Friday, August 12, 2016

English is a funny language but Hindi is a confusing language. When I look back upon how I ended up understanding Hindi I end up clueless. The foundation most probably lies in bollywood movies. Another factor which helped was that I studied in a school which had a large population Hindi speaking students. My school was built primarily for the the children of the factory workers of the school owner. All the factory workers were from N.India.

Though I understood Hindi fairly well, I never tried speaking it. Needless to say I have a S.Indian accent which shows predominantly when I speak Hindi. All the girls on the other hand are blessed with an accent-less Hindi. I still wonder how many of my girl classmates could speak flawless accent-less Hindi considering all of us had the same kind of exposure. Without an exception everyone has laughed when I spoke/speak Hindi.

There was this one friend who was hell bent on hearing me speaking Hindi. After much reluctance I gave in and spoke my first word in Hindi with her. She laughed so hard and I guess for atleast a couple of days. I believe couple of her roommates were scared for a couple of night looking at her laughing for no reason.She stopped after a couple of days because I stopped trying.

Some words baffle me. You use the same word for tomorrow and yesterday. How could this happen? May be the inventors could not agree upon the usage. When they could think of so many words in the entire language why could they not think of another word for tomorrow or yesterday. It was like the time when my aunt said 'Yesterday we will be going to a movie'. Then there are numbers. Numbers in English and Kannada are easy. You learn from one to twenty. Then you re-use the same numbers. But in Hindi you have to learn 100 different words. I have managed to learn till 20 so far. Someone throws a number at you above twenty and you feel like an arrow was shot in your direction. You change the conversation to something else and feel like you dodged the arrow. Like the time when you asked a vegetable vendor how much the beans cost but could not understand the number he said. So you ask him where he got the tea he is drinking and walk away. The shopkeeper was left wondering why you left because you were drinking tea from the local chai-wala .

Then comes the time. Telling time in Hindi is crazy. I was to meet a friend at for a movie and the meeting time was adhai. I knew numbers from 1-20 but had never heard of adhai. Again had to cajole her into saying the time in English. Then there is something like paune/pawne. Someone says pawne something like, pawne dus for example. I always thought this meant 10:45, turns out it is 9:45. Where is 9 in pawne dus? I had once gone to buy chillies and asked for 'sawa kilo' of chillies. The shopkeeper  was happy. I was wondering why. He had never sold that huge quantity. When he handed over the bag of chillies I was dumbstuck. I had to do a lot of explanation to do once back home.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Kids these days

Did you hear about the time a kid went and challenged another kid for a fight. The other kid being timid went and complained to her dad. The dad thought fighting the first kids dad was a befitting reply to the challenge.

Do you know how the fight went? Neither do I. I remember waking up an hour later with a black-eye and just a broken rib. Aren't kids adorable?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Something New

Going into my uncharted territory.

For those of you who know me, would know me as an introvert. If I had to classify myself, I would classify as an introvert. There were occasions where I could not even imagine speaking in front of a crowd. I mean, not speaking in front of a crowd, but imagining myself speaking in front of a crowd would scare the living daylights out of me. I would go crazy, restless and my heartbeat would increase rapidly.

This year, for no reason, I thought of doing things I had never done before to see what is the worst that could happen. To begin with, I signed up manage a get-together followed by dinner for  50 strangers. This included setting up the event, deciding the venue, talking to the chef to decide the menu, asking people to register, reminding them to pay, inviting speakers to speak at the event and finally as if these were not scary enough I decided to compere the entire meet.

All these stages were equally frightening. Every call I had to make stared with how to I start, followed by a panic attack and the actual call. One thing I learnt is how much ever you rehearse won't help. Of-course it might give you some confidence due to the preparation, but things can change on the fly and you need to think on your feet. Until I did that, I never realised I it.

This was followed by me signing up to organise a run and talk to corporate sponsors. We usually had individual sponsors who would step up and sponsor small things like say bananas for a day or so. This meant talking to corporates and asking them to sponsor us for a year. Like one brand agreed to get us tee shirts, and another one agreed to be our hydration partner. These were not my deals, but I learnt how to make a deal. This did help me in talking to a timing partner and asking them to part with some cash every month for advertising space. Later we decided to scarp this as we did not want to get into taking cash and answering to higher-ups scenario each month.

