Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to lose 5 pounds in 30 days?

I don't have the answer unfortunately. I need suggestions! I need a plan and I need to stick to it. In 30 days, I'm going to become 26. I so need to do this starting from RIGHT NOW!


I know that skipping dinner doesn't work but I took a lame shot at it tonight! :P


It has been a few months since I got my car - my 1st one ever, and I've already clocked 4K+ miles with it (courtesy my frequent Chicago trips which is just 2.5 hrs away one way..YAY!!) Dark forest green is definitely not a car color of my choice (or otherwise), neither did I ever dream of buying a Mitsubishi, but given all the circumstances few months ago, I bought a 2001 Mirage (I refer to it fondly as my baby now!) from a private owner.
Everyone till date has told me that it was a great find for the mileage, maintenance, price, etc. except for one new face in town, who recently sat in my car and told me that he felt it didn't function that smoothly on curves. He compared it to his new Swift back home in India.. Anyway, I'm done forming my opinion about this new guy thanks to this remark of his! =)

Flashback to end of 2009: I was caged in this place. This country totally sucks when it comes to being self-sufficient sans a vehicle. Thanks to the 1st ever snow-filled winter I was experiencing, I didn't dare to even think about getting my license done, forget buying a car. Desperation eventually drove me to it. I was helpless when it came to going anywhere and though my colleagues / neighbors were a god-send for ferrying me around to work, for groceries, etc, I just didn't want to burden them anymore. I got my learner's permit done in March and within a week's time (and after only TWO half-hour driving sessions in my colleagues' cars) I passed the test and got my WI driver's license! I owe this feat to passing a similar but more rigorous test back in Abu Dhabi in 2006 (I flunked twice and managed to succeed in my 3rd try), and to all those 'pathani' instructors I had who kept on going with their "Gardhan hilao, Mirror dekho, Signal/indicator daalo" pointers. Soon after, I started scanning the car sale ads in craiglist, but could never manage to find anything Japanese (all desis go for Jap make cars here) within my budget, in my area.

To just get a feel of the roads especially the express ways, I got myself a rental for a weekend. It was a lovely 2009 Pontiac Vibe, almost as big as an SUV. I felt so tiny and initially a bit intimidated behind the wheel, and even contemplated sitting on a cushion to get some extra height.. LOL! My 1st goof up was to try driving the car with the hand brake engaged! The car kept beeping a warning and I just didn't know what was wrong. It took me a good 10 mins parked behind the gas station to figure out what the issue was. I did the same thing to a colleague's car couple of months ago. He just bought a used Nissan Altima and wanted me to drive it from work to home during our lunch break to check his (new) car out. Not being a person who engages the hand brake typically, I just started on my way home with him following close behind in my car. All the while he kept wondering, worried as to why there's so much of smoke coming from the back of his car. I realized my folly just as I entered the driveway. Thankfully my work is just 1.5 miles away so I hoped that the damage done was extremely minimal, if not any.

Few weeks into April, I took yet another rental (which was a super lame Hyundai Accent compared to the Pontiac) and was quite determined to buy a car that weekend one way or the other. I woke up that Saturday morning at about 7 am, and saw the listing for my Mirage posted fresh on craiglist. I immediately rang up the owner and setup an appointment to see the car. Along with a colleague, we checked this car and another car out, and decided to get the Mirage. The guy did sell it to me for a fair price I thought and the car seemed to be in very decent condition. After signing off on the purchase, we set off for FDL - my colleague was driving my rental and I was following him closely behind. We barely passed a green light when my colleague braked because of some commotion in front of him. On impulse, I pressed on the brake medal of my (new) car, only to find that it went all the way down without engaging - "BRAKE FAILURE! SHITTT!!!", I thought. My poor driving skills and lack of better judgement made me swerve to the left lane to avoid ramming into my rental, right into the path of speeding traffic (we're lefties here remember?) Thankfully the driver on that lane was a veteran at avoiding such imbeciles on the road, and braked on time. He cursed (I don't blame him) and went off on his way. I managed to come to a halt the 2nd time I braked in that lane, put my hands up in the air and breathed out deeply - I was pretty shaken. My colleague not realizing what happened continued driving. I caught up with him, got to a deserted parking lot, and then let him drive to check the brakes out. He too found the brakes acting funny but then figured out that it needed 2 kicks to engage. It was very gracious and brave of him to offer to drive my car back to FDL (almost 50 miles away) while I drove my rental. The following Monday I took my car to the mechanic over here and he couldn't find anything wrong with the brakes (how strange is that huh?) TBTG, till date, there's been no repeat of this incident.

