Monday, November 30, 2009

My Mumbai Trip – 2 Marriages, 4 Movies and 2 Minor Accidents

I spent about 10 days in Mumbai last week. As always, being home is a wonderful feeling. Home cooked mom-ke-haath-ka-khana is a treat unto itself. Its also a vacation for me where I don't really have to worry about office. I get to spend some time with my family once in a quarter for about a week.  

During the weeklong trip … I attended 2 weddings. One wedding was in my family so I was there practically from 10 am to 10 pm meeting the entire extended family on my maternal side (metting several members after a long gap). It was actually nice meeting all people and yes, food was excellent.

The second one was a Punjabi family wedding reception … wedding of the daughter of one of my Dad's business associate. I just went along since dad did not want to go alone. It was interesting to attend the wedding. Food was good J rounding off with dessert of Jalebi, Kulfi and Rabdi J  

One of the things I do when in Mumbai is to watch movies J the economics and the logistics are simple … I am free of time constraints so I usually go for the matinee show which cost about 100 bucks. Catch the movie immediately after an early lunch so no need for any of those super-expensive snacks inside the theatre. Theatre is close by and i can drive to them on my Activa so it takes little travel time and a bit of parking charges and occasionally some expense on snacks.

On the other hand the one or two movies I see in Dubai during every 3 month stay put my expense at about 1000 INR (for each movie). Tickets cost about 30-40 AED which run close to 400-500 INR itself. Add to it the conveyance which is often a taxi and bus/metro combo adding another 20-25 AED. Movies happen in the weekend so the even dinner comes along in the malls adding another 20-25 AED. Taking the toll to about 80-90 AED which is close to 1000-1100 indian bucks.

I guess I can watch at least 6 movies in India during my visits (one hardly has so many good movies at any time) …  

So .. I watched 4 Movies during this Mumbai trip

1.       Ajab Prem ki Ghajab Kahani – nice simple comedy. Nothing great about the movie. Simple fun

2.       2012 – Went with my Bro. Enjoyed the awesome special effects. Second half was a drag though

3.       Twilight – a nice romantic love story of a different kind. The love shown is intense without the usual physical intimacy and its intensity. I kinda liked the way it was made. Waiting for New Moon now.

4.       Ninja Assassin – Don't ask me why I went to see THIS movie. I didn't. I had gone to see 'A Christmas Carol" in 3D but unfortunately it was a Friday and the movie was pulled down. Two new movies came up in that theatre which were De Dhana Dhan (a mindless comedy) and Ninja Asssassin (a mindless violent ninja movie – I did not know this then). I just read "by the makers of Martrix" and blindly made the decision of going for it. A good 2 hours wasted. Yikes.

Now coming to the 2 accidents. Well nothing serious though, they were pretty minor in nature. An important point to note is that the whole morning was jinxed. It was the Friday. I woke up early to catch the early morning movie show of 'A Christmas Carol'. On the way to the theatre I took a wrong turn and looping around came to a junction I had already driven through. And right at that junction, the tiny Activa tyres slipped on the smooth metal manhole covers on which some oil was spilt. No damages to me nor my Activa sinceI was negotiating the turn and hence almost zero speed.  

About 300-400 metres ahead of the spot, an autorickshaw hit his brakes and I tried to swerve around it to avoid driving into it. No this was not a high speed serve. I was probably driving at 30-40 kmph and had good distance between me and the auto so it was a normal driving. The only problem was a manhole cover (again) with some sand on it and the oil remnants on my tyres. All this put together in an excellent turn of fate, sent me and my Activa sliding along the road. I wasn't exactly at zero speed instead it was about 30 kmph so the skid was slightly hard and harsh. I scrapped my left arm with bruises at 3 different places and pain in several other places (which I am still discovering). Activa too got scratched a bit but nothing too visible. I relaised that had I not taken the wrong turn, I wouldn't have met with these 2 accidents K

Shaken … I drove to the theatre (slowly) only to realize that the movie was pulled down and no movie was scheduled for another hour. I chose to wait sicne I did not want to ride my two-wheeler again immediately. I wasn't scared or hurt, just slightly shaken … Ended up watching Ninja Assassin.

