to be born in such an amazing family.
Now many of you would tend to believe that living with parents invites a truck load of restrictions. However, believe it or not, we had none; my parents blindly trusted us. Their trust was a big responsibility on our shoulders and we made sure to carry it gracefully. We siblings never even fought within ourselves, and till date we share a harmonious bond. My Dad was the bread winner of the family and Mom is a housemaker. And trust me when I say this, being a housewife is a tough job. Mothers work 24/7, 365 days a year. My Mom played the biggest role in keeping my family intact, healthy and always loving. When we come home, our first question always is “where is Mom”.
My Dad made sure that we never lacked anything. When I first started working, my Dad set up the entire foundation for me. But he didn’t give it to me on a platter; he made me earn it and work hard for it. I wasn’t allowed to sit in the boss’s cabin unless I had a meeting. I had to sit with the other employees and learn the tricks of the trade from grass root level. I was put on a payroll, and my salary would be deducted even if I didn’t come to work for one day. In literal terms, I was the boss’s daughter for name sake, and, was treated just like any other employee. My Dad always told me, “I educate you’ll not for you’ll to show off or misuse your power. But God forbid if ever in the future you’ll have any problem, you’ll do not have to beg to anyone but can stand on your own feet.”
Throughout my life I have learned “living life” by observing my parent and learning from their actions. Recently I was telling a friend, that the apartment that I live in, neighbors and/or other building people constantly sulk about little things like why is the dog roaming in the building compound, why is the car parked here, and are never content with the goodness god has given them. But, never in my life have I seen my parents fighting or sulking on anything. Infact, their attitude has always been “it’s ok. We will talk it out and try getting a solution.” Even when I first broke the news to them about my separation, they heard me out first, schooled me in private, but stood rock solid with me in private as well as public. They tried everything to work things out, but unfortunately, some things are not meant to be. In spite of not being dog lovers, and, opposing my decision to have dogs, they never took them away from me. In fact, now that they want me to settle down again, they are searching for a suitable partner who is a dog lover as well. This reminds me of the time when Casper was ill; my mom kept praying for his good health, my brother left his work and was with me all the time to and for Casper’s vet visits, my dad travelled back to Mumbai to help me out with Caspu’s treatment. And when Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, it was the first time I seen my Dad crying like child. My Mom was inconsolable and my brother, he was lost for 2 days. I couldn’t believe my family loved my dogs so much.
Even today, I live alone, but I never feel alone. My parents always make sure I am fine and lack nothing. And my younger brother, who has fulfilled all the responsibilities of an elder brother is always on his toes if I need anything. I still remember that night soon after Casper passed away; I was home alone, lonely and depressed and the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, it was the Pizza delivery guy and he handed me 4 pre-paid pizzas. I was confused as to who ordered for me. And then my phone rang. It was my brother who had ordered my favorite pizzas for me as he knew I must be down and out. Even when I was having ugly fights with my husband during separation period, my Dad and brother stood below my building for 4 hours just to make sure I was not physically hurt. I can actually write a book on things my family has done.
Apart from this, my Mom played a very big role in my life. Honestly, I just didn’t complete my graduation but became a double graduate with a Lawyer’s degree only because of my Mom. Her words, “if you don’t go for your exams, they will fail you. Rather go, attempt your paper with whatever you know and then fail. Don’t fail without trying.” And you know what, I passed all my papers. My Mom is my best friend and I can share anything with her without hesitation.
I would just like to thank my family for all the love and care they have given me. And also tell everyone, respect your parents and love them. Without them, we are nothing. Never complain about what your parents cannot give you; It was probably all they had. Parents act so strong in front of us, that we often forget just how fragile they are. From parents we learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. NEVER give up your life over a broken heart or failed relationship. Your parents didn’t sacrifice their life to see you hanging one day. I am the biggest example. Live and love. Don’t look back on what you lost, but look around and embrace your parents smile for you.
You know what I breathe these days? FREEDOM! You know what I feel these days? FREEDOM! You know what I sense these days? FREEDOM! Freedom from the emotional block, freedom from the physical block and freedom from the legal block.
Freedom in any case, is only possible by constantly struggling from it. And I did for Seven and a Half Years. Last week was a hell of a week. I had two major events happening; Firstly, Junior’s health had gone for a complete toss! He was throwing up, and, almost collapsed. I had to get his blood work done which turned out to be all normal, but he didn’t stop throwing up and started palpitating. The Vet suggested to get his Heart Study done. To say that I was petrified would be an understatement! And. Secondly, in the middle of all this stress, I was also working on legally releasing my personal block which I was stuck in for many years.