All this made me realise some things. Working for a large corporate, I deal with customers every day. I am not scared of that. I was scared of talking to new people. I do not get a chance to deal with new customers, for new deals. Never having done that, I always thought I had stage fright. Now that I am able to do comfortably, I realised it was something else. Now to do it for some more time and get used to it before I find my 'something new' again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Concluding the running season 2015

As the running season draws to an end with the annual pilgrimage that is the Mumbai Marathon (SCMM), it is a good time to look back at the training that went into finishing the run. This blog post will also serve as reference to me for any future training. What follows is a boring long post about running. It includes a lot of numbers because I now understand that what cannot be measured cannot be improved.
To start with, my last full marathon race was in Bangalore with a timing of 4:37. This was on 18-Oct-2014. I had not trained for any race after this. However I wanted to better this timing in SCMM 2016. When I started training at the end of September 2015 I had my eyes set on clocking 4:30. My training included not so many regular runs as I wished to. If you refer to any of the popular running programs available online, they all suggest atleast 5 runs a week making it atleast 20 runs in a month. But I am happy with the fact that I could manage as many runs as I did.

To start with, I started sleeping fairly early. This required a lot of support from my family. We all decided to sleep by 9:30PM every night. No matter what, lights g off at 9:30PM. This helped me wake up at 4:45AM. By the end of a month I could wake up without the alarm. I used to do a 10K run between 55-65 minutes depending on the mood. Weekly training included atleast one 10K run, 1 hill run for an hour and one long run during the weekend. I did not miss these three runs. Any other runs were just an added bonus.

We started eating healthy at home. We do not have much of a choice outside (lunch is usually in the office canteen). But at home we avoided sugar, used less oil and included fruits after each meal. Infact I haven't bought sugar in about one year. All this helped me in being fitter for the run.

The long runs were with a fellow runner from my area who ran at a faster pace. My runs ended up being a little bit faster than I would have usually run. I incorporated a lot of stretches before and after the run. This helped in being injury free.

Another thought that occurred to me was training does not start or stop during the morning run. I incorporated training into my daily chores as well. I avoided the inter office shuttle and started walking between offices in the mornings and evenings. I stopped taking the auto rickshaw home. These two activities added upto about 3KM everyday. The secret recipe was stair climbing. My office is on the eighth floor. I climber these 8 floors twice in the day. Once after lunch and once after the evening tea break. This helped in strengthening my hamstrings and glutes. I did not have to take out time for strengthening due to this.

October saw me starting the long runs at a slower pace. I could manage about 20KM in a long run. This gradually moved on to 30KM by November. In December I was comfortable running 35KM+ without any problems. This built come confidence that I could achieve the magical 4:30 figure.

On the race day, I started out a little faster than I was supposed to. Luckily this did not come to bite me in the legs later on. The energy of the crowd got me going at a faster pace for about 10KM. I finished the first 30KM at a speed of 10Km per hour. Now I was sure I could manage lesser than 4:30. The next 9KM took an hour because of some elevation gain on the way. Also in the last 5KM sun is blaring at you with all the heat. So the last 5Km are the toughest.

All in all I am happy to have finished the run in 4:16:15. However the best is yet to come.

Race day Nutrition:
Oats at 2:30AM.
1 YogaBar at 5:30 just before race start
1 YogaBar spread across Km 10 - 20.
Salted Oranges whenever I was hungry. Might have totaled to about one full orange from 4 locations.
1.5L of water in 200ml bottles. Carrying the bottle along the way for a sip when required.
I dairy milk chocolate at KM35.

Per KM split (time taken per KM)
6:33 5:13 5:32 5:18 5:16 5:25 5:23 5:24 5:46 5:46
5:35 5:41 5:50 5:35 5:47 5:43 5:56 6:03 5:46 5:52
6:26 5:38 5:43 5:50 5:45 5:56 6:01 6:03 6:05 6:07
6:07 6:20 6:26 6:26 6:58 6:56 6:38 6:44 6:38 6:43
6:38 6:32 4:16(shorter distance of 670m)

Training runs:

Some pictures from the run which I cannot afford to buy:

Official timing from the race timing mats:

Timing from my GPS watch: