Deflate belly, inflate ego.

We are inseparable. I’m never too far from its tender loving ingredients, and it refuses to leave my wobbly belly and thunder thighs. I can’t compromise on food. I won’t. Therefore, I gym.

Also, childbirth left my mobility at the mercy of exercise, but I’m too much in love with the little cutie patootie right now to rant. I’ll save it for when he pisses me off. Give him a second.

Meanwhile, please take a moment to join me in the magical journey that is my everyday workout session at my new gym*.

Title: Fitness For The Fabulous
Super exclusive gym. Like, seriously don’t call us, we’ll call you.

One does not associate words like boutique with gym. But that’s because one is not invited to join my gym. My gym is an exclusive boutique gym in Kuwait. Perched high above the plebs on the 37th floor, it offers me the privacy and exclusivity I deserve. And by repeatedly chanting “my gym”, I reach a higher consciousness that is reserved for the highly conscious select few. At my gym.

Every morning as I step out of the spiritually-elevating elevator ride into the fresh, rejuvenating air of my gym, I am greeted by my butler, Kay**. What? Yes, I have a butler. Don’t we all? She brings me temperature-controlled water in my freshly cleaned bottle, as per my request. Nay, my demand.

Laid next to the personal trainer’s workout plan for the day, is my luxury face towel #15. Why #15, you ask? So that my towels don’t get mixed in with the others. Can’t be mixing with the others, even if they’re non-plebs.

During my work out on state-of-the-art equipments, Kay offers me headphones. I choose to play my music on the speakers instead. It’s like they say in the fitness world, go big or go home. I use my treadmill’s interactive screen to keep up with all my inactivity on facebook, draw inspiration from Missy Elliot on Youtube. I quickly learn that running and typing isn’t very easy. Maybe I’ll ask Kay to type for me next time. And if I tire of the glorious panoramic view of Kuwait’s crystal blue waters from the 37th floor, I choose to run along the streets of San Fran or New York on my screen.

By my 12th squat, I accidentally let out a grunt to push through the pain. I looked around in embarrassment; for a second there I forgot where I was. HA! As if. Up on the 37th floor, I do as I please.

Did I mention my gym is on the 37th floor.

After my workout, I head in for a shower. What should I use today? The bronze tinted overhead dumper showerhead? Horizontal body massagers? Good ol’ handheld?

The L’occitane products are lined up on the dresser at my disposal. I turn down Kay’s offer to blow-dry my hair. I hope I didn’t disappoint her. It’s the third time I turned her down this morning; I said no to her offer to bring me coffee and breakfast, too. I wear the dress she has neatly ironed for me, and leave behind my gym clothes – they’re too sweaty for me to touch. They’ll be washed and ironed for me in the morning. As you do.

It’s only been a week and I am confident I will turn into the Goddess they guarantee***, but right now I descend from my 37th floor fitness haven, and stand among the normal. Yet, deep inside my shallow core, I know I’m special.

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Disclaimers:
* I have withheld the name of the gym because it could interfere with them accepting my Instagram request~~.

~~Just kidding. I get access to all Social Media accounts as soon as I hand over my kidney. Just kidding, I mean credit card. Haha I miss my kidney.

** Let’s call her Kay.

*** They don’t guarantee results, but let’s put it this way: I will lose weight in 1 of 3 ways –

  1. Fantastic workout plans and Nutrition advice.
  2. The speed at which the glass-walled elevator drops down from the 37th floor makes me shit my pantaloons every day.
  3. The money I’ve spent on the membership leaves me with very little to spend on food.

 

 

 

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Another month, another move

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It’s 7:15pm and I just want to crawl into my parents’ pull-out sofa bed and pass out.

12 hours earlier we left our spotless new apartment, with stars in our eyes and crumpled clothes on our backs. This was it, our first official workday from our new home.

It’s 7:18pm and we’re taking the familiar elevator up to my parent’s home to pick our son up and say no to my mum’s requests to have dinner with them – just twice, before we say yes.

We’re late because we went to buy groceries for the little guy, who starts school tomorrow. We stood in front of the vegetable aisle for 5 minutes trying to tell spinach apart from every other green leafy leaf. (It’s been 17 months since we last cooked. And last time we shopped, “spinach” was written in English. And we forgot.)

It’s 7:30pm and I’ve shamelessly handed over the freshly bought chicken and pasta to mum, asking her to cook my son’s school lunch.

It’s 7:31pm and I am so ashamed. I’ll chastise myself when I get that half an hour extra of sleep tomorrow night.

The last time I did this, it was so much fun. The novelty of sitting on the floor and eating pizzas, of picking clothes out of boxes and of imagining all the ways to fill up your corner space, is now replaced with a crippling case of nerves and fatigue. And fatigue.

