Monday, April 30, 2012

Love Guru Advice: Lusting After Best Friend's Boyfriend

Dear Love Guru,
I’m attracted to my best friend’s boyfriend. And I think he’s attracted to me. Whenever we all go out, he gives me these slide glances and flirts with me. He’s tried to talk to me on the phone a few times but I’ve pretended to be busy. I’ve never felt like this for anyone. What should I do?

Dear Meghna
The forbidden fruit always seems to be the most tempting and is proven to be the most bitter. Don’t go down a road where you will hurt your friend and make you feel lousy. It seems that he’s still trying to explore his options while being with your friend. He might do the same when he’s with you! If he breaks his relationship with your friend because his feelings aren’t strong enough for her and then asks you out, you can think about going out with him. But this can only be done after you’ve checked with your friend if it’s ok and she won’t be hurt by it. It’s a long winding road but it’s one that will keep everyone happy. Until they break up and she’s healed, I suggest you avoid him and this group partying. A friendship is built over many years of compromise, camaraderie, caring and bonding. To give that up for a whimsical love affair would make you feel very guilty later. And if he truly loves you he will wait till you’re ready to be with him. If he doesn’t you can try to find a man outside the best friend pool.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love Guru Advice: Intimacy After Kids

Dear Love Guru,
I’ve been married for five years and after our child was born, our sex life has gone down the drain. Our child sleeps between us at night and I am exhausted looking after him during the day. My husband grumbles that he is forced into celibacy. How can I change this?

Dear Samira,
Indian families suffer from “the child in bed” syndrome for many years. When you can finally kick the first child out to his own room, another child occupies his space in the bed. There are two ways to rectify this. First, make time for your husband. Leave your child in the good care of a grandparent, maid, neighbour (who you can give presents to later), creche, etc and have a lovely dinner date with your husband. Do not bring up any topic about your child. It kills the mood. After this, try and find time for intimacy at home, a hotel, or a friend’s place that is empty. Yes, sex is important in a marriage. Don’t think it’s just great communication. You must not feel guilty that you have left your child for so long. He will live without you for a few hours! Make this a regular feature until you train your child to sleep in his own bed/room. Second, ask your husband to help you with the child so that you’re not exhausted.
Lastly, after you put your child to sleep, find other spaces in the room to cuddle and connect with your spouse, even if you don’t have sex.Go from celibacy to celebrating love! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My tough realisation about weight loss, diet and being thin!

I weigh myself every day in the hope that I've lost weight. But I do nothing to make that happen. The prayers obviously aren't working. The occassional cribbing, starving and mad exercising make it just yo-yo. I need to lose weight seriously. Vacation or no vacation, things need to start now! I'm spilling what I need to do. I hope it helps others too.

1.       Eat less than my BMR. My BMR is 1400. Therefore, I need to eat fewer calories than that to lose weight. Simple. Figure out how many calories that should be in a day. 3500 calories is 1 pound. 2.2 pounds is 1 kilo. That’s a lot. Be aware of it. Always.

2.       Curb cravings. Yes, I know the sugar craving is bad. But chew gum. Immediately brush your teeth after food. Or have a little saunf. Yes, I need to deny myself that sugar lunge. No, it will not make me feel good. It does nothing more for my body.

3.       No alcohol – Alcohol dehydrates. Stop acting cool. You don’t like it. You don’t need it. Remove it completely until you reach target weight.

4.       Colas – diet colas even though` diets’ are causing the skin to go bad. They are a bad sugar substitute. Don’t have juice to compensate either. That’s again sugar and unhealthy. Have water. Your body doesn’t know the difference between liquids. Your body is made up of water not juice or diet cola. Do not try and substitute the 70% with it. Ok?

5.       Emotions – curbing emotions. Anger, irritation, stress, hard day. All these things that make you think you’re deserve to eat better. You don’t need it. You need a long bath, some distraction on tv, a good book, and maybe even a nice conversation before you reach for that fatty thing. That bad thing about your day is not going to go away with you eating butter chicken with a chocolate cake to follow. Your ass is going to look huge and that’ll just add to the problem.

6.       Figure out meals – what you need to eat next is more important than what you’re eating now. In 2 and a half hours where will you be and what can you carry to eat healthy. Don’t expect to think abt it then. Carry 2 things with you. A fruit and a multigrain sandwich with cucumbers and tomatoes shd do it. Figure out those two things everyday. So besides your breakfast at home, lunch of roti and sabzi and your dinner at home, you have 2 things that can control you reaching for that roll or bhel on the side of the road when you’re ravenous.

