Nov 26, 2022

Book Review: Udalin Mozhi by Umar Farook

 There are different ways to reinforce our learning and understanding - we can read the same books that made an impact OR we can hear the same perspectives shared by different authors. My motivation to pick up this Tamil book "Udalin Mozhi" (Language of the body) stems from the second category.

The author Accu Healer Umar Farook explains how we interfere with the natural functioning of our body and how we let toxins accumulate within.

There are multiple forms of external interventions that we have agreed to bring into our lives.

  • synthetic nutritional supplements
  • choosing foods based on specific nutrients
  • taking pills and painkillers that suppress the language through which our body communicates its needs
  • excessive sterilizing and disinfecting due to fear of germs

The author points out how we have been ignoring the basic communication signals from our body - hunger and thirst. The search for understanding the world external to us has preoccupied our minds so much, that we have lost touch with our bodies.

It's not our choices of foods, rather how we eat and when we eat are the crucial factors that determine our digestive ability.

He reiterates the importance of eating only when hungry, chewing the food slowly, avoiding water while eating, and being conscious of not overeating.

Our interferences also come in the way of our children's health through our incessant search for supplemental/healthy foods to speed up growth.

The key takeaways for me from this book

  • Accumulation of toxins is the breeding ground of diseases.
  • Our body tries to eliminate toxins in multiple ways, but we intervene in this natural process.
  • Our body internally manufactures the necessary nutrients it needs from the food we provide. We undermine this ability by overly focusing on individual nutrients from external sources.

Do check out this interesting book if health is a topic of interest to you.

P.S. Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Nov 19, 2022

Planning vs Spontaneity

 As you grow up and take on more responsibilities, every decision becomes a matter of opportunity cost.

It is extremely challenging to accomplish everything you want to do in a given day. At the end of the day, it comes down to our choices and how we weigh them.

Planning helps us to make the right choices, but at the same time, there should also be room for spontaneity and surprise in our daily routines.

Let me elaborate with an example:

K goes for a walk in the morning to a nearby lake. It takes about a hour, covering a distance of around 4.5 km. He would ask me to join him, but most often, I would say, "Not today, I need to do Yoga and then cook breakfast".

Yesterday, I decided to join him for the walk. Breakfast wasn't ready, but I decided to think about it later.

It was a beautiful track to walk, with plants and trees all around, fresh air, and recently laid roads en route to the lake. It felt so refreshing and rejuvenating within 15 minutes of the walk. I even suggested that I want to buy a bicycle and cycle on these beautiful roads. K laughed, "First you come for a walk regularly, then you think about cycling"🙂

Toward the end of the walk, I felt quite tired, my pace dipped and I dragged myself to our home. It's been a long time since I walked for an hour at a stretch.

We returned home, ordered breakfast from A2B, and started our work routine for the day.

Sticking to our plans is super helpful to accomplish what we want to achieve during the day, but at the same time, giving in to spontaneous, unplanned activities can bring us joy and show us new perspectives.

Embrace routines, but also allow for spontaneity.

Nov 16, 2022

Comfort Movies

 The onset of winter is making me reach for something warm and cozy. Yesterday, I shared a pic of my comfort beverage. Will write about comfort food, comfort books, and comfort music some other time.

Today's post is all about comfort movies. As I think about movies that have a high repeat value for me, Vinnaithaandi Varuvayaa, Swades, Wake up Sid, and Mouna Raagam come to the top of my mind.

There is also an exclusive collection of movies that I absolutely cherish. I may not watch them often, but whenever I do, the emotions they bring out are of the same intensity as when I watched them for the first time. This collection I'd like to call - Doordarshan(DD) movies or the 70s Bollywood.

Classic movies, brilliant acting, soothing music, memorable dialogues.

For the past few days, I have been watching one such classic - "Anand" (It is rare these days that I watch a full movie in one sitting, it takes a few sessions!🙂 )

I remember watching it for the first time back in the 80s on a Saturday evening in DD1. Though I knew the story and the ending, I have watched this eternal classic so many times. What powerful acting by Rajesh Khanna! He makes you laugh, cry, and ponder about life and death in the way he utters those beautiful dialogues. And he is so aptly supported by Amitabh Bachchan. The story takes you on a roller coaster ride. As I watched the last 15 minutes today, I cried so much. It is the same emotion every single time.

There are many such DD movies that I love to watch - Bawarchi, Guddi, Aradhana, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke. Such movies are like time travel machines that transport you back to an era that you grew up in, bringing back memories of those weekend evenings when we used to watch whatever movies that are being telecasted.

No choice meant that you just accept and enjoy the movie irrespective of the language or genre. Something that our present days OTT subscriptions fail to provide by giving unlimited choices, making it hard to pick a movie to watch, and we end up swiping the whole time.

