Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gymming over the years

After fretting over a topic for the last few days - I am going to write about my "Gymming" experiences over the years. My earliest fascination with the gym began way long back in 1990. I clearly recall, my brother and I eagerly enrolled into a gym at Mafatlal's - club at Chowpatty, Bombay (yes it was Bombay then - still is to me).

The gym was nothing fancy. It had basic equipments. In those early days when we went swimming - I would always take peek into the gym. I would be in awe of all those people who had bulging biceps. The initial fascination was purely with biceps. If you ever want to test if this fascination still exists, just ask anyone, "Show me your muscles?". What do you get. The guy would simply roll up his sleeves and flex his biceps. There you go, I've proved it that the fascination with bulging biceps still exists.

So back to our initial days at the gym. First day. My brother and I eagerly go to this "Sir". He guides us with the initial stretches. My eyes were fixated on the dumbbells lying around in one corner of the gym. However we were beginners and were prohibited from going anywhere near the dumbbells or the machines. So we had to make do with the desi pushups ("dun" as they refer to it in real "dehati" style). Finally before we left - some fancy sticks were handed to us that we were supposed to use for stretching. I did my turn. My brother did it next. He was so exhausted that he puked before we left the gym. I think that was the last time that, that gym "Sir" ever saw my brother. I probably attended that gym for a couple of months before i decided it was not my cup of tea.

My next tryst with the gym was at the Vispy Kapadia' gym. Must have done that for quite a while. Something interesting to note - there was huge hall next to the gym where they trained students for Karate. So every now and again one would peep in to see whats happening there. After a few months of gymming i decide to test my strength - I saw a female Karate trainer - who was kicking the students in their stomach and nothing happened to them. I decided to get my stomach muscles tested. I stood in line. My turn. Deep breath taken. Stomach held in. She enquired light or medium. The male hormones in me said, "Medium". 1. 2. 3. Pooooooooffffff. I must have gone flying at least 2 metres and landed on the floor with a big thud. That day i learnt a big lesson - "Never - I repeat NEVER listen to the rush of the Male hormones".

Finally in 2000 I moved to Nasik - From the NIWEC club gym initially i moved over to the TAJ fitness center. I simply loved the facilities there. Even though the gym was small - barely enough equipment, the shower area, steam and the jacuzzi covered up for it all. If we would spend 1 hr at the gym - we would probably spend as much time at the Steam, Jacuzzi and the shower put together. The weekly games of Throw ball in the swimming pool was the cherry on the cake. The only hitch - I never developed the physique I always wanted and it was a bit too far off from home.

Next stop THE ZONE. This was a nice place. Closer to home. One could get out of bed and be there in 5 minutes. This was where i met a lot of interesting people. I met (name changed) Chitra. She was bloody good at running. She would be on the treadmill for almost an hour running at the speed of bout 10 or so. Wow. The weights she lifted gave me a complex (initially only - thank god for that). Then we had a Mr. Hector Troy (name changed again). The weights in the gym weren't enough. He would make people climb over the Leg press or on him at times while doing his favourite donkey calves. He would never fall short of variations - all he needed were some weights, a rope, a bench, a wooden raised platform - with all of these he would come up with some of the weirdest exercises. I was there for about 3 years and then began to learn and read more about body building / fitness.

Finally at 5 fitness is where I learnt about what makes the body. It was hard to give up the fascination with biceps. From 4-5 types of exercises, I have learnt to make do with only 2 for it. Even the eternal favourite Bench press had to make way for the decline dumbbell press. The women reading must be saying - what on earth is he talking about. There are something better left not understood.

Finally let me give you people some advice - based on my experience over the years -

1) Never target weight loss - Always talk about fat loss.
2) Only cardio or treadmill will never help you lose fat - it will only help in weight loss not fat loss. You will tend to lose muscle (thereby reducing body weight) first. The fat remains there.
3) Never workout without a pre work out meal.
4) If you don't follow a proper diet (maybe not the right word) (read as "proper food pattern") - no matter what you do at the gym - its all a waste (I learnt this very very late)
5) EAT 5 (yes you read correctly - 5) meals in a day.
6) A woman should not do weights as she will develop over sized muscles - is the biggest myth.
7) Concentrate on your rest and sleep - that will build muscles - the gym workout only breaks it down.
8) Fruit diets / Atkins diet / GM diets / Blood type based diets are all bull.

