This is what I learnt …..

” The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them.” – Anonymous

Last night I was driving home with my younger daughter after her evening classes. She needed to go shopping to get things for her travel later next week. We tried to get to the nearby mall, which was on the other side of the road from our house.  The road was three lane with fast moving vehicles in both directions; there was no way I could cross across the lane and then turn left into the road that led to the mall.

As there were cars behind mine, I had to move forward in the extreme right lane and looked for a turn to the right to go back to the place where I could try to cut across the multiple lanes to get to the mall again. The road back led me through some deserted lanes through which I have perhaps not driven before- I can’t say.

I followed a big white Land Cruiser. It moved slowly almost purposefully. It looked like it was not going to let me pass it by. At a road bump, it abruptly stopped. The driver’s door opened and a young gentleman came out. He looked like he was approaching my car. Against my better judgment I opened the window. The man approached me, and without hesitation told me ” Switch off the light”. And he walked off.

Mystified, I looked at my daughter and she looked at me, equally wonderingly. What did he want ? Drive without my lights ? At night ?

Soon he moved out of the way, turned into a house and I went along the road. This time I got to the cutting on the road, could cross the three lane highway and make my way across to the mall, where we did our subdued shopping.

Through the night, I lay thinking about this incident. My approach to surprising incidents these days is , ” Thank you, God- Praise God”. I must confess – this time it was rather half-hearted but I did it repeatedly till I meant it.

This morning, the thoughts were once again harassing me. As usual, it was why did this happen to me ? What if he had attacked me ? What did I do ?

And then it struck me a few minutes after my daily meditation- I am not very proficient at night driving. I don’t use the headlights and the dim lights well- not having learnt driving at night from an expert. I have been learning from the few times I drove at night by myself. The young man was instructing me about how to dim light when driving, so that energy could be conserved or was teaching me how to drive better.

Immediately I felt better and have been feeling better throughout this day.

And then I chanced upon this inspiration – the difference between ” stumbling blocks” and ” stepping stones” is the way we use them or choose to look at them. Last night this experience was a stumbling block; today it is a stepping stone for me to become a better driver. ūüôā

Digging for truths in Inspiration

Following up on my post ” Inspiration“, written a few days back, I want to write an update.

I am reading Norman Vincent Peale’s book, You can if you think you can. Each word seems to resonate with me- I feel like he was speaking to me through many of the instances he has written about. He has inspired me to start thinking of my dream of going back to college ( at 47!) to complete my education.

On a personal front, I decided to try to apply some of the principles he advocated in my life- call it my Late New Year Resolutions, if you will. Most of his writing is about how to make people like you and how to make more friends and be a success socially among other things.

A few weeks back, I wrote about a difficult experience at work, one I was embarrassed about. I don’t feel so embarrassed any more. Yesterday I passed the woman in the incident, totally unexpectedly. I saw her from afar off but couldn’t recognize her from that distance. She was smiling and waving her hands at me. When we came close, I realized all of a sudden, who she was. I was about to cringe in embarrassment but by God’s grace, I was able to gracefully return her greeting and pass her by. I can only account for this by two reasons : 1. My constant giving of thanks and acceptance of the life lesson made me humble enough to be able to face her and my God gave me this opportunity and the courage to handle this incident and gave me a chance to change it into an opportunity. Well, I could easily have run off or turned the other way but I looked her in the eye and wished her back. Isn’t that a positive outcome ? Norman Vincent Peale talks about this too- embarrassments come to everyone, in one form or the other- it is up to us to make an opportunity out of it.

There is another woman who works in the HR department of our university. I don’t have too good a relationship with her – for some reason we don’t vibe well. Nothing specific but we are not friends. We pass each other in the corridors, sometimes I ignore her and sometimes she ignores me but we do know who the other one is. I know I have not behaved well with her in ignoring her when I met each other and I know she has hurt me in the past too and that I have borne grudges. Yesterday, by a strange turn of events, it happened that the elevator I took to go down to the underground parking ¬†lot was the same elevator she took too- at the very same time, after work. There was no way ¬†I was going to retract my feet, me reading Norman Vincent Peale and all- I had to deal with my inner demons.