It is said one should not worry too much as they are usually heavier than one’s own weight – Junior’s Heart Study came out to be absolutely fine, and, he had suffered from acidity which has mellowed down too. And, I am peacefully, officially, and legally, happy and single again! In all these events, I realized one of the biggest truths of life, i.e. The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear. The best feeling in the whole world is watching things finally fall into place after watching them fall apart for so long.
I read somewhere, “You have to make sure that you have someone by your side that wants to be there. Someone who wants to support you, and encourage you. Someone who gives you just as much effort as you give them. Because there are difficult things in life, really hard and haunted things that make it heavy and hurtful at times. But LOVE should not be one of those things. Love should hold your hands and help you brave those storms. So please, just don’t give the best parts of yourself to someone who doesn’t see the value in what they are receiving. Don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t look at you and know, WITHOUT HESITATION, that they want to stay.”
I completely agree with the above. I wasted so many years of my life trying to convince people of my worth, and love, and, in the process, lost my self-respect, and, developed trust and overthinking issues. It is a torture, literally, to live everyday thinking about not knowing where you stand in a person’s life. After my divorce, I finally broke this mental, physical and rusted chain. Love is not bad, people who do not know how to love are bad.
Even though I have always been a strong woman, but this freedom indisputably feels different and distinctively type of strong. It is liberating. Yeah! Single again and this time, without compromise. Yes, I paid a heavy price for this. To be a single good mother to my dogs while my heart was breaking was one of the hardest roles I have ever had to play. I learnt about the strengths that I didn’t even know that existed in me. And also learnt about the pains that I didn’t know that existed.
In my 7.5 years of separation, I faced a lot of struggles. From riches to rags, from a happy couple to a heartbroken timid girl, from going on holidays together with our dogs to single handedly managing meagerness and the fur babies. And in all this time, I did have support from family and friends, but the battle was within, which no one could do anything about but me. Even the men I met only added to my misery and left me all the more heartbroken.
But today, I am in a much better place and stronger than ever. If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello. Life after divorce, “it is just getting better and the only way is up now.” Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
I do not advice divorce to anyone. If you think there is even a percentage chance to work on it, then please work it out. But if you feel that it is draining you more than giving you peace, then walk out of it. One of the courageous decision you will ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul. I lost and found myself a couple of times in this process. But it’s really ok – This is called healing. I stopped looking for happy endings or sad closures. Now I will only look for New Beginnings. The only way is up, and I am never looking down or back.
I have already started getting unrequited advice from people to remarry and settle down. It’s ok, because I will only smile and agree with them, but will date or marry someone only when I find the one for me. For now, my baby Junior is in good health, I am liberated and positive and will not let anyone mess with it.
If anyone going through a divorce, remember this – you will be scared in the beginning, but eventually you will know that everything happens for a reason and the reason is always good. Burn your fears and face it head on and set yourself free. Trust me, divorces are also made in heaven. The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it. Fall in love with yourself, fall in love with your career, fall in love with the nature and then fall in love with someone who also falls in love with you. Rescue yourself, unlock the fears and set free. One bad chapter doesn’t mean the end of life. And never give anyone the satisfaction to see you suffer. Stay strong and positive always. Cheers!
Few years ago, I contemplated with the idea of taking Caper and Junior to the beach for a photo-shoot. I was a little intimidated with the whole idea as I had never taken both of them out to the beach all alone. Hence, I requested my brother and cousin sister to come along, but, neither of them had any kind of experience with handling one dog, let alone 2 extremely hyper dogs! After weeks of planning to do a photo-shoot with my dogs and contemplating whether I could take them outdoors or no, we finally decided on a day and went on for it. Gladly, I didn’t cancel the plan out of fear of handling Casper and Junior alone in public, because after a few months, Caspu passed away.
It was a Sunday morning that we had finalized for the photoshoot. My cousin sister is actually a photographer and also a dog lover. She was the best of whom I could think of to capture our moments. My brother joined us to ensure we were safe, and, also helped take care of my dogs as he knew that Casper and Junior would take me for a complete ride, and it would be difficult for me to handle them alone.
