The Girl Who Moved Mountains

Chapter 1: The Reconstruction

8th April 2015

“Nurse! Nurse! Can you please help?”

“Nurse! Nurseee!”

The panting and screaming continued. Rachna had been woken up by the patient lying next to her who was crying out in desperation for a few sips of water. Thirty minutes, and still no signs of help!

Rachna had woken up with a startle because of the unbearable voices around her coupled with an excruciating pain in her leg. She couldn’t tell anymore if it was reality or a bad dream that was playing in loop. The last thing she remembered was asking a rather charming doctor “Is this the magic potion that will put me to sleep?” And there she was eight hours later, in an “Observation Ward”, an apparently conducive environment for patients. To Rachna, and presumably all the other patients, it felt like anything but that.

What was Rachna, a girl of 20, fresh of college doing in the observation ward of Apollo Hospital?

Back in High School, Rachna had been quite popular for dancing. With multiple choreographies under her belt, it was rather surprising that she had never performed a number in college. On 12th March 2015, Rachna and her entire class of BBA from the prestigious Christ University, Bangalore had decided to take a class trip to a resort called Mango Mist on the outskirts of the city. Their final adventure together had to be a memorable one! She wanted to be remembered as a great dancer, and thought why not perform for the first and last time for the class. Little did she know that the latter would be true in more than one sense.

Rachna’s mom would often tell her the story of how she started to walk when she was just 8 months. She was so quick, that it almost seemed like she learnt how to dance before she learnt how to walk. 20 years later, Rachna, in the middle of the circle formed by her classmates, was dancing to the hit “Dance Basanthi.” Have you heard the song “Pop goes my Heart!” from Music and Lyrics, that Hugh Grant ensures lingers in your mind for weeks to come? Well, with Rachna, something similar happened, only it wasn’t her heart but her leg. While performing one of her favorite moves, Rachna felt a sudden ‘POP’ in her knee, and collapsed.

In her mind she kept thinking ‘Who could have possibly hit me so hard with a cricket bat?’ ‘Was it a cricket bat or a soccer ball?’ ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t feel my leg!’ ‘Why isn’t anyone apologizing?’


Chapter 2: The Rise of a Badass Unicorn

15th September 2015

“Amma, nothing fits anymore! I don’t even like looking at myself in the mirror! This surgery has made me gain so much weight! Why did I have to be all adventurous!” exclaimed a furious Rachna

“Kannamma, if only you saw yourself the way I do, you will see that you are beautiful inside out!” chimed in her doting mother.

Rachna’s mom was her best friend. Rachna didn’t need a knight in shining armor, because her mom could rescue her from any situation! When Rachna was about five, her mother often read to her stories of Snow White, The Princess and the Frog and Rapunzel. Even after Rachna was able to read on her own, she would still insist that her mother read to her because she would enact it and make the characters come to life. Rapunzel was Rachna’s favourite. Having always been a fan of long hair, the fact that someone could use it to practically do anything always fascinated her. But coming back to the present day, Rachna like Rapunzel was confined to her own tower (her bedroom plus WiFi) because she was recovering from an Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscus Reconstruction. Undergoing rehabilitation, Rachna was unable to walk without the help of a walking aid. And like Stitch said, she had her ‘Ohana’ (family) with her, who went to great ends to be her support system. One day, Rachna decided to watch Tangled, which was the Disney adaptation of Rapunzel and asked her mother to join. It warmed her heart to see how much her mother enjoyed it. She saw her childhood come back to life and wanted to hold on to the dear moment for years to come. But the real reason the movie moved her was Rapunzel’s sheer determination to change her situation.

“No, I won’t stop, for every minute of the rest of my life, I will fight.”

-Rapunzel

Rachna knew that the operation on her leg would mean her battle had just begun, but instead of dwelling on it, Rachna had to fight it. She knew that to make her leg heal faster and to be able to dance again, she first had to lose weight. And thanks to Rapunzel, she had just found a little faith, trust and Pixie Dust.