7.       Walk for 45 minutes every day. Not just a vigorous zumba 3 times a week. EVERY FRICKIN DAY. 7 DAYS A WEEK. Don’t pretend you can jog. Just walk for now.

8.       No seconds – eat on a small plate and only take food once. Your don’t need to eat that much more if you’re eating every 2 and a half hours.

9.       Don’t finish leftovers – You don’t like to waste food. Child not eating so you might as well finish it, is not a good idea. Things left in the fridge that will go bad shd be finished, is also a bad idea. Give it away, throw it away. Make smaller quantities next time. You spend thousands on going out and eating at a restaurant but you won’t throw away the rajma that you got for hundred rupees and will eat it, adding calories uselessly? Eat what YOU need to. Not what you HAVE to.

10.   No indulgence – They say you can indulge once in a while except that once in a while becomes today. And that today extends to tomorrow and the weekend and a birthday celebration and an office party and old reunion. Don’t indulge. Become anti social for two months till you lose the 5 kilos and then allow yourself to meet a few people once a month. If you need to go out, sip on soda, nimbu paani and keep your mouth shut. Make conversation instead.

11.   Palate Problem – Your mind wants you to eat tasty things. Your palate is ruling your life. It’s mocking you. Don’t let your tongue be the most important part of your body. It’s laughing at your thighs teasing it with how it’s making them fat! Your body breaks down things anyway. And it stays on your tongue for exactly 30 seconds. Those 30 seconds have become the curse that you want to get rid of. Don’t let it control you!

12.   Mass vs. luxury – Write down all the luxury foods you want to have once you get out of the diet. You will realize that you can have them whenever you want. They’re not going anywhere. And most things if you remember eating them, you don’t need your body to have them again. You already know what it tastes like. It was good while it lasted. Now we need to move on. Treat it like a good relationship you had with someone in college. You needed to love on from that person, just like you need to move on from that food. A luxury food item can be had if it’s most desired, never had and cannot be got easily. And after trying it with 3 bites, you’re done. You don’t need it anymore.

13.   Coffee is not food – Black coffee to kill appetite doesn’t help. Neither does compensating a vanilla latte for lunch. If you have to meet someone for a coffee, have an Americano with no flavours and skim milk. Do not have a cappuccino that gives full fat milk. That’s 300 calories and then you’ll want lunch after that. Coffee dates can be done without the extra bits of flavours, muffins and cookies. Stick to coffee. Be careful what else you’re eating.

14.   Don’t think that just cos you’re tired your body has lost weight. If you haven’t exercised, you haven’t lost anything. And then you’ll go wanting something fatty to make u feel better from being stuck in traffic all day or managing your hyperactive child. Not done. You need to exercise. And you need to cut down. Even if you can’t go to the gym, or go for a class, you can still walk for 45 minutes straight around the roads or in your building, or even swim. If you couldn’t go in the morning, go in the evening. If you’re hungry and have had dinner, go post dinner. If you’ve had breakfast, go right before lunch. Stop making excuses. You’re not that tired. You’re still awake.

15.   It’s ok to be hungry at night. Even if you’ve had your meal by 8, which you should, and you’re up until late night, it’s ok to be hungry. If you just can’t sleep on an empty stomach, have a fruit, drink some green tea or at the most have 2 Parle G biscuits. Only 2. That will make your stomach work again and you can tell your mind to just go to sleep. In fact, just go to sleep already. Stop working graveyard shifts to complete work or be on twitter! You need to be thin more than be liked!

16.   Thin Fridge – Put a photo of a thin person on the fridge or snack cupboard and a full-length photo of you next to it. Every time you go to open it, you’ll need to compare. Truly, you can see you don’t need that snack. In fact, just remove all the fatty snacks anyway. If you don’t have them at home, you won’t need to eat them.

17.   Mothers and spouses- they love you and want to feed you. They make your favourite things and then they experiment more with things you like. You can’t say no. but you can control your portions. 2 spoons at the most and appreciate them for their cooking. The rest they can eat. Or they can invite a few people over and those people can appreciate them and get fat. You show your love and appreciation anyway by doing more things. Also, remind them that you are just not in the mood for such fatty foods anymore. Be kind and say it like, “I think I’m getting gas with eating all that food. I think I need to cut back.” No one wants a stinky hippo at home.

