Finding Comfort In Chaos

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I never thought I would write about this, but here I am trying to make some sense of it. This is going to be slightly long so stay with me.

Being in the medical field, I come across anxious and worried families of the patient all the time. A part of my job is to answer their questions, make them comfortable, ease them out to the best of my capacity. I didn’t give it much thought rather enough thought to the things they must be going through. Of course, I knew it wasn’t easy, but I naturally thought more about the patient and from a treatment point of view. And then one day, I received a phone call back in March,2018. A call that gave me the chills, gave me a different perspective and showed me what’s it like to be on the other side.

My mother had suffered a massive heart attack with multiple blockages and my fellow medical colleagues and Grey’s Anatomy fanatics will relate to this when I say we were way past the golden hour. I was away from home which made it more difficult but like my mother says by god’s grace everything went well. The first few weeks were critical, but as strong as our mothers are she fought right through it. And I told myself, the tough part is over, it was a bad phase, we will sail through it. 

Fast forward to the end of the year, both my grannies started showing similar symptoms as my mom, we rushed them for all the tests. Within a couple of days, they were both diagnosed with massive blockages and needed immediate intervention. They both got operated on the same day. One of them was badly affected and was bed ridden for a long time. It was a tough time for my family as we were juggling between them, sharing the day and night shifts and just seeing them in so much pain was very heartbreaking and overwhelming. It breaks my heart till date whenever I talk or even think about it.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a few months later my grandfather suffered from a stroke, this was his third one and got the best of him. This was followed by my brother’s massive neurosurgery, a very near and dear one’s death to covid, my father’s severe pneumonia, mom’s second big surgery and my grandfather’s untimely demise a couple of months back. Last 3-4 years have been maddening and things are still settling down accompanied with personal and professional work life balance which has been very challenging. I have been fortunate and privileged to have family and friends who supported me throughout. I wouldn’t be able to get through it without them.

Caregiver’s Stress

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It was during this period that I experienced what we call ‘Caregivers stress’. Caregiver’s stress/burnout isn’t spoken about a lot, mostly because it is difficult to recognise,  but there are a lot of studies that discuss it at length. It’s defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It often leads to development of compassion fatigue which is the stress, strain and the wariness that arises while caring for a person. Being a primary caregiver for most of my family members was not an easy task. My mom and I went through an emotional turmoil.

As majority of the medical decisions were made by me, thinking about the repercussions and bad outcomes made me anxious all the time. I was constantly overthinking and had panic attacks I would have a nervous breakdown and cry out loud sometimes. Feeling irritable, helpless, hopeless and getting angry so easily. It felt like I was slowly losing my mind and sanity. I am not writing this to impart knowledge or tell you how to deal with it. I am still figuring it out myself. But what I can tell you is that it’s okay to feel like that. Seeing your loved ones suffer is not easy. It’s okay to not be okay.

What I have learnt or rather still learning from my experience is that you need to identify it and put your needs first too. It is important to get out and indulge, be in a social environment. It is very difficult at first because the worrying never stops but it is one of the most important things and needs to be done.

Talking about it or writing it down helps too. It wasn’t easy for me to write this all down but the more I thought about it the more I realized how important it is to speak about it. Maybe it will help someone going through something similar, maybe it will just create an awareness. Acknowledging it is step one. Therapy sure did help too. On my tough days, I looked up to my younger brother who gives me so much strength and inspires me to do better each day. He encouraged me to take some time off for myself and always pushed me to move ahead.  My mom has been my anchor all this while and I am forever grateful for that.

Things have been slightly better than before; we are being hopeful and keeping the faith. This story is unfinished, there is so much still happening, and I am not waiting for a happy ending or for all my problems to disappear. At this moment, I am looking for anything good, big or small, that life has to offer.

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A Broken Friendship

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I write words I cannot say,

I feel emotions I cannot portray,

There’s a sadness by the end of day,

A karmic price I’ve got to pay.


A better friend I could’ve been,

A few more thoughts I should’ve given,

But at life I could never win,

For I never loved myself from within.

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Something was always missing,

Something was always off. 

You weren’t always the friend that I needed,

I too wasn’t better than subpar.


It sucks that things ended this way,

They shouldn’t have gone so far.

I’m sorry that I fucked it up so bad,

Only regrets for this time apart.

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Headed For A Heartbreak

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There’s something so beautiful and alluring about love. Everyone talks about how it helps you grow and brings out the best in you. How it feels like to love and to be loved. And then people also talk about how it destroys you. The way it dismantles you and breaks you after it’s gone. They talk about scars and healing and forgiving and believing and of course, hope.