I'm targeting a six pack by end of 2010. Whats your target?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Musical Inspiration 1

I listen to a lot of music, mostly in my car. I sing as well, again in the car. Music inspires me. The next few posts will list out some songs that I listen to and draw inspiration from -

Low on Self confidence listen to Sunscreen -

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen…

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brands you wont see me with....

Is anyone here particular about brands. The kind of clothes they buy/wear or shoes or things at home. I've come across people who would buy only brands, some who couldn't care less - if its comfortable (even though unbranded) its fine.

Which category do most of you fall in?

Over a period of time, brands grow on you. Some however remain hated forever. Sometimes its a bad experience in the past or at times its just a whim (mostly happens with me). So let me go on a brand bashing spree.........

The first thing this name reminds me of is our old television. It was our first colour television maybe sometime in the late 80's. I simply hated it. Don't ask me why. Maybe it wasn't the television's fault. It was just that every time we had to keep tuning it for some reason. The picture quality was so poor. This brand reminds me of older generations. I don't ever see myself getting close to this brand.

What on earth were they thinking when they redesigned their logo recently. The name itself is repulsive to say the least. Who on earth still buys Videocon Tv's, refrigerators etc. They have a fantastic factory - state of the art equipment - big name - big acquisitions world wide but still doesn't appeal to me.

Again a brand name from the previous generation. Quite well known in the late 80's as well. Some may be quite familiar with the brand NATIONAL - this was later re-christened as PANASONIC. Somehow there is no appeal from this brand. This name reminds me of outdated technology and products.

One of the most famous tshirts around with the logo of the crocodile. This brand reminds me of people who play golf (read as rich and old). Would suit perfectly to a 55 year old - white hair - largish tummy. You would never catch me dead in the LACOSTE brand.

Ok this one is not that hated - but how may of you have ever seen me wearing a LEVIS. The only one i ever owned was probably sometime in the early 1990's. Does LEVIS 501 ring a bell. Yes it was one of the first button fly jeans. Super tight. (i hated that). The only show off point was the button fly. Not that many ppl noticed it.

Reminds me of the PAPPU PAGER days. Did you ever own one. I did. Albeit for a super short span of time. It was this flimsy black looking thing that one hooked on the belts. Come to think of it - what a shitty invention. Got wiped out in no time. However the brand sucked for quite long. Now off late, the new branding is working better than before - they have positioned themselves as a more trendy brand - trying to rope in the youth with the "Wats your MOTO".

Another brand from the olden days. Some people swear by it. Some like me - just never got down to using it. We always used CLOSE UP. We grew up with that RED toothpaste while the whole world grew up on WHITE toothpaste. Some people of the older generation prefer COLGATE - I still use close up - however its now available in multi colours - green, red, yellow, orange etc. Trust me - nothing like the RED one.

I dont like the CADBURY here one bit. Never was one of those who craved for it. Mind you craving for a good chocolate is one thing and craving for the crappy CADBURY is another thing all together. I guess we were quite used to a lot of foreign chocolates early on. Snickers, KitKat, Toblerone, Galaxy - i could go on and on.

NEVER buy a lee cooper shoe. i repeat for those who never understood. NEVER. Since May 2009 i have not been able to wear a leather shoe. I have developed "Calcneus spur", thanks to my older Lee cooper shoe. In lay mans language its the bone at the base of the foot that extends itself. I don't know how many more months i would have to live in my Reeboks.

These are most found with businessmen. Those who think they have arrived. Mark of prosperity. I think its more of a symbol to say "NOTICE ME". Do i need it. Nah. Not me to shout out loud and say NOTICE ME.

