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:

IMG_7747
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!

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 12.42.00 PM.png

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.

IMG_0606

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!

IMG_0729

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.

IMG_9295

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

A letter to my Father

Dearest Appa,

On this day, 52 years ago, you found yourself on a journey alone (when you were just 2), without realizing the chaos you were about to start back at home.

Its interesting; every year I like to hear Patti(grandma) tell me the story of how you ran away, and every single time I get goosebumps which is usually followed by me telling you “I now realize where all the traveling originated.”

Sometimes I think to myself, I wish you could have been there more often to see me grow up.

But today, to celebrate your return home 52 years back, I believe it is time to say “Thank You” and why my thoughts were all wrong.

WhatsApp Image 2017-03-11 at 14.19.44

It has taken me years to realize that even though you might have enjoyed exploring new places and countries, it was one of the toughest things you had to do in your life; because at the end of the day all you really wanted to do was be home with Amma and me.

Amma often gets credited (and rightly so) for staying at home and looking after me. But little did I understand that the real sacrifice was actually made by you because you had to say goodbye when all you wanted to do was say hello. So thank you!

Remember the day you sat me down and made me listen to ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’ By Bryan Adams and stressed that I pay attention to that line? Thank you for showing me everyday what that means. Thank you for bringing me the world and not the other way round. And above all Thank You for being my everything.

Thank you Appa for all the times you had to give up on something so that I could have the life I do today. Thank you for giving me so much to dream about and supporting me every minute to achieve them.

Thank you for being patient with me when I do not understand a problem in Maths, Thank You for all those Barbie Dolls I did not deserve or require for that matter. Thank you for always putting some sense back into me when I lose track of where I am headed, Thank You for every single second you spend in dreaming with me about my future, Thank you for putting me above everything.

 THANK YOU for being my Appa!

P.S. Thank you for finding your way back home 52 years ago.

Love,

Always and Forever,

Thangam

Escape to London…

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions. 

-Peter Hoeg 

In my early teens, I used to watch these shows on the channel Travel and Living, solely because I was so fascinated by the fact that people were getting paid to travel and taste different cuisines, meet new people and check off everything on their bucket list.

tlc

“If traveling were free, you would never see me again.”

Not only were these trips completely paid for , but this is what the hosts made a living out of (Who doesn’t want that?!).

But clearly, when time came, my choice of career was very different and right now I am caught wishing someone would magically stumble upon my talent of being a tour guide (self-claimed, of course) and offer me my own show!

However, coming back to reality, (alternatively choosing to spend my father’s money) I decided to make a trip to UK to visit my cousin, sister-in-law and my nephew instead of joining my parents to India in the month of May.

I know what you are thinking – she is constantly complaining about her leg pain, and now all of a sudden she wants to travel. But I guess a part of me knew that traveling (and cute guys with thick British accents) would be a great medicine. And I promise you – the tickets were very cheap!

So in between the above photographs, was my ride on Qatar Airways, and I am one of those people who gets excited at the idea of trying out new airlines. What I loved about it was the fact that they saw an opportunity in the way the safety instructions are conveyed to the passengers, which is otherwise ignored by all of us, no matter how much effort the air hostess puts in or how good she looks. But the Airline plays a video which takes place on the soccer field with real players and penalty cards! (Way to grab people’s attention!)

img_1682
I made it! (I was doubting this at the immigration)

Isn’t it exciting how one minute you are in the scorching heat of UAE and 9 hours later you are in the pleasant (not so gloomy yet) weather of UK. It was like going from an oven to a refrigerator.

My cousin Vijay had come to pick me up and getting from the airport to Croydon (South London) was a journey in itself, changing all those trains however gave me a teaser of the beautiful country.

The next two weeks were absolutely delightful! Vidya, Vijay and Vedant accompanied me for the majority part of my vacation showing me some of the most interesting and unique places in Londonand there were few places that I explored on my own. The latter was where the learning part came in. It is so important to be able to enjoy your own company. I recently read somewhere that ‘The Cure for too much TO DO is Solitude and Silence.‘ This process of self exploring was made easier by my sister-in law who gave me the inch by inch directions along with tube lines and buses that I would have to take.

