Hook knee in the Armpit !!

"Hook knee in the Armpit, then sit on your triceps".

She calmly said while effortlessly resting the weight of the body on her slender arms. I was lost at armpit of course. My palms were resting by my feet, in a strange needle-the-thread position, and I could not freaking figure out how the knee was supposed to hook inside the armpit. Like is it even anatomically possible? Well, obviously it was, if your body is made of natural rubber. Since mine wasn't, I decided to load the weight on the triceps and pleaded the elbow to be a bit more adjusting.

Instead of the hybrid Fire Crow arm balance that I actually wanted to do, I just ended up doing a Bakasana (crow pose)

handstand quotes - yoga handstands - strong

And that is how most of my Friday evenings look like.

Ever since I turned 30, my metabolism seems to have slowed down ... like sloth slow, so much that even a whiff of pastry shrinks my jeans (yeah I would like to think that's the case). And since Fridays mean lunch outings, consuming greasy and tasty stuffs, I run out of calories to consume by the time the sun is about to set. Or so says MyFitnessPal calculator. That means, if I even want to eat an avocado, I would have to burn some calories off ... 322 to be precise :P 

Inspired by Rachna, since September I have been keeping a track of my daily meals on MyFitnessPal, which also includes water and exercise. I am finding it extremely helpful to maintain the consumption of calories. You would be surprised by the amount of sodium and cholesterol some of the food items contain.

Remember how I had a hard time trying to maintain a backbend because my palms kept sweating and slipping? Well, I bought these really cool inexpensive Yoga gloves and socks and tested them last Friday. They are pretty awesome :D Yayyy!!

anti slip yoga gloves

I can now get a good grip on the wooden floor while doing Chakrasana (Wheel Pose), without collapsing on my shoulders, or do a Bakasana without the fear of face planting (which I do a lot :P )

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram :)


Shh... Don't ask about her Dad

Image Source - ScoopWoop

There was quite a buzz in the classroom that day.
"She fainted in the Principal Office", my friend whispered to a group of shocked girls.
"What" "No" "Who Who"
"*Moitra Mam"
"But Why?" 
An image of tall, slim and young saree clad lady flashed in front of my eyes and of her little son tagging behind her. She used to teach the primary classes.
A few days later, news reached us that she had lost her husband - an Army Officer, in an attack by the naxalites near one of the Northeastern states border. I never saw her after the incident. This was 17 years ago.


*Risha and I were in the same batch and did most of our studies together. She was this vivacious girl, always smiling and laughing about the antics of her sister. On my first visit to her home I realised that her dad was a highly ranked police officer, whom she lost at a tender age of 13 . A group of terrorists had blown up the bridge while he was driving across it.


If I remember my childhood days correctly, kids often have a unique way of protecting their best friends, even from questions that might hurt them. They are very sensitive you see, they know words could hurt. "Don't ask about her Dad" was a phrase often used by little kids to stop any ignorant new joiner from asking prying questions. I studied in different Army and Air Force schools across the country. And once in a while, in the lonely corridors of the school, I would end up consoling a sobbing friend missing her Dad. There is no right word, actually, there are no words that could console a tiny heart for the immense loss they suffered.

Do you remember this war cry of the daughter at her dad's funeral. Tell me if it doesn't rips your heart apart.

The life of men in defence services is unpredictable. They could not only lose their lives in major wars and attacks, but also while patrolling, while protecting the border in treacherous hilly terrains and scorching desserts. Imagine yourself as a young officer who along with his group climbs the steep cliffs covered in thick snow to patrol the border and while returning a massive landslide kills few of the soldiers. The soldier who in the morning made you some tea and breakfast is suddenly no more. Imagine carrying his body in a coffin to his family. To the Mom you have never met before, to the wife he would often speak about, to the daughter who doesn't even know what is going on. 

"Don't ask about her Dad" would how her group of little friends would try to protect her from then on.