The entire Friday Morning was completely screwed up and jinxed !

Incidently, my brother gets blamed for comparitvely rash driving in my family but its ME who has met with such accidents and two-wheeler giving up on me in the middle of the road.

This also reminds me of a 2005 crash into a BEST BUS!! I was driving at a nice speed of about 60 kmph and the BUS ahead of me hit the brakes hard. I hit them too but my brakes weren't exactly responsive. I crashed straight into the bus from behind. !! Shaken !! but not badly hurt. The Kinetic front portion was BENT and pushed towards the seat and my spectacles were broken !!


Well … Now I am back in Dubai … the month has come to an end. Tomoro is the first day of the last month of the year which is incidentally the last year of the first decade of this century!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Epilogue (Part 10 of 10)

 Weight check … I began the diet with 82.9 Kg and ended up with 78.9 Kg. Accounting for the variable weight of the various external elements like clothes, shoes, mobile, change in the pocket and money in the purse J, the GM diet enabled me to lose approx. 3.5 to 4 KG. So I can conclude that the diet experiment was pretty successful.

Diet Discounts ... it was fun to take them but maybe not taking them would have resulted in greater weight loss by at least a kg or two – I had taken diet discounts in the form of chocolate bites, dry fruit sweets, tea with milk and sugar, salt and spices etc.

Learning Curve … Also, now I feel packaged coconut drink was not a good idea. I was probably supposed to have fresh coconut milk/drink and fresh juice. Also, I read somewhere that Rice is a not an effective substitute for beef in the veggie version and it reduces the extent of weight loss.

Work-Out - Yet another key thing was that I did not visit the gym even once during the diet week. I am sure a regular 30 min treadmill walk might have helped further reduce some weight.

Repeat performance – someday maybe ... I am not keen on crash dieting but if there is a need to reduce weight by a couple of kilos in short time, I might reconsider GM Diet but I am more inclined to get into a regular diet-check program and continues gradual slow weight loss with the help of regular visits to the gym.

GM diet is essentially for Body Detox and flushing the system ... i might repeat it for that value .. maybe once in 6 months or so !!

A common problem I had to face during the entire period was not more because of the diet plan but because of the Office Air-conditioning coupled with the mandatory 12 glass of water intake. Suddenly with the advent of winter the office AC has set our office space temperature to 20 degrees and we don't even have a window to our work space which could let some sunshine and its heat into the space. This low temperature coupled with the increased intake of water (12 glasses a day) posed a unique situation for me. I was forced to leave my desk every 60-90 minutes and make a short visit to the loo. *sigh*

I would call it "GM diet ke side effects" J

<Close of the 10 part series> *phew*

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – After the Diet got over (Part 9 of 10)

I woke up in the morning with the pleasant realization the diet period was over and I could eat all tasty spicy stuff without worrying about any restriction !! YAY !!

Stated the day with 2 khakhras with ghee and pudina chatni / singhdana chatni ! WOW !!

In office I grabbed a pack of Potato stic (Hot Chilli flavor) and also took a Tiffany creamy wafer biscuit. Lunch was the pulav and vegetable I prepared yesterday evening.


I am off-diet now and I am going to take full advantage of it.

Will go out McDonalds and grab a Pizza McPuff and a Aloo Tikki (called Veggie Surpise here), have an ice cream and even a Do-nut before I go to India by weekend … that will be FEAST Time !! My birthday also coming during the home stay ... sooooo .... cakes and ice creams and pizza and all ....
And yes .. just FYI … I weighed myself yesterday and the pointr crossed 79 KG on the downward journey.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 6 & 7 - The day of Rice and vegetables! (Part 8 of 10)

Weekend time  !!
Woke up only at 11 AM on both days :P

Day 6

At 12 Noon, I had some salad of chopped carrot, cucumber and tomato !

About 3.30 PM came the lunch … Rice with peas, corn, cabbage and tomato !! Kinda fried rice or Pulav.
This was practically the first time i had tried experimenting with making Pulav ... I made a call home and asked Mom how to go about it. She guided me and the result was not bad at all :)

Nimboo paani in the evening at about 6 pm before going out for grocery to stock up again for the last day of the diet and the few days left before my Mumbai trip to home.

