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

 

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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

 

 

Flab to Fab with a Dysfunctional Leg

“I don’t know what lies ahead, but I want to keep going forever…”
Fuyumi Soryo

A few days ago, I was watching Denzel Washington’s Acceptance Speech at the NAACP Image Awards 2017. It was so beautifully put, I am sure he managed to connect with everyone in the room and millions across the globe: “So never give up. Without commitment, you’ll never start, or more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish………………Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship”

It is so important to maintain consistency when trying to achieve a goal. I remember, before moving to Abu Dhabi, I had multiple failed attempts on “eating right”. I would occasionally have Green Tea instead of Coffee and imagine the former doing its magic and detoxifying my body, and continue to eat what I wanted, completely ignoring the fact that diet accounts for 80% of the goal I was trying to achieve (I did not know this until much later).

Weight loss like any other goal requires immense perseverance, determination and CONSISTENCY. Why am I stressing on this so many times?

Because:

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January 2016                             January 2017

So how did I go from that to that?

No, it was not easy. But was it worth it? Every bit of it.

There are some extremely crucial points I would like to bring out here:

  1. Begin somewhere already! 

        It does not matter if you can’t do a 100 push ups on day one. What matters is that you make a decision to change your life. You make the decision to start leading a healthier life, no matter how small the change, start doing it. And if that means you are going to start going to bed early and wake up early, then be it. Whats beautiful about these small changes is that they are all interconnected. When you start sleeping early, you will automatically start eating your dinner early (recommended: two hours before you sleep), and as soon as you wake up: EAT! Have that banana or that slurrrpyyyy Mango! When you consistently do this for a week, your body will start feeling good, and to keep that alive, you will want to eat only good food and look after yourself. Try it! If it doesn’t work – you can always drop me a message!

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2. Celebrate the little things

   You woke up at 6 am everyday for a week and went for a walk? Pat yourself on the back! When I first started on my journey, I made a list of things that I would reward myself with.

Goals

We as humans tend to perform better the minute there is some reward attached to it. And that is exactly what I did! I celebrated each milestone because I knew I worked for it. (Feel free to put in anything, try and avoid writing Brownie or Pizza 😛 )

3. Maintain a Journal! 

  This is absolutely essential. At the end of everyday, write down what/how much you ate, how many hours of sleep you got, your work out, basically everything that affects your health. I started using the app My Fitness Pal  which is a great way to track your food intake (please focus on the nutrients and not the calories) and Under Armour for my work outs. The two applications can be synced, and this helps calculate your calorie deficit. As much as I love using both of them, nothing gives me the satisfaction of actually writing these things down.

Besides writing down all the right things you did, its important to note down your deviations, that way you will prevent yourself from doing it again. Its ok to fall off the grid at times, but like I said, consistency is what will help you get there.

4. There will be Good days, there will be Great days and sometimes there will be “I don’t want to do any of this” days. 

Lets focus on the last one, we all are human beings and not machines. Its ok to take the day off when you are not feeling too well. Its ok to not exert yourself when you are genuinely tired. Its ok to eat that ice cream occasionally. But this is not your ticket to discontinue the journey of healthy living, it just means you needed a short break! (Like the one’s we had in school – your recess and then lunch). Think of it as your recess, the minute you think it is your lunch break, you are entering the danger zone.

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5. Set yourself some realistic goals. 

When you are starting out, don’t be overly ambitious. Give yourself and more importantly your body the time to accept change. Change is hard to deal with. So take it one step at a time. Always start with baby steps and the bigger picture will follow.

Make Charts! Put up motivational quotes in your room! Constantly visualize achieving those goals!

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6. This is a lifestyle change and not a short – term goal

“I lost 20 pounds! I can go back to eating whatever I want!”

No, that would be a crime on your body. I honestly have not reached my goal weight yet, but maintaining what I have already lost is a challenge in itself. Do not forget that this is a choice you are making for a lifetime, a choice that guarantees to keep you healthy and happy! And who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves?

7. Do your homework

Before you start on this journey, consult people. Get a nutritionist, see what your body requires. Get a physical check up too if needed so you know the activities you take upon do not cause damage. Do not take this lightly, the kind of work outs I do are extremely restricted because of my leg. So if you need to do some light exercises rather than HIIT, then do that.

Here are some links for seated cardio workouts:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xC9khisFPA&t=477s&index=1&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs
  2. https://youtu.be/videoseries
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAeZZbpi8Ow&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs&index=12
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AuLqYh4irI&index=8&list=PLr1nGBfj5ne5EFFroGllXMbNZV6Dr2AUs

I have also been following Casey Ho  who started Blogilates  and I absolutely love her work outs! (Mainly for strengthening)

8. And my last and favorite one: Surround yourself with people who support you! 

 I think since the inception of my blog, I have constantly stressed on this. The reason is very obvious, the minute you have people who admire and appreciate what you are doing, you are bound to keep at it. They will understand what you are doing and how important it is to you, so they will only help you. And if they are also on a fitness journey already or plan to start with you, then double bonanza!!!

I often get annoyed that I can’t do those intense work outs, or dance my heart out. But the key is to make the best of what you have with you. We can always find excuses to not do something, but it takes a lot to find reasons and motivation to keep at something.

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So my Dear Warrior, just keep swimming, because great things are coming your way!