This marching cadence makes me emotional every time I read it. You can read the full version here

Some Say Freedom is Free

Well I tend to Disagree

Some say freedom is won

Through the Barrel of a Gun

Tell me why, why o why

Did those people have to die

Tell me why, why o why

Did those families have to cry?

*Names Changed

How to make Sushi at home?

Those who know me would do double take at the title of the post. I am a 'walking-talking' disaster in the Kitchen. I barely manage to cook everyday meals without setting off the fire alarm. But, with some help from my friend and Husband, and cooking channels, I managed to make decent looking Smoked Salmon Avocado Maki and Salmon Nigiri.

I had called a friend for sleepover and we ended up driving to Woolworths at 9 pm to buy ingredients for Sushi. On days when I am lazy and don't bring food to the office, 'Hero Sushi' with its awesome variety of sushi comes to my rescue. Prawns Avocado and Soft Shell Crab Roll are my absolute favorite. We decided to make Maki - a kind of Sushi where the ingredients are wrapped in Seaweed(Nori)

Let's get started then.

Smoked Salmon
Tuna Can
Lebanese Cucumber
Sushi Rice
Nori (Seaweed)
Vinegar (I used Apple Cider Vinegar)
Soya sauce
Japanese Mayonnaise (Kewpie)
Mat for rolling Sushi

Step 1: Prepare the Rice - Boil 2 cups of Sushi Rice in 2 1/2 cups of water. Once the rice is cooked, spread it on a plate to cool it down. 

Step 2: Mix Vinegar and sugar in a bowl and sprinkle it over the rice

NOTE: According to the instructions on cooking channels, do not use metallic objects to mix vinegar. I used wooden chopsticks.

Step 3: Place the seaweed on the mat. Spread a thin layer of rice over it, leaving a space on the outer edge. 

Step 4: Place Salmon somewhere in the middle, cucumber by its side and then Avocado. Don't put the ingredients on top of each other.

Step 5: Now start rolling. 

Step 6: When you reach the end, wet the outer edge before rolling. Make sure it sticks.

Since there was still some rice left, I make three Salmon Nigiri out of it.

You can change the ingredients according to your liking. 

Japanese Mayo, Japanese Mustard and Soya sauce as dips.



Zentangle - The Starry Eyed Girl

What's the worst thing that can happen to you on a long weekend? Getting Sick!!

So I went on a one day trip to Canberra to visit the amazing Tulips Top Garden, but it was so cold and damp that the next day I woke up with a sore throat and cold. That means, I spent the rest of the days sipping hot water and finishing my Zentangle project.

But the visit was totally worth it. The garden was incredibly beautiful this year too. More on a separate post later.

Coming back to my Zentangle project, here it is.
Coloring - zentangle - girl - design
Step by step

Zentangle - art - sketch - drawing

The finished work!

 Let me know your views :)

What's your Body Type?

Sunrise at Clovelly Beach, Sydney

I have noticed that many of my friends often give up exercising after starting a routine because they do not see any results. Knowing your body type is a great way to understand how much more effort one needs to exert to reach a fitness goal. Body types are often taken into consideration while designing a workout routine. 

The major types being:

Image Source

Endomorphs – Wider/thicker Joints and high tendency to store body fats
Mesomorphs – Athletic, Muscular and high metabolism
Ectomorphs – Skinny and difficulty in forming muscles

Many do not conform to only one but are a combination of two body types like endo-mesomorphs or ecto-mesomorphs. 

You can find out your body type - here 

Not everybody is the same. Those with athletic body type will find it easier to lose weight than Endomorphs. With correct diet and a fitness regime, Endomorphs too can change their body type. So don't lose heart if your friends are raving about their muscle gain or weight loss, all you need to do is set a realistic goal according to your body type and work tirelessly towards it. I know, easier said than done. But then, Fitness is a lifestyle choice. Remember - "Making excuses burns ZERO calories". Even a low amount of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

Want to know which exercises you can do easily and without going to the Gym. Head over to the awesome Kala Chasma wearing Godma - Shailaja's blog space The Moving Quill  where I am guest blogging on Workout for Fitness and Health 

Let me know if you find it helpful :)

Stay Strong! Stay Humble!