But what people don’t talk about is the hardship and distress you endure while sustaining it. The days when you don’t feel like you’re in love. The days when you want to give up on something or someone. The days when you feel so lost and restless that you cannot find your way back. The days you shut your eyes in anguish trying hard to not let go. The days when you just want to push the person away and breathe in the air around you. Just you. The times when you decide to put yourself first after pouring in all the efforts you could over months and years and how they were not reciprocated.

So you do. You let the person you thought the world of go away. You push them out even.

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People also don’t talk about the aftermath and the absolute destruction it causes. The way your world falls apart like a controlled explosion in the middle of a bustling city with no one to get hurt but yourself. People don’t talk about the days where you have to wake up and live each day knowing that you are the reason for your own doom. The moments when you wish you could turn back the time and do something different to have made it last.

You think about how you should’ve worn that stupid Christmas hairband with the reindeer horns that she was obsessed with. Or how you should’ve worn his favorite shade of lipstick.

People also don’t talk about how these little regrets are nothing but a trail of breadcrumbs which leads to the first house that both of you made with innocent love. There are pictures of you enjoying on your first day on the nightstand by the bed. The bed too, is left exactly the way it looked the first time you undressed in front of them and had more than a naked body for them to judge. The curtains are slightly open too and the window gazes straight into your soul, more bare than your body in front of them. The house is nothing but a mirage and you standing there is an image of you from your perfect past.

So what people don’t talk about, is how you take a sledgehammer and bring that house down and sit in the rubble, your crying face in your palm and wail till you can’t speak anymore. Cry till your voice gives away.

Then you stand up and find another person to build a home with, the sledgehammer still tucked under your shirt though.

Yes. That. Let’s talk about that.

Vaishnavi Arote & Janak Goswami

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France And Euro 2016 – Chamonix

Chamonix

If you’ve been following this blog, this is a continuation to my last travel post ( Link : France And Euro 2016 – Marseille). From Marseille, we headed to Chamonix. A small and beautiful town, near the border of Switzerland. One can opt for either of the two ways to get here:

  1. Take a flight or train to Geneva and hire a cab or a car from Geneva to Chamonix.
  2. Or one could opt for a car from wherever they are to Chamonix. The journey is about 515 kms or a 4 and a half hour drive incase you don’t take a stop in between. Being near the border of Switzerland, the roads are very scenic with snowclad mountains and lush forests.

The taxi ride from Geneva to Chamonix.

We opted for the former, all thanks to the Car Rental agency swiping our card multiple times and causing it to block instantly. Taking the train is slightly complicated cause you need to change trains, and take care of your luggage simultaneously. Also, since we bought tickets at the last hour, it was pretty expensive for us.

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As far as the train changes go, from Marseille we travelled to Lyon, and then changed trains from Lyon to Geneva, followed by a taxi that charged us about €300. The train takes about 5 hours to get you there, however it was the famous TGV that we were in, so that was another small experience added to this EuroTrip. And since we were spending a great deal of money anyway, we decided to spoil ourselves with first class tickets at an additional €25.

About Chamonix, it is something I would describe as a small village, not even a town.But surrounded by mountains, including The Mont Blanc; it manages to attract a great deal of tourists.

Evening and sunrise view of The Mont Blanc from our room.

We checked into “Des Balcons Du Savoy” which is a 4 start hotel at the edge of town, about a 7 minute walk from the centre, which is why it is cheaper than other similar hotels in the area. The hotel was comfortable, and the rooms very spacey. The highlight for us though, were the windows facing the Mont Blanc and the automatic blinds. You’re probably thinking whats so good about automatic blinds, and let me tell you; wanting to open the blinds right after waking up to get a sunrise view, or being able to control them from your bed after a tiring days affairs has its own satisfaction.

img_4700.jpgChecking in, we immediately set out to explore the town. It is a very cute town, with very small structures, not bigger than 2-3 storeys, except some hotels. A town that reminded me of my time in Whistler,Canada. Cafes everywhere, branded shops to shop from, sports stores to buy high-end trekking gear from, and countless restaurants offering a number of cuisines, bakeries and dessert houses. That macaroon tower had me swooning, despite never having tried one back then!

This place is like heaven for people who like outdoor sports especially cycling and trekking thanks to the enormous number of sports stores offering the most premium quality equipments. Things I’ve literally never come across back in Mumbai.

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There’s a small river that flows through the town giving you a DDLJ feeling (Every bollywood fan will get this!). This town also has a small casino, but the tables open only after 08:30. However, it only has roulette, blackjack and slot machines to offer. However it’s fun for newbies, as minimum bet starts at as low as €2.