Enough of brand bashing. These views are personal and mine. They do not reflect anything but my opinion about the brand. So if any of you reading this one have a different opinion - do share it here. Lets just hear your views. Also if there is any brand that you don't like - say it here.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stranger in Moscow

I'm back after a hiatus. I was just not motivated enough to write. So what brings me back.......... Annoy did try her best to get me back to writing but it didn't work. What worked for me is a Stranger. "Stranger in Moscow". No, I'm not referring to the Micheal Jackson song. I'm referring to the "Stranger in Moscow" that triggered this post. (ref. to annoy - this stranger is not from Moscow)

Trigger, Stimulus, Response - these words remind my of my dear friend - lets call him Chandraswami for the time being. There were two more partners in crime, lets call the other guy Sally and to complete the trio was the man they called Mika. There were umpteen number of times when we tested out these theories of Stimulus and response. More often that not they worked. Probably one reason why most people in the college stayed away from the dreaded Chandraswami. However, I got along with Chandraswami quite well. I wasn't afraid that Chandraswami read people. I did too. So did sally. The point I'm trying to make here is all of us react in a certain way to a specific type of stimulus - be it planned or unplanned. OK - i know, i know what you guys are thinking. You all must be saying - we all know that don't we. read on people - don't disturb my thoughts....

Think of a stranger who triggered a response from you - think of the reason why - and share it here if you can do so. Some get paranoid about strangers. Are you one of them? I'm more at ease with strangers as compared to most - i can talk to strangers anytime, anywhere.

I'd like to recall an event somewhere back in 1997. Picture this. I was about 20 yrs. old or thereabouts. I was super duper lucky enough to be on this trip to Switzerland and then tour across Europe. ALL ALONE. Backpacking - on a shoe string budget. This was my first trip all alone. (more about my escapades about EU 1997 in my next post). Picture this again.

Date - somewhere in 1997
Time - evening - around 5 ish
Venue - Intercity express from Zurich to Geneva (about 4 hrs or so)
Seat no. - I dont recall - did you even expect me to......

I was sitting in the train on the way home (or youth hostel would be more appropriate) after a long day at Zurich. It had been about 12 days or so since i left home and by now - I was missing home big time. Missing people who could talk to me in my own language. This man who got on at some random station sat across me. He looked Asian. I realised later he was a Pakistani. We smiled at each other. We started talking in Hindi. It seems like the guy had not communicated in Hindi / Urdu to someone else in a long long time. I simply loved talking in Hindi after sooooooooo many days. I recall - every sentence of his was punctuated with a "Madar^&*$", "Bhe%^&**d". He must have been really frustrated to talk like this. He went on to offer me "Kharghosh" meat - saying this is the best available. Ughhhhhhhhhhh. The talk went on for about 2hrs. He talked about random things and most importantly how I could land into trouble for not stamping my passport when moving out of Switzerland and returning back. That got me sooooooo nervous. Go figure - what stimulated us both to talk for so long.

This brings to my mind several questions. What makes me talk to strangers so easily. What makes them think -I'm willing to talk?

My advise to those who keep away from strangers - you never know, who you might miss out on. Some of my best friends were strangers to me at some point in time.

Do you know a "Stranger in Moscow"?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back from a sabbatical

All you readers (2 for sure + 2 more anonymous i guess), sorry for being away for a bit. ok a long bit. Everyone is entitled to sabbatical. Mika was on one. So its back to the writing.

Since Nov. 21st tons of things have happened. Rather than writing on a specific topic ill lets this one meander around the events that took place recently.