So the first stop I made alone was traveling within Croydon itself. I went shopping, well window shopping because Dhirams to Pounds was no more comforting than Rupees to Pounds. But I did buy a butterfly shaped Gingerbread for Vedant, because it was going to be my first time picking him up from his Nursery, and I got a heads up that he likes to be received with treats. As soon as I entered, Vedant came running towards me, announcing that his aunt has come to his class (felt like I got to have my filmy moment!) We had a great ride back home, because I was in company of someone who could talk more than me!

And get this, it was also the day that Vedant learned about the life cycle of the butterfly at play school! (The universe was definitely with me!)

The following day, my destination was Wimbledon! There was a tram from Croydon to Wimbledon, making my journey extremely easy, until I got to Wimbledon and couldn’t find the bus stop I needed to board the bus from(there were like 20!) And of course, of all days the weather had chosen that particular day to betray me. It was extremely cold (please do keep in mind I was coming from UAE) and it had started to drizzle, my shoes were giving me a shoe bite, and to top it all, I literally  paced 20 times from the Tram Station to what I thought could possibly be my bus stop. I called Vidya up, and I failed miserably at explaining the crossroads I was stuck in. And this was all after seeking help from an elderly woman and google maps. I know, so much for wanting to be a tour guide! Finally, I saw a guard (who I swear should be in Hollywood) who took less than 10 seconds to guide me and Phew! I was on my way!

I was welcomed by the sweetest and most humorous guard – who asked me if I wanted a picture taken! (Hell yes I did). Now, let me stress on this a little more, in an era of selfies and DSLR’s, no matter how exciting it is, when you get to Wimbledon you need to take a picture of yourself against the Centre Court. Its a Prerequisite to show that you really did visit the place. The task is a little tricky when everyone has come in a group and are busy clicking pictures of their family and friends and you realize that so much solitude isn’t worth it after all!

img_2150
I was left with no choice but to ask a Wimbledon Employee to take this. It was also a reminder that I did play Tennis at some point, met Sania Mirza and could have actually made it here someday (One is allowed to dream)

The next few days I tried to get some office work done, I met a couple of friends from school who were living there, and spent a lot of time with family. My cousin is a senior chef in London, so my fitness goals and Rujuta Divekar’s voice went for a toss whenever I wanted to try something new (DO NOT, I repeat do not ever do that). The mind has a great way of playing tricks on you if you let it, so I convinced myself that the cold was making me hungrier and all the walking was balancing it. This is true to an extent, but what I was trying to achieve was a lifestyle change and not something temporary.

I just want to take a moment to talk about Sky Gardens, the view from the top is Mind Blowing and it should definitely be on your list of things to do if you are ever in London (It is free, but requires a reservation)

 

My very last day in London was the highlight. I found Benjamin, I saw the Tower Bridge open and the cherry on top was dining at Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen, thanks to my darling sister-in law.

So why am I mixing my travel diary and fitness journey?

  1. No matter where you are, and how hard it gets, try your best to stick to your goals. Yes there will be temptations, there will be distractions, but it ultimately comes down to what you want out of it and how far you are willing to go to make it happen.
  2. It is a lifestyle change! You deserve to treat yourself, you are allowed to have that delicious new dessert, just remember to earn it.
  3. Fall in love with taking care of yourself!

Throughout the trip everyone was constantly worried that I might encounter a lot of pain. However, it came as a surprise to all because it was very limited, I was able to walk everywhere and do everything I wanted to (not sky diving or Bungee Jumping though). The only question was will it be the same once I was back in Abu Dhabi, and if not, what was causing it.

P.S. If you are ever traveling alone, offer to take pictures of others so that you can have yours taken.

Until next time folks!

 

 

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.

img_0949
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?

The Road to Recovery – Part 2

“Fun is Good”

– Dr.Seuss

When I was about 10 years old, my father would tell me – “Go downstairs and play, go break some bones.” I took it too literally, sadly a decade later.