A very important thing to note for people who do not have a lot of time in Chamonix is to cover the following things, as far as sightseeing goes.

  1. The Gondola for Aiguille Du Midi
  2. Train ride to Mer de Glace

Thanks to a lot of tourists and long queues, it takes almost a day to cover either of those. So its better to start off as early as possible and try to cover The Aiguille Du Midi first, since that is much more beautiful and time consuming.

The first gondola starts at 6:30am and there’s one gondola every 30 or 15 mins depending on the number of tourists. We took a gondola at 7:30 and went up pretty fast. There are a lot of things to do up there.

One of the stations, and a gondola for skiers. However, it was under maintenance when we went.

A few stations at different levels, to look at the Alps, with panoramic views, etc. There are a lot of steps to climb, from one station to another; however, the air above is thin which may get you exhausted pretty quickly. There’s a cafeteria at the top which serves good food. There are ample souvenirs in the gift shop, right outside the cafe. I haven’t come across similar souvenirs anywhere else so if you like something, you should probably buy it. There is also a gift store right outside the gondola station at ground level.

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On one of the stations is a glass cabin that is made, which overlooks the Alps. To get there, you have to take a lift that takes you from 3777m to 3842m. It is crowded above and we had a queue of about 10 minutes, however by the time we were done, the queue extended to over a 30 minute wait. All thanks to our early start to the day.

There is a separate gondola for anyone who wants to get a close look at the Mont Blanc (the one that was under maintenance) but there’s no other way for tourists to get there. There’s a path for all those mountain climbers and snow Trekkers so if that is something you’re interested in, and have experience in, you could get the necessary equipment and do it. It looked pretty fun, and partly dangerous/risky.

From there, we headed to our train ride. The train ride takes you to the Mer de Glace. There are again two ways to go there, first being the train and the second being a trek from Aiguille Du Midi.

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The Aiguille Du Midi gondola is divided into two parts, and the trek starts from the lower, or the first stop. After reaching Mer de Glace, one should take the smaller gondola to go towards the ice caves.

After the gondola, take the stairs to get to the ice caves. This is very tiring as there are a total of 435 stairs(counted specifically and specially) downwards to get to the ice cave and the same upwards to get to the gondola.

The ice caves are beautiful and something I haven’t seen ever before; inside with a lot of lights that are put up, don’t expect too much as the whole journey in the ice caves is about 5-6 minutes, however it’s something rare to see and hence worth it.

Inside The Ice Caves.

After coming back up, we took the train back to Chamonix. The rest of the day was spent in resting as the first half got too tiring and exhausting. In the evening we set out to see the town again. For those who want to shop, all the shops close by 7:30pm so adjust accordingly. The next day, we set out for some trail cycling and exploring.

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You can hire two kinds of bikes:

  1. A motored electrical bike.
  2. A normal geared bike.

I’d recommend the bike since its almost 1/5th the effort, and allows you to enjoy the scenery and not kill yourself, peddling over the hills. The trails are beautiful, going through the woods and across streams and rivers. We found a beautiful spot to take some really beautiful photos.

It was serene, enjoying the blue skies, the quiet with only the sound of the stream. One of the highlights of the trip. So very peaceful.

I hope you like this post. Feel free to like, share and subscribe to this website. I’d also love to hear from you via comments.

Thank you and regards,

The Travellothoner.

A Rollercoaster 12 Hours, A Weird Morning and Diljit Dosanjh

So last night was date night. We had a great time, got good food and a lot to drink, the place was chill and the vibe brilliant and we danced the night away. 

There was a lot of laughs and great conversations too. Ranging from favorite TV Shows to favorite authors and books to embarrassing stories. Fast forward to coming back home and sleeping like a baby thanks to all the alcohol. 

Woke up this morning and felt THE MOST BLAH I’ve ever felt. Very unusual, given my mornings are very productive with workouts and some reading time before getting ready for work.

But did not feel like doing anything so simply stayed in bed for what seemed like an eternity and still had a couple of hours until getting ready for work. Mom wasn’t up yet. So headed to the kitchen, made some aloo parathas for everybody for breakfast, packed my lunch and got ready for work.

Walked to work while listening to some music and now just staring at a stupid screen, with nothing on my mind still. It’s going to be a very long day, I know it. Some respite came in the form of an extra bounce in my step for a total of 3:44 mins while listening to G. O. A. T. by Diljit Dosanjh. 