18.   Tricks, diets, gimmicks – Pills, centers, internet sites for quick weight loss are all hocus-pocus. I’ve tried most of them. Acai berry, high metabolism tablets, the fat shaker, the acupressure, melting fat through heat belts, the blood group diet, the south beach, Atkins, Shikha Sharma, Pooja makhija, VLCC, Savita Dawre, and more. Nothing works. It’s a waste of time. It’s like being in a relationship where you’re paying for your partner’s jaunts when your partner is sleeping with someone else. YOU need to control your fat. Treat it like a bad boy. Say, “No I’m not spending money on this new (diet) toy so you can fool yourself into thinking you will be happy. You need to work hard to earn it.” There are no easy ways. Unless you WANT to follow the diet, it’s not going to work. And dieting and exercise combined is the only way. And no it aint gonna happen in a month or two. It will take 3 months or more. If you don’t start now, it will not happen at all. Cos your mind will always postpone it anyway.

19.   The right choice baby – Make your diet for the day. Carry those foods with you. Shop for the groceries and make your food at home. No, you don’t look like an idiot carrying dabbas. You look more like a fool carrying all that weight around.

20.   People Meter – If you’re thin, you don’t need to become thinner. Figure out your body fat percentage and your bmi and be happy with your body. You’re not a frickin super model and you’re not earning money by being thin. You just need to be healthy and have your vital signs under control. Stop being harsh on yourself. Just as women love a man for his sense of humour, a man loves a woman for her personality. A “fine body” is always the second choice.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interview for Okiedoks Foundation on Writing, Emerging India and Social Networking!

Welcome to the Part II of our interview with Madhuri Banerjee. And this one has turned out better than the first, in terms of learning. The link to the first part of her interview is here.
Some of Madhuri’s gems:
“Everyone has a story to tell. Many can write it. A few get published. Some make it to the best seller list. And one or two become uber popular.”
“We underestimate the younger generation. If we listen to their voices, we'll learn far more than our experience tells us.”
“Always believe in yourself. `Cos if you don’t, why should anyone else?”
Team Okiedoks wishes all the happiness in the world to Madhuri.
Let’s get to know the other side of hers...
If you get a chance to dine with a writer you look upto, who would it be and why?
I would have loved to dine with Erma Bombeck. She made the “family” a source of international humour. I’m sure she would have been a laugh riot throughout dinner and I would have learned how to write and look at life with more wit! And the second would be Rumi in the 13th century just to imbibe as much Sufism and poetry that I can, to last lifetimes. A living author would be Toni Morrison. For sheer magnificence in her writing.
Does the writing field involve luck? If yes how would you define luck in the writing world ? If no, why?
Yes the writing field involves luck! Everyone has a story to tell. Many can write it. A few get published. Some make it to the best seller list. And one or two become uber popular. The popular ones, who can define the market, demand their royalties and be declared a household name are Lucky.
It is often said that due to the facilities like self-publishing and paid-publishing, the difference between good authors and the not-so-good authors is increasing. Your take on it?
If your book is bought by even one person then you’re a good author. Someone has spent money in believing your story. Self publishing is a great alternative when publishing houses don’t back you. It’s the difference between the Critic’s Award and the Popular Choice Award. You still want to be nominated. You should just get your book out there and let people decide.
Social networking is full of cheeky humour wherein many stupid-fame-chasers take digs at celebrities for their 15-minutes-of-fame. What is your take on authors jumping onto the social networking bandwagon?
Authors think they are mini celebs. They come after actors, directors, people in the film and TV industry, standup comedians, singers, technicians and everyone else. But they still like to feel important and get some appreciation for something they’ve put out there to the public. With a lack of visibility in book stores, non availability on Kindle, and unrecognized in coffee shops, authors have no option but to be on the social networking wagon to get their books sold, be heard or get their egos a bit inflated. And even that is no guarantee. And yes, many people criticize authors, take digs at them, blast them on their blogs, send hate mails, and spread vicious rumours even if they haven’t read the book. Authors are extremely sensitive people who get hurt with all this but (some) try and maintain a dignified silence through it all. Others use it in their next plot.
How would you define the concept of Emerging India by any one of the quotes orlines from any of your books?
We underestimate the younger generation. If we listen to their voices, we'll learn far more than our experience tells us.
The younger generation is our Emerging India.
What are the pros and cons of being a writer who is also known for other things(read other creative fields)
The pros of being a Director, Mother, Blogger, Tweeter, apart from being a Writer is that everything combines into each other. A thought is like water. It can mould into so many forms, ice, dew, rain, snow, clouds. Writing heightens your senses and increases your creativity. The more I write, the better I am at other things as well. While I’m directing, I know the words to use to describe what I want from my actors. The cons are that I don’t get enough time to relax. I’m always doing something that could lead to one thing or another. It challenges the mind but my mind is working even on vacation.
What do you do in-between writing books?
I write blogs, I write film scripts, pitch for TV shows and ad films, network and be a great mom. After all motherhood is a full time job.
What is the one thing which would-be writers and poets need not do to have a successful career as a writer?
The one thing they should not do is pin their hopes on people on social media sites to like them or buy their books. You need to be on social media sites simply because you enjoy it. If you get good feedback, be happy. If you get negative feedback, don’t let it affect you. Also don’t let publishing houses’ rejections make you depressed. If you have a great story, hire a marketing guy and figure out how to get published. Always believe in yourself. `Cos if you don’t, why should anyone else?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Hindu - Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas is more than a chick lit