Another weird thing that happened to my car was during 'our' 1st trip to Chicago. Some of us were driving back to my friend's place in my car, and after parking we noticed that the right rear tire was flat. It was a Sunday evening and I was supposed to drive back to FDL early Monday morning to work. Being a Sunday, nothing was open for me to get the tire checked out. I left a message for my manager saying that I'd have to WFH because of the situation, and on Monday afternoon during my lunch break, we took the car to a mechanic close by. Few hours later, he gives me the news that nothing is wrong with the damn tire or tube!! He filled it with air, let it stand for a couple of hours and made 2 guys run soap washes over it to find the leak...Zilch! His conclusion: It could have been a prankster at the park we were at on Saturday who could have let the air out! Hmmmmm .. pray tell me why now!? I drove back to FDL that evening, the slowest I've ever driven back home, and the tire was still doing great! It still is to date. Phew!

I've grown with this car. I absolutely love being on the road now (except for that patchy under construction stretch from MKE to Racine en route to CHI - Where's all our tax money going WI?!?!) I'd be lying if I said that I've been a safe driver all this while. I blame my exceeding speed limits on the freeway to having no cruise control in my car hehehe! Just few weeks ago, I almost missed ramming into a car in front of me when I was checking out my right blind spot to change lanes. What scared and later pissed me off was that my friends were with me. I should have been more responsible and not taken any sort of risk or chance, specially not with how traffic congests towards downtown Chicago. That very same night, I got caught on camera breaking a red light! :( I'm yet to receive a notice in my mail (I'm praying that the cops or whoever does the processing takes pity looking at my surprised, innocent face behind the wheel, and not send me the notice...ha! wishful thinking! Hope that cam was a hi-tech one that got my face in the first place, not just my car registration number) If there were a cop physically monitoring that signal and if he had to pull me over, I would have to kiss my license and car good bye with a DUI penalty! I was pretty much in my senses by then but the breath analyzer always knows better..hmmmm... That night was definitely crazy. Before this red light fiasco, I skipped some road tolls yet again (Tolls are the one thing I don't like about CHI - come on, why would you wanna pay to use roads that are jammed with traffic almost all the time totally beats me!) I eventually did pay them off within time. Anyway!!

I know this has been a pretty long read (not sure if you've lasted till this line) but I couldn't stop myself. This is just the start to my adventures on the road with my current car (and the cars to come). My next 3 weekends are super booked - a Bon Jovi concert this weekend, ATV-ing and Dells the following weekend, and the B.E.P concert on Aug 14th! YEAAA BABYYY!! In my mental bucket list, I've made a note to rent (if not buy) a cute convertible, drive around with the top down of course, and listen to some fun music. To hell with all the tangles and tanning!! I'm surely gonna try to get this done by next month (nice way to bring in my 26th year I think!)

If you're not already driving or riding a 2 wheeler, you MUST learn and do so!! OK, I wouldn't recommend Indian roads, simply because I'm such a coward over there in the first place =). Wherever you are, do take the chance to get behind the wheel if ever the opportunity arises. You will so not regret it! :) The rush is simply amazing...

Drive safely peeps!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dance like there's no one watching

I love to dance. It doesn't mean I'm a good dancer. I'm stiff and awkard at times. I've not been picked during selections. But that doesn't stop me from letting go of myself. If my bath tub were any bigger, I'd dance while showering too! LOL

I've taken lessons before, but never stuck to anything. When I was little, my mom enrolled me for Bharatyanatam classes. My knees hurt from doing the beginner moves in that semi-squat pose over and over again. It lasted all of 2 months I guess - I never went back after the school break started that year. I did take part in a few group dance competitions throughout my years in school, though I still remember not being selected for a couple of them as well (maybe I'm just not cut out for Indian dance forms)

One of the good things about becoming 21 - clubbing I tell you! Yeah the booze and crowds are always great. I go for the music and dancing. Alcohol helps loosen you up, for all good reasons I must add, which is why my friends and I either try to get high real quick once we're there, or better still, get a little buzzed prior to arriving at the club! Unfortunately, I have been living in Bangalore during a period where clubs and dance bars are treated alike by our government, causing so many of them (clubs) to operate on the sly (or with bribes perhaps) and rush everybody out once the cops arrive. Nevertheless, we still partied whenever we could! You don't need to go to a club to dance. We've had dance parties in our pyjamas too! Just dim the lights, get a good set of speakers to wake up the entire household, move the furniture around to create some space, and you're all set to bring the house down! :) Christmas and New Year parties back home in Mangalore are a must do I say. It's such a treat to watch everyone dancing so beautifully - jive, waltz, cha-cha and what not. Kudos to those who've attended Ripvin's ballroom dance lessons! Some of us work friends signed up for Salsa classes a couple of years back. These classes too stopped after a month 'coz somebody or the other started losing interest. Having no company to go with, I discontinued as well. My ex and I then attended a Merengue and Bachata workshop. Fun stuff really! (I wasn't being sarcastic =)