Idk how to elaborate this blah feeling but at this point, I am very close to shouting into a pillow just to feel something. What a weird 14 hours 😪😪

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France And Euro 2016 – Marseille

Following our stay in Nice, we took a train to Marseille. The route in itself is mesmerising going across tiny beautiful towns and villages and then a long patch where it runs along with the ever beautiful French Beaches.

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It’s about a 4 hour journey. One very important thing which cannot be stressed enough is to know all the public transport timings if you don’t have your own car. Also these train stations/terminals are almost similar to small airport terminals and there are a lot of them, so its better to reach a little early.

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Coming into Marseille we checked into our hostel called Vertigo. The hostel was decent, but so very very convenient since we were at a 2 min walking distance from St. Charles Metro Station for local transport, and about 7 minutes from the main Marseille Station where people come in from other cities and destinations. After checking in, we freshened up and left for The Velodrome, to see the quarters between Portugal Vs Poland.

The Velodrome.

The stadium was nothing like I have ever seen. The architecture a masterpiece, the atmosphere electric, the fans half-drunk and fully vocal (especially the Polish). It was nothing short of glorious! It is easy to argue that even though Portugal won the match, The Polish stole the heart, with their constant cheering and energy. So much so, that a good number of fans were standing all through 90 minutes cause there wasn’t ample space. Something you see rarely in world football, but constantly in a Borussia Dortmund match.

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A Polish Section!

One highlight amongst the match was the monstrous foot stomping and banging of seats during corners, which literally got the whole stadium vibrating. Vibrant enough to be misunderstood for a small quake! This match was ten times more entertaining in terms of the overall atmosphere than the Italy vs Spain match that we watched.

The Segway Tour

An easy way to explore the city is to take a Segway tour through it. Marseille not being a humungous city, we were able to explore a whole lot through the Segway. We preferred walking to the next metro station, since it was just 15 mins away, giving us an opportunity to cover more ground, to a company called 21 Jump that has Segway rental services and city tours.

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It was a 2 hour itinerary, of complete joy and at 40 euros it was money well spent. Not to mention, riding a Segway in itself is too much fun! Most Segway tours that I’ve come across cost north of $100US so this was way more affordable and practical.

We saw a lot of places on the tour and went all the way up to the Notre Dame. This was us doing more touristy things, than traveller things, which if you’re a regular reader of this blog, would know the difference.

5 minutes away from 21 Jump is a big shopping centre, the only one we came across here. Filled with some of the best brands, most of them being super famous, but not being easily available; especially in India. Most of these usually run some or the other kind of discount throughout the year.

After shopping and window shopping to our hearts content, we came back to our temporary abode. Freshened up and left for the fan park for Wales vs Belgium.

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The Notre Dame

Most of these fan parks have their own electric atmosphere and the experience is completely different each time, thanks to the fans and the pace of the match. This one, was right by the Marseille beach, and what a treat it was to watch this sunset. I always tend to lose my thoughts and just marvel at this super beautiful, absolutely free gift of nature. Watching it in the hostel was also an option. Although the TV was what appeared to be from the 90s; the subsequent banter mixed with alcohol is nothing short of a fun night!

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A personal recommendation which I’ve probably mentioned earlier too, is that if you truly want to enjoy the hostel, try not to go in a big group as you tend to be involved amongst yourselves and not mix much and get involved in what’s happening in and around the hostel. Talking to and partying all through the night with strangers is a big upside of staying in a hostel.

Ps. The next time I am not going completely groomed to the T, so that I can actually engage and get a taste of the local salons. We came across a few really fancy ones.

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View from the trek.

On our last day in Marseille, we set out for cliff jumping. As you set foot into the Calanques National Park, there are around 4-5 different routes and spots for one to go cliff jumping. It starts at a 35-40 minute trek which can go as high as 3 hours depending on the spot you decide to jump from.

It’s essential to go well equipped with some food to eat, water, spare clothes, a towel and lots of sunscreen. There are absolutely no shops around to cater anything, except a couple of dudes looking to make a quick buck by selling you soda at thrice the actual cost. Also carry at least two sets of shoes (or buy a pair of diving shoes) cause you’ll find sharp edges and pointy stones in abundance, while scaling your way to the jump spot. In case you’re fine with the no-shoe approach, I can guarantee you a few small cuts, bruises and some bleeding, which only stings more as soon as you jump into the sea for obvious reasons. No biggie! I myself got several cuts while doing it all.

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The route towards the beach.