What are your comfort movies?

Nov 15, 2022


Sip your favorite beverage and read this post slowly :-)

 "An idle mind is devil's workshop" - I wrote about this quote two years back. I shared why being in a state of constant busyness isn't the right way to address the repercussions of where our thoughts might take us.

I have also realized something contrary this year.

Our mind loves to solve problems by default. These could be related to our work, career, education, relationships, health, parenting, community, etc.

Observe your thoughts on a random day - see how many problems your mind brings up to the conscious level. For some people like me, this amounts to a large number. It could be due to our childhood conditioning, thought patterns, and beliefs.

On days when there are no significant problems to solve, our mind blows up a small issue into a large problem. If we are not aware, we end up nitpicking on minor issues and creating conflict in our relationships.

A casual, snide remark from a dear family member that doesn't deserve too much attention might occupy our awareness for the entire day.

An irritating habit of a family member might create too much stress that we might end up starting an argument.

A minor health issue might make us feel super worried about possible complications.

A child's playful act that ended up creating a mess might become a bigger yelling episode.

This year, I worked for a startup until May, took a break in June-Aug, and moved on to another startup in Sept.

During those 3 months, though I was engaged in my interests (reading, writing, Yoga) for a few hours everyday, I observed that my mind was nitpicking on minor issues. The resulting emotions were either irritation, anger, or worry.

I also noticed that during the months while I'm actively working, my mind has enough intellectual problems to solve that are related to my work. I feel a little easy and more relaxed about the other minor issues and learned to accept and let go without too much thinking.

It doesn't necessarily have to be WORK/EMPLOYMENT per se. Engaging in any activity you are passionate about - anything that helps you stay focused and stimulated for significant time in a day - puts you in the right frame of mind. You tend to let go of minor irritants and focus on the big picture.

Of course, it goes without saying that we don't swing into the other extreme of being in a chronic state of hustle mode and busyness.

Let's identify and strike that balance!

Nov 13, 2022

State of acceptance

 I take my commitments very seriously - commitments to work, family, and myself. Though it helps me get things done, I also end up getting into a state of overwhelm at times. And I notice that I often get caught in similar patterns and similar challenges.

Instead of overthinking or overanalyzing the situations which I used to do earlier, I now find it liberating to embrace a state of acceptance.

The last couple of weeks has been super hectic on multiple fronts. With the cold, gloomy weather, most of Saturday felt so dull and lethargic. Instead of resisting the day, I accepted that there is no point pushing myself to be productive when the weather gods decided to give a break to my body (and my overworked mind).

I woke up very late this morning (8:45 AM) without an alarm and without any guilt.
Made myself a nice cup of chai, as usual, sat down, and sipped slowly.
Made breakfast - hot pongal and sambhar to fight the weather.
Washed a load of vessels (No househelp on Sundays).
Read 3 chapters in the book "Build".
Prepared lunch while listening to Illayaraaja playlist.
Worked on a work-related presentation for 2 hours.
Watched a movie
Ground the idli batter for the upcoming week (weekend chore).

Resenting our commitments and decisions is a waste of time and energy. We made them for a reason. Accepting them and getting on with work feels a lot more peaceful and energizing.

P.S. The cat babies are all curled up in different corners of my home. Indication of the brrrrrr weather outside! 😂

Nov 3, 2022

How to plan your learning schedule?

 In Nov last year, I shared my thoughts on the joy of learning and being a lifelong learner.

Learning doesn't stop after our formal education years.

As long as we learn, new synaptic connections get formed in our brains. These connections get stronger as learning becomes reinforced and repeated. The word "boredom" disappears from our vocabulary, when we embrace learning.

How to make learning a priority in our daily schedule? There are multiple strategies one could try. Here's a simple technique that I follow:

  • Allocate 1 hour every day for learning.
  • Split this hour into three blocks of 20 mins each.
  • Dedicate these three blocks to learning in the following three categories:
    • Topics that you are curious about
    • Topics that might help you in your profession/career
    • Topics that you had learned about earlier

If you are in a state of "flow", continue learning the chosen topic without worrying too much about the time blocks.

On days when it is not feasible to allocate these three blocks of time, schedule time for at least one. If you find it challenging to block 20 minutes towards learning, bring it down to 10 min. Start small, but get started.

Choose the mode of learning that works best for you - books, audiobooks, TED talks, podcasts, videos, online courses, etc.

My preferred mode of learning is through books. Currently, I'm reading 3 books that fit into the above categories:

  • Samkhya Darshan - Yogic perspective on Theories of Realism by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
  • Build - An unorthodox guide to making things worth making by Tony Fadell
  • Tamil book - "Udalin Mozhi" by Dr. Umar Farook

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