Forward to 2009 - I live in an unknown, isolated city (I prefer to call it a village) in Wisconsin, with no means of entertainment. After spending quite a few dull weekends, I happened to scan an ad in the newspaper on the Shut Up and Dance academy based here. They offered beginner and intermediate lessons in Salsa and Bachata on Friday evenings after work hours. I was on cloud 9!! I did join, and there has been no looking back ever since. I started all over from the beginner's basics and now I've just moved onto the next level. I envy so many of the dancers who are so much more advanced than me. I did however find it oddly funny when the dance troupe from the academy performed a routine to "Chaiyya Chaiyya". I guess Malaika's and Shah Rukh's antics on top of that train are ingrained in my head so deeply, I couldn't relate to these goras' dance steps...hehe... I don't go consistently every Friday, which is not a big deal since the classes are pretty repetetive in nature , and you pay for what you attend only. I also signed up for Hip-Hop lessons last week with a new instructor. I've finished two sessions already. It's an awkard dance form for me 'coz I'm not used to dancing so stiffly on purpose. But I enjoy the one hour workout I get from it! haha! Once I'm a bit more independent and have my own car, I wanna start learning the waltz and tango!

All I want to convey to my (not so many) readers is - let the dancer inside you loose! Don't feel conscious. Don't think too much, and definitely NOT about what others may think of you.

The perfect conclusion to my post, this Japanese proverb - "We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I wanna go 'fish' some guys out! :)

You get to this point in your life..let's call it a quarter - life crisis're single, aimlessly working and you're social life is as interesting as that of a nun's... I don't know about the rest of you'll but I'm in this boat right now.. and it sucks!

I was happy once .. had a great boyfriend, a decent job, aspired to study further.. and then everything went downhill .. Lesson learnt: Don't end up working in the same office as your guy.
At least in my case, it came to a point where we "killed" time with each other, barely connected (physically, emotionally, whatever) and played ego games ("I told you so! Score Team ME!!") We called it off in the end. It took me quite some time to get back on my feet.. the ex-bf always kept showing up and making an impact .. but now I can finally say that I'm over him! Meeting another guy did help - he was sweet, understanding, a sound board to all my woes literally..keeping it all a secret from the rest of my friends, albeit a few, was a thrill of sorts.. I was warned that this could be a rebound thingy..and well it turned out to be just that! We were so not meant to be.. I'm just grateful that we managed to part ways amicably and that we still remain good friends even today.

After spending almost half a year guy-less, that too in a new country, I'm getting tired. I want to feel wanted!! Is this feeling because I'm bored in general or I feel like nesting? I don't know. If I want to see myself married (hopefully happily) in the next year or so, then shouldn't I be meeting "the one" by now? Call me old-fashioned if you'd like, but it feels weird that guys my age and younger are jumping into the 'baap' of all commitments - the big "M", and here I am - single, hopeful and still searching. To top things, I happen to live in the most (not) happening place in the US! Good ole dairyland! O.K. the extent of my search starts and stops at the most commonly used matrimonial site..Shaadi! I am still not sold on the idea, which I guess explains why I haven't taken up a paid membership as yet.. or maybe I'm just plain stingy! :P

My trysts on this website have been ...well... entertaining! There's quite a spread for everyone.. Two profiles in particular which made me smile (not in a good way) were CA_Anand81 and francislopez1983... All I can say is I wish them well! :) I think they really need all the luck that they can get.. Then there were the cute air-heads (well guys can be empty headed too! N yea, anyone who has rejected me has to be a goof! come on! LOL!), the serious overly optimistic kinds , the "choose me..I am marriage material" kinds, the stingy / not sold on Shaadi fellows (like me I s'pose) who don't have paid memberships, the sounds-perfect- but-hey-I'm-divorced-btw blokes... that's quite a variety who've expressed interest in me! I did find some genuinely interesting ones on my own, but they all fizzled one way or the other (I guess you needn't be Einstein to deduce that much :S)

Which makes me wonder I really cut out for this whole online dating craze?! I used to and I still do (though I'm having some doubts now) think of myself as someone desirable..definitely above average looking, kind of smart, funny, sweet n all that jazz. So why am I still single with no guy in sight? Seriously. Where have all the single guys disappeared - in the real world and on the net? They're definitely not in this part of Wisconsin..I can vouch for that! :)

I was just chatting with an old but not so close friend on FB.. and I mentioned to him that I'll be heading to Chicago on St Patty's day to have fun - drink and be merry! :) He warned me about it - drunk girls are targeted! You know what .. I don't mind being 'targeted' (as long as that doesn't involve being felt up or brushed against! :S) - I'd love the extra attention (MALE only, thank you!) any day! I just can't wait to reach Chi-town now! :) Don't get me wrong.. I'm not the desperate kinds.. All I want is some good ole opp. sex company .. I wanna feel that rush when you meet someone interesting .. it doesn't have to lead anywhere .. it doesn't have to be physical.. just the satisfaction that you're still desirable by someone! sweet!

Viva St. Patty's I say! ;)