Weekend

Sis was here. After months of radio silence, she suddenly made an appearance for Rakhi. I wasn’t happy at first about this visit. I prefer normal, friendly relations year round rather than the tamasha of happy relations for a festival. She, and most of my family, prefer friendly appearances at festivals irrespective of relations—good, bad or non-existent—rest of the year.

On R’s suggestion, I tried ignoring the ‘Rakhi’ aspect of the visit. Once I ignored that, I could accept the visit as a rare visit from my sister, and enjoy that for what it is. Helpful advice. By the end of the visit, I was quite happy about her visit. I even wished that she visited more often.

Aside: Sis also brought gifts for Rakhi, two polo tees in a Selfridges bag. Most people who know me a bit know that I hate exchanging gifts. My sis seems to have fallen in my mom’s camp here—she’ll exchange gifts for her own prestige irrespective of what the other person thinks.

Barnaby was here. He’s an 1.5 year old Golden Retriever pup. Like any puppy, he’s hyper and restless. Like most dogs, he loves being touched. He’ll place himself next to any human who’s giving him rubs, and then refuse to let them stop. Unlike most retrievers, he’s not very interested in food. He’s not very well trained. He doesn’t understand some common commands—down, leave, wait. Like a puppy, he’s moody about obeying the ones he doesn understand—come here and sit.

One thing that I really liked about him is that, unlike Chewie and Dudley, he doesn’t make any noise. I heard him twice in the 26 hours that he was here—once when he locked himself out in the backyard, and another time at night when he heard something outside. Otherwise, there wasn’t a sound out of him. Chewie, on the other hand, barks often and talks a lot. Dudley mumbles and groans to let everyone know his feelings. Barnaby was pleasantly quiet. (But I’m still planning to cancel his week-long stay over the year-end holidays).

I learnt fat != unfit. My sister is fat. Too fat for my liking. Yet, I observed on multiple occasions that she isn’t very unfit. Not at all as unfit as her looks would suggest. The first instance where I noticed this was when she got on the wobble board. It was her first time and she managed almost 2 minutes. Amit and S haven’t managed that long yet. I’m not sure even R has. But she did. Another time was when I took the three kids out on the walk. It was a brisk short walk, but she was able to keep up with us most of the way without getting out of breath. She isn’t very flexible, can’t really squat, and has many many other health issues. But it was comforting to know that at least she’s fitter than she looks.

I didn’t run. Chewie was unwell on Friday night. I had to stay up with him for almost an hour. As a result, I couldn’t wake up in the morning for Parkrun. A mix of things—unexpected rain, Barnaby’s arrival, my laziness, and my discovery and addiction with Expanse meant that I didn’t run during the day either. R was out all Sunday, and sudden, surprise showers closed the morning run window. Result: I didn’t run on Sunday either. Instead, I did the thing I hate: I binge watched The Expanse.

I threw away the weekend to binge-watching Expanse. I saw the S01E01 on Friday evening. By the time I finally slept on Sunday night (after 1 AM), I was at S02E08. The first thing I did today was to delete the Prime Video app from my phone.

I didn’t do any of the planned house work. The tap hole in kitchen top stays unfixed. The ivy from the side fence still needs to be removed. The kitchen oven is still to be cleaned. I started, but abandoned midway, the monthly cleaning of the utility room.

The tinnitus has been bad for a few days now. It’s been wrecking my head and hearing since at least middle of the last week, but it really peaked on Friday and Saturday.

It was a horrible weekend in most aspects. The one thing I was not happy about before it started—sis visiting—turned out to be the one small bright spot.

I’m happy

It’s been a terrible week. I didn’t run. I really struggled with work, faced multiple setbacks. I had to abandon a feature with TTS. Got even more disappointed with Axc—another week of abysmal communication. Even the sleep was erratic. Hadn’t seen/spoken to parents for nearly 3 weeks and I was missing them.

The only good thing was the dogs. Dudley gave us company on Monday and Wednesday, and Barnaby was here for half a day on Thursday. Above all, Chewie gave me loads of extra love. Perhaps he could sense the sadness in me, and decided to do his bit to help.

Today’s been better.

I ran.
Body and head didn’t want to get out of bed. But I got dressed and went.
Legs were stiff and heavy on the warmup but I managed the full 10 min warmup jog. , Tummy was unsettled and legs stiff, so ran the Parkrun at an easy pace. Didn’t have the the heart to go with the pacers today.
Finished in 24:35. Took a quick toilet break to give the tummy some relief, and finished with another easy 20 min jog.