Late evening, I had the dinner of the Pulav I made in the afternoon. It was kinda nice. Now one more thing gets added to the (short) list of things I can cook :P

Since its weekend, no preparations for tomorrow to be made in advance.

Day 7 –

Woke up at 11 AM again ... and last day of the diet !!

Started the day with the two tomatoes and then lazed around watching TV and thinking :P

Later in the afternoon, I decided to repeat my Pulav experiment again J Not bad at all. Followed by coconut drink.

Evening was the time for water with lemon and a cucumber .. nice … I had skipped the cucumber yesterday (by mistake that is).

Last item of the day and of the entire diet was a salad made of carrot, cucumber, cabbage, corn and some olive oil.

It feels good to be on the last day of the diet. I was very apprehensive about this whole GM diet. I wasn't sure I would last through the whole 7 days. It seemed difficult and there were times when I did feel like quitting. But then I had promised my friend to do it and I couldn't have broken that. So I just took a few diet discounts and managed to sail through it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 5 - The day of Rice and Tomatoes! (Part 7 of 10)

Day began with some rice which I prepared early morning. I packed my lunch box with the tomatoes and the rice and the soup for the day. I had prepared the soup on previous night itself. cant do eveything in the morning.

I had the 2 chopped tomatoes at about 10.30 in office …

Lunch was the time when I had Rice along with the Soup. It was not exactly tasty but definitely better than having the plain rice alone.

I guess the difficult part of GM Diet is that u get 'taste deprived'. Eating plain rice is very difficult for the simple lack of taste.

Late Afternoon I had the two chopped tomatoes again.

As mentioned earlier, plain rice is hardly consumable so while returning home in the evening, I picked up some Fried Rice from the super market. I guess this will qualify as a diet disount of the day (fried food).

Had a little of the fried rice in the evening and the remaining in the night for dinner. It was indeed tasty J

BTW … I weighed myself yesterday and found that I was 2 KG lighter J I guess had I not taken the 'diet discounts' I might have been an additional kilo lighter. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 4 - The day of Bananas and Milk! (Part 6 of 10)

One Litre Low Fat Milk and about 9 bananas - ready for the day.
Began the day with a singular Banana and a glass of milk. Poured a glass of milk in a small bottle and a kept it the refrigerator, carried the rest of the milk in the original carton to office along with about 6 bananas. Anyone coming to my desk will be wierdly surprised to fidn the milk carton on my desk today.

Day was not bad in the sense that there were no serious cravings or hunger pangs. I had One Banana and a gulp of milk at about 11 and then 2 Bananas for lunch at 1 and one banana again at 3.30 and finally one before leaving office by 6. Milk also consumed through the day in occasional gulps.

And yes, how can I forget. The sweets from day 1 (Extremely delicious Dry Fruit Barfi) appeared on the scene again and I took my pick. That was today's Diet Discount for me !!
I had some concerns for the next day though ...

Day 5 is only Rice and Tomato. Plain rice without anything else is virtually impossible for me to eat. So the question was what to use as a taste addition. Chatted with my diet consultant friend but all possibilities I suggested were 'sweetly' rejected J She suggested the Wonder Soup besides other things which I solemnly declined since I did not know how to make a soup. She also suggested that i could use some Paneer as a substitute for some rice.

Well. When I went to the supermarket to pick up more things for the coming days, I saw the Knorr Vegetable Soup (ready mix – boil with water and ready types) and the thought of the Wonder Soup struck me. GM Diet recommends Lipton Soup mix which is not available here. So Knorr it is. So I picked it up and went home to prepare the soup. I also picked up a Paneer Packet to have tomorrow with Tomato. Paneer can kinda substitute the Rice which is a substitute for Beef so I will be eating less Rice tomorrow. Prepared my version of the Wonder Soup, had some and finished off the day with a cup of milk.

'My' Wonder Soup – The Knorr Vegetable Packet in about 1.5 litre Water heated/boiled on medium heat. I added some peas and sweet corn to it. Fine chopped a large onion and shredded some cabbage and let them join the Soup. I let them boil and the result was pretty satisfactory I would say.


