Tuesday, March 29, 2016

10 things that I learnt from my first ever 10k run

I have been a part of this fitness group on Facebook for over a year. I guess someone added me there. At first, I took it to be just another random fb group until I started getting updates from the group on a daily basis. Somehow, despite being the lazy me that I was, I couldn’t avoid the group posts. Days after days, weeks after weeks, months after months, I would read motivational posts of people talking about their fitness routine, their struggle from fat to fit, and their motivation to all the fellow members for adopting a healthier and happier lifestyle and much more. Soon, it became like a big fitness family in the virtual world connected with people not just from across the country but also around the world.

It was the motivation and inspiration from these fellow group mates that I started slowly and steadily incorporating a walking schedule in my haphazard time table. Gradually, I started jogging too. I ate as much as I should and not more. Never realized when this regular regime turned into a passion. Though I have been away from this adopted regime for a couple of weeks now, I crib and scold myself for not putting behind the lazy me and stepping out in the open. Despite this laziness, I attempted to run a 10k marathon – my first ever this Sunday at Chennai’s Marina Beach.

It is sad to see that such big names were associated with such a horribly mismanaged marathon. Most runners had to make peace with pictures in front of these banners. 

The marathon known as Metro Marathon was an eye opener for a beginner like me in many ways. In this post, I shall elaborate on my learning from this first ever marathon that I ran. To make things clear at the outset, I didn’t run completely rather walked, jogged and ran. As I was doing it after a gap of two weeks almost, it was tough but I completed it.
However, to my utter disappointment, I realized that –
a) The race had been called off in between when all the runners were already out and running;
b) By the time I reached the finish line, it had already been removed and I managed to barely click a picture in front of one of those banners;
c) The medals and t shirts that were due to be presented to the finishers had been cordoned off by the police and only a few managed to jump and grab some of those t shirts and medals;
d) There were no hydration points all through the running track, neither were there any directions or markings about the kilometers that one had completed;
e) Most of us who ran a 10k had ran more than that as the route had been changed last minute and was definitely not measured or tracked by the so-called organizers
The only saving grace amidst all this was that I was not the only one who had been fooled but hundreds of others who had come down from various parts of the city and surrounding areas were left disappointed, dejected and angry. There were many who were frequent marathon runners, but for a beginner like me, it was definitely an experience to ponder over. While I am happy with the fact that I at least finished the entire run, more than 10k (7.61 miles in 1hour 57minutes); there is a sense of disappointment in the way things unfolded at the scene.

Here are my 10 things that I learnt from the first run, and tips for you to keep in mind when you are running a marathon, whether for the first time or otherwise:
1- Check for the organizers of the event. Ensure that they have a good track record of organizing such events in the past.
2- Preferably, register with few known runners or a group. In case, you register alone, try to network with people at the time of collecting the running kit.
3- Prior to Marathon, ensure your strength training and stamina is in line with your plan of action.
4- Keep prepping up for the marathon since the time you register. It could be short runs daily, eating the right food, strength and stamina building etc.
5- Carry your hydration source to the venue irrespective of whether the organisers provide it or not.
6- Wear light clothing that will breathe air in and out.
7- Wear shoes that are meant for running ONLY. Socks too should be of the material that can withstand the weather.
8- Tie your hair properly or use a hairband to keep those locks away from your face.
9- Wear a wristband or carry a small towel in the waist pouch to wipe off the sweat.
10- Do some stretching before as well as after the marathon and eat well post the marathon to supplement the amount of energy that you have spent on running it.

I struggled but overcame - Post for a Contest by Chennai Bloggers Club

I have been thinking of writing for this post since long. But somehow the fact that I had ‘struggled’ and overcame those struggles to reach where I am today made me feel miserable. Not that my struggles are probably the toughest. I am sure many other fellow bloggers, and for that matter, every person has had their own share of struggles, some worse than mine, some better. Guess that’s the beauty of a struggle. It took me quite some time to figure out what has been the most daunting task for me till date. And, have I been able to overcome it?

I don’t know which was harder – to take the decision of changing streams in Class XII, or to take up Journalism in IIMC when I could clear no other exam for a Post-Graduation. Or was it the time when I was well settled in a job, but had to quit and move back to parents because of their insecurity with my relationship. No, may be, it was the time when I wouldn’t find a suitable job and work for peanuts as a Freelancer.

But, I think I can safely say I overcame all of these. I finished in top four in school as I changed from Science to Humanities, with my teachers being a huge support. I finished PG Journalism from IIMC, and got placed during the mandatory internship, at Deccan Chronicle- Hyderabad. I got married to the man I was in a relationship with, and just when things had fallen in line at home for me, I managed to find a job with one of the leading dailies of India.