The day came and 7.30am we reached the beach. The beach wasn’t much crowded, just a scattered few individual jogging or doing yoga. There were a few who had bought their dogs for walk. The weather wasn’t very hot as winters had already started. All in whole, it was extremely calm and serene and in fact a great day for photography. Within minutes of reaching the beach, both Casper and Junior went completely ballistic, and, started running like maniacs. I, to be honest, wasn’t exactly confounded by this behavior of their; Mumbai being a thickly and cramped city, we do not get any open space for the dogs to play around. And this was their first time at the beach. They were more than delighted.
It took me sometime to calm Casper and Junior down before we could actually start clicking pictures. For a safer side, I had made them wear a collar and a body belt. They were on a double leash and I had carried two separate leashes as well. Yes, I was paranoid……hahaha!
Once they were pacified, we started with the photoshoot. And to my marvel, Casper and Junior posed like Vogue Cover Page Models. An anxious morning turned into the most amazing morning of my life. The sound of the waves, the cool breeze, the crisp sand and two big calm dogs. I would have stayed there forever! My cousin could capture so many beautiful pictures that it was incredible.
After the photoshoot, I had become so confident that I even let Casper and Junior go into the water. And they were splashing water, digging in the sand and savoring like little babies. I believe, it was the best day of their lives too. They even played with other dogs there who had come for a walk. I had also taken a ball for them to play with. We stayed there for about an hour and a half as Casper and Junior were then exhausted. If anything in the world I would ask for to God, it will be to let me live that day again with my dogs. We sat in the car and reached home and I immediately took Casper and Junior for a bath. After bathing, they had their meal and slept right away like babies!
I am so thankful to my cousin to click these pictures for me which is a marvelous memory of lifetime and grateful to my brother to join for our safety.
You can checkout her excellent photography skills on Instagram (link below).
I would like to share some tips with you’ll if you are taking your dogs to the beach. Hope they are helpful.
If you notice your dog panting or vomiting or excessively drooling, abort immediately and take them to the Vet at the earliest. This could be due to overheating and they can collapse.
Bring plenty of fresh water for them and a water bowl and offer refills liberally.
Carry a toy like a ball or Frisbee.
Take breaks. Let them calm down and then play again.
Don’t let them too deep into the water. Carry a life jacket.
Never take puppies under 4 months to the beach.
If you have a hairless dog, consider making them wear a t-shirt.
Leave them off leash only if they have a solid grasp on the recall command. Carry a long leash instead. It gives them freedom of movement and won’t be out of your reach too.
Discourage your dog from drinking sea water.
Carry a big towel to put it on your car seat when returning home from the beach.
Give them a bath immediately after reaching home.
If it is a hot sunny day, protect his paw and be careful of the sun stroke.
And last but most important tip, click a loooooooooooooot of pictures. Always remember, the most memorable days usually end with the dirtiest clothes (yes, we do not mind dirtying our clothes for our dogs). Sometimes we will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. These memories are all I have of Casper and I will capture as many memories as I can of Junior. Because memories never fade and a picture is worth a thousand words. One day, our tears will dry, smiles will also fade, but these memories will always stay. So click as many pictures as you can, Cheers!
Today I would like to take you’ll through the picture gallery of beautiful Kenya.
I always thought, what fun in seeing animals? But when I went for the first Safari in Masai Mara, I was amazed to see all the animals roaming freely in their natural habitat and we humans were confined to our cars.
Apart from animals and safaris, Kenya is a beautiful country with amazing hospitality and trust me when I say this, I had the most delicious vegetarian food there.
I also seen many other animals including the famous White Rhino which is no more now. I travelled to Sweet Waters, Lake Nakuru, Mt. Kenya Club, Aberdare, Nairobi and Masai Mara.
In all, Kenya was a wonderful, adventurous and memorable trip.
I am overwhelmed to share with you my incredible, and, almost impossible journey from fat to fit in just 6 months. Why impossible? Because I am a big time foodie. As you can see in many of my posts, I love cooking and trying out new dishes all the time. I wasn’t like this always though.
In my teens, my lifestyle wasn’t exactly healthy; I would wake up around noon and post that, I would freshen up and straight leave for college. Breakfast was always skipped, and lunch was junk food at all times. Ironically, I was super skinny then despite of surviving only on junk and deep-fried food. Then I got engaged, and, married at a very early age, and started putting on weight. In denial, I chose to blame it on the happy hormone, but the fact was, I had stopped caring for my body all the more after marriage thinking “I do not have to impress anyone now. I got my prince charming and it is forever.”