The trek route was quite unique and the view straight out of a movie; extremely picturesque in itself, going from a hill downwards with some stoned roads and some rough patches, with the magnificent blue sea right along the way. Its a long way, but the experience was worth every calorie burnt, every cut opened and blood lost. Also, you can choose your spot to jump from, ranging from around 10 feet to 50 feet.

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The two cliffs to dive from. A spot on the left side goes as high as 50 feet. There are also small boat parties going on in the boats nearby!

The whole process is super exhausting and if you’re ever in a hurry like we were, its just as torturous. Climbing up the rocks and into the sea, swimming back to the shore only to do it 5 more times is nothing short of painstaking exhaustion. The worst part was the trek upwards which we did not account for, while running around like maniacs. Mr.Sun too did us no favour, shining as bright as ever!

The whole experience goes for about 4-5 hours easily, unless you hurry a lot. The national park is connected by busses or personal cars. And if you opt for the public transport, keep in mind the bus timings since the frequency is not too high. You start off in a metro and then the bus to get here.

The Train and Bus Passes. They can be used in any public transport.

We came back dead tired, had lunch and simply crashed from the exhaustion. Woke up in the evening and set off for the fan zone. The atmosphere again was intense and similar to the last time. Half of our squad took a detour and went for a massage instead.

That was our last day in Marseille, as we set out for Chamonix next. Stay tuned and subscribe for my next post featuring our journey to and in Chamonix. And if you like this piece, feel free to like, share and comment.

Until Next Time,

The Travellothoner.

PROLOGUE

They got out of the lift and entered the basement. It was dark and a light was flickering in the distance, like in any horror movie. Somewhere between entering the lift and getting out of it, Agastya and Ruche came close and held hands, almost as if out of instinct. Neither of them spoke nor did they want to do anything to acknowledge the fact that it was their final day of seeing each other as they had over the last 6 weeks.

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They started walking towards the car, still not having exchanged a word since they bid adieu to some colleagues and promised to meet the others at the bar. Agastya stopped in his tracks and squeezed her hand. Ruche, who was walking a step ahead, looked back to see his pale face, devoid of any emotion. He was hurting. Obviously not physical, but his heart was burning, there was a pit in his stomach, a lump in his throat and his eyes were moist. 

Ruche could almost feel his pain within her. By now, she knew him well enough to know exactly what was going through his head. Somewhere deep down, she was hurting too. She’d obsessed about this moment just 24 hours ago, talked to Agastya about it for over an hour and yet eventually, neither of them could make any sense out of it.

The seminar was over and it was time to say goodbye. However, they were still going to be in the same city. They still lived and worked within an hours drive from each other and could always catch up post-work or over the weekends; and yet, this goodbye felt like an emotional anchor – but for good reason.

The seminar had been like an alternate dimension altogether. In many ways, a vacation – being able to spend hours together every day over a long period of time without without having to explain or give excuses to anybody about why they saw each other everyday. No excuses for making post-seminar plans and coming home late or for holding hands in the car and driving around pointlessly while listening to soft should touching music or for going to secluded places and stargazing while sipping on some hot-chocolate. They knew now, that their honeymoon period was over and it was time to go back to reality. Back to facing unpleasant bosses and clients, long work hours, curious parents and other daily drama. 

She walked towards him, not letting go off the grip, squeezed his hand and rested her idle hand on his cheek. She graced his cheek delicately, looking straight into his eyes. Her gaze was soft, but stern. Sad, but passionate. She came closer. He could feel their breaths sync in rhythm and in the next instant, she just wrapped her hands around him and hugged him reassuringly. 

They stood there for a few seconds, neither of them making an attempt to move. Agastya could feel Ruche’s breath on his neck, her perfume that he’d come to love and the scent of her washed hair. He did not want to let her go. But at the back of his mind, he knew he did not have much time. Their colleagues had already left for the bar and as had been the unsaid agreement between them, they did not want to raise any eyebrows. He slowly loosened his embrace and Ruche got the hint. They looked at each other again only this time, Agastya planted a light peck on her cheek. She could feel the smile on his lips.

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They straightened themselves and took a deep breath, as if readying to go to battle, and walked towards the car. Like clockwork, they threw their bags on the back seat, Agastya loosened his tie, Ruche took her blazer off and took control of the aux. Agastya turned the ignition on, one hand on the steering and other on the gear and waited patiently, until Ruche rested her hand on his. That had been their thing for weeks now. Agastya smiled amidst that security and drove off towards the bar.