My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 3 - The day of fruits and vegetables! (Part 5 of 10)

having only fruits on day 1 and only vegetables on day 2 .. i felt a day of both combined would be better. Atleast, no monotony.
Started the day with a carrot at 7 am. Packed my lunch box with salads and fruits (apples and pears).
I had to come to office for a conference call which eventually did not happen for me since I was unable to connect and log-in into the web conference portal. :(

Unlike yesterday, i had a proper tea today although with very less milk. GM Diet recommends only Black Tea or Coffee and no milk consumption allowed. So this became my Second Diet Discount !!

Day was fine with the salads and fruits consumption. I was not really bored of them.

Late afternoon I attended a meeting with Senior Management members of the organization (including CIO & CFO etc). Nice cookies were served at each seat and during the course of the presentation; I nicely and quite absent mindedly munched on a couple of them. I relaised what i had done only at the end of the sessions when i saw the half empty plate in front of me. That became a Violation of the Diet (cant call it a diet discount since I consumed it absent mindedly and wouldn't have taken such a discount – goes to prove my seriousness about the diet program)

Evening went home and had a Pear and an Apple. Late Evening boiled the Lauki (dudhi or bottle gourd) and fine chopped a tomato. Mixed them up and sprinkled some salt and chili powder for taste. 
Day ends with the relazation (and relief) that no preparation to be done for tomorrow. It's the Banana and Milk Day.
Also the realization that I was going to have a banana after a looooong time. Looking forward to it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 2 - The day of the vegetables! (Part 4 of 10)

The day began with the recommended boiled Potato and the 'suggested' pat of butter on it. I took the suggestionJ. It was absolutely AWESOME and while I was enjoying the Buttered Potato, I realized that I hadn't had a slice of raw boiled potato with 'maska' in ages.
I had woken up early today to prepare the vegetable salad (washing, peeling, slicing, chopping, shredding) the carrots & cabbage and added corn, cucumber etc. Lunch Box packed for the day :)

Day went off fine with the salads ... although it became actually boring to eat raw stuff with no spices etc. I added some salt though or else the veggies might have jumped back into the plate from my throat.

Made it a point to have my usual tea in office in the mornign and evening tea while returning home

At home, had the evening glass of tomato juice and then prepared for the dinner.

Lauki/Doodhi/Bottle Goard or whatever it is called in other languages. I am no fan of this long vegetable and have never really purchased one myself. Not in 14 months of Swiss stay. Not in 14 months of Dubai stay. And here I was faced with the situation of eating boiled lauki. So along with a nice chunk of lauki, I also took one potato and boiled it too. I also sliced and diced a tomato to accompany the boiled and practically tasteless lauki and aloo. All this while I was munching on corn J I just love it !!

The boiled lauki and aloo with a sprinkle of salt and red chilli powder and tomaoto 'seasoning' became my dinner !!
Woah – this was a unique experience in itself !!
End of day 2 (ironing clothes for next day. Shaving at night itself since I had to go to office early tomorrow and I know I can't get up early enough).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet - Day 1 - The Day of Fruits (Part 3 of 10)

First Day of the GM Diet ... mind filled with some doubts and some apprehensions and a tad bit of excitement too (at the prospecti fo losing a few kilos before my Mumbai visit)
I started off with one sweet lime and the mandatory glass of water. I had cut musk melon and water melon the previous night and packed them in lunch boxes (large ones) and stored them in refrigerator. Along with them, also took apples and pears to office; not forgetting the KnifeJ. My Lunch Box for office was ready :)

The water melon turned out to be disaster. After a few bites I realized that the taste was not right and the smell was not right either. Dumped the entire load into the dustbin and relied on the musk melon !

A colleague got some sweets from India. Ordinarily I would have resisted the temptation but it was an awesome "dry fruits barfi" which has an out of this world taste. Everyone was going ga-ga over it. So took a piece and then another. That was the 'diet discount' I took on the first day itself LOL !!