Apart from having a senseless thinking, I had a senseless way of eating too. I won’t be wrong if I say “I just couldn’t stop eating.” From a twiggy 44 kgs damsel, in a matter of just a few months I was 68 Kgs and still gaining, all this at the age of 23 years. From a size 0, I jumped the ladder to a size 12, which was not only physically visible but also affected me medically giving me constipation and acidity. Now, you may be wondering that 68 kgs doesn’t really sound too heavy or worrisome. Trust me, when I say this, it is extremely worrisome! As per my body statistics, my ideal weight should be between 48 to 52 kgs. The worse part was that I was living in complete denial that my lifestyle wasn’t unhealthy one bit, and, I chose to completely ignore the long-term damages.
Then life took a U Turn (as mentioned in my previous posts). I was awakened, and, decided to start working on myself, physically, and, mentally. I was head strong this time, and determined, to get to my ideal body weight under any circumstances. I started consulting a renowned dietitian; the best thing about his diet was that it was more of a lifestyle diet rather than just target weight oriented, and one could follow it even after they have reached their ideal weight. That diet is an integral part of my life even today. I am never starved, I do have my cheat days, and thoroughly enjoy my daily meals and fit life. With the lifestyle change, the medical issues vanished and I no longer have constipation or acidity. Although he is no more now, till date I am thankful to my dietitian for revolutionizing my lifestyle. Believe it or not, he worked till his late 80s before he passed away.
It’s not that that I had not tried dieting before. I had; and miserably failed. My failure was due to being starved which lead to lack of motivation and will power. I would follow the diet for a month, then would return to my old dumb habits. KITO, detox, treatments, etc., you name it.
My present scenario, I am 48 kgs and size 2 at the age of 36 years. I lost 20 kgs in 6 months 8 years ago, and I am still maintained. All my hard work, dedication and the right information is still paying off. What diet did I follow and what exercises did I do? Let me share all my tips with you.
First and foremost, my dietician wrote down a few blood tests to rule out any underlying disease. And just in case anything came up, he would prescribe a diet accordingly.
It is a little slow process for women with PCOD/PCOS or thyroid to lose weight, but not impossible.
Since I had no underlying disease, I was put on his regular diet which included Wheat, Dal, Rice, Milk and looooooooooots of Vegetables.
Never stay hungry for more than 2 hours. Apart from your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, have one sugar free and cream free biscuit hourly.
My last meal of the day, is at 6.30 pm, max at 7pm. Before bed, I have a cup of tea or butter milk.
From the past 1.5 years I have been going to the gym to tone my body. Prior to that, my only workout during the process of losing weight was walking my dogs three times a day, each time for 20 minutes (I am so thankful to them). You can go for a walk for an hour at a stretch too.
Consume a lot of veggies. It will help to keep full, you won’t starve and it’s the healthiest option.
My daily diet:
A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Breakfast.
2 Wheat Rotis + half bowl of Curd + lots of cooked Vegetables for Lunch. (you can modify as per your liking like vegetable parathas or vegetable sandwich)
A big cup of Masala Tea + 2 Marie Biscuits for Supper.
A small bowl of White Rice mixed with Dal and Vegetables for early dinner. (sometimes, you can substitute rice with pastas or sandwich again or dosa or idli)
Butter Milk before bed.
8-10 Marie Biscuits throughout the day.
1 hour of Walk
Since I am a vegetarian, this is my diet. Please do note that I do not have any underlying issues. It would be advisable to get your blood work and other tests done or consult a good dietician before jumping into anything which would be drastic in any sense.
My weight loss not only cured my constipation and acidity problem, but boosted my confidence to another level. Now I love dressing up, I look prettier than before, I look younger than my age, I ran my first Marathon, I am less stressed and mentally fit too. I can work for hours without feeling lethargic.
Weight loss is not just to look pretty. Infact, looking good is just a small part of it. A healthy weight loss without starving yourself will keep you FIT for the longest time and you will not even relapse. By relapse I mean, many people feel that eating less will help them loose weight faster. Yes, it is true, but then you will relapse and gain double the weight of what you originally were. Remember! All the efforts, and, hard work you put in to lose weight, should not backfire by gaining double. It’s the most common problem.
So please, choose a dietitian who will give you a lifestyle diet and not just target weight diet. It has been 8 years since I lost my excess weight and I am still slim, trim and fit.