Both Ruche and Agastya sat silently, trying to fully comprehend what had just happened. They’d held hands and hugged before, but this was unlike anything from the past. The magnitude of those flowing emotions was so strong and alien, that they couldn’t find words to explain it. And if they could, no words could ever do justice to how they were feeling. But soon enough, as they drew closer to the bar, the vibe in the car changed. A long – wild – alcohol filled night awaited them, as they got off the car and headed towards the bar, now maintaining a platonic level of distance between them. 

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Fake It Till You Make It (OR DON’T)!

You’ve probably heard of the saying, ‘fake it till you make it’ and maybe tried it too. But let me tell you, this is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever experienced. I mean, yes, it works. 

And OH, IT WORKS WONDERS!!

It makes you feel everything you’re not and everything that you want to be and that’s great. It kinda even fills a void within you. It makes you feel more powerful, more loved, more attractive and more confident and people really notice that! t changes your ‘vibe’ and people around you definitely feed on it, kinda like how it is said ‘energy is contagious’.

And that is good to hear, OBVIOUSLY! 

I mean, that’s validation right?

The entire basis of why social media even exists and works so effortlessly, in my opinion. 

V-A-L-I-D-A-T-I-O-N.

A simple 10 letter word that describe almost 70% of our actions and existence; of why we do some of the things we do and why do we do them even when they might not necessarily be right. 

I mean, yeah, you can tell me you’re doing a certain activity for yourself and I’d believe you 100% without a percent of doubt. But you’re telling me you’re not gonna enjoy it a little extra when someone notices your Rolex or asks for a ride in your new Mercedes or compliments the smoothness of the expensive whiskey you share?

Isn’t that validation too?

I don’t mean to question your intentions or motivation for working as hard as you do. I mean, if it works for you, it’s good only, right?

But isn’t this also the equivalent of lying? Isn’t anything you fake, a fact or an action or emotion, a tiny part of lying?

Let’s take an example. Imagine that your entire personality is like a sandcastle. Imagine your many inherent traits are small grains of sand and your tiny ‘fake it till you make’ actions as tiny grains of powdered sugar. With time, this sandcastle is only going to get better and bigger, filled with sand and sugar. But as soon as there’s a big wave (problems/truths), it’s going to disperse the sand (which is still fixable) but it’ll dissolve all the sugar which will only lead to more gaps in the reconstruction.

Here’s another way to look at it. This whole practice may be good for you, but you’re probably hurting someone you love or you’re gaining something under false pretences or worse yet, you end up living the lie so flawlessly that it becomes your new/alternate reality and the worst of them all, it’s all of the above.

What’s funny though, is we see this happen all around us all the time. I mean, we’re all well-versed with ‘Window Dressing’ as a concept. Study it professionally and you’ll find a course called ‘Marketing’. 

But let’s get back to what I’m really trying to say, because I’m trying to talk about this at a more human and personal level. Because over the years, I have been guilty of doing this again and again and again with it’s adverse effects coming in the form go all the problems I mentioned earlier and quite frankly, IT SUCKS!!

Nothing hurts more than hurting the people you really truly love and care about. Things like that really mess with your mind and daily well being. It’s kind of a vicious circle in itself. You fake it till you make it or until the truth catches up to you, you hurt people and yourself and then pick up the broken pieces and start all over again. 

So maybe don’t do it. Or maybe do. I’m curious to know about what y’all think about it!

Anxiety Emails

I finish 2 weeks tomorrow on my new work chair. Things for me changed overnight due to some unforeseen circumstances. From being the guy who handled back-end/internal communication and was used to resolving issues behind the scenes to being pushed into the front office to deal with clients and suppliers. 

It’s been 2 weeks, since I spent 8 hours at work stress free to spending 10 hours in front of the computer wishing the day was for 25 hours so that I had an additional hour to finish my work. It’s been 2 weeks, since I looked forward to hearing more and more from my colleagues because they used to be busy telling me about how illogical or unreasonable clients were to now feeling a couple of seconds of anxiety when I see their names flash on my phone.

It’s been 2 weeks now, since I last fired a stress – free email. From sending them to my colleagues and sellers within the system to now firing them to outsiders. I call them ‘Anxiety Emails’.

‘Anxiety Emails’

Those emails that you defer a couple of times in a day, ponder on for 60 seconds before sending and for 180 seconds after. Maybe you even go to your sent emails to verify if you’ve sent it to the right person. Or maybe you don’t relate to anything I’m telling you, in which case this may seem like a futile attempt.

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The first time ever, that I shot out one of these, I ended up almost getting kicked to the curb. I mean, how idiotic does an educated dude have to be, to not be able to differentiate between 2 names and almost throw away his entire business plan to an outsider. BUT, that wasn’t me (IT WAS!). I am by no means an idiot (I WAS!). But it was handled and I’ve only learned from the experience.