To say that life that I now lead has been smooth since then would be an exaggeration. This is simply because I have learnt that struggles are not a mere phase, they are a vicious cycle. They keep occurring in one form or the other. The moment you realize you have had enough of it, you are ‘blessed’ with yet another form of struggle. Perhaps the only good thing about these times is that they make you stronger from within but not before they have caused you to emotionally break and mentally insane.

Mine has been an inter-caste and inter-state marriage. We had been in a relationship for over five years before we got married. Love marriages in our country bring with it an extra baggage of tension, trauma and what not. And, unless you have the level of understanding with your partner, you are likely to crumble down to the pressures that surround you. I have been lucky in that sense, I would say. While it has taken time to get used to a new family, new customs, new traditions and rituals, it has also been a journey of new learning about the partner – whom I had known for long. I have had my share of lows and highs, but amidst all those blocks of towering struggles – struggle to balance between both sides of the family, to maintain cordial terms with each other’s parents, to learn to unlearn things that had been fed into my mind since childhood, and many more -  I haven’t overcome but lost my own self. I may have overcome the struggles that are given the form of adjustment in Indian households. In trying to overcome those struggles, I have somewhere lost the path to what I had been years back. I don’t blame others but myself for being the cause of it. Had I not taken the mental pressure of all these petty issues, I would have been saner, calmer and happier.

Then came the little bundle of joy in our lives, which gave a new meaning to the word- struggle. He has taught me what struggle actually means. Till now, I had been so engrossed by the pressures of a family life, handling a new family, working in a new city, managing the house with language as a barrier between the help and me. The little bundle of joy brought with him a different sense of struggle. He ensured I realize what struggle means in reality.

Struggle is not what you perceive as struggle. Struggle is actually a scenario where you are helpless, where you don’t know which way to go, and how to reach your final destination. You are left disillusioned trying to grab hold of whatever little support you can to overcome the moment of exasperation. That is how motherhood has been for me. When I was pregnant, I would try and shun away the thoughts that enveloped my mind, mostly due to the people around me, about how it would be a difficult affair to be a mother, about how I would now realize what pains my parents took to bring me up, and so much more. All the while, I would try and make peace with the fact that – yes, it would be a tough one but WE will manage. Initially, it was tougher than we had imagined. With no support system, it was simply impossible to think or do tasks that would need more attention and time. But gradually, when my mind realized that it is a lone battle between me and the tough tasks that lie ahead of me, I decided to let them be. Thanks to my better half, I have managed to handle the responsibilities quite well. Though, what still remains a far-fetched dream is - a peaceful mind.

I am yet to come to terms with what I really want in life. Now that am a mother, who has learnt it the hard way to balance house and work, and yet is meant to be sane and sound; it is equally important for me to perhaps take an extra bit of effort to push my limits beyond what I am capable of. I guess it is time to discover the long lost me from the layers of Snehas that have developed over the years. I guess it is time to overcome, in genuine, the struggles that have deliberately caught me in the loop. For there is one thing that struggle teaches you- and that is - your struggles are your own, in order to overcome it, you will have to work on it alone. 

This post is a part of chennaibloggers.in - I struggled but overcame contest. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Nimrat Kaur's new short film, Road Trip, leaves a hard hitting message to its viewers

Hi Friends,

The first time I saw Nimrat Kaur - in The Lunchbox trailer - I was bowled over by the simplicity with which she spoke. Quite contrary to the glamorous looks, and the size zero models, here was a new actress, who seemed just like a girl next door. Someone who not just pleased the audience with her charming and simple looks but also the way she acted. 

And, just when I wondered and hoped that she would come back soon on the screen with yet another heart-warming performance, here she was with this short film - Love Shots : #RoadTrip - produced under the Y-Films banner. 

The short film that stars Nimrat Kaur and Tahir Raj Bhasin begins with their chatter and petty arguments on love, relationship and about everything just like every other couple. The way they converse with each other, one would reminisce the time they spend together and how they usually have such talks pulling each others leg. But wait till the end, the movie turns out to be completely different from what it had begun with. I do not want to spoil the story by telling you before about it. I would prefer you to watch it and understand for yourself. 

The short film, however, definitely gives a hard-hitting message. Something that the today's selfie-obsessed and internet-savvy generation must understand. Sometimes, it is important to leave aside the tiny little 'non-living thing' that has taken over our lives to such an extent that we forget there are 'living things' around us. From our time spent with children, loved ones, to our interaction with our friends, we prefer to update our 'status' before we have even interacted with our long-time-no-see friend. We prefer to 'insta' update the selfie, even before giving a comforting hug to the one we meet. Sometimes, I think we should probably go 'offline' to enter the real world and see, observe, hear, feel the surroundings. 

Do watch the video below and know for yourself, why a small 'click' can cause a huge difference to your life!