8th April 2016

1 Year post ACL Reconstruction and 4 months after she embarked on her fitness journey…

‘Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight’ by Rujuta Divekar had been lying in her bookshelf for the longest time. It took two ligament tears and one major surgery for Rachna to go and pick it up. And Thank God she did! She would wake up at 5 am, eat her banana, do that knee friendly work out for two hours and then plan and cook the rest of the meals for the day. She showed consistency not only in her fitness regime but made sure that she was self-driven in all the freelance work she was doing. Every project reflected her passion and zeal to learn new things. And just like Rapunzel, each day, she pushed herself a little harder. Day one was one abdominal crunch, day twenty was fifty. There was nothing that could stop her now because she realized the magic of using your mind to make things happen.


Chapter 3: 20 Pounds and 2 Companies

 

14th October 2017

 Rachna had just been awarded the “Superhost” status on Airbnb for the 5th time in a row. Airbnb (the disruptor of the travel industry) evaluates its hosts on a quarterly basis and provides a five – star rating to those hosts who excel in every aspect of enhancing a guest experience. Rachna was out doing herself each time in order to personalize the stay of every guest who stayed at her property. In June 2016, Rachna converted a villa that they had on the Nilgiris into a Bed and Breakfast and began hosting on Airbnb. To her surprise, the response was quite phenomenal. Being a business student, capitalizing on the opportunity came to her naturally.

Along with being a host, Rachna was doing a full – time job at a start-up based out of Hyderabad, India. During her time there, she was pushed out of her comfort zone to learn coding for websites, tools such as Bootstrap Studio (basically everything she had never heard the name of) and was able to follow her passion of creating content for the application that her team and her were working on. But not a day went when she gave up on her fitness. Nearly two years after she started it, Rachna was still cooking all her meals, working out and then walking to work. In her spare time, she was selling personalized greeting cards on Amazon.in.

To add to all the gratifying opportunities, the most significant one came from teaching children at government schools. Rachna was a volunteer for India Literacy Project and she would teach her beloved and enthusiastic students whatever she knew about art and craft. This made her realize, that Snow White was right, you really are the one who can fill the world with sunshine!

After recovering from her surgery, Rachna had promised herself that each day she would learn something new. And to everyone’s surprise, herself included, Rachna tried to make the best of everything she had, and today not only is she the proud owner of two companies, but she lost 20 pounds with a dysfunctional leg got into one of the top colleges for Hospitality in Switzerland. How did she do it you may ask?

Because “All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”

-Walt Disney

And that’s how she became the girl who moved mountains (quite literally, from the Nilgiris to the Alps).


About the Author:

Rachna Ramesh currently resides in Bluche, Switzerland where she is pursuing her Master’s in Hospitality from Les Roches, Global Hospitality Education. Besides working on her dissertation, she loves to travel and wishes to do 25 countries before she turns 25. Her favorite past time is updating her fitness blog: https://artista2610blog.wordpress.com/, meeting new people, eating Dosas and finding ways to hunt down Indian Food in Europe. She truly believes that we can change the world one smile at a time. IMG_4684

 

I made it!

“Its been a long way, but we’re here.”

– Alan Shepard

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to find something on Youtube and stumbled across a short film called “Tamara”. I had no idea what I was about to watch, but it was the most beautiful and impactful four minutes I have witnessed in a long time.  Without giving the ending away, it is about a little girl, who loved to dance, who has a big dream and one big challenge. Follow the link to find out what happens.

How wonderful would it be to put on some music and dance our fears away? How magnificent would it feel to let go of your inhibitions and dance away?

Dance away

If you have followed my journey so far, or read some of my previous posts such as The Road to Recovery and Flab to Fab with a Dysfunctional Leg,  the one thing I always talk about is being able to get back to my one true love: Dancing.

After months of hesitation, something inside me told me it was time. It was time to test the hard work I had put in over the past couple of years and see where I was. My feet were in agreement. It was almost like they were saying “What took you so long?”

It felt like I never stopped. I was able to twirl, I was able to moonwalk, I was able to DANCE!

After moving to Europe, if you don’t have a car, you walk. You walk up the mountain, you walk down the slope. As a kid I would often used to tell my parents I want to go and live in the Alps like Heidi.  Once I got into Les Roches, Switzerland, I realized how powerful that vision had been. From 40 degrees Celsius , I was thrown into – 15 (three months of consistent snow) Talk about change.

