Posted in Achievements, Life, Mission 75, Nostalgia

Once upon a time

Well you know this is a very old topic if you know me even little. I would always speak about it on and on. Ya its one of my big achievements in life. When I am down or feel like losing, I turn to remember this moment of my life when I had achieved something which was like a distant dream then. This feeling, helped me fight big obstacles later on.

It was the year 2005, I was 16 yrs old. My life was very simple. I went to a junior college about which I tell only in my resume or when I have to fill a college form. Ya, I didn’t like it. I had regretted then that why did I chose this college when I had the likes of kc and jaihind in hand. However, now I can see the bright side of that decision. I don’t know what would have happened to me if not for what I had done in 2005. Didn’t have much friends then. Not even a single friend from junior college whose name even I know today. That was the only time in my life when I used to sit in a library for long. Gadgets hadn’t intruded our lives then, ya but I already had my first ipod. I was completely on my own, lost and focused on my education. Used to watch movies alone, spend time on my old desktop playing games, didn’t have a full time internet connection also. It was simple, and smooth. Didn’t have any bad habits also. 
You know life can never be smooth is what I have learned all these years. If it is, then there is something wrong which you are ignoring or I would request you to share your secret. So my simple life had one big problem, the biggest problem which disturbed me every day of my then life. That problem didn’t let me live a normal childhood. Its a problem faced by many like me all over the globe. OBESITY. I weighed more then at that age than what I today. I was bulky, bad at sports, a subject of mockery and constant lecturing. Not a day passed by when I was not told about it. There was a time when papa’s clothes fitted me perfectly. Readymade jeans weren’t meant for me. During those years, whatever clothes I wore had to be after a year either donated or used by someone else because my increase wasn’t stopping. Today I don’t even remember much about those times of agony, because its an old chapter, but then it was tough. 
I had tried then also on my own, a lot of times to fight this but then it was not giving the results. My approach was wrong, or my attitude was wrong. That urge, that passion was missing. I had started to ignore my problem, stopped to even check my weight. It was too embarrassing even to do it in front of a doctor. The doctor would then lecture me. When i was 14, I weighed 89 is what I remember from my faded memories. 
So what exactly happened in 2005.
Teasing me was normal, I was used to it. Most of them would be school friends. At home also sometimes I was taunted to do something, but I ignored. So it was like once a while I would get frustrated and one or two days I wouldn’t eat properly but rest of the time I was ok with it I would forget it.
But then one day, something happened that triggered me to do something which I write about today. I don’t even remember that person to express gratitude today. The guy must be like in his mid 20-s, sitting next to me in the bus when i was going to college. He didn’t tease me, I would not even say he hurt me. Whatever he did was unintentional for him. He just asked me about his stop, where he wanted to get down. But in the process he called me “uncle”. This 5 letter word suddenly stuck the centre of all my neural system to wake up a dead soul. Even with no one who knew being around there, I was embarrassed within to my core. Imagine a 16 year old being called like this and that too not by a child, but by someone elder to him. The trigger had been pressed now, the bullet had to come out. There was only one thought which dictated me, there was only one purpose I could see, There was only thing which I wanted in life, there was only one prayer, nothing else I could see. 
So now that I had lost my mind and knew what I wanted to do, my journey going down had begun. So first step was to know where exactly i was in kgs term. I went to the doctor I used to visit only during fever to check my weight and then came another shocker. It showed “98”. I didn’t have words to speak then, I just walked away in disbelief. I still sight his machine to be improper, but however that had become the second trigger. 
When I came home that day, my mom had as usual cooked food and I hadn’t eaten also that day. I was hungry but I didn’t feel like eating. When I was eating my food, I remember keeping the pieces of potato aside and eating little of the other stuff which also I left half way. I went out and cried not only because of where I was, because I didn’t know the way to get out of that situation. My past attempts were short and I had failed. This time there was something different in the air.
All I knew was to eat less, from talking to people who already overcome this problem, it made me start walking. But somehow, I couldn’t feel any progress. I knew this time I needed help from someone who would guide me and monitor my progress and constantly remind me what I had come for. With divine grace, I came across this right person at the right time, whom I am still in touch with and who selflessly helps me even today. I am truly grateful to her. My passion to lose and become fit mixed with her perfect guidance, it was the perfect recipe. When I met her first, I didn’t know what was coming. I knew only one thing that there had to be perseverance. There was a diet schedule, lists of dos and don’ts. It was like there was someone who could understand and was willing to help. Someone was there to show me the way. The week between my first two meetings was very important. I had lost 1.5 kg in my first week, there were times when I used to lose 2 in a week. I was very disciplined those days. I had a passion to achieve what I wanted. I would be very serious about what I ate, I would eat only one chapati,  would not eat it if i could sense any oil or ghee over it. It was difficult for my mom initially. But gradually, she helped me in my customized diet. I used to eat early, walk during evenings, exercise a lot. Walk very fast and my speed improved day by day. Street food would be completely ignored. I would eat only that much what was necessary even at weddings. No sweets. I remember that summer i didn’t even touch mango. I used to never skip my walk and exercises even if there was any exam or another event. I would sweat but not stop. The same people who used to taunt me for eating much taunted me for eating less. Some who would meet me after a long time would see me in shock. My face had changed. I had lost a lot of fat. The change was clearly visible. I had lost my waist from 40 to 36, which I still maintain today, My entire wardrobe had to be changed. I had to alter my jeans and I started shopping later on.  
Why Remembering this Today
Finally managed to find this diary of my records. It was 11th Feb that day and its 11th Feb today. 8 years and the cycle repeats, Somehow today, I am on the same road but today I am in a much better state.  Not much difficult compared to that time. But still lacking the passion. Nobody hurts me like then, ya constant criticism i still do face but more on my overall fitness than just weight. But I have learnt a lot from my past. Sometimes, there is no better person to motivate you than you yourself. So I got myself, this page to constantly remind myself what I am capable of, and what I am wanting to achieve is nothing impossible. 
It was Feb then, it is Feb now. I am just wanting 2013 to be in sync with 2005. So I am already going good in that sense.
Hope to share a happy ending with you in some months.
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Posted in Achievements, Hope, TOEFL