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5 things I did this Weekend

A walk in the park ... and some Handstand

After stocking my fridge with 2 weeks of grocery, my husband and I drove to Nurragingy reserve, a 63 hectare beautiful park in Blacktown Council. He wanted to practice skateboarding, while I found a nice place under the trees to do some sketching. Somehow before leaving we ended up arguing over handstands. 

I am still a beginner so it took about one thousand and five hundred attempts to finally get it straight. My husband of course has to show off and tell me how easy they are, so we ended up doing a handstand duel. I couldn't hold in for even one breath.

And since I am such a bad loser, I haughtily pointed out that his form is wrong and he is making the typical banana shape that instructors warn you about. But well, I will get him the next time!!

handstand - fitness - health


This weekend I planted my Tomatoes and Chili seedlings in the garden. I have been protecting them all through winter. So as the temperature is slowly becoming normal, it was time, for the young to go out... into the wild.

Since I had only grown cherry tomatoes from seed, I bought few plants of bigger variety too. 

The Onion plant in the picture is grown from a discarded onion that had started sprouting. 

Growing tomatoes - growing vegetables at home - home garden
My Vegetable Patch

Nail Stamping

Long time since I dabbled with nail paints and stamping. This is my favorite pattern and I keep coming back to it when I want to give my nails a quick makeover.
Nail polishes - Sally Hansen and OPI, Stamp plates by - Cheeky
Wanna learn how to do nail stamping at home. Check this post.

DIY nail design - trendy nail art - nail polish - nail nail stamp


Started a new zentangle project this week. I am really running out of ideas . After hours of scrolling through Pinterest I zeroed in on a painting of a Japanese girl. The outline I drew is inspired by it. Will be spending the next few days filling it up with zentangle patterns.

sketch of japanese girl - drawing ideas - pencil drawing ideas


If you have been following this blog, you might already know that my husband is an excellent cook. He keeps experimenting with different dishes, adding his own twist. On Sunday morning, while I was busy in the garden, he made a mixture for Lauki ki Thalipeeth . It's a thick paste of Lauki (Bottle Gourd), Chickpea flour, wheat flour,  a bit of cornflour and rice flour, onions, tomatoes, mint along with whole heaps of different spices. Once he started cooking, I simply sat on the kitchen slab and finished off whatever he put on the plate.

lauki ka thalipeeth - tasty  indian cusine breakfast - healthy india breakfast


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7 Signs You are Turning Into a Fitness Freak

Freak yes, but fitness - not a chance. I was never considered “one of them”. Mostly because I can be extremely lazy at times. I could never envisage myself as someone who's crazy about workouts and health.

So last Saturday, when I woke up at 6 am, and went into the garden with a spade to remove weeds (Yes on a SATURDAY) and prepare the soil for vegetable growing, I had a epiphany. The past three years tumbled down the memory lane and I realized that maybe ... even a teeny weeny bit, I AM turning into a Fitness freak.

These are the tell-tale signs, so watch out!

1) You have started cleaning up the Fridge - much to the chagrin of other family members.

Gif Source - here

Coke, Soda, Fries, packaged Fruit Juices and food from fast food joints have long disappeared from my plate and non-fat, non-fun, non tasty healthy snacks have replaced them. In fact last week when I ordered my favorite Wonton Noodles soup all I could think of was the amount of sodium floating in the bowl. With every sip a voice kept screaming in my head - MSG MSG MSGGGGGGG. I just ate the dumplings and noodles, and left the soup.

My husband and I now quarrel like old couples over food, a tug of war happens too where I would be trying to pull away a tin of ChamCham from his hands, while he would be muttering "Let me eat woman"!! Sometimes he would deliberately slurp the sugary syrup in front of me, making me sweat and hyperventilate imagining sugar rushing through my veins and arteries and clogging all the pores. Is my heart still beating?