It wasn’t a pleasant run. I definitely didn’t enjoy it. It hurt way more than such an easy jog should have. But I ran, and that makes me happy.

The stretching afterwards felt really good, coming after a week of no running, no stretching, and sitting on a chair for hours.

Meeting Jasper, twice, was an additional bonus. Also met Rich after a few weeks. Saw Andy, Keith, Maddie, Prab, and others as well.

Returned home, stretched a bit more, topped up with a peanut butter toast, and took the boys out for a walk. Met lots of friendly dogs and a few familiar faces.

On the return section, we met a big group of students out for a country walk. Based on dress and behaviour, they didn’t seem from around here. They were definitely not comfortable with dogs. Dudley, ever friendly, decided to go say hello to all of them! And everywhere he went, the students shrieked and jumped away (or froze and stopped breathing)! That shouting triggered Chewie off, and he went barking to everyone. It was a mess. Took me a bit to get them both under control. The students were shaken, but good natured, and hurried off with hearts racing but smiles on their faces.

On return, took a long shower, shaved (after nearly two weeks), and been watching a big stage of Le Tour.

After lunch, called home. Mom picked up quickly today, after no response for two weeks. Turns out they’ve been missing me just as much as I’ve been missing them. It was satisfying to see and speak to her. Dad was taking a nap so didn’t get to see her. But it was good to have at least spoken to ma.

It’s been a tough week, but today has made it a bit better. I’m happy.

Continue reading I’m happy

Today

I completed two weeks of eating without screens1. It’s become much easier now. The hand doesn’t automatically go to the remote or the phone the moment I sit down to eat. The anxiety has disappeared too. I’m definitely lovin’ it.

I started on level two of wobble board balancing today. I achieved a level 1 PB of 6 mins 20 seconds on Saturday after the Parkrun. Also, balancing for a minute or two has become fairly easy now. So, decided to take it to level two today.

I found an old, barely used volleyball that R and li’l R had bought a while ago. They never used it, and it’s only lightly inflated now—perfect for bouncing off the ball while balancing on the board. A small, heavy medicine ball would’ve been ideal, but this volleyball is good enough for me.

There’s just one small (32kg black with 4 legs) hitch. Chewie gets agitated when I bounce the ball off the wall. He thinks all balls were made for him to play. Also, we often play where I bounce balls off the wall and he catches them. He protested that it was unfair that I bounce the balls from such a height at close quarters, and then catch it without giving him a chance. I have a few scratches on my waist from his attempts to topple me off the board and get at the ball!

Today is the first day in three weeks that I’m skipping the scheduled running workout. Between the hot day, and taking care of Chewie in the evening, I just ran out of energy and viable time slots to go for a run. I’m telling myself I’ll do it tomorrow. But tomorrow is just the same—late morning will be too warm to run, specially after walking Chewie, and evening will again be busy catering to him. The only viable spot is early morning, but those are my favourite work hours :(

Other stuff happened too, but nothing important or interesting enough to note.

Continue reading Today

Well begun, and well done

Started the day with Parkrun. 24:51 of running, and about just as long chatting with the regulars. In fact spent first lap of the run chatting too – Anne’s dad, Rich from Phoenix, Andy, and Val. Never really bothered to run hard, but ended up with a decent time nonetheless. All the chatting in the first half meant that I had a negative split 🙂

It was a near perfect start to the weekend – a good run, lots of friendly faces, sunshine, and lots and lots of lovely, friendly dogs.

Back home, spent two hours reading the book in the conservatory. It was a beautiful morning with lots of sun, but often interspersed with dark clouds and chilly wind.

After lunch, made myself a coffee, and called home. It turned into an almost hour long video call with parents. It was nice to see them both. It was even better to end such a long call without getting into a fight over anything 😅

Had planned to call a friend too, but the long call home drained all my calling energy.

So I started with the long planned cleaning of the utility room. I expected it to be a long slog. 7 hours of slogging later, I’m only about ⅔rd done. I didn’t expect it to be that long slog!

At least the output is looking good.

While I was cleaning, Soham came over to spend some time while playing a video game and chatting.

I’d also brought Dudley over for the evening. He wasn’t happy though that I was cleaning, and not spending time with him.