It’s 8:05pm and we’ve been saying bye for about 6 minutes now. I don’t know what we’re expecting: for them to ask us to stay over tonight or to stay forever?

We enter the new place and are instantly glad to have our own space. Except when we see the kid’s lunch bowl and bottles in the sink. Why can he just use paper plates and cups like we do?

It’s 11.38pm and the only stars in my eyes now are the ones swirling around my head.

Kid’s school lunch only took about 2 hours of prep time. That should do – to impress the teachers, that is; he’s going to reject it anyway.

1t’s 12:18 and I’ve been awake for 18 hours and need to be up at I’ll-smash-that-goddamn-alarm o’clock. I’m writing this random piece because I’m overtired and cannot sleep.

Sorry, what were we talking about? I dozed off for a minute there.

Oh yeah, new house. Yay!

Let’s talk about talk, baby.

A few days ago, O told me he wanted a “peena budda sanmit”. I almost died of cardiomegaly. That’s an enlarged heart, FYI. That’s also more Grey’s Anatomy than general knowledge, sadly.

The “peena budda sanmit” in question was reduced to crumbs before I could establish a proper timeline detailing the name’s lifespan in my head. From cave-baby-esque banging on the pantry door to calling out for “peela balla”, it’s been a long, tongue-twisty journey to “peena budda”.

I constantly talk to him, about our day, our dreams and pretty much everything in between. Apart from developing his communication skills, I’m giving him a heads up that if he doesn’t start reciprocating right away, he may not be able to get in edgeways with me. That’s motivation, right there!

This may come as a surprise to you, but I talk a lot. Yes, it’s true. I know, I know. Take a minute to digest that, if you must. Take two.

Done? Ok, where was I? Yes, so I talk a lot. But thanks to years of writing for a living, I’ve learned to edit myself before spitting out every word that comes into my head. Except during a fight, of course. Or when that awesome human comes to talk to you. Then I may as well be banging on the pantry door, yelling “peela balla” repeatedly.

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I’m just as bad when I’ve been hurt. I analyse, overanalyse and then abuse my analytical prowess. I prepare speeches in my head and perfect them down to the parting words, to go with my dramatic exit. A few hundred different perspectives, inner reflections and devil’s advocating later, I’m ready for the confrontation. Except, all that tossing and turning took roughly 27 years and no one else gives a damn anymore.

At the other end of the spectrum, get me in front of, or on the phone with, an old friend or one of my closest people, and I can talk till the cows come home with their grandcalves. I will share and sometimes over share. It’s like I’m drunk on words, and I cannot hold my drink. Hashtag no regrets.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in this.

Clearly, the vocal chords fail us when we’re angry, intimidated or hurt. Clearly, there’s nothing ground-breaking in that statement.

When I started writing this post, it was along the lines of teaching my little guy the importance of tone and the power of kind words. But now I’m wondering what happens to the words that we hold back?

Is that what we talk to ourselves about? Unresolved anger, hurt and embarrassment?

What?

Hold that walking the walk bit, we need to start talking the talk.
For a second, let’s forget the tones and intentions, length and brevity, sharpness and bluntness in our speech. For a second, let’s go back to our first words. Our “peena budda” moment, per se. When we had a basic need to communicate our basic needs.

Now let’s flip the conversation inwards.

Let’s train our tongues to frame compliments for ourselves. Hard as it may be, try telling yourself you’re awesome. It is, after all, the basic kindness we show other people. Let’s talk positive to ourselves and vent out the negatives. Not by whinging, but by flushing it out. If it can’t be fixed, flush. If it’s about people who don’t matter, flush. If it’s about the past, flush. If it can’t be flushed then take a minute to think about what you can learn from it and move on.

Wake up tomorrow – nope, why wait? – start now. Talk yourself up. Whisper sweet nothings to yourself. Be kind, adoring and inspiring.

I’m also starting to think that it’s ok to cheat sometimes. I mean, you praise people when you don’t mean it, so as to not offend them. How about not offending yourself for a change? I say, bring on the butter and lay it on thick.

Truth is, you’re pretty cool. Someone, somewhere wants to be like you. Someone, somewhere wants your home or your job or your friends.

You’re trying just as hard as everyone else at this life thing; some days are just harder than the others. You string together words to express your feelings, and you string together feelings to make sense of it all. It’s not easy, and yet, you’re here.

You’ve come a long way from your first words; now it’s time to talk nice to yourself. You’ll be surprised at what flattering things you’ll hear in return.

Christmas on the go!

   
It’s a Christmas without turkey, ham or inebriation. No presents (it’ll just be extra luggage), Santa’s visit or pretending to enjoy eggnog. 

But it’s our most exciting Christmas, yet. Full of dreams, hope and adventure. Family, new beginnings and old memories. 