2) You spend half your lifetime looking at fitness photos

My life is filled with challenges - Planks, Squats, Splits, Abs, Gravity defying yoga poses. The gallery on all my electronic devices look something like this. 

fitness photos on phone - fitness photos gallery

It doesn't matter whether I can do them or not, I just love looking at them. The position of knees over toes, the bend in upper back, the rotation of the hips - Perfection is this!!

My search history is probably the weirdest of all, a reason why I keep deleting it - 
How to do handstands without falling over, 
How to do backbends without snapping into two, 
what the heck is a sacrum, 
What's the average push up a women can do (Please it be one), 
How to do planks without setting your body on fire
Is it abs or just fat lines due to sitting the whole day :P

3) When you overhear someone buying slim tea for weight loss.

Image Source - giphy

Really, you gotta workout Sweetheart!

4) Your friends are just 'one photo' and 'one chat' away from blocking you forever from their lives.

Friend: The new guy is so cute.
Me: I am in love with my jump rope.

Friend: The little one got cold again.
Me: Oh ... I can understand, I struggle so hard to breathe in a backbend.

Friend: My timeline is flooded with your legs suspended in air ... grrrrr
Me: Have you tried meditation ... breathe in breathe Out.

5) At any point of time, there is at least one muscle in the body that's sore from a workout.

Image Source - Google Images

The horror of a Leg Day is real my friend, mere thought going to the bathroom grips my heart with extreme pain. Wearing a bodycon dress, a day after working on abs usually starts with Tarzan howls. A day after arm balances makes you incapacitated to even lift a toothbrush.

6) Online shopping carts have more Active Wear than normal clothes. 

Image Source- Here

Yup, yoga pant is the new Jeans.

7) The days you are forced to miss out on workout are like

Image Source- Google
Life has no meaning ... none at all.

What do you think, is it enough to be branded as Fitness Freak? :P

Note: Read this brilliant article on evolution of MSG, popularly known as Aginomoto in India.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Love for Inversions

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Japanese Paper Doll Tutorial

I have been in love with Kimono wearing Japanese Paper Dolls ever since I started doing Origami. They look absolutely adorable and can be used as a bookmark, a gift tag or decorate wall frames.

After scrolling through scores of pictures on Pinterest, I was super inspired to make one for myself this weekend. 

Choosing the pattern of the Kimono is probably the toughest part.

Here's a tutorial I made, documenting the steps to make the paper doll.

Pretty Easy, isn't it?

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5 New Things I did Last Week

Aladdin - The Musical
in Sydney Capitol Theater

Have you ever been so enthralled, so mesmerised that you don't want it to stop ever? That you can't take your eyes off or can't imagine anything more bewitching at that point of time. Last Friday, I watched the Aladdin Musical, a theatrical performance of the famous Disney movie. It was so beautiful that I almost cried. The lights, visual effects, colors, dance sequences and singing ... oh the singing ... my god the singing!! The crowd went berserk, and cheered loudly when Genie appeared on the stage. He was no doubt the most endearing and funny character who had us in splits in almost every dialogue. My favourite was the carpet flying scene, when Al and Jasmine flew high across the stage, against a shimmering starry background. So dreamy... so magical!! You could hear the audience sigh and at the same time wondering - How did they do it? Oh I still get goosebumps when I remember the scene.

If this ever comes in your city, go for it without a second thought.

Since photography wasn't allowed, here are few pictures from their website

Century Egg
at Din Tai Fung

Century egg or pidan (ChineseįšŪ蛋pinyinpídàn), also known as preserved egghundred-year eggthousand-year eggthousand-year-old egg, and millennium egg, is a Chinese preserved food product and delicacy made by preserving duckchicken or quail eggs in a mixture of clayashsaltquicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. - Wiki

My silly friends of course made a joke about it - now I can clear up their 3 months old stuff from their fridge as I like eating old stale stuff *shakes head* But this tasted just like a normal egg with a real nice creamy yolk. Since this was my first time, I really don't know how it's supposed to taste like. But with Tofu and Pork floss, it didn't taste bad.