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But yeah, 2 weeks and 1000 emails later, it still feels like it’s my first day on the job. I still do every little thing I mentioned above. I mean, my risk appetite which earlier used to be the size of a pea is now having to deal with watermelon sized doubts that just keep on piling up. My worst case scenario, which once used to be a few abuses from my boss and a few overnight-work days to redo the entire work to potentially risking losing business and getting fired. 

Well, all I can really hope for is it gets better after the next 2 weeks or the weeks after. Because Anxiety Emails, they’re not for me; maybe they will be in the future, but they definitely aren’t right now. I mean yes, they’re enabling me to grow and handle stressful situations and learn new things; and I love the challenge too. But I still think 2 weeks ago … Those were happier times!

Did you ever think you’d find someone rant about losing sleep over emails? Oh no, I mean ‘ANXIETY EMAILS’!

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Game Review – Tokaido

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COVID has played spoiled sport to all your travel plans? How about I tell you a way in which you can travel through a beautiful town in Japan, explore various panoramas along your way as well as indulge in some shopping?

Sounds exciting, right?

Come onboard this journey with me through this picturesque board game called Tokaido.

The game consists of : 1 Game Board, 5 traveler piece, 5 Travel point markers, 5 player colour tokens, 50 Coins, 10 Traveler tile, 12 Hot spring card, 60 Panorama cards, 25 meal cards, 24 souvenir cards, 14 Encounter cards, 7 Achievement cards. 

Set up the board as shown in the picture below. There are a lot of elements in the game, once you know them, each play shall not take more than 20 minutes.

A Guide To The Photo Above

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  • A – score markers
  • B – Traveller Card
  • D – Coins To Begin With
  • E – Traveller
  • F – Temple Coins
  • 1 – Game Board
  • 2 – Bonus Points
  • 3 – Meal Cards
  • 4 – Souvenir Cards
  • 5 – Encounter Cards
  • 6 – Hot Spring Cards
  • 7 – Panaroma
  • 8 – Coins

To begin with, each player must be given a choice of 2 traveler tiles, drawn randomly. The player keeps one of them. Each traveler tile has a special power and it denotes the number of coins the player shall begin with. 

After choosing the card the player shall pick their colour- place it at the Inn (the staring place) as depicted in the picture above (E) and shall put their corresponding point marker at the top (A).

The game is now set-up and ready for play. The player during his course of journey till the last inn shall come across various stops such as :

 The Village – Where one can buy souvenirs and make a set of 4 souvenirs in order to get more points;

 The Temple – Where the player can donate upto 3 coins;

Encounter & Hot Springs – If you stop at the encounter or hot spring – Draw the top most card;

Panorama – There are three panoramas – Paddy, Mountain, Sea – Complete their sets to get the bonus card;

Farm – If you are out of coins stop at the farm and take 3 coins from the bank;

Inn – There are a total of 4 Inns in the game, one each at the start and end and remaining two it he middle of the game. All players must gather at the Inn for a meal and then move ahead. The first player at the Inn picks up meal cards (3) equivalent to the number of players playing the game. For example- if there are 3 players, 3 meal cards will be picked up. The first player shall buy one meal from those cards and then pass the cards to the 2nd player who will then pass it to the last player. The player who last entered the Inn shall now proceed ahead. A player shall continue their turn till the time they are the farthest from the Inn in comparison to the remaining players. 

The game though looks difficult to understand, is super fun to play with once all the elements are understood. 

If you wish to buy this game or know more about it, please feel free to get in touch! You can click on the WhatsApp button below to comment or leave a comment.

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Healthy Protein Pancakes

This is my recipe that I use for protein pancakes which I eat on a cheat day or when I want to eat Nutella guilt free after an intense workout. It’s not the healthiest thing and neither is it the tastiest variation of it, but something I do enjoy guilt-free.

Instructions

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  1. Gather all the dry ingredients mentioned below. Strain them through a big strainer into a bowl and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. I use Dymatize ISO100 (chocolate flavoured) and its sweeter and tastier than most other whey supplements I’ve consumed. Whey by Quest Protein is also great for cooking.
  3. Depending on the taste/sweetness of your protein supplement and in case you plan to skip adding a banana due to it’s flavour you will probably need to add a little more sugar than in this recipe (a ripe banana adds a lot of sweetness to the pancakes).
  4. Then gather all the dry and wet ingredients in a big bowl. Mix everything together with a hand beater thoroughly to get rid of all the lumps until it’s a smooth batter with dropping consistency.
  5. Spray some butter/coconut oil on the over a non-stick pan, and then put some batter and cook both sides like you normally would.