Feeling Great About this

Got a toefl score of 116/120 something way above my expectations .. Really feeling great about this .. took a while to believe if this was true and it was … 🙂

reading – awesome 30/30 (thanks to all the books I have read in the past decade and the news I read everyday)
listening – awesome 30/30 ( thanks to the n no. of movies, tvseries and ebooks i have watched and listened)
writing – awesome 29/30 ( thanks to blogging)
speaking – awesome too . I was so scared of this section. 27/30 (inspite of not giving this area its fair share of time)

Hope this will help me in the coming 2 years and this compensations my below average gre verbal score to a great extent.

Scores are ready.
Now comes the real tough hard path. Now the only question unanswered is WHEN
Lets see if I am able to fly and in that case where do i land.

Posted in Achievements, Family, gre, Places, Travel

MARVELOUS MAY TRIP ……

So trip over, but it was not like any other trip. This one was different, very different. I am glad that I bought a non-refundable ticket even though unintentionally, if that had not been the case this trip would have got cancelled, some goals wouldn’t have been achieved, some dreams wouldn’t have been fulfilled yet and the depressing loneliness wouldn’t have faded away.

Taking away extra leaves did no harm as my manager was fine with it and the losses incurred due to loss on pay were more than compensated at Marina Bay Sands Casino, Singapore. So no harms and nothing to worry about, all went fine with the grace of God.

On my way to Singapore, my fellow passenger too was a CS engineer from Chennai who had pursued MS and PHD from university of Florida. He was working at some research firm in Isreal. I had a long and detailed discussion with him. This really was a point of motivation. God has a plan, how in this universe he made me meet this guy by making him sit next to me. My flight wasn’t even initially planned for Chennai. It’s all part of the big script I feel.

Singapore City

The famous Singapore MerLion

This was my 3rd visit to Singapore. Everytime there is always something new in there to watch out. Hats off to Singapore. This time, it was Marina Bay Sands, the circle line and yup I finally spent an awesome time at Terminal 3, Changi Airport which I was wanting to since long but couldn’t in my last trips due to time constraints.

Changi Airport Terminal 3
My Love 

I then headed off to Jakarta, another sweet home of mine second to Mumbai. I love jakarta, in all terms. I spent quality time with my family and realized that I am blessed with a gift of inheritance and have a legacy to carry forward. I re-visited my childhood in the city where I spent my first birthday, infact which I first visited even before I was born. I shop very rarely, only once in a while and that too only in Jakarta. My favorite store Golden Truly has always lived up to my expectations and occupies roughly 70% of my closet. I managed to meet all my friends and family there, few I couldn’t again because of time constraints. Even inspite of such a tight schedule, managed to visit ally my favorite restaurants, watched movies, had my favorite nasi goreng and spent poker night with my family. All that I was dying to happen finally happened. The sad part was that this visit lasted only 5 days, well there was a time when i used to stay arnd 70-90 days at stretch there, but this time it was just 5. There were other things to give time to. Soekerna Hatta Airport is not as luxurious as Changi, but its simplicity and calmness is its USP. I hope it never changes. Thus ended my shortest visit to my 2nd home Indonesia.

