Diet and Weight Loss

Although I am of average built, with a BMI of 22-23, my weight has fluctuated almost 15kgs in the last 3 to 4 years. For my body type, I’m used to having a gradual weight gain, and even slower weight loss. But just the sheer change in my routine and eating habits lead me to loose 10 kgs in one year, and gain back almost 5kgs in the following 6 months.

I also just completed online course for “Diploma on Weight Loss”. Here are the top three things I learned:

1. Dieting doesn’t work for long-term

It doesn’t, I’ve tried to diet before, and just wasn’t able to commit to it. Other than being able to commit to it or not, dieting is a short-term fix. It will help you look good for a special occasion few months away, but sooner than later, you will return back to unhealthy eating. For a long-term, you will need to change your lifestyle, eating healthy meals regularly is better for you body than crash dieting for a week and then eating junk food.

2. Learn to Plan your Meals

It becomes difficult to meal plan when you are living with family, but living alone, I was able to plan out what I’ll be eating for next 4 days, based on that, I would know exactly what to buy when I went to grocery shop. Of course, certain ‘cheat’ days would spring up, when I don’t feel like cooking, or when I’m eating out with friends. But as a whole, eating ‘healthy’ and cooking your meals rather than ordering a takeout, helps reduce weight. Also, skipping meals is a no-no, because if you skip one meal, you might binge in the next meal.

3. Basic Workout is Necessary

I’m not a avid gym-goer, but as my lifestyle is mostly sedentary, due to long working hours at a desk-job, and then being too tired to do anything else, it is important to exercise on a regular basis,  but no need for an extreme workout. a short run would keep your calories in check, and would give you stamina.


“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.” -Unknown



Photo Credit: Visual

The Student-To-Employee Transition

I still tend to call myself a ‘recent graduate’ even tough it’s been a year since I finished graduate-school – guess that the saying is true then – “Once a student always a student” (by Medbh Mcguckian)

So how has ‘work life’ been for me?

To start with – it is boring and tiring. But, it is exciting to see how my ‘theoretical knowledge’ comes to play in the real-world.

The Adjustment Phase
The transition period from student-to-work life is the toughest in my opinion. I never quite understood what I’m supposed to achieve, during my internship, and what was exactly expected of me. It was a learning curve, and I’m glad that is came to an end.
PROS: Learning something new every day
CONS: Feeling your confidence drop, as you struggle while learning the work (and being reminded that you are ‘so’ young, and getting an everyday does of ‘when I was your age…’)

The Getting-Used-To-It Phase
This is when things get a little easy because you have found your groove. You like the new routine and have managed to make friends at your workplace.
PROS: Getting back your confidence since you understand the work, and are in-sync with your office team.
CONS: This phase is often short-lived, as all good things come to an end.

The Routine Phase
Now you are a regular 9-to-5 workaholic.
PROS: You know the work and the organization well, and visa-versa
CONS: Routine can turn boring. Since you know the organization too well, you’ll constantly have to wiggle your way through to avoid any office-politics.

Last Minute advice to recent graduates

  • Smile and Nod: Even if you hate hat person, or have no idea what you are doing, remember you never know if they/it might end up helping you in the long-term.
  • Ask Questions: I found it very helpful to ask smart questions, either you will understand the work a bit more, or at least get a hint of what is expected of you.
  • Never Stop Learning: Always stay hungry for more knowledge, and pursue higher education based on your career goals.

And always remember: never, never, never give up – Winston Churchill


Photo Credit: Visual Hunt .com

The Night Circus: Review

13611052What wonderful world building! The writing kinda fell short (Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great) but it wasn’t able to draw out the full potential of the world created.

To start with the setting and world building, (it’s been a week since I finished the book, and still haven’t been able to forget the feel of the Circus). It was -magical-, not Harry Potter Magical, but magical in its own right. I was simply drawn into it, and its atmosphere, the sounds, the feel, everything. I’ve been a sucker for circus and caravan adventures, since ‘The Famous Five’ was one of the very first books, and ‘The Name of the Wind’ is my all-time-fav, and I thank Erin for creating “Le Cirque des Rêves”.

For the Writing; the book is divided into 6 parts, and chapters are noted with a month/year beside their titles. I’m not particularly fond of journal-type writing, especially when it’s not in chronological order. I kept flipping pages going back to the previous chapters, just to mentally arrange the event of each chapter in chronological order. The lack of a table of contents was literally gutting me. After every few chapters, a page would describe the circus, the tone would change from third-person, to directly addressing the reader. I didn’t find the importance of those inserts, until the very last chapters, where everything fell into place.

The development of the characters is gradual (ahem, very-very gradual) even though a span of 30 years is squashed into the book, the book never felt rushed. I personally found the first half quite boring. The second half of the book gets into the actual premise (a.k.a the competition) when everything starts to make sense, and by now the I actually cared enough about the characters (including the side-characters) that I became emotionally attached to them. The last 50-100 pages were difficult to put-down, and convinced me why I might eventually re-read this.

However, one may argue over a couple of plot points not explained or even left out completely, but I would give it the benefit-of-doubt and leave it as description details, not necessary for plot progression. The ending is satisfying overall, leaving you scraping around for more of “Le Cirque des Rêves”, but instead you’d be afraid that a possible addition in the series is more likely to break-it than to make-it.

Overall I gave a three, but half extra point for the marvelous world building – 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Reflections on Cross-Cultural Living

Where’s Home?

Residing elsewhere away from your ‘home-country’ has its challenges, but when you are second-or-third-generation to be born-and-raised there, that ‘new’ place soon becomes the only home you truly know and love.

You are your own kind of person – a hybrid.
You carry traditions and beliefs of both places.
But now you are to live abroad – a third ‘new’ place.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai


Living and Traveling
When I decided moved to Chicago to pursue my post-grad, I was a mix of emotions; which drove me half mad by the time I actually moved there. Being a frequent traveler, I thought “How hard can this really be?” I had forgotten that I wouldn’t be a tourist any longer, no room service, no bed-n-breakfast, etc. Here, I’ll have to cook, clean, and study – and most stressful aspect- for me personally – to live alone.

Cultural Shock
I found the first three months to be an educational-adjustment experience. I created my new routine. I noticed how many things I had to finish myself before they piled up and ruined my weekend. (And I found out how much a bad cook I am). Regardless, no matter how excited I had been in the first few weeks, slowly, slowly, the excitement was washed away. I started feeling homesick. Missed Home and Family. Missed having dinner conversations and planning the weekend.

Soon, I was counting down to the next holiday when I’ll be flying back home.
The remaining time, after the first three months – that had been super slow, continued at a normal pace. I got accustomed to my routine – almost to the point of boredom. But somehow started liking it, this had become “my time” – doing what I wanted – when I wanted.

Same yet Different
Soon after a better part of the year, which included often going back home on holidays, the lines blurred. Rather than finding differences and adjusting, now I found similarities between my lifestyles in both places. How the life would go on even if you aren’t in the city. The little differences in language and currency would make me adjust again to my home country, but it got easier with time.

Returning Home
I hate saying goodbyes, and it still makes me teary  when I think of my friends and the moments we shared. Even the bad days are a sweet reminiscent of the time spent there. Home, remained exactly the same. I knew what to expect when I return. The time spent in Chicago seems a distant past, like a good book or movie I lived. But readjusted was needed – to move on – back to normal life.

“When traveling becomes routine, Home becomes Luxury” – FTK


Photo via Visual Hunt