Snow

My biggest fear was not the excessive walking, but the cold. I knew what the cold could do to my knees and I was mentally preparing to be bound by my knee brace.

April 8th, 2018 marked the third year since I got my ACL and Meniscus reconstruction. My amazing mom, who never forgets significant dates was reminding me of the same. The funny thing is, I almost couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it because of how far I have come.

All my fears and inhibitions dissolved since I got to Europe. I am not sure if the clean environment and the weather in Switzerland can be entirely credited for this, but it has contributed in a large way. Contrary to what I was expecting, I can count the number of days that my legs hurt on my fingers. I just came back from my spring break to France, where my friends were kind enough to show me some of the most extraordinary places. Whether it was climbing the Calanques de Marseille or dragging my luggage across the whole of Monte Carlo, I was able to do it all. I will not deny that my knees gave up towards the end of the week, but it was seldom that I remembered something was ever wrong with it.

When I first started this blog, I was writing about constantly facing physical pain and how I overcame it. Over the course of one and a half years since I started the blog, there is so much I have gained. And I would like to share with everyone reading that no matter what, don’t give up! Your day is just around the corner. At some point in our lives, we are all faced with dilemmas, we have all been tempted to give up. But don’t let the latter seduce you. We are all capable of great things, and more often than not we need to be reminded of this. So here’s a reminder, (I would like to resort to my favorite author, since more credibility and all that 😉 )

“Kid, you’ll move mountains!”

-Dr.Seuss

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Black Collage Father Dad Appreciation Instagram Post

Marketing Do's And Don'ts Infographic

 

 

Snack time is the Best Time!

‘I spend a lot of time holding the refrigerator door open looking for answers’

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The human species have conveniently fallen into the humongous trap set by marketers of binge eating from packets that look like they have a load of deliciousness inside but in reality consist of all the wrong doings you could do to your body (even though everyone is completely aware about it).

And it is unfortunate that a majority of the world is convinced that snacking can only come in the form of these processed goods. And even if they do believe in other options, it is too time consuming to actually cook your own food (I mean why take the effort, when I can just run to the store next door? )

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So I thought why not do a post on something I often have a tough time working on myself?!

5 Snack options that will make you forget about junk food:

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  1. Sautéed Vegetables

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Ingredients:

1 chopped Carrot

1 chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 chopped Onion

1 Slice Tofu

Steps:

Prep Time: 15 mins , Cook Time: 10 mins

  • Cut the vegetables you need – I have used Tofu , Onion, Carrots and Bell Pepper. Sometimes I add steamed corn and broccoli. The choice is all yours!
  • Pour 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan
  • Add some cumin seeds
  • Add the vegetables into the pan and Sauté them
  • Add a teaspoon of chilli powder, salt and pepper
  • Sauté until vegetables turn light brown
  • Add a pinch of tabasco sauce if you want more flavor

If possible cut the vegetables before hand (early in the morning) to save you some time.

2. Sweet Potato Wedges, Ranch Dip and Cheese Garlic Bread or Toast:

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 12.36.41 PM.pngNote: I don’t encourage processed foods, but you can consume the ranch dip in limited quantity or alternatively choose to make your own dip!

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

Ranch Dip

Bread

Cheese

Prep Time: 10 Mins , Cook Time – 20 – 25 mins 

  •  Pre Heat the oven at (220 degrees C)
  • Cut the Sweet Potatoes either in circles or in the form of wedges.
  • Prepare a mix of the following in a bowl:

1-2 Tbsps of oil (depending on quantity of sweet potatoes),

2 teaspoons of Salt

2 teaspoons of Pepper

1 teaspoon Chilli Powder

  • Dip the sweet potatoes one by one into the mix and place them on a baking tray.
  • Place the tray in the Pre Heated oven at (220 degrees C) for 20 – 25 minutes until it can be easily pierced with a fork.

