Monday, September 12, 2016


I was quite amused to see a picture of myself from Jan 2011, when my Mom sent it on Whatsapp. No, am not sharing it here. The twins and Peanut are sitting with me, all nice and chubby, but there's no one chubbier than me.

Sure, it is to be expected that a woman bloats up during pregnancy - but this was seven months after the twins were born. I always put on too much weight during my pregnancies - 22 kilos the first time and 25 kilos the second time, vis a vis the recommended gain of about 14 kgs ( if I remember correctly, that's true even for twin pregnancies). 

The first time I worked it off completely -it was a normal delivery and I was working full time after several months, and used to climb up eleven floors each day to get to the office. It worked beautifully, I don't remember much else about how I worked out at that time.

After the twins, with the C-section, the following surgery post a complication and the general chaos that happens when you have twins, it was SO much harder. I managed to lose some of it, but it was the Zumba program that actually helped me get back into shape. 

Still, after a couple of years of Zumba-ing (learning for a year and then teaching), I realized that I had hit a plateau yet again. My weekend classes weren't enough to give me the required  toning; even adding Yoga didn't help the belly area (that C-section pouch is an a-hole!). I was contemplating what to do about it when...Strong by Zumba got launched!

This is a high-intensity Tempo training workout; it's different from Zumba in that it is reverse-engineered - a team decided the right High intensity moves that make for a great workout and THEN they designed the music for it. I love the concept - signed up, went for a training on August 7th, was blown away by it and have been practising since. In just a month, I see a big difference in my strength, toning and energy! It's not a cakewalk but it is very, very doable. 

There's a whole bunch of us in Delhi who were trained by the very fit and very professional Prateek Kundial, and only a few of us have launched the program so far. I feel ready to do at least a Demo session of it and am trying to see if I can get enough people ( ideal number - 8) near my locality in Gurgaon ( MG Road) in order to do it tomorrow i.e. Wednesday September 14, 6.30 p.m. 

I'm writing this quick post just so that more people become aware of this program. It is NOT dance-based, so for those with two left feet who drop out of Zumba classes because they feel they can't keep up, this is actually a great alternative. The choreos are not left up to us 'creative' instructors because the one-hour class is broken up into four separate Quadrants with varying and carefully designed levels of intensity to really get the max out of the workout. 

The other thing we've discovered is that many non-licensed instructors are either already teaching this program OR dismissing it as 'not for everyone - only for young folks who like gymming' - neither of these are a good thing, so that's the other reason for this post. If anyone talks to you about Strong By Zumba, first ask if they're trained or licensed. 

Okay, that's it!  Watch the videos to know more - the one above that explains the concept in a minute; and the other that showcases a very cool song 'I don't waste my time' by the very cool Ai Lee.

And lastly - none of this will ever take away for the love of us Zumba instructors for the core Zumba program, excellent, fun and effective in its own right! I feel that if I were doing more classes of even Zumba in the week, it would work brilliantly - but now that there's an option for variety - heck, why not?

Find a Zumba or Strong by Zumba class near you! And if you're in Gurgaon, find mine ;)! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Papad the Little Wise Man

One of the downsides of being a twin has to be the constant comparison you're subject to. This one is smarter, that one is faster, he's more of an athlete, he's better behaved yada yada yada. As Pickle and Papad grow up and their individual personalities now shine through more clearly, I see this happening less. It helps that even though they're genetically identical, they don't look the same - I don't know how that works. But at this age, when they've turned six years old and Peanut is nine, it's interesting to see their differences.

Vijay's always had this thing about Papad not being the brightest bulb on the planet. Earlier, he used to piss me off by suggesting that Pickle was the one who was least like the two of us and had perhaps been switched in the nursery after birth. But of late, he's come to the conclusion that it's Papad who we will need to save for.

'Poot Sapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?
Poot Kapoot Toh Kya Dhan Sanchey?'

After this dramatic announcement from him, I asked him what the heck he was blabbering about. 'What Kaput, Shaput, Man?'

'It means.' He said in a superior manner. 'If your child is good, what's the need to accumulate wealth for him, he is capable. And if he is bad, why would you want to accumulate wealth for him? He doesn't deserve it.' He then looked over at Papad who was playing innocently with a set of toothpicks trying to make them stand up on the carpet. 'But...what if your child is a buddhu?' He announced fondly. 'We'll leave you some money, Papad.'

Papad smiled at him and I glared. Not funny to label your child like this.

I know Vijay's only kidding about this stuff, but Papad doesn't really help the cause at times.

'What words start with Q,' he wonders out loud while doing his homework. And then. 'I know! CUCUMBER.'

Actually a most natural mistake, if you think about it but I don't miss Vijay's head-shaking and quiet murmur 'Don't worry, we'll leave behind the money.'

Or when we were preparing the kid for Show and Tell last week.

'So, this is a pot that is used for planting...tell the class why it has holes in the bottom? You remember, right? So that the extra water can come out. Right? So....why does it have holes in the bottom?'

'So that the mud can come out.'

'No, we just discussed that?...the...?'

'The air can come out.'

'NO! I mean, no, that the...?'

'The hole can come out.'

'NO!' I all but clutch my hair.

'What was the queschun?'

I've run out of time and bundle him out of the house to catch the bus with the others. Vijay takes another sedate sip of tea and looks satisfied.

But there are times when the little boy comes up with fairly profound insights. I think all kids do, and he's no different. He is sensitive especially to my feelings; he watches my expressions a lot and responds intelligently many times. We share a special bond, me and that skinny little kid and I think he's going to do just fine. He was cuddling with me last week and then a thought struck him.

'Mom. What is more important. I or my Family?'


'Am I important or is Family important?'

'Well...' I struggled. 'What do you think?'

'I think' He pursed his lip. 'That I is more important. Then is Family.'

'Um-hmmm.' I had to admit. 'I think I also feel that way. But what do you think about how your Dad would feel?'

Vijay walked out of Papaji's room. Papaji is a Parkinson's patient and in a condition now where he needs twenty four care and even though we have an attendant, Vijay is up several times a night to help him to the bathroom, and so on.

Papad gazed at him 'I think Daddy thinks Family is THIS important.' He raised his hand above his head. 'And that he is THIS much.' He dropped it down almost to his knees.

'What?' Vijay frowned. I explained the queschun and the answer.

'So Papad.' Vijay said. 'You think family is less important? But if there was no family - there would be no you, right?'

Papad thought about it for a bit. 'Yes, but if there is no ME, then how can I have any family?'

Vijay didn't really have a rejoinder. And I figured I really did agree with the logic that young Papad spouted. You have to take care of yourself first. Your own oxygen mask on before helping someone with theirs. I've often tried to tell Vijay that this is how it has to be - the self-sacrificing can only take you so far in life.

I gaze triumphantly at Vijay. Papad runs off and my husband stares after him for a bit. I figure he must be duly impressed with the child's reasoning and philosophy.

'Hmmm.' He mutters. 'At least he's good at sports. Maybe he'll be okay through Sports Quota.'