Day went fine except for the light headache which started developing in office in afternoon. I had green tea too in office albeit without sugar (didn't like it like that). The headache progressively grew in the evening and I began to remember the GM diet experiences I had read online and began to dread the remaining 6 days

By late evening, the headache had become a bit severe and so had another tea before dinner of fruits (musk melon, apple, pears)

And yes ... on a very different note it did feel strange to begin a diet program on a Sunday (sunday is the first working day of the week here in Dubai - Fri/Sat weekend)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – The Preparation (Part 2 of 10)

The GM Diet is not an easy one to execute. Not only one need to be restrictive in what one is eating but accordingly one has to prepare and stock up in advance. A person like me who is living alone, away from home has a refrigerator which has pretty limited items based on the very limited cooking abilities. So stocking up the refrigerator for the week long ordeal was the first task.

So I went through the entire GM Diet plan (vegetarian version of course) and prepared a detailed list of things I would need for the week. For this reason, I decided to stock up during the weekend and start the diet on the first working day of the week and finish off in the next weekend.

The list was pretty long and impressive too: lots of tomatoes, cucumber & carrots, a nice large cabbage, potatoes (only 2), one lauki/dhoodhi, about 8-10 bananas, musk melon, watermelon, apples, sweet lime, lemon, packaged coconut water, peach and tomato juice pack and Milk. For the first time, my refrigerator was completely stocked up. Sadly my camera went into a state of coma a few days ago or else that would have been the first pic of my GM Diet series. Sadly No pictures for this experience.

It is going to be important to prepare each night for the next day so that I had enough of the right things to consume. The lazy bum that I am, its not going to be easy for me :P Infact, I feel that the biggest obstacle for me is going to be my lazyness J  

And yes, how can I forget the challenge of the mandatory 12 glasses if water every day and a slightly increased mandate for last 2 days. Sitting in an air-conditioned office gulping down so much water is never easy especially when the washroom/loo is a long walk away :P

So here I am … at the brink of beginning the GM Diet !

Wish me luck … the forthcoming posts will talk about my day-to-day experience with GM DIET

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – The Prologue (Part 1 of 10)

After spending 6 months in Dubai from Sept'08 to Mar'09, I suddenly realized that my weight had not only crossed 80 but reached an alarming 85. BMI says my weight should be about 67-70. Being Indian with a slightly built body, I thought 10-15% over the BMI is OK. I have never really thought of myself being over weight or worried about the extra weight ever.

But 85 was different. I realised that although 80 was OK; 85 wasn't.

So I consulted my dear friends and created a diet plan for myself. A strict control on things I consumed and a daily 30 min walk on the treadmill ensured that I was able to cross 80 on the downward journey within one month. i blogged about those 'glorious' days and experiences.

Alas… I could not maintain the same tempo further. Post April, I was not able to do it again and my weight rose steadily although not at an alarming rate.  Tried to follow some of my diet plan parts but eventually did not happen. The cranky poffice timings due to project being in critical phase and the pain in my foot also ensured that I skipped Gym, L Last month I found it was 83 and started thinking about it again.

So recently I decided to do experiment with the GM Diet once, since i was unable to follow a regular diet program, why not try a crash diet one. GM Diet. One week of Restricted Diet and almost guaranteed results. Also, the upcoming Mumbai/Home visit made it necessary that I lose some bcos I would definitely gain some while I enjoy Mom-ke-haath-ka-khana !!

So with these thoughts in mind … I decided to give it a try. A very serious and sincere try !!

A serious and sincere attempt is required since the 7 day GM Diet is not an easy one. It is restrictive in the sense of what you can eat on a particular day in the 7 days but then you can stuff yourself with those allowed items as there is no restriction on quantity of consumption. They literally say "Stuff yourself" … not something you expect from a diet program.

You can read about the GM Diet at the following links …

Being a Vegetarian, I searched if there were any Vegetarian versions and found them J - a very detailed version with time-table J

So this 'story' of 'My Experiment with GM Diet' will be told in 10 parts in the coming 10 days, 7 of which will reflect my journey through the 7 days of the diet program and other 3 parts will build the story around it and conclude it with the final results :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Wake up the 'writer' in you !!

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing.
Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. SIMPLE !!!

NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

In 2008, we had over 120,000 participants. More than 20,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Still confused? Just visit the How NaNoWriMo Works page and What is NaNoWriMo page !!