After the long cleaning, took a long, hot shower, had dinner, and now watching MOTD.

I’m knackered, and very sleepy. Not broken, yet. Might have to cancel tomorrow’s bike ride plan though

It was a very good day. Hope tomorrow is more of the same.

Personal relationships & the peak-end rule – a case study

The Peak-End rule:

… people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak (i.e., its most intense point) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.

These are three relationships I have had all my life – U1, A1, and A2. They are all equally closely related. All of them did something terrible recently – together – that has ruined these relationships.

The three relationships - over time
The three relationships – over time

The question is, are the relationships equally spoiled? Or, despite their joint betrayal, I should treat them differently based on the ‘sum total’ of the past experiences?

Continue reading Personal relationships & the peak-end rule – a case study

No group chats

That’s the new rule I’m trying to follow.

People are different. Some like being at the center of the widest possible social circle, others just like to keep up with a big social circle. And some, like me, prefer fewer but deeper social connections.

Group chat, like much of social media, is designed for the first two groups. Not just because they’re the heaviest, most reliable users. But also because number of connections (or followers, friends, or people in groups) is an easy metric to calculate and promote.

Depth of those connections is not such an easy metric to devise. And it is naturally capped. It’s hard to have real deep connections with more than a handful of people.

As I continue to clear the noise in my life, this is one more area where I’m making changes. I want a handful of deep connections, and reduce the noise from the many.  Continue reading No group chats

A day of too many calls

I have to call parents. Didn’t call them this week. That’s about 45 mins gone.

Then I have to call an aunt who’s visiting her injured son in the US. She’s been calling at odd times, I haven’t answered. I guess she’s bored and lonely. 30 mins.

I haven’t spoken to the sister in a long while. May give her a ring. 5 mins, if she picks up.

And it’s been 100+ days since I fell off the wagon – I was on a streak of calling one of my old friends once a week. 10-30 mins, depending on the friend.

It’s gonna be a long day! Glad that R is going back to London, sparing me some ear capacity.

P.S.: It’s still a ‘phone call’ if I’m calling most of them on Duo, right?

Getting stronger…

It didn’t rain today. Mostly. There were passing showers throughout the day, but nothing stuck around long enough.

Spoke to Ma. It was a long chat, and a generally happy one. It was nice to hear her sound cheerful, after 5+ years of sleep deprivation & tiredness, and a few weeks of crying, loss and loneliness.

We went for a run. I ran 7K on the road – to the cathedral and back up – and then took the boys for a lap on the ridge (~3K). It was better than yesterday’s run – legs felt better, faster. Felt a tiny bit stronger.

Continue reading Getting stronger…

Mama

My grandmom. She passed away today.

She had 93 long years. She lived a happy childhood – second of 5 sisters and 1 brother in a happy household. She married happily, to a handsome man, in to a rich family. She lost almost everything in partition, turned into a nearly penniless refugee far away from home, her families split across states. She brought 5 children into the world, but lost her husband and the eldest to the country I live in. They needed to earn to get the rest of family up off their knees. She raised her kids, educated them, got them married, moved towns, made a new house, had grandchildren, saw them grow up, move out. She had her husband return home, to finally live with her, after 30 years. She, they, fell in love again. They lived a few happy decades, again. Then he cheated her again, dying in his sleep while she was terminally ill. She was always the stronger one. She survived, she strived, she smiled, and kept her huge family together. She’d been ill for over 8 years. She’d been first declared “about to die” 5 years ago. He’s been gone 7 years.
Her eldest left too, slipping away from her while in this cold land halfway across the world. She couldn’t see him, in death, like in much of her life. Yet, she lived on. She didn’t fight anything anymore, but she never understood giving up either.

Today, finally she left us. Long after most of her body had given up. Long after many of her senses had stopped working. Long, long after the doctors thought she would go. Long after we went from dreading her death, to celebrating her life.

They’ll be happy together, up there. Sharing jokes, scheming, gossiping, hugging when no one’s watching.

Thank you, Mama! For being the strongest person I’ve known. And for being that, living like that, with a beautiful smile and an unparalleled spirit. For saving me from dad’s beatings, and papaji’s scoldings. For spoiling me with your pinnis and paronthis. And for that ₹100 and mishri you quietly placed in my hand every time I left home.

Enjoy, wherever you go, Mama. And give papaji a kiss on the cheek from me.


Continue reading Mama