Cheese Garlic Toast: 

Ingredients:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Mix Parmesan cheese, butter, garlic powder, and parsley in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on top of the bread slices.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until butter is melted and bread toasted for 5 – 10 mins 

3. Hummus and Pita Bread:

This is easily my favorite Mid – Day meal!

If you live in India there are a couple of options you can follow:

  •      You can order the Pita Bread and Hummus from Big Basket

Pita Bread

  • You can also check out Snackible , they have some great healthy snack options!
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My recent loot from the store !

Alternatively, you can also choose to make your own hummus, you can find the recipe here.

4. Cut Fruits and Homemade Bhel! 

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Find the recipe for Bhel here.

5. Pita Bread Pizza 

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Ingredients 

1 Pita Bread

1 chopped onion

1 chopped bell pepper

1 cup of Corn Kernels

1 Slice of Cheese

Hummus

Prep Time: 10 Mins, Cook Time: 10 Mins 

  • Sauté the onions, bell pepper and corn in a frying pan for 5 mins
  • Spread the hummus on the pita bread and add a slice of cheese.
  • Once the vegetable are ready add them to the pita bread and place it in the microwave for 3 mins. And Voila you have found your solution for the Pizza you have been craving!
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Happy Snacking! 😀

Fitness Wagon, Where art thou?

Stomach: No! No! What have you done?! How could you put me through this?! I just spent the past 2 weeks doing those painful bicycle crunches!

Tongue: I needed a Spa Day for myself, and the chocolate cake massage was the best one on the list.

Stomach: Without my permission? I couldn’t feel myself for days after those crunches, and you are the one who needed a Spa Day?

Tongue: After everything I do for you, after all the boring food that I put up with, don’t you think I deserve to be treated right with food that tastes divine?!

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As Tongue continued to indulge in more such Spa Days, Tongue and Stomach headed towards Splitsville

*Meanwhile*

Brain: Oh no! What now! I am going to gain 2 pounds. Oh no! I have already gained 4 pounds. No! no! What about those clothes I just bought?! When can I wear them! I cannot believe I spent money on nice clothes and then had a Chocolate Frappe! I mean who does that? I could have used that money in so many better ways! I think I need to calm down, its really no big deal. I will just eat right tomorrow. But then how will I ever wear that bikini?! No its ok, I am sure I will get there. But stupid sugar, stupid calories. I am a fool. Oh but it tasted so good!*

Heart: Omg! He finally liked my Instagram Picture! Those crunches paid off!!

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*If anyone got a sneak peak inside my brain, it would probably be the hardest maze they have encountered. And all the perpetual overthinking that I put my mind through on an hourly basis would stop them from ever coming out.

And that’s the story of how I fell off the wagon.

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The Back Story

After my 10th grade, I decided to drop “Mathematics”. Mathematical Anxiety is a real thing. Going any further with the subject would do me no good. But 7 years after I left the subject it came to bite me again in the form of “Quant” in GMAT. In order to fulfill my dream of doing an MBA from an Ivy League and all that jazz meant tryst with my favorite subject. But the only thing that happened was our break-up. Over and over.

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Enter: Food

My father often says:

“Anything good in life is either expensive, illegal or not good for your health.” Now how is it that all the food that seemed to be the cure for my battle with maths fell under the last category?

I kept telling myself that eating junk or eating outside during such a *painful* time was totally acceptable.

I was preparing for my GMAT, in the middle of my college applications, a full time job, and an Airbnb business to look after. What I realized is that sometimes you just can’t be in the right state of mind. And sometimes (like in my case), you don’t have the time to prepare 6-7 different meals.

The problem isn’t with what the outside world tells you about how you look or about what you should eat. The conflict is from within.

I am always caught between: I need to look good vs. I need to stay fit. I am caught between I have no time to cook vs. is it ok to eat outside?

Amidst answering these questions, what happens if you lose track altogether?

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  1. Figure out what triggered your fall:

          Rewind. When did you stop focussing on your lifestyle? What made you want to                 eat food you usually consider unhealthy? Was it stress? Was it lack of time to                       prepare good meals? Was it anxiety? Or did you just not feel like it anymore?

         Get to the roots. Thats the only way to address  the problem.

  2.  Accept what is happening

        STOP living in denial. The sooner you accept that things have gone wrong, the                     faster you can get back on track.

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Applicable to any other goals you are working on

3. If you choose to eat out, pick the healthiest option

*Opens smartphone*

*Clicks on Swiggy*

*Orders most appetizing  a.k.a fried/deep fried/not to enter the body looking food

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There are many healthy options available – you just need to look int the right places. Remember to look for the ingredients and nutrients you are going to consume rather than the calories.

4. Look back at the results achieved so far

Try on that old t-shirt you thought would never fit you again. Compare how you felt     before you started the journey vs. now. The change isn’t just what I see in the mirror. It’s what I feel from within. I have more energy, I experience happiness, I am able to focus on multiple things, try it guys – there are numerous benefits that come with the “Stay Fit” package!

 

5. Start Over

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I went back and read Rujuta Diwekar’s Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight to figure out where I was going wrong. Once I did this, it was easy for me to figure out the deviations. I was skipping most of my mid day meals and ended up eating a more during one meal (and desserts – oh those evil little things)

 

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Gentle Reminders that now embrace my refrigerator

Its been a week since I have gotten back to eating clean and trying to find a balance. I am not going to say its easy, there is no magic formula here, except determination to work on yourself. To anyone who is working on a goal, keep at it. Its ok to stumble, in fact its almost essential because the second time around you work that much harder.

Every single step counts, every single work out counts. You may not see the results overnight, but when you do – you will love yourself for having started!

P.S. Stay tuned for ‘Yesterday you Said tomorrow – Part 2’ by our Guest Blogger

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! I am looking for ways in which I can help you on your journey, so do let me know if there is anything in particular you want to read about in the next few features on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Yesterday you said Tomorrow

“What you resist, persists.” -Carl Jung

Cibophobia is the fear of food, sufferers may feel anxious when they eat as they may worry that a certain food could poison them. If you aren’t suffering from this then you’re probably alive and you enjoy eating. It’s one of the top three survival essentials yet we harbor a love-hate relationship with food. You reach out to it to comfort yourself on a lonely night and then shit all over it the next day (pun intended) like it was a rebound fling. So you let yourself off the hook for a while, maybe it was a vacation, a stressful period, or you just flung the table across the room one day screaming…

hell

You ate anything and everything in your way and you made your peace with it because you consoled yourself that this would last a short time and you would start your so-called “diet” again very soon. Day on end you stuff your face comforted that you got this, that this is a phase and you’ll get over it.

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You will be good from tomorrow, from Monday, from Jan 1, from fill-in-the-blank because there’s a will-power meter that refills it’s juice on these holy days. You wake up, today is the tomorrow you were going to be good, you do your daily grind, have a really healthy breakfast. You’re on your way to work busting them hip hop songs like a boss, you’re on a will-power high and you can feel it burning.. YOU’RE ON FIRE!!

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Then you go to work and see a bunch of mouth-watering cupcakes lying on the kitchen counter… a part of you DIES. You’re cursing everyone even the poor old janitor because why o why weren’t these cupcakes out yesterday when you hadn’t started your diet. Oh and thanks to your partner in crime who magically shows up to drain your will power right when you need it the most. “One cupcake never hurt nobody”, yeah thanks Jon Snow. Your brain says no, your heart says stuff your face in them cupcakes coz you deserve a cream facial. Nai, nai, nai, nai, dang you just had 2. Now that you’ve had 2, might as well continue eating crap all day because your diet isn’t perfect anymore and it can’t be so what’s the point.

regret

So that holy day ‘tomorrow’ flew by and you beat yourself about it but pick yourself up again because hey, there’s another tomorrow, another Monday right around the corner. And it goes on and on. You’re a 1 or a 0, there’s no shades of grey. Also, this isn’t the first time that this has happened, you were here before, right in the same symmetrical beauty of square 1 and your tomorrow came some day and you behaved yourself for a while until this happened again. Been there, done that. Welcome to the vicious cycle of the Game of tomorrows.

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One year later, 20 pounds heavier, you’re lying in bed wondering when this all started. Will I ever be fit? Am I really that weak that I can’t fight food, poor thing doesn’t even have limbs or a mouth (hey, words hurt more). Nobody’s shoveling it down my throat either, it’s all on me. You start to realize that there’s a pattern here, one step forward one hundred steps back. No matter how many articles you read and fad diets you try, you always end up falling off the wagon.

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Don’t even get me started on the self-inflicted wounds, treating yourself badly and blaming yourself for being weak. Round and round we go on this carousel, chasing after our dreams. And then you die. Okay that escalated, but have you ever stopped to wonder if you’ve been trying to read the book upside down. If what you’re after doesn’t have that one narrow-minded solution that you can see has been failing time and again for you. How come some people get there and you don’t, is there a magic weight loss potion that only a few worthy souls can get their hands on? I think not.

WHATIF

It’s time to try something new. Here’s a 2 week diet that guarantees you a 20 pound weight-loss along with social life-loss, happiness-loss and of course, hair-loss. NO! That ain’t what I’m talking about. What if I told you there’s a way to lose weight, get fit, be happy and enjoy a social life without counting every single calorie and losing your cool. Stay tuned for some mind blowing in the next post, meanwhile.. eat less sugar, you’re sweet already! 😉

waitforit

 

About the Author:

 meAishna Agrawal is my role model. I do not look at celebrity photos for motivation. I just need to look at her and talk to her. Aishna and I first met in High School back in 2010. Over the past two years, Aishna has fought flawlessly against whatever health problems that were thrown at her. There are certain things she is able to explain better than doctors because she has been a victim of disorders no one seems to have answers for. This is the reason she inspires me. There was a time when she would enter the battlefield not knowing which food type would be the new enemy. Never once has she given up. And today she begins to share her story with the world. Believe me, she has tried and tested every diet out there and even invented many of her own. You are going to want to keep listening to her. She is going to crack you up with her humor and encourage you in whatever journey you are about to embark on! I am so excited to be collaborating with her and sharing what fitness means to us and how we are trying to work on the concept for ourselves.

 

 

 

 

One Paper Roast Please….

“Food is memories.”

I wish I could recollect every moment that led me to fall in love with a particular dish. Luckily enough though, I know where the fondness for my top two favorite dishes originated.

  1. Pav Bhajji – In Pune there is a restaurant called Shiv Sagar which is a five minute walk from where we used to live. Celebration meant going to Shiv Sagar and relishing on their world class Pav Bhajji; this was during a much simpler time before westernization took over and our spending power was minimal. Last year, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I made a trip to Pune to eat Pav Bhajji from Shiv Sagar (its safe to say this might have been my only agenda) and even over a decade later, it still tasted the same. Over the years I have realized that no matter who makes the Pav Bhajji, it will never be the same as the one from there. This goes beyond the fact that they make it the best. Our entire family has created memories in that place. We have gone there as a family of 3 or a group of 20, and every single time we have ordered the Pav Bhajji!  No 5 – star hotel can replace the feeling of dining at Shiv Sagar and drowning your taste buds in this delicacy.

Pav Bhajji

2. Dosa 

Year 2005

Rachna: “Mohan Chittappa, inam evolo nerum? (how much more time?)” – anyone who has traveled with me, knows this is my most FAQ. 

Mohan Chittappa: “Don’t worry, I have a surprise for you on the way, you will enjoy it”*

*Of course I do not remember exactly how the conversation went, but it is to give you a better idea of what was about to unfold.

This was when I was traveling with my uncle from Kodaikanal to Coimbatore in an ambassador (the reason I was becoming Hangry) I read somewhere once that ‘be with the person who gives you the same feeling you get when your food arrives in the restaurant.’ But that day, satisfaction took over me the minute we got out of the car and rushed inside what was ‘Salaiyora unavagam’ (roadside eating).  It was actually a tiny hall packed with people enjoying their food (first indicator of it being a great place)

As my uncle and I settled down, we were approached by an elderly who would have easily been in his eighties. I think till date I haven’t seen anyone who is more active, enthusiastic and fast in serving people (second indicator) and I wish today more than anything that I had been thoughtful enough to take his picture. Anyway, since I never lived in Tamil Nadu, I obviously lacked some of the qualities that Tamilians possess – mainly – the slang for some dishes. So my uncle ordered “Paper Roast” for the both of us! I was so excited, I thought some exotic dish was going to turn up, and I was so overwhelmed that I was finally going to make my tummy happy that I did not even bother asking my uncle what it meant. To my disappointment, our food arrived and it was DOSA! Why Dosa? Couldn’t we have Wada? Or Puri ? We were on a holiday for God’s Sake!

I think I felt pretty betrayed, and that probably lasted for a whole of 5 seconds, because as soon as I took the first bite, I think I felt my mouth do a few somersaults in excitement of the flavors that had just entered. And that is the exact moment that I fell in love with Dosas. (I always liked them, but thats when I really started Loving them, so THANK YOU MOHAN CHITTAPPA!) But there was one more crucial moment that I was to leave with. Our bill after 3 dosas and one coffee was Rs.18. THAT.IS.IT.

Great food – check, Lighting Speed – Check , Light on the Pocket – Check

Inspired? – Check! Check! Check! 

Paper-Roast-dosa

Source: Google

I think my body might actually be 70% DOSA. And the fact that Rujuta Diwekar insists you eat Dosa, made me a very, very Happy person. So a major part of my diet consists of eating dosa.

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Duel Tawa = Increased Satisfaction

How is it best served?

With Milgai Podi, Coconut Chutney and Patti(grandma) and Amma(mom) ka Pyaar (love)!

So Dosa, where did you come from?

Even though Dosa is indigenous to South India, its exact origin is unknown. But according to food historia K.T. Achaya, dosa or dosai was already in use in ancient Tamil Nadu around the 1st century AD.

Making a Dosa –

Dosa batter is prepared with a mixture of rice and black grams (udad) that is soaked in water and allowed to ferment overnight. The proportion of rice to lentils is generally 4:1 or 5:1. Water is added to get the desired thickness. (I could just ask my grandmom, but I googled this)

Some of the best dosa recipes to try are Neer Dosa, Pesearattu , Ragi wheat Dosa, Onion Rava dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa or my Grandma’s Dosa! . The best part about dosa is that it can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a great source of carbohydrates yet low in calories!

Source: Google

The Magic Batter
If you are a fan of dosa, you would have tasted the different types, right from paper thin roast to the fluffy oothappam. But did you know that it all comes down to handling the batter? On the first day its usually bland, but when you store it for one more night it attains the properties needed to make a wafer thin dosa, on the third day you will notice it is best for making oothapam! So as the days go by, the dosa can take different forms. However, the pan – rather the “tawa or kalu (stone)” that is used to spread the batter and make the dosa is an essential tool in making the most delicious dosa! And you can truly do justice to your dosa only when you dip it in chutney and sambaar!

Alright, so to everyone who is worried about consuming those extra carbohydrates, Dosa should be your go to meal. And in case I haven’t mentioned earlier – eat what your Nani (grandmom) eats. Just remember to break your meal into portions, enjoy every bite and stop worrying about how many calories you are consuming – focus on the nutrients!

I also want to take the opportunity to talk about the importance of “Feeling Good“.

There is no set standard of how one is supposed to look. Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way and the key is to respect and listen to your body. Your body deserves immense love, so don’t deprive it by constantly being angry with what you see in the mirror. Take the time to tell yourself  “I love you, and I am proud of who you are”. Do not get caught up in  “I need to get that summer body”, No you do not! What you do need to do is feed yourself good wholesome food and start feeling the glow from within which in no time will start reflecting on your face. And you will see that you are carrying the most wonderful aura no matter where you go. (I do stumble too, I often forget these things, but the key is to remind yourself of how important you are; and if not – you can always come back here and I will tell you that you are and will always be incredible, just like a Dosa!)

P.S. I did want to pen down my diet chart here but I got too carried away by Dosas!

Until next time my lovelies!

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When in doubt, Dosa it out!

*If you wish to purchase dosa mix made of Millets, you can order it here.

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”.

alastair

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…