Ferrari World and all that Jazz….

 

“But each time I seemed to be climbing into a roller coaster and finding myself coming through the downhill run with that sort of dazed feeling that we all know.”

-Enzo Ferrari 

My friend Cynthia and I had a number of pacts over the course of two years that we were roommates; our bucket list was so big that the only way to complete it would be living together again or at least in the same city.

Little did we know, that my move to Abu Dhabi would happen within such a short span after our graduation. Having been born and brought up there, she always had immense love for the city and a ton of things she wanted to explore with me; but one particular topped it all for both of us: FERRARI WORLD!

How excited we get when we are making our bucket list! And who wouldn’t want to know whats inside this? (Also, wish I could say I took this picture but, Thank you Google!) 

Now before I get into the details of how Ferrari World is what I consider the ultimate Paradise, let me talk a little more about bucket lists and its importance, especially before my “Big Move”.

My mom and I had moved to Abu Dhabi a month before summer started. Our sightseeing was limited to malls and Corniche. We had a beautiful beach just outside our house, and the thought that “We have more than enough time, we can visit places once summer is over” prevented us from doing all the touristy stuff.

So when it was time for me to move, there were two things I wanted to do (and my leg would allow me to) and that was go on the fastest roller coaster in the world and experience the view from the top of Burj Khalifa(it would be a shame if I didn’t do these!)

This is where I want to stress about Bucket Lists. MAKE THEM! And do everything that is in your capacity to fulfill them! Why? Because this life is meant to be lived, this life was given to you to create memories so you will have a lifetime of fond stories to look back on and even brag about! And as clichéd as it all sounds, I don’t think there is anything more truer and relatable than that. And the more you visualize, the more that list starts to unfold (more on this later).

So finally I became a tourist in UAE. We went to Dubai to stay for a weekend so I could do whatever it is that I wanted, (and to all who have been there, my list was altered according to the needs of my leg, so no matter how appealing Palm Jumeriah and Atlantis sounded, I had to keep my expectations real, also 48 degrees centigrade 😛 )

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You would think being the tallest building in the world, you can spot it from miles away, but it takes time, and every few minutes I kept asking my dad, will it come now?

If you like me, constantly seek magic in everything, well The Dubai Fountain show is just for you! I absolutely loved the view from the 124th floor and the fastest elevator to get to it; however, experiencing the water dancing against the Burj Khalifa and its ability to light up your life within seconds is a true marvel to watch. I feel it goes beyond a spectacle to admire from a distance, it really touches you. It takes every bit of your concentration to switch between the dancing fountain and the laser show on the Burj Khalifa because you do not want to miss a single thing.  It shone Bright, Bright like a Diamond, in all its glory, and I took my time to let it all sink in, to do justice to what I had witnessed, it was overwhelming. And as much as I am a believer of nature and all of God’s gifts, kudos to this man made wonder!

That day, I felt complete. Like everything is this world was just right.

We spent the next day with close family friends who showed us their version of Dubai and I could feel traces of sorrow taking over me.

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
– Azar Nafisi

I don’t think there is a more fitting quote to describe what I was feeling that day. It was time to say goodbye to Dubai, which meant bidding farewell to UAE was around the corner. As excited as I was to be moving back to India to focus on my career, I had fallen in love with Abu Dhabi. I wanted to cherish every second, I wanted to preserve it all in a box, so that I can live off it for a lifetime. Because no matter how many opportunities I get to go back, it will never be the same.

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And the thought of not waking up to this view every morning, was heart breaking.

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You will feel every single emotion that you possibly can, on this ride.

Finally, after all that planning, Cynthia and I found ourselves at Ferrari World, ogling at every single inch of “extraordinary.” We had been transported into the parallel universe that we often talked about when we had to be studying instead.

Ferrari World was everything we thought it would be, and much much more. Imagine if all you expect is a cookie but instead get a room full of every single dessert from across the world (I am trying my best to not make you feel like I am exaggerating).

We also met this amazing human – Shiva who was in charge of Formula Rossa that day, he is so full of life and pulls pranks on you to see if you can handle the 239km/hr!

We do wish we had better planning though, because we did not get to ride the “Flying Aces” (I did make up for it a few months later). I suggest you get in as early as possible in the morning so that you have sufficient time to cover all the rides (for Go Carting, make an advance booking!)

To anyone who is planning a trip to UAE, please do make sure Ferrari World is on your list (which I am sure it is), and besides trying out all the incredible rides, I would highly recommend the “RED Show” that takes place at the park. Trust me, it will make your time there all the more worthwhile.

