Monthly Archives for April 2015

“Bra”ving judgement!

Fitness, Fitness related, For the soul - Anupriya kapur - April 20, 2015

I attended a running event organised by Puma to launch their new shoe on Saturday. Six running groups from across Delhi NCR started running simultaneously through different parts of Delhi and finished at India Habitat Centre for the launch and breakfast. The concept was great but the execution (of the run) not so much. Dilliwaalas swear by the breakfast served at IHC and now I know why. After harassing the photographers for millions of group pics, the runners started chit chatting about the next event they are training for. That’s when the Puma Ambassador, Lisa Hayden, walked in. The place went abuzz, but the buzz was a bit different than it is when you see a stunningly beautiful woman. Now, she is tall and a very pretty woman but honestly Delhi has no dearth of such good looking girls and great bodies. There were remarks, jokes, mostly mean and nasty, and some light-hearted ones too – simply because she had chosen to not wear anything underneath her dri-fit tee. She was on the stage and had managed to get pretty much everyone’s attention which was previously focused solely on breakfast and inconsequential conversations.

In a lot of countries in Europe, it is normal to go bra-less but in our “culture”, not at all. So, there was lots going on – ogling, excitement, awkwardness, jealousy (for her guts), and even some admiration and awe. A runner was heard saying “It’s a bit embarrassing as we are not used to it!” In hindsight, I wonder how does it matter if she chose to not wear a bra? We are oh-so-cool about Milind Soman running topless then why were we condescending about her choice? We talk about his running credentials and how hot he looks for his age. However, hardly anyone was talking about Lisa Hayden’s kickass 4:06 full marathon in 2013.

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As a woman I’m ashamed of participating in those jokes about her. She might have wanted to make a statement. She may have taken it off as she was uncomfortable in the wet sports bra after running a very fast 10K (ask any woman and she’ll tell you how she craves to do the same!). She may have done it to seek attention. Whatever her reasons might be, we are no one to judge her. She looked very comfortable and chilled out in her own skin.

I’m always for women’s freedom of choices and it breaks my heart to think that I was grossly contradicting myself by participating in the insensitive humour.  As per my part, I will make sure that I’m never judgemental about another woman no matter how far out of my comfort zone she might be. And I hope we will all do the same. 11039279_10153255387506948_1492670001862011833_n

 

 

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“Not” sent from my iPhone!

For the soul, Running Related Injuries - Anupriya kapur - April 13, 2015

I read a very interesting article yesterday about how anyone seeking happiness should spend money on experiences and not things. I loved the line “we are but a sum total of our experiences”. How true is that! I have always believed that you need things for comfort but beyond a certain level they are just well things. A diamond ring or a designer bag will make me happy but after a while it will become, as the article said “my new normal” and I will move on. But the trip I made to run the Bangkok International Half or StanChart Mumbai Full will stay with me forever. I’ve got memories, stories to be shared, conversation starters and connections that were formed. And with these experiences negative or positive – I evolve and they make me who I am.

From Sarojini, no filter, clicked from new phone

From Sarojini, no filter, clicked from new phone

Deep down, it’s something we all know but we do get carried away and caught up trying to fit in. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against brands or labels but I’m just glad that I’m equally happy shopping at Sarojini as I would be at a Mango/Zara sale (my upper limit). My latest acquisition is a recently launched not-so-expensive phone called Honor 4x*. I can use it for clicking decent pictures, facebooking, browsing (screen is as big as an iPhone 6 plus), google maps (damn I’m always lost) and for all the other high-end smart phone functions (I can vouch for that as I was using an iPhone for the longest time). Now, would I have been happier had I bought the latest high end phone? Yes, but may be only for one or two weeks. How far could I have taken a conversation about my new phone with friends? I could so relate to the article (link given below) as it was something I always believed in. I now plan to allocate the fund that I saved (I spent 10,499 on this one!) by planning my next runcation (running vacation). Dreaming about running in Ladakh already!

*http://www.fastcoexist.com/3043858/world-changing-ideas/the-science-of-why-you-should-spend-your-money-on-experiences not-thing

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Another one

 

 

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Letting go….

Parenting - Anupriya kapur - April 1, 2015

In the last seven years, I have evolved from a helicopter mom to a borderline tiger mom to a free range mom (I have my own definition of free range here). I hate to label myself but I can’t deny that over time I did fall in these categories. Looking back, I have been thinking why and what made me behave in a certain way.164514_489225950387_5795075_n 325545_10150331070410388_1303737749_o

I had quit my corporate job to raise my son. It was a conscious decision as I didn’t have family support and I wasn’t ok leaving him with a house help. And they say that the first 5 years is the most crucial time in terms of development. I also wanted my son to be able to express everything to me without any fear.

When he was a baby I let him experiment, I gave him support but let him try. He was free. But in his toddler years I became a bit over protective and was hovering over him all the time. I was constantly ensuring that everything happens in order and on time. I started helping him with everything. I lived by the book. I made him do a lot of stuff which I thought is important for his development even though he rejected it. I went through serious separation anxiety when he started play school. Helicopter parenting is said to be symptomatic. I now realise that probably I was somewhere trying to justify and over compensate for my not “working”. I didn’t think that looking after my child and house 24/7 was good enough so I ended up putting in more energies (even if it killed me physically) on my son.

However, I’m glad that I never gave in to the demand of an iPad and ensured he plays in the mud and gets wet in the rain without the fear of his falling sick.

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On the face of it, I was doing everything right (or so I thought) but something wasn’t right.

When Kabir was 4, I enrolled him for Kumon – English and Maths and ensured he does his worksheets everyday, even if it was very frustrating for him and for me. He was learning fast for sure but the joy that should come with it was missing. It used to leave us sulking and cranky.

I enrolled him for skating and football by the time he was 5. Even though he hadn’t displayed much interest in either. Apart from Sundays, he didn’t have time for much free play left. School – activity – homework – one hour of play time – sleep, was the routine of a 5 year old! On certain days he used to be excited but on most days I had to drag him.

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Around the same time, I happened to read the controversial book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” . I didn’t agree with the book one bit. I hated it. But wasn’t I doing the same? As per the author of the book a child will never reach his/her full potential if we don’t push enough, punish them and be strict. But at what cost?

By being a disciplinarian, I was robbing him the joy of being a child. Of freely running around without a care in the world. At one point I felt I was taking away that twinkle from his eyes. I spent many sleepless nights.

There is a Parle G ad jingle that captures the essence of “letting your child be” so beautifully.

Roko mat, toko mat, nikalney do paav, joorabey bahut hai;

Kitaabon ke baahar, kitabein bahut hai….

It struck a chord.

I have realised now that he has to learn and become his own man through his experiences and not mine. To me free range doesn’t mean forcing a child to become independent when he’s not prepared. It means letting him develop at his own pace. It means not forcing anything on the child at all. It means unrestricted free play. To me it means parenting from a slight distance and instilling the right values at the same time. And to let the child make his own choices. I noticed a