Waiting for the elevator together, I flashed her a million dollar smile- it made me feel warm inside, believe me. She returned the smile- perhaps she was sick of the bad looks we gave each other too. In the elevator, I needed to search for my car keys which as usual had settled down to the bottom of my hand bag. Digging down into my bag for my keys, I muttered to myself, ” Always digging”. She looked at me curiously. I explained as if we were long lost friends, ” I have a habit of always having to dig in my handbag to find things, keys, mobile, purse- you name it I have done it”. She laughs and said, she was the same- she said,” I am the same. I have a handbag with side pockets in which I keep all my important things, so I can fish things out in a jiffy. I have never been able to find another handbag like that, she concluded. We laughed together and I said, ” My husband often tells me , of what use is ¬†a mobile phone to you ? You miss all calls digging in the depths of your handbag.” This brought another round of laughter and the ice of so many days was broken. ¬†In companionable silence, we traveled as elevator- buddies till we parted on a good note in the car park.

See what I mean, God works in mysterious ways. I had been praying ever since I started reading NVP again that- please give me a chance to mend relationship with Mona and it happened.

We need to go out of our spheres of comfort and make the effort to put the other person at ease. AS it says in the Bible ” Seek and ye shall find”. I sought and I found. I am going to keep on working on all my failed/failing relationships. I believe I can do it.




If your aim is to get 10000 steps per day, I think it is better if you start getting as many steps as you can early in the morning or at least before 10 am, so you have a surplus number of steps in your account. If it happens that the rest of the day is to be spent sitting down for meetings, or meeting friends or watching a movie, it might be better to plan a little in advance and try to get as many of the steps before the sedentary part of your day.

What do you think ?

Good book bargains

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the cost of books and the exorbitant international shipping rates that would daunt any book lover. Read here

I was pleasantly surprised today when after a long and perilous travel, the books I ordered from Better  World Books showed up in my letter box. To be honest, I had almost given up hope of ever getting the books. I have only a PO Box number and no residential address to which letters or parcels can be delivered. Many sellers refuse to deliver to PO Boxes, so when the books failed to arrive, I concluded that the books were lost in that deep ravine called the General Post Office.

The books, though second hand, were in surprisingly good condition – in fact, no one could ever tell, they weren’t new. Please check out the website for Better World books. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised ¬†too !

The books I ordered were :

  1. Paddington at Large
  2. The Step Diet book
  3. Paddington Bear in the Garden

You would have by now realized that I am a Paddington Bear Fan.


Day 30

Just 2 days to go and the Sugar Smart Diet for me – first phase should officially be over.

I am now 85 kgs light. I am energetic and a lot of my lost memory seems to have come back. There were times I went to the kitchen to get something and then my mind is a blank- I didn’t know what I was there for. I thought it is my excess use of computers that did this but it seems sugar had a hand too. At least I can remember why I went somewhere and what my intent was. I used to be afraid that I would be driving and would suddenly forget where I was going and for what.

One of the strays I look after outside and who used to be on my kitchen window sill come sun or rain, didn’t turn up yesterday morning. The serial killer poisoner of cats is in action these days and there have at least been 4 deaths that I know of. It is pathetic to see healthy cats lying stiff and cold. I searched for my stray as much as I could yesterday. I came back late from work yesterday, around 7 pm and went looking for him again. After a long search and helped by the other strays ( who now number only around 6), I saw him lying behind a water tank in a bed of sand and saying small “mews”. I called out his name -Gundu but he could not or would not get up. He did not seem to be salivating or hurt but he looked smaller than I remembered him. Glad that I found him, I went home to bring some food ¬†but he refused to eat- this was a first for him- he never would say “no” to food. I left him alone for about an hour and then came back to look at him, when I saw him standing up near the sand pit. I called his name and asked him to follow me. Wanting to take him to our laundry room outside our house, where he could be warm, I led him on. He followed me for a bit and allowed me to carry me into the room and I put him on an old cushion there. He propped himself up happily. I left some cat biscuits on the floor and closed the door so other cats could not get in.