1) The terror attacks on Mumbai
It was horrible to say the least. These were places that we have been to. CST - its a place where i was gonna arrive at the next day of the terror attack at around 930pm (same time as the attacks) or so. Obviously i cancelled the trip. TAJ - perfect place for a dinner or a coffee. LEOPOLD - frequently visited by college goers - tourists etc. OBEROI - again possible place for dinner or coffee. NARIMAN HOUSE - No chances of visiting that place. The 3 days of the attacks - we were glued to our television sets. Watching updates - live coverage. I personally think TIMES NOW had the best coverage on TV. There was a raging debate here on weather the news channels should be allowed to cover such an event live? My opinion is yes, they should be. I'm totally against those news channels (like aaj tak / star news etc.) who dramatise the whole event. Making it look like a movie or something. Pathetic. There was an instance where one news reporter refused to follow guidelines of the police (to move backwards) and lay down on the ground until he was forcefully moved back. Grow up guys. More than a month gone. Pakistan hasn't done a thing about it. Will they ever. I really doubt it. It will need India to go on and conduct some military operations at certain specified targets (terrorist camps). Does that mean WAR. Probably yes. But I'm not an advocate of WAR. WAR will have unnecessary civilian casualties on both sides. India is trying hard to resolve things diplomatically but i don't see it getting anywhere so far. Hard lesson to be learnt. Never give up terrorists. Giving up Masood Azhar was a blunder. IC814 hijack to Kandahar episode. Ask yourselves, would Israel have done the same, would US have done the same. My answer is NO.

2) Movies Galore
I saw lots of movies while on a sabbatical - some on DVD and some in the theatre. On DVD were - Bank job - neat flick. Tropic thunder - a bit funny but got boring after a while. Dark Knight - Ah, wish id seen this in the theatre but however wasn't as good as most pointed it out to be. In the theatre- Rab ne bana di jodi - typical Yash chopra release, romance, excitement, SRK, good music. I loved this movie. Most didn't. The songs were awesome. My kids loved it too. (more for the songs i guess). Haurey Haurey (instead of Haule Haule) as Shreya puts it will be entrenched in my (and my whole family's) mind forever. Thumbs up for Anushka Sharma. Last night i also caught up with Ghajini. Nicely done. Action flick. Perfectly marketed. Rs. 200 Crs. in 14 days is BIG money. So does that mean the movie was so good or the marketing was the key. Lessons to be learnt for other film makers.

3) The SATYAM Fiasco
Just when you thought that the retail investors had lost enough money in the share markets, Raju Ramalinga confesses to a fraud of Rs. 7700 crs. That's a big amount. Today there is an article in the papers that talks about how this confession may not be the real truth. Tons of theories but not the right place to discuss. Thank god I don't own any shares of this company. Approx Rs. 225 per share on dec 25th or so is now just 8 rs. In 2 days of the disclosure the stock crashed 80% on day one and 80% on day two. I'm dead sure that there is more to this fiasco than what has just been disclosed so far. I'm lucky that I don't hold a single Satyam share. I sympathise with the share holders who may have lost all their savings. Some gamblers feel its the right time to buy some share, albeit at the risk of losing all of it. My advise - KEEP AWAY.

4) SULA wines + Little Italy
It seems that I've been frequenting this place more than necessary. As Annoy puts it, i'm visiting this place more than her blog. This is a must visit place when in Nasik. There are a lot of people who actually come down from Bombay just to spend the weekend at the vineyards. I'm one of the lucky few to live in the vicinity. Our house is just bout 15 minutes away from the vineyards. The newly launched Sula Viognier is a must try for all. I'm sure Vishy (Vishant) who recently visited with Priyanka and family would vouch for it. What say Vishy. The food at Little Italy has been awesome to say the least. Now this i shall leave it to my readers to figure out - does the food taste good because its good or anything feels good after a couple of glasses of wine.

I'll be a bit filmy here and conclude with
"Hum hai rahi pyar ke, Phir milenge, Chalte chalte."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hated things

This is interesting. I hate sooooo many things. Hate may be too strong a word to use. Lets assume hate for the moment means don't like. Make that don't like at all. So lets begin this list.

1) Shaving
This activity has to top the list. I hate shaving. I believe that when Adam and Eve were existing. Adam didn't have a beard. He was teasing Eve for some silly reason. Eve (like most other women) complained to God about it and voila. God cursed MAN, and he had to deal with facial hair for the rest of his life. Sucksssss. Its quite surprising that i have never come across any other man who hates shaving as much. I despise it. Look at all the possible reasons to avoid it. Some of the best are - I was late for work so didn't shave. Tomorrow is a weekly off - ill shave tomorrow. If i shave today - tomorrow is a family function so i gotta shave tomorrow - so lets skip today. Reasons galore and never ending. Do any men out there second my view?