The true-blue romantic

Share · Comment · print · T+

Getting it spot on Madhuri Banerjee Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
Getting it spot on Madhuri Banerjee Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
Madhuri Banerjee's Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas is about finding the one true love — yourself
A title like “Losing my Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas” might lead one to certain conclusions. But the adage “never judge a book by its cover”— or its title, in this case — ought to be applied here. For Madhuri Banerjee's debut novel may be categorised into chick-lit, but it really goes way beyond that. “The book isn't about losing your virginity, but about understanding who you are.”
Madhuri describes herself as a “non-judgemental and boundary-less person” and her book, though fictional, is a reflection of her personal journey to self-realisation. “I studied in a convent school and an all-women's college,” says the Delhi-based writer, “I was surrounded by women's issues and dealt with some of mine too.”
Always a high achiever, Madhuri recalls how her parents read her book and exclaimed, “It's not like an Amitav Ghosh novel!” she laughs and continues, “This is who I am. My story also reaches out to men and women to understand relationships and their own fears and desires.”
Kaveri, a prim-and-proper intellectual, is 29-going-on-30 but hasn't ever kissed, leave alone lose her virginity. Tired of her non-existent love life, with the help of her feisty friend Aditi, Kaveri begins her search for her “Great True Love”. He does come, after a slew of failed dates, in the form of the Adonis-like Arjun. The euphoria of their whirlwind romance doesn't last long when Kaveri learns that Arjun is a married man. The book traces Kaveri's journey thence that takes her from being a translator to even making an appearance in a reality show. Eventually, she finds herself.
Madhuri says that “Losing My Virginity…” is about how women can break free of the roles society imposes on them. “As women we suppress our sexual desires. We only have sex to have progeny, and we need to challenge that. Society should be like a rubber band that stretches beyond its limits.” But she also argues that we ought to give men credit for pushing women beyond their comfort zones. “The one true love is with yourself. The men are ephemeral. Unless you love yourself completely, you cannot love another person. Moreover, we are born into this world alone and die alone, so it's important to love yourself,” says Madhuri, whose documentary film “Between Dualities” won the National Award in 1999.
A year after the launch of “Losing my Virginity…”, Madhuri has completed two sequels of it. “It is Asia's first female trilogy,” she informs, with a characteristic charming smile.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love Guru Advice: To Wait or Not to Wait

Dear Love Guru,
I am in love with a man but he says he can’t be in love with me just yet. He has been in a bad relationship and needs time to get over it. I wonder how much time? Should I wait for him and help him through this difficult period of his?
Waiting Patiently,

Dear Dolores,
It seems as if this man is playing teen patti with his cards very close to his heart. He doesn’t want to do a “show” and have you walk away just yet. He might actually have been in a bad relationship and he is guessing that he might have a bad one with you as well. But you know what, that’s his baggage. You need to tell him that you will give him two weeks of alone time to figure out his old relationship and then come to you. After two weeks are over, you will stop waiting for him. That’s enough time for him to get over his past and learn from his mistakes. It puts you in the driver’s seat since he knows you are serious about taking this relationship forward. Moreover, that you won’t be taken for granted but still have a soft spot for him. Remind him you’re not asking for a marriage. You just want a strong, stable man who can commit to being there for now. Later as things progress, you can move to another step. Speak to him face to face about this. Remember you don’t want a shadow of another person in the relationship. Play your cards too.
Released in Asian Age/ Deccan Chronicle on April 2nd 2012 as the regular Love Guru column.

Reserved for One: A poem

We don't trust enough We don't pour out our hearts  Telling all our secrets, our fears and surrendering to each other. Comple...