Grand Indonesia, Jakarta
Soekarno Hatta International Airport, Jakarta

Back to Singapore on 14th May and my return ticket to Mumbai was on 27th May. GRE was always there in my mind. I had really worked hard for it all these days. Infact GRE kept me occupied gave me a reason to live in the past tough months when I had nothing else to look forward to. I wanted to end it on a good note. Giving GRE at home was the first choice naturally, but then I was not able to prepond my ticket due to the turbulence in AIR INDIA.So it was  final, that I had to stay there till 27th May by any chance. I had 13 days in hand, A trip to Hong Kong was always what I had been wanting since past few years. It’s a long lasting wish and I had the opportunity to fulfill it. But then If i did that when would i give gre. I was sure I wouldn’t get any further leaves going back home and morever I would loose momentum and my months of hardwork could go waste as I would loose touch if I further delayed it. Morever, I had other things to do beyond gre. So i was in a dilemma to choose between Hong Kong and GRE and in the middle of all this I even attended a demo mba lecture at SMU (Singapore Management University) ..

It was 16th May. I was studying but still unsure with this weird thought of giving such an important exam in a foreign land in the middle of my trip. I was perplexed, but I had to do something. I finally broke the deadlock and took a date for GRE. This weird thought became a reality. I gave my best in the coming days ( with the exception of 19th May) and finally gre ended on a good note with 314 on 23rd May. All the things you shouldn’t do before an exam were done by me. I attended a music concert on 18th by the melidious Sonu Nigam and what I did on 19th wouldn’t have been done by any normal person 3 days before an important exam, but still I managed to sail through it. GRE was over on a good note. 23rd May was not just any other day. I heaved a sigh of relief that I had been freed from this albatross. Although I expected 320, but this wasn’t bad too. I was more glad that it ended be it anywhere on earth. I had no one there to share my joy with, actually to correct myself no one who could understand my joy then. So I tried calling people to break this news but then some didn’t pick up coz of different time zones, some were too busy, some I was hesitant to call and some didn’t care. ( Thank God there was JT)  I recollected then how it was during college time, when anyone would give gre, Everyone else would know about it and there would be murmurs and desperation to know their score and how everyone would congratulate them. My story was different. You know its ok to be left alone in sad times, but try not to leave people alone in happy times at least.

My gre admit card

Sonu Nigam at Suntec City, Singapore on 18th May

Life After GRE. Now i had just 4 days to enjoy there. Well after my gre, I directly went to the temple to thank God and then I started planning how would I spend my remaining 4 days. It all went as per plan.
What was the exception on 19th May if you remember I mentioned earlier. Well it was no normal day, It was my first visit to the casino. I went in with an excitement and dream I had been living since the days i started playing zynga poker on facebook. This dream was coming true finally 🙂 . But when I went in, it was a different world. They played with real money and that too dollars while all these years i used to play with fake chips. The minimum bet was 25$ and when i convert that to INR, it always left me agape. But I had to play, I had lived with this dream. There was a fear of loosing, but more than that was the enthusiasm of playing and the presence of my uncle helped me overcome that fear. I played, it didn’t go well in the begining but then I gained pace and ended on a good note with profit :). I won good. It wouldn’t have ended that soon if there wasn’t a bayern chelsea champions league final that night. I had to watch that, It was already 4am ..  I rushed for a tv, but with this feeling that I’ll be coming back again after my gre. Chelsea won the champions league and it was like a utopia. All my wishes were fulfilled. What a night it was, had breakfast at orchard road before heading home to sleep.

Casino Royale

                               
As promised I went to the casino again after my gre. This time I was loosing, loosing very badly. I had lost almost whatever I won the other night. I was left with only that much to play one more game and then a miracle happened. I won a jackpot. ( Four Kings if you know hands in poker). I was in disbelief and I got up to go to pee. God, I should have encashed it then. But I choose to play more, as I had come there for playing and not with the mindset of earning money. I played again after a short break, I lost I won and then lost on my profit, but still left with a decent amount considering I was a novice in this casino play.

Sentosa
Merlion at Sentosa
Some new resort at Sentosa
Marina Bay , a place where you don’t realize how time passes by

2nd visit to casino … before taking a break from gambling

I couldn’t sleep all night after this and I had a flight to catch to go back home next morning. AIR INDIA tried to spoil my day, but thankfully nothing bad happened although I didn’t get my luggage on time. But It was a nice 23 days wherein I lived my life on my terms. I realized my importance and potentials, more importantly I realized what I wanted in life and what all things shouldn’t remain in the picture. Next I have taken steps accordingly. It was an awesome, memorable and most fruitful trip of the dozens of trips i have had all my life. This one will always be there in my cache, all my life till end.

On my way back .. (could be my last trip by AI this decade)