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Wheat Flour (Can use all purpose flour, but I try to avoid it since whole wheat flour is richer in nutrition and better for digestion).
1 1/2 Tbsp Drinking Chocolate (according to taste actually)
1 1/2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (You can skip this. I personally add a banana for sweetness)
1 Tbsp Eno or Baking Powder
1 Scoop Chocolate Flavoured Protein Powder (I use Dymatize ISO100)

Wet Ingredients

2 Tbsp curd
3/4th to 1 cup Milk
1 Mashed Banana
1 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil

Ps. You can also use vanilla essence along with vanilla flavoured protein powder as a substitute to the drinking chocolate and chocolate protein. You can also add half a tablespoon of salt and cinnamon if you choose to.

Toppings

You can add toppings of your choice. You could add tiny chunks of chocolate chips or dried fruits into the pancakes while they’re cooking or some Nutella and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup and similar toppings as earlier after the pancake has cooked too.

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Cauliflower Based Pizza Crust And Recipe

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This Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is a healthy veggie-packed option that is naturally gluten-free and grain-free. It is perfect for people who still want to eat their pizza, while following a low-carb or food combining diet.

Note : Scroll down to the bottom of the page for ingredients and specific instructions.

How to Make A Cauliflower Pizza

Making a cauliflower pizza is straight-forward, but a little labor intensive. If you start with fresh cauliflower, you’ll need to steam it until tender. (You can skip this step by using frozen cauliflower– read further down in this post for more info). Then, you’ll pulse it in a food processor until it’s rice-like in texture.

(You can save even more time by purchasing pre-riced cauliflower, either fresh or frozen.)

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The Secret to a Non-Soggy Crust

Once your cauliflower is tender and “riced” you’ll need to squeeze out the moisture that cauliflower naturally contains. This is the secret to getting a dry crust that you can pick up with your hands. (I use a simple thin handkerchief).

Once the cauliflower “rice” is very dry, you mix it with an egg or flax egg (if you’re vegetarian), soft goat cheese (which gives the crust a better texture than using shredded cheese), and some Italian seasonings.

If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, you can try mozzarella, cheddar, or even cream cheese with similar results. The texture is the driest with the soft goat cheese, though.

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The crust won’t be like anything else you’ve worked with before – you spread it with a spatula, and use your hands to press and shape the dough.

Bake until the crust is dry and golden, then flip it and bake longer until the other side isn’t soggy. I use the parchment paper to make the flipping process easier.

(You don’t need a second piece of parchment paper after you flip it– the baked crust won’t stick to the pan after it’s been flipped.)

Cauliflower Pizza Toppings

One last thing to keep in mind when making a cauliflower pizza crust is that you should try to keep the sauces minimal so that it doesn’t re-hydrate the crust and make it soggy and the same goes for the cheese. (Remember, there’s already some cheese baked into the crust, too!)

How to Freeze Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Because making a cauliflower pizza crust can be a bit labor-intensive, I like to double the recipe and make two large crusts (or 4 smaller crusts for individual pizzas) and freeze the extras for an easy future meal.

I’ve found that this works best by baking the crusts, and then freezing them in an airtight container. That way, when you’re ready to make a pizza, you can simply place the frozen crust on a pizza sheet and bake it at 400ºF just until it’s heated through, about 10 minutes.

Then add your toppings and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is bubbling.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets , riced
  • 1 egg , beaten (or a Flax Egg)
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano pinch of salt
  • Pinch of salt
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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400oF. If using fresh cauliflower, fill a large pot over medium heat with an inch of water. Fit a steamer basket into the pot, then pour the raw cauliflower into the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot, steaming the cauliflower until it is very tender and can be pierced with a fork.

2. If using frozen cauliflower, be sure to thaw it completely before getting started, then continue with the following steps.

3. Pour the completely thawed, or freshly steamed, cauliflower into a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade. (You may have to do this in batches if you have a smaller food processor.) Process until a rice-like texture is created. If you bought frozen riced cauliflower, you can skip this step and proceed to the next one.

4. Transfer the “rice” to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! (Be careful if your cauliflower is still hot– you may want to let it cool before handling.) A lot of extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

5. In a large bowl, mix up the squeezed-out rice, egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!

6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400F, until dry and golden. Use the parchment paper to flip the crust over, and bake again until the other side is nice and dry, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

8. Add your favorite pizza toppings to the crust, such as sauce and cheese, then return the pizza to the 400F oven. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

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