When you injure your hand (I have experienced this too, and that was pretty serious as well!) you can still move around and do things, but when its your leg – you are immobile, and you need help for every little thing. For someone, who needs to constantly move around, this got extremely frustrating. I was bound to my bed the entire day, and I absolutely resented the thought of putting my entire weight on one leg, to hop to the restroom  and to think that I used to love playing hop scotch at one point in time!

img_9888

Mobility Aid – My New Saathi (observe how I respected it by keeping the bubble wrap on) 

My physiotherapy started about 10 days later. Again, I was blessed with a wonderful doctor – Dr.Kiran. He would come home at 7 am and we would do strengthening exercises which I felt were more painful than  Jumping Jacks and pilates put together, why you ask? The aim was to get my New Leg to bend and I couldn’t move it – even a slight push would feel like someone was trying to dismantle my leg. And I had a big target already set in my mind.

When you get an ACL reconstruction – the doctors tell you – you need 9 – 12 months to get back to your prior activity levels. (No Dance, No basketball, No Adventure – SIGH!)

But, I had my convocation coming up on May 23rd 2015, and I had made it very clear that the doctors need to ensure I can go on stage to receive my degree without a walking stick. My father would tell me ‘why don’t you just go on stage with the stick? Set a style statement’, and trust me – I do wish I had listened – it would have made a better story!

I spent a month after college trying to walk again. It was like an infant trying to learn. I had to hold onto something , in this case it was my saathi. There was a particular way I had to do it, first I put the mobility aid down, then put most of the pressure on my left leg (this leg will play a greater role in the stories to follow) and then slowly try to move my operated leg.

Once I had learnt how to walk, my exercises were upgraded too! They got more intense, but I had a goal – No crutch on Convocation Day!

I remember making a list of movies and TV shows I wanted to watch and books I wanted to read to kill my time, but unfortunately I spent a major chunk of time overthinking and wondering how on earth would I ever get my previous life back. Everyone from my class was already working or on a job hunt, and here I was – bound to the four walls of my room.

My grandparents had also flown down to be with me because my parents were both working. Having them around was the biggest blessing and  that was when I got really close to my Thatha and Patti (grandparents).

The very first miracle:

My mom is an artist, she even has an art studio and conducts classes for over 50 students. So, I just got lucky to inherit some of her genes. In college I really wanted to open a personalized gift shop because I love making cards and making people happy!  In fact, my roommate and I had already decided the name and the B- Plan but never got around to it. But everything has its time – and so did Artista(My personalized gift store). So in the month of April the complex that I live in Hyderabad was hosting a Mela(fair) where the residents can put up stalls, and this was my golden opportunity. And my grandmother(Patti) had been a constant motivation for me. She would often ask me what was the latest craft I had made. So with my Brace and a special set up for my leg by my parents I sat and made 40 cards over two nights and put up a stall with my mom’s products as well. We were not sold out, but people seemed to enjoy what I had made and the appreciations received were a major boost that I had been craving for.

whatsapp-image-2017-01-12-at-21-30-18
Getting the art right with my Amma since 95
img_9796
First batch of Artista

To keep myself further occupied I made a 20 page scrapbook for my best friend Cynthia – because her birthday was coming up right before our convocation. I also got a surprise visit from my school friends in Hyderabad, which was just the thing I needed!

May 23rd was only a week away. I had gone from Mobility Aid and Brace to Walking Stick and Knee Band. But on that day it had to be ONLY Knee Band.

Dr. Kiran made it happen, did I play a role in it? Yes, I did the exercises diligently. Its human nature to work harder when there is a reward attached to it.

So, we decided to travel via road to Bangalore as this would also allow me to comfortably place my leg – however I wanted. Thankfully, I was able to get passes for my grandparents to attend the convocation as well.

11295939_10205983817928244_8904111343351096651_n

Can you see me beaming? I was for sure, at that moment just those few seconds, I completely forgot about my pain. Dr. Kiran had a very interesting way to teach climbing up and going down the stairs. He said while going down – you are going to hell – use your operated leg first, and while climbing up use your good leg because you are going to heaven. So before I got onto stage, I had help from my classmate Sanskriti and while getting off I had help from my classmate Nikita.