And we’re keeping the Christmas spirit alive, while in transit.
Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays! 
Happy happy 🙂

Gotta get me some gym

drumbells

Two ice cream sandwiches, one banana ice cream bar (lovingly and locally called Banana Lolly) and a slice of super-indulgent double chocolate praline cake. Make that two slices.

It’s 3.20pm in the afternoon and that’s my dessert count so far. It may just be 38-degrees outside, but under the 20-degree air-conditioner chill, even my excuses seem to have their mouths frozen shut.

I feel the need…the need for high intensity cardio and weight training.

The funny (pathetic, if you want to be specific) part is that I’m not even a dessert person. I’m a memory eater. I eat because it reminds me of a time, a place or a person. And being back home with my family has brought back a lot of memories. Very, very tasty memories.

Sandwich ice cream from the ice cream cart outside school for a few coins. 2 soft chocolate biscuits tenderly holding together a cake of creamy vanilla ice cream. It would crumble and drip down my fingers and uniform before I got home, doing just what it was meant to do.

Banana ice cream on weekends after a big lunch. Mum, Dad, sister and me, huddled close together on the couch in front of the TV, slurping on the magical taste of togetherness.

(I have no personal bond with the cake I destroyed other than a carnal need to consume that rich, gooey chocolate. So I’m getting another slice. Don’t even.)

Then there’s mum’s dals, chicken curries, creamy chicken pies, pizzas, Kheema (mince meat curry) and many other dishes intrinsically linked to my happiness. Food that mama and I ate together after I got back from school while I filled her up on all the news, snacks that I scoffed down before rushing out the door in the evenings or weekend staples that always tasted the same and never disappointed.

Like mama’s grilled chicken. Every Friday morning (Weekends in the Mideast are on Friday/ Saturday), we had to clean our room plus an additional chore. Then we were free to go out and play. Growing up in an apartment meant no backyards or corner parks. There were buildings all around us with scorching hot concrete under our feet and blazing hot sun above our heads. Glorious. We played ball, we played house, we pretended to be detectives and thieves. We sweated and laughed and cried.

When I’d run past kitchen windows, my senses would be cushioned with the plethora of scents from different homes. Indian, Asian, Arabic, Continental. Love, affection, happiness and care.

It was time to surrender to the fragrance that was taking over our home.

That’s the thing about food. I savour that memory for time spent with my parents, cousins and friends, but I know that it was Mama’s Friday grilled chicken that holds it all together in my heart.

This was originally meant to be a post about hitting the gym. I think it’s pretty clear how well I’m doing with that.

Big name for a not-so-little girl: Figs – Part II

I confess, Figs got in there because it rhymes with the other two, but it doesn’t make the story any less personal. This third of my blog name is to profess my love for food.

Everyone is a foodie these days or a connoisseur or a food snob. I’ve called myself one or all of them at different times. After you live in Melbourne, the food capital of Australia, you begin to believe it. I’ve stumbled into many a quaint café and restaurant in the most intriguing laneways and had some of the best dishes in my life. There are some places you can’t stumble into, like MoVida. Oh my God, MoVida. After a 2-week advance booking, we got there 30 minutes early, as if we were there for an interview. If it were an interview, I would not have got the job because the only words that came out of my mouth were: Ohs, Mmms and Oh-My-Good-kind-and-ridiculous-Gods. But the dish that moved me to tears was the dessert.

Fig leaf ice cream served with fresh figs and broken grains and chocolate and all that is good in this world. That changed everything for me. That changed me. It was exciting like meeting someone new and reassuring like meeting an old friend. It was all work and all play. It was Ariel and Ursula, Fraulein Maria and the Von Trapp children, Ross and Rachel. It is said that the fig tree featured heavily in the Garden of Eden; that afternoon, the fig tree featured heavily at the beginning of my food journey.

From there on out, there was tuna tartare with crushed mint & peas and creamy goats cheese, grilled Saganaki with honey walnut dressing, fried chicken with a chilli mayo foam, hand-rolled gnocchi in a creamy pumpkin & parmesan sauce, all those secret-sauce gourmet burgers…you get where I’m going with this.

I was part of a very active food club, my husband and I dined out every chance we got and I pigged out with friends a lot, but some of my most experimental dining was by myself. Back in Melbourne, I used to catch a tram into the city or out of it, and get lost. I’d stumble upon a magical food heaven, grab a seat in the middle of the crowd, pull out my book or notebook and order whatever caught my fancy. By the end of the meal, I’d be far too high to ever remember how I got there. Then there were times I was so disappointed that I’d sulk and Google the best dessert places around me to go restore my faith in good food. I’m dedicated, if nothing else.

Wherever my new journey takes me, I know it’ll be a path laden with scrumptious dishes and dreams of my next meal. All thanks to the fig leaf ice cream with fresh figs and broken grains and chocolate and all that is good in this world.

Movida