I had one more week left in Abu Dhabi, and all I wanted to do was sit in my balcony and enjoy the view, so I could replay it in my head for the rest of my life (besides flooding my phone with its pictures).

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Al Reem Island, you are missed!

Mangrove Place – Where the Magic Began!

Set Yourself an Outrageous Goal Today. 

-Alastair Humphreys (Ten Lessons from the Road) 

The minute I landed in Abu Dhabi, I was hit with a rush of positivity. (The other city that gives me this feeling is Hyderabad). And I think when a new place gives you that feeling – you are already halfway to building something great!

There was also the advantage of living in an apartment like this(left)  with a view like that (right)

My dad had moved in December and to complete all the formalities for mom and me to move took 2 months. But during this time, my dad had sent so many pictures of the house and the view that envy and excitement could not differentiate from one other. I knew I was going to be there soon, but I was becoming rather impatient. And when I finally got to Mangrove place  – it was worth the wait. No amount of pictures can do justice to the view that you get, including the vibrance of the whole atmosphere. Mangrove Place has the most kind and hard working staff who are so welcoming that you will instantly fall in love with the place. Also, the apartment gives you the feeling of living in a hotel rather than a house (in a good way).

A few years ago, my father had introduced me to Alastair Humphreys’ book ‘Ten Lessons from the Road‘ Alastair set an outrageous goal for himself – he traveled 46,000 miles round the world (wait for it) On his CYCLE! He spent four years and achieved what was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “the first great adventure of the new millennium”.

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It was time I set an outrageous goal for myself. I still had tremendous amount of pain in both my  legs, but it had to be done. What was my goal? What was my motivation?

  1. I need to be able to dance again.
  2. The pain should vanish from my legs forever

But how does one go about this? How does one lose weight when they cannot do jumping jacks or burpees or run on a treadmill. Where does one begin?

It was time for some homework. My instant thought was to take up the GM diet.

One week and I can shed 3-4 kilos just like that (So easy!). And then 2 months later I can do it again and lose some more weight and I would have achieved at least half of my goal.

But your body is smarter than you. It has ways of reacting to new habits that will completely throw you off track. I was 3 days into my GM diet and I could not stop throwing up all those fruits and mashed potatoes that I had consumed(sorry about that nasty visual).

So I wasted an entire month in being anxious about losing weight, how to go about it and the fear that with the condition of my leg I could never do it. But with little more research comes great discoveries. I started looking for cardio exercises that would be easy on my legs. And I cursed myself for not having done it earlier because it was like finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I found multiple videos for the same and the top results were by fitness trainer – Jessica Smith.  What I absolutely loved was how she conveys everything with so much passion and motivation. She makes working out – FUN! So I began to do seated cardio and seated strength.

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I used to work out in my Balcony – and this was my view. Batman would occasionally join me  (To maintain his body and what not)

This meant, I had the workout in place. But if I worked out for 60 mins and went and ate some yummy donut from Waitrose across my apartment – the entire purpose would be lost, right?

The Second Miracle: 

I don’t know what it was that took over me, but I decided that I needed to get the book

Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight by Rujuta Diwekar. I got the kindle edition, and before I even started reading I knew my life was going to change. I hope someday she stumbles upon this blog, because I have so much to thank her for!

Now I am someone who absolutely enjoys Indian food over anything else. So when I was previously reading about eating salads and kale and what not, I used to think I rather not eat at all. And it was like Rujuta knows exactly whats in your heart. She tells you to eat what your Nani(grandmom)  ate. I couldn’t have been more relieved.

I got to eat my poha, dosa, roti sabzi and everything I love! Even though I am a Tam Bhram, my parents spent a majority of their life in Maharashtra, which is why I got to enjoy the best of both worlds.

They tasted as good as they look(probably because mom – made)

Rujuta’s biggest rule is that you eat small portions but more frequently and as soon as you wake up eat something – this is my favorite part because for someone who always had breakfast and no coffee/tea, this rule was already implemented. And so I started eating 7-8 small meals everyday.

For more about the book, I urge you all to buy it, trust me it will transform your life! (Spend the 100 rupees here instead of that pizza you have been craving for ).

Remember how I mentioned earlier that at a later point in time, Ayurveda would make sense to me? That’s another thing I love about Rujuta’s book, it really goes into the roots of what was followed by our ancestors and teaches you to adopt Ayurveda as a lifestyle and not a last resort. No more was I carried away by the whatsapp messages on this fruit is bad or that vegetable can cause a disease. I had only one source for  all my needs: Rujuta!

And the Ayurveda project I was working on, was something I believed in and a way of living that the entire world deserves to know about.