11022512_10205990121165821_9016374827534927684_n

(Left) My Appa’s Graduation – National University of Singapore (2007) and (Right) Rachna’s graduation – Christ University – 2015.

I was so exhausted by the end of it , that I just wanted a place to sit, and never get up again. I returned my robe to the college, meanwhile, my mom and dad were both trying to find me but on different floors. That day, I realized that when you are tired and worn out , anything can cloud your judgement of right and wrong. I hadn’t  got a picture with my dad, and if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have the coolest dad – daughter picture in the history of photographs. He insisted that I go back and get the robe(which required me to climb two floors), because only then we would have the above collage. And as always, my parents had saved the day and gave me another story to talk about.

After what felt like the longest and most overwhelming day of my life, I came home to a surprise (extended celebration) by my wonderful aunt, uncle and cousin! Since I couldn’t go anywhere, they brought the party home!

Start the day with a smile, and finish it with Champagne!

 

The Road to Recovery – Part 1

I have divided my life into two categories – Before Surgery and Post Surgery. This has a greater significance than those five hours where I was under General Anaesthesia and have no clue whatsoever about what happened, but I was a different person before that, and some one else after it (and so was my leg, obviously!)

As you might have read in my previous post, I was taking my final semester – final exams in college with a Brace on to protect my now ACL and Meniscus torn knee. On March 31st, I headed back to Hyderabad after a very grand farewell from my wonderful friends and also a special drop off at the airport!

Farewell, Me trying to own the Brace and Walking Stick look and the Grand drop off at Kempegowda International Airport

What was next? That one dreaded word: SURGERY.

I will be very honest with you, I wanted the surgery so desperately and I didn’t at the same time. I knew surgery was the ultimate solution, but I also constantly lived in the fear that my leg would never be the same again, because there would be some external particles taking over it. One cannot really put into words how much mental preparation it takes to say “YES” to a surgery – when they are also given a choice to say no.

Right before I went into the operation theatre my dad told me “Go in and have some fun”, and I did; I asked the doctor who was about to give me the Anaesthesia “Is this the Magic Potion that will fix the pain?”, after which I blanked out, only to be woken up in a different room , by a woman who I believe had been asking for water for a long time. This was the observation room – and I pray that no one ever has to undergo the torture of being “Observed”. I have never felt that ignored in my entire life. My parents, who had been waiting to get a glimpse of how I was doing, were allowed only once for about 2 mins each. The irony is that one is protected from loved ones to prevent the patients from catching infections.

Now before I tell you about post surgery, let me rewind a little to talk about my Doctor. Do you believe that everything that happens , happens for a reason? Because I do.

My mom had taken an appointment with a Doctor recommended by my aunt. So on the 1st of April, my mom and me went to Apollo Hospital, a day after I landed in Hyderabad. I got VIP treatment, from my car to the Orthopedic department, I was taken in a wheelchair by not one, but multiple people (whoever was available). We were trying to find the cabin of the doctor that we had an appointment with. Guess what? We couldn’t and no one had an idea about who she is. Yes, I am serious. We asked 5 different staff members at Apollo Hospital, and all looked at my mom with a bigger surprise than the one taking over our faces, but by now my mom and me had become experts in trying to hide our Panic. My mom has always had a great presence of mind, and she really believes in doing things in the moment. So she decided, she will take an appointment with the doctor who was available at that time. Turns out, I was going to get one of the Best Doctors who has also been a doctor for Mumbai Indians and a few football leagues in England(Pretty cool huh?). The fact that the same person who might have checked Sachin Tendulkar will be operating on my leg, was very satisfying. Dr.Sharath Kumar, is such a passionate and positive human being, that anyone would instantly feel at ease with him and might even forget the pain for those few minutes, I didn’t fear visiting the doctor anymore, in fact I quite enjoyed it!

But no matter how well its put across to you, the word “Surgery” will still pierce through your heart.

So exactly a week later – 8th April 2015 is when the great and much awaited surgery took place. You would want to think that when you are in unbearable pain and have a surgery, the pain would reduce right? I mean, isn’t that the whole point? Well, I was wrong, the pain just amplified by about a 100 times (I swear I am not exaggerating) and it remained for about one week.

img_9707

I matched my outfit to my brace to stay positive about the operation ahead of me!