Truffle and Pork Xiao Long Bao
at Din Tai Fung

truffle is the fruiting body of a subterranean Ascomycete fungus, predominantly one of the many species of the genus Tuber. - Wiki


When my friend saw it on the list we decided to give it a go and see how it tastes like. This is a premium dish and a pint size dumpling costs about $5. We decided to buy 1 and split. Now this is a very unique combination I have ever tried and I still can't register what flavor it was. Totally weird!!

Skipping/Jump rope

Remember those skipping ropes we used as a child. I really hope I had continued skipping all through my life, but well, it's never too late. So I ordered this medium quality jump rope on Ebay and started a jump rope fitness regime. This is great for a busy evening, when you got lot of chores to finish and no time for a long workout. 15 minutes on the jump rope is enough to burn a good amount of calories. I started with 500 jumps, let's see how much I progress to.


This isn't something I did, but what I found - a gorgeous looking succulent, lying on the ground, uprooted. I have planted it in one of my clay pots but still need to figure out the name of the species. 

My baby succulents are growing really well and it feels so good to see them born out of a leaf. Isn't nature absolutely fabulous. I have been waiting for months to see the buds.

All the plants above have been grown from succulent cuttings.

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Linking to #MondayMusings


The love for Yoga Inversions

Yoga Inversions are poses that place your heart higher than your head. These are the elusive gravity defying postures that makes you put your hand on your heart and sigh!! At least that's what I do when I watch the Fitness Goddesses of this world balance their complete body on one hand or just on their head. And it gives me a deep longing of achieving the same feat. But, and this is a big But, the truth is - one should not rush into it. It requires years  of practice, hours and hours of hard work to train your body to hold that one enticing pose, even if it's for a couple of breaths. Including the understanding of how each movement effects the anatomy of the body. Injuries caused by Yoga and other workouts are pretty scary. We need to let go of ego and not hesitate to practice with props, be it against the wall, or with blocks under knees, or a strap to reach for the foot.

Undoubtedly, preparatory poses for inversions plays an important role in training the body. During the initial months of practice, I only did the preparatory poses, because that's all I could manage. They are also a great way to know if your body is ready to go upside down. It feels like magic when after weeks of practicing, one day suddenly you are defying gravity. Apart from Shoulder stand, Tripod headstand was the first inversion I was able to, where you are balancing your body on your head and palms. If you are able to hold a Pike tripod headstand, then you can gradually straighten your body into a headstand. I initially started practicing against the wall and then slowly moved away. It took me months to get there. Few rounds of Suryanamaskars to warm up the body, followed by standing stretches and then the preparatory poses. 


Here's a quick guide to prepare for Headstand

I like trying out different variations and movements to find the right balance.

Tripod Headstand

YogaByCandance explains here how to Hold a Tripod Handstand
This was me in Sept 2015, barely able to keep straight, elbows flayed out, feet not together!!

My inversions are still a work in progress. I haven't moved away from the wall for most of them yet and can hold them only for a couple of seconds. But to get there itself involves an hour of practicing Hatha yoga and variation of planks.

Forearm Stand

I find forearm stand extremely difficult. There's very little space between my shoulders, head and floor. I never practice them without support and only after Headstands. Dolphin pose is a great way to gauge how ready your body is.

Supported Handstand 

 As you might have read, I only started holding handstand since this February..

In my attempt to get that heady feel of balancing on arms, I used to practice between doorways or 'one legged handstand' (1st in the below picture) with support from the wall. These slowly helped me in building shoulder and core strength. 

What I learnt on my first day of headstand was never to get up immediately after doing inversion (I had to answer a call). You will see black spots and stars and moon and feel the rotation of Earth. Always rest in a child pose.

Stay Strong, stay humble!!

Note: Please consult a Doctor if you have suffered from injuries or any ailment before starting a fitness regime. I am only a beginner, a student and this post describes my practice and what works for me. 

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