What was the hardest part of my journey?

The hardest part is just before you start……. or is it?

Abu Dhabi, here I come!

“I haven’t been everywhere,

but it is on my list.”

– Susan Sontag

My soul is perpetually consumed by wanderlust. Hence, there is nothing in this world that gets me as excited as new travel plans! As you would have already read in my previous post – my father had taken up a new project in Abu Dhabi, which for me meant one more country ticked off my bucket list. Even though I have been blessed to have already visited a few countries, the aspect of living in a new country was thrilling to me.

But good things don’t happen overnight, so to get to it – you indulge in better things!

During the time when my thatha was serious; in the midst of all that chaos, I got a call from Amazon regarding Artista’s products and If I would be willing to sell them on Amazon! (For Real!) I was slowly starting to live the quote ‘God always opens a New Door’.

So my mom and I spent a lot of time in choosing different categories of cards that we could sell and the products that she could put up on Amazon as well.

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Mother – Daughter out to conquer the World!

So we went to do a photoshoot for our products and it was incredible!  – (I was secretly hoping the photoshoot would involve my pictures too)

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Cards from my Adventure Awaits Collection

Me being me, I thought the cards would sell like hot cakes. But when you are out in the real world, it is essential to realize that everything takes time, and gaining recognition requires a whole lot of hard work and a little bit of luck! The cards got sold gradually, but I was prepared for uncertainties because we were going to move soon.

On December 31st I had a Skype call from my current employer (which was going to once again change my life). And that was my interview for the start up that I am currently working for – Vaagmii. Now you must be wondering – I knew I was going to move then what am I doing taking up a job in India? So, this was my second door opening – I had the option of working from home, and I could do it from Abu Dhabi. Exciting right?

So between December and March (when I actually moved to Abu Dhabi) two of the most significant things happened. Artista went live on Amazon and I got a new job.

Oh but wait a minute, how can I forget  – THE PAIN IN MY LEG(s). Double Trouble.

So my surgical leg would hurt now and then but my left leg had started to feel it too. Remember hop scotch with my left leg? Well, it was bound to have a reaction at some point.

So finally, coming to why I really started this blog. When I visited the doctors I was repeatedly told I had to lose weight. My immediate reaction was always anger which I would suppress with a Smile and “Yes” or some other excuse. But it was too late for that, the damage was done. Was there scope for prevention and betterment? There always is!

As you would have guessed, working out post surgery would be impossible for me post surgery, considering I couldn’t move an inch (All I did was add extra pounds). But like the cliched old saying – where there is a will there is a way!

It was my wake up call. The injury could have probably been prevented if I knew how to  listen to the signs my body was giving me, however I was meant to embark on this journey of self realization and tell you all that nothing is impossible. If you want it, go out there and get it (with the help from some cardio, greens and whatever else you need!)

Now Remember, when you set out on a transformational journey – it is important to surround yourself only and only with positive people who will support you. I have the greatest family and friends who were always my pillar and I have so many people to thank for the role they have played in my life. But then there are three people who I have to say a big thank you to – first is my mom who has put up with my tantrums and break downs over the past two years and always found a way to get me back on track, Aishna(who is my transformation buddy) and finally Siddhant – who in the past two years post my injury has never missed a day of asking me “How is your leg”  and always – KEPT ME GOING.

 

My mom has seen me go through every little change I have gone through, in person, and she would counter  all my negative comments with positive ones. She was my ultimate source of strength and accepted everything I needed to do to achieve my goals with grace and it was almost like she did it with me.

Everyone needs a source of inspiration, something that triggers them to START. I found mine in Aishna. She is my long distance transformation buddy, she motivates me by tiny acts such as a liking my goal of the day on MyfitnessPal. She is the reason I was able to reflect on where I was going wrong and what I needed to do to start looking after myself. She is my go to person when I am stumbling and she is the first to notice even the slightest bit of change in me and I am grateful for her.

Siddhant is the definition of  a gentleman and chivalry. During our exams, he would come every single day from another block just to wish me and ask me how my leg was, and two years later he continues to do it every single day. He always knows the right words to keep me motivated even if I have had a bad day or skipped a work out.

By the time we moved, I had decided not to eat outside food and really focus on my food intake. I failed miserably.

But, I had something big to look forward to. Moving to a new place meant a brand new beginning. It was my chance at doing something extraordinary and different for myself and the way I lived. Abu Dhabi was my shot at all kinds of possibilities, and trust me, it was exactly that.

On March 5th my dad came down to India and all three of us moved to Abu Dhabi.

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To New Beginnings…