I checked on him at 3 am, when I usually get up to feed our indoor cat and he is just the same and lying there with no energy at all. I opened his mouth and fed him some of his favorite cat food and he swallowed a few bits. I am not sure he is poisoned but I am so grateful he is still with us and we found him. My husband thinks he has FIV but I think the cold weather and his being outside in it gave him a fever, maybe.

So my day was packed with all this and I forgot much about eating food though I am supposed to eat regular on this diet. Weight 85 kgs- so a 5 kg drop from start about 29 days back- which is 10  lbs which sounds a lot. I am able to walk a lot faster than I used to before.


In celebration of being “overweight”

I crossed the overweight bridge, not a few days back. I crossed it backwards, meaning I went from obese to overweight.

I have never thought in my life, that I would ever be so jubilant at being overweight but I truly am. There is no greater feeling than being at the 29.— something, something value meaning you’ve officially reached the overweight extreme range and are just a few micro grams away from being obese.

But the real fact of the matter is that I am overweight and not obese, not now and probably not ever. I know the struggle, the tears, the prayers, the jolts, the ups and downs of this journey and battle of food vs body vs exercise vs stress. I am not sure how so many factors come to play in my life but they do. Everything turns to fat and weight gain in my body.

I have cried real tears, late into the night and suffered indignities like not being able to fit into my clothes ( small indignities) to being laughed at openly by my teacher ( in college, when he joked that I should not sit on a particular chair because it might collapse under me- this was when I was 95 kgs heavy). Other issues have been snoring, sugar cravings, possible fatty liver, varicose veins, pedal oedema, plantar fasciiitis. The worst is when you know you have avoided all “evil” food for like 12 years and have given up all the foods you have really enjoyed and still you gain and others lose. I have envied my husband who seems to eat all he likes ( chocolates, fruits, milk, cafe latte, cake, pastries, biscuits) but still manages to be losing weight and here I am on diets of quinoa, hemp, juices, veggies, fibres, no eggs/dairy, kefir and so on and apart from weight gain, there has been no change in my appearance.

But now, I am officially overweight. It seems like I have moved to the Liberal side from being Conservative. ( forgive the metaphor). I used to restrict everything and watch all I ate and still gain, until a month back when a visit to a bookshop to buy a book called the Step diet showed me another book ¬†called the Sugar Crush diet and I bought that book. It has been a major change setter for me. I don’t crave sugar any more.

So “overweight” is good, when ¬†compared to “obese”. It is a matter of looking at the glass- half full or half empty, isn’t it ?


Reporting day 10 and day 11

Day 10- Yesterday- November 1

A very difficult day for me. I managed to get up at 4 am as I usually do for my time of quiet meditation and then to start off the kitchen fires to prepare hot breakfasts and lunches for the family. I managed to pull along till 6 am when I saw them off at the door. After that my body went into under- drive, if there is a word like that. I couldn’t sit up or do anything. My mind was in a fog. I just had to lie down. I had to be at work by 8 am and here I was not able to do a thing or concentrate on anything. So back to bed I went and tried to get back to sleep. I couldn’t do it- my mind was in overdrive and my body was not able to calm my mind down. I tossed and turned and tried to count sheep and everything else – to no effect.

Finally I pulled myself out of bed and drove to work, reaching there by around 8:30 am. A couple of cups of tea later, no improvement in my situation. Around 12, during my lunch break, I closed the door and napped for about an hour- that turned the situation and I felt a little active after that.

It struck me that I might be having severe sugar withdrawal symptoms. I had gone cold turkey 10 days back. And true enough, the internet says, week 2 can have such symptoms as I had- feverishness, lethargy and so on. I managed to pull on through the day and tried to sleep it off but after a short nap between 8-10 pm, sleep eluded me again.

Day 11

So here I am with 4 hours of sleep, red eyes, watering and sitting at my office desk – thinking about whether today will be better than yesterday and whether I can pull off another nap during lunch hour. The scale says 87 kg and my clothes say at least one inch off. Face looking less rotund than before and skin is shining but I thought I always had good skin- maybe its shining more than usual.

The only cereal allowed are whole – like barley or quinoa or farro( which I don’t know how to cook). So the sugar withdrawal must be really bad inside my body. I haven’t been doing my daily 10 K for these days because of my lethargy. If I get through today, there will be 23 days more.