2) Rice
I cant stand rice. Let me clarify here, I like fried rice, Rice with moong or dal on top (speciality food in our house) but i cant stand plain rice. I also make that very obvious. So i think since the last few years i eat rice only twice a week max. for lunch only. Rice at dinner is a big no no. Unless of course there is Chinese and my wifey being the greatest cook ever - i happily eat fried rice. I also get amazed at the capacity of southies to eat rice. This one incident at Hyderabad - Me and Uncle were at a restaurant, this guy at the next table was almost done with his food and was eating rice. We ordered soups, lunch, dessert (may have spent at least 1 hr or so) and you wont believe when we were leaving this place and the guy on the other table was still eating rice. I'm sure you've got the point.

3) Flowers
I'm just not a flowery (if you allow me to use this term) guy. Not such a good habit. But i don't like flowers. They make me sneeze. Couple of times I've got ruined cos flowers were kept in my room all night and the next day my allergy made me sneeze a zillion times. I never give flowery cards to anyone. How boring. If any one give you a flowery card - he / she hasn't made an effort to look for anything better. They are the easiest ones available at the card shops. So take that extra effort get a better card, but not a flowery card.

4) Wet bathrooms
Another one in the list of my silly whims and fancies. I don't like wet bathrooms at all. This is a habit that I've inherited. I don't know why but a wet bathroom isn't as good as a dry bathroom. (If you still haven't got it - I'm talking about the floor)

5) Black trousers
I don't like black trousers. Anyone out there who thinks similarly. Ive probably owned only 2 black trousers since the time i can remember. I'm sure many people would have more than a single black trouser. I don't like black shirts as well. So pretty much no BLACK for me.

I think 5 things are enough to talk about on HATE LIST 1. Do any of you (how many people read this anyways) have a HATE LIST as trivial as this to share.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I have heard tons of people complain about sleep. The fact that they cant sleep or don't get enough of it. Ive never heard of people complain of it the other way around. I'm one of the lucky ones who fall in the second category.

I think people who don't get enough of sleep are just the ones who don't think out their thoughts completely. This reminds me of a workshop i had attended (organised by yours truly) at one of our very own Rotaract Club meetings. For those who don't know about Rotaract (100% of my readership doesn't, so ill explain) - i was part of this club for a long time - 6 years or so. We did organise several projects. However id like to think some of the best were organised when i was president in 1995-96. Back to the topic. (enough of boasting).

The workshop was on DREAMS. I cant ever forget what he said about dreams. Why do they occur. Imagine a pipe. Water flowing through it. Now hold it in between. You will see water accumulate at the point you hold the pipe. Whenever you let go, you will see the sudden gush of water. The speaker tried to explain to us that it was the same with the human mind. If there is something that you have thought of and not
thought it out completely it comes back in the form of a dream. This comparison of the human mind to the pipe has been etched in me forever.

Try this guys. it works. When there is something bothering you or on your mind. Write it, scribble it, think it out galore, talk bout it (if you can) - you will realise that this will help you think the thought out completely. It will not return to bother you again. Maybe bother is a strong word. But i hope you get the point.

Back to dreams for a while. Do you dream. If yes. What is it that you dream of ? Share an example. Lets try to analyse it. Dreams are a connotation of something. Either a thought or event. They may not have a direct resemblance to real life but may be linked to thoughts, ideas, events that occur in ones life. I have seen quite a few online websites on dreams and what a mountain may mean, or a fairy or anything else. They are all crap. The Mountain may mean something different in my life and may mean something different in someone else's life.

When we had organised this workshop in our club years back - to be precise in 1995, we were all dreading the 45 minutes this guy who was gonna bore 45 of us. You all would be surprised to know that this workshop probably went on for more than 2 hours. People asking so many questions on their dreams and hearing about other live examples of dreams and their analysis.

Anyone out there who attended this workshop in 1995 ?