You know what is the worst thing about having your leg operated? Well two actually, the first is – finding the right position to sleep in and second is getting to the restroom, I won’t get into the details, but you get the idea.

img_9752

Seen in picture: The amazing Dr. Sharath Kumar, Operated Ligaments, and My darling aunt Dr.Reeta who decided to surprise me (and we hoped to reduce my pain over some LIT’s) . Do excuse me for not having the strength to pose for better pictures.

I think through out this entire process there were two very prominent traumatizing incidents. First, getting me into our car after my discharge, and second, finding the right level of elevation for my leg on the bed. And hats off to my mom, dad and aunt, they mastered it (After about 20 tries, and multiple loud shrieks from me).

The operation is just one hurdle. What came next was really what transformed me into the person I am today. Stay Tuned…

The ACL, Meniscus and Me.

‘Dance Basanthi’, it was my favorite song that year, and I was trying to ensure that my dance moves did justice to it. My entire class was present, and were a cheerful audience! We had all gone to a resort called Mango Mist to mark the end of our incredible three year journey at Christ University, Bangalore.

However, little did I know – that my leg wanted to do this in style.

Do you see how excited I was?

Have you heard the song “Pop! Goes my Heart” sung by Hugh Grant for the movie ‘Music and Lyrics?’ Well thats exactly what happened to my knee. It went ‘Pop’ and I remember collapsing, my entire class rushing to my rescue, and it all happened so fast that I kept thinking, who could have hit me so hard with a cricket bat or football? It took me a good five minutes to realize that it was internal because no one was apologizing! (Also, no one would do such a thing, not deliberately of course).

That night, we were all staying in tents, so with a lot of help from all my friends and to my luck – a wheel chair as well, we made it to our tent. And the entire night, my friends took turns to look after me, specially my roommates and my friend Avishek – who did not leave my side even for a minute, and there I was trying to keep my mind off the excruciating pain , completely oblivious of how serious the injury was going to be. The highlight for all, however was taking turns to give me a ride on the wheelchair!

The next day, due to lack of access to any other mode of transport – we had to make our way back to Kormangala in a Tempo. (Yes, I held my leg the entire time and had conversations with it that it would be ok). I was so blessed to have friends, who spent two days before our final exams in the hospital with me. Unfortunately, that day the Orthopedic was not in, so I was asked to get an X-Ray and the Physiotherapist informed me that I have nothing to worry about because it was just a sprain. You can imagine my elation at this! I had put my entire family in so much worry in the last 24 hours, that my mom had booked her tickets for the next morning, and this was my shot at cooling the situation.

But, hailing from a family that has more than 3 doctors, there wasn’t much escaping. I was to be taken to the top Sports doctors the very next day, which was followed by an MRI which was followed by the realization that I had not one but two Ligament Tears – A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament and a Meniscus and that I may or may not need surgery. And just like that my hope to cool the situation down was lost. My fear was turning into tears, only to be stopped by my aunt Reeta(also a Doctor) and mother who were doing everything in their capacity to stay positive and keep me going.

What was really bothering me was that I had been dancing since the age of 4; how could dancing possibly betray me so much?

Then it hit me, earlier that day, I had performed this adventure activity – Log Crossing. Now for those of you who don’t know me, I am a very short person. And I really had to stretch and exhaust every muscle in my body to achieve the below feat.

2017-01-11-PHOTO-00000004.jpg
Do not try this at home! Or anywhere!

I had my MRI Results in one hand, and my textbooks in the other. I had one night to prepare for my exam the next morning, and my roommates- Cynthia and Neela, once again came to my rescue by giving me a crash course. I had to do this for the next one month. My right leg in a Brace, an Ola to get me to college which was otherwise a 10 min walk and a special seat away from the rest of my class.

img_8997
I tried to be stylish by getting two different types of Braces

You must be wondering, why I am giving such a detailed back story? It is because this injury changed my life entirely!

Stay tuned, because the real story has just begun!