My tummy woes


I don’t blame men who’ll get bored with this post. Its all about a losing battle I’ve been waging with my own tummy. So if you really don’t want to listen to me raving and ranting, please feel free to skip this! (I know a certain zen monk in disguise who’ll gladly do that!)

I used to be rail thin in my school and college days.

I used to hate most veggies and sit for hours and dream on the table while pecking at my food. And throw away most of it uneaten.

None of my mother’s gentle persuasions or my grandmother’s major- general-like strictness worked with me.

I was the sloth of the family. (Devaangu in pure tambrahm lingo)

Anyway, my tummy crept up on me during my late twenties and has been there with me ever since. It has seen me through marriage, pregnancy, child birth and now child rearing.

Deep down I really don’t care much, but once in a while  some concerned friend or the gym-manic husband pushed me to do something about it.

Once I took heed to a friend and did tummy crunches for a month.

I was ecstatic when it visibly reduced.

I grew slack with accomplishment. The crunches slowly tapered off. And after a month, my tummy was back. Now double in size.

Friends tried not to stare at my tummy. Aunties started giving me meaningful looks. Some asked me with a gleam in their eyes, ‘ Any good news?’

Totally flustered, I went back to my crunches. And it hardly made any difference, since I was never regular.

Then I had a valid reason for my tummy. I was pregnant.

The next two years went by without me even thinking about it.

Again, friends cast furtive, curious glances at my middle. Aunties tactfully changed their question. “So your son is getting a baby sister?” But their eyes still had their gleam.

This time I enrolled in a gym. To my surprise I realised I quite enjoyed it. I was more energetic and not only lost my tummy but some unwanted weight as well.

After a year, however my enthusiasm waned off. I became irregular. And the tummy came back with a bang. And needless to say,  double in size.

So I decided do something about my diet. I consulted a fitness freak friend who lectured me on carbs, fats and proteins. Most of it went over my head, though I nodded sagely and tried to ask him intelligent questions. (He quit being my nutritionist once he caught me having buttered toast and jam just before hitting the gym! What?! You don’t expect me to work out on an empty stomach, do you?!)

I stopped eating rice for dinner. My stomach growled in protest by 11 pm. Then someone said you can eat whatever you want before sunset. Its what you eat after sunset which gives you a tummy. So I gleefully had my full meal before sunset for a few days. But I got hungry by  11 and had a second (light) dinner. (Blame it on the husband who works late most days)

So my dear friend was back.

A few months ago, I bumped into my neighbour on my way home. After exchanging woes of  child rearing and such, she offered to carry my laptop to my apartment. “No! I shooed her off.  “Its not that heavy!” .

“But… aren’t you expecting a baby?” She asked, looking at my tummy. And went red in the face with embarrassment when I told her I wasn’t. Poor thing…

After that I went back to being more regular in working out and watch what I eat. I still do rice for dinner, but only a handful for thayir saadham.

When I met friends for dinner last week wearing a clingy chiffon top, no one said anything about my tummy!

I came back home and took a hard look at myself in the mirror.

The tummy was definitely receding. Ecstatic, I vowed to myself that I’ll adhere strictly to a routine of gym, low fat and eating right. And will have a tummy that’s as flat as a washboard.

Next day, I came back after an eventful work out. Imagine my shock when the ironing lady asked me, “Maasama irukkeengla ma?” (Are you pregnant, madam?)

After some head-banging I’ve decided. Liposuction, here I come!

Arrangements of love – Book Review

This is my first book by Timeri N Murari. I always thought he wrote non-fiction.  This book is however a fiction, set in our good old Madras.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story of  a son’s search for his long lost father.

It starts in the U.S. of A where he’s born and brought up and takes him to India. And once he lands in Chennai, it leads him through its chaotic lanes to Royapettah where he finds him.

How he establishes a semblance of relationship with his father and the pretty detective who helps him in his search is the story.

I  enjoyed seeing my home town through the eyes of an American.

Right from where he loses his suitcase to a thieving taxi driver the book never loses momentum. 

For the first time I could relate to the locales mentioned in a book. The story cruises through Mount Road, Nungambakkam, Thiruvanmiyur, Chetpet, Marina Beach – all places I’m so familiar with.

The story is masterfully told. Suspense at the right places, a dash of humour and shifting the story from the eyes of one main character to another is brilliant.

Emotional Drama, Romance, Mystery all mixed together just right to make the book a great read.

The characters portrayed are so genuine that I think they’re not fiction!

A policeman who writes poetry, a estranged wife who’s also a clandestine love of the boy’s father, his poker buddies, all seem so paradoxically real.

Of course, Rom Whitaker and his croc bank play a cameo role in this book, but all the others seem so real too!

A truly wonderful book, And more so if you’re from  good old Madras!

We don’t need another hero…

Last week I travelled about 20 kms to the suburbs. I sat in the back seat for less than an hour. In that short time all I remember seeing out of the window is portraits, portraits and more portraits.

I saw politicians, super stars, local chiefs,  all smiling benovelently at me from their painted glories.

The sheer number of faces overwhelmed me. 

Why is there so much hero-worship in this part of the world?

Each of them is a cult figure and have thousands of followers.

And in each of the follower’s mind their idol can do no wrong. They’re perfect, superhuman and is as capable of miracles as God himself.

My very  few brushes with very few celebrities have left me with the same reaction everytime.

They’re so much like us. 

What I mean is they’re as human as the rest of us; with likes and dislikes, problems, fetishes,  family, and well, lives.

Yet when we see only their projected images from a distance, we form a larger than life image of a person and build their characters in our minds. We feed our aspirations and dreams to that image and live our lives through them. 

We rejoice in their victories and cry for their losses.

But do we stop with that?

We become obsessed.

We camp at their gates for just a glimpse of the demi-god…

We wait for hours in their paths, so we can thrust our babies in their hands to name them…

We set fire to ourselves when the idol is faced with adversaries…

We neglect our own bodies, our loves, our careers, our lives…

What do we get in return?

A general nod in our direction when we stand among hundreds?

A brief pinching of the baby’s cheek when he/she says the first name which comes on their minds?

A short condolence note to our family after the funeral?

I suppose the root cause of  this whole thing is lack of confidence in oneself. 

We’re not good enough. We’re not capable of anything on our own. We’re nothing without our idol.

Whom do we blame for this?

Our educational system?

Our politicians for snuffing out the empowerments of the individual, so an average citizen can never think on his own?

Our own lethargy?

Our fatalistic collective consciousness?



Long live the Republic.


PS: A bit too serious, I know… But had to get it out my system!!