In Mumbai, it has been raining heavily from the past 3 days, because of which I couldn’t take Junior for a walk. I tried giving him his required exercise and burnt his energy at home only as much as I could. However, we still had a fun week.
While there are people who believe in the paranormal, have you ever wondered whether your dog is able to sense the spirits? After all, canines have extraordinary senses that are much sharper than a human. Since childhood, I have always been fascinated by ghosts. A die-hard fan of horror movies; I have made it a point to watch almost every horror movie in the cinemas. I had read, and heard, that dogs can sense super natural or paranormal activity and was always curious if my Casper and Junior could do the same as well. Personally, I had never faced or experienced any paranormal activity except for sleep paralysis. When that happened to me, first I thought a ghost was trying to enter my body. But after a little research, I realized it was actually sleep paralysis and no ghostly activity.
In addition to the five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing), dogs also possess a sixth sense — in laymen terms, that “gut” feeling we get when something doesn’t feel right. Dogs are remarkable creatures, with senses that far exceed a human. A dogs sixth sense is a miraculous thing, which in itself suggests a supernatural order. The human intellect, however, for all its power and triumphs, is largely formed by this world and is therefore corruptible. A dog’s sixth sense, or intuition is a natural gift! While we humans to a small extent also have that sixth sense, we are usually not so trusting or acting towards those feelings as much as dogs are. Our minds tend to analyze what’s going on, and deny the possibility that something is amiss or is about to happen.
A dog can detect or sense a disaster before it happens; they can even detect an illness in their humans. Casper and Junior, both are so intelligent (I am sure all dogs are) that when anyone is about to come home, they would be at the door some seconds or even minutes before the doorbell rings. As humans, we find it very hard to believe that another animal can do something that we can; even when we see animals doing amazing things right in front of our eyes. For instance, Junior would even know a day before when we are going on a holiday. He would start following me in the house at all times a day prior to our holiday. Dogs can even sense danger, and are usually a very good judge of character. My friend had narrated an incident to me when she and her son were walking home, and the street was kind of isolated. She noticed a suspicious stranger started following her and panicked a little. But just then, the stray dogs started barking and became alert due to which the man got scared and chose to discontinue his intents. On a side note, when Casper was dying, he refused to walk out of the house that day for his treatment. I thought he was scared of the vet’s clinic. But within two hours, he passed. I believe, he had already sensed his end, and wanted to spend his last hours at home, which I did not realize that time. Many dogs, choose to go into hiding right before they are about to die. It is basically their natural instinct which tells that what I coming, and, their body reacts accordingly.
We all know, a dog’s vision, nose and ears are highly attuned and enduring. When they can sense, see and feel so much that is beyond the capacity of a human, then can they see ghosts? Unfortunately, this is one of the many unanswered questions we humans have about dogs. For me, who believes in the good and the bad, God and Ghosts, I will believe that dogs can see or sense the paranormal. It may sound funny, but living alone with dogs, when I hear any sound at night, the first thing I do is look at my dog. If he is relaxing and sleeping, then I go back to sleep without any worry. I distinctly remember this one-time Casper kept barking looking towards the balcony of my house. (I will attach the video also if I find it) We tried to distract him, closed the balcony door, also went in the balcony to see if anything was there and found nothing, but, Casper wouldn’t budge. He continued barking for two days straight and eventually stopped on his own. I have no explanation to this, but clearly, there was something to it.
The book “Tails of the Afterlife” by Peggy Schmidt journals multiple instances of the unexplained actions by dogs who apparently interact with something, or someone, unseen. And supposedly, they are true stories. We see a lot of horror movies too where the dog can sense something not so normal and starts barking or alerts his owners. Though most of the movies are fictional, but it is believed or let me say assumed since many years that dogs can see or sense the super natural or paranormal.
While, there is no scientific proof to whether or not dogs can see ghosts, we all are aware that there are those few things or incident in life which are unexplained. I am not being gullible or trying to spread some superstitious tale, just sharing some thoughts which are definitely to be pondered over. It is said ‘Intuition is the nose of the heart’ – Let’s embrace this mystery and also be alert ourselves as many a times when our dogs are behaving eerie, it could even indicate some health issues in our pets which we may mistake it to “my dog is seeing a ghost”. It’s important to understand that dogs do not generally exhibit signs of illness when they first start to feel bad. It is believed that they instinctively hide their illness as a form of self-protection. After all, we love our pets so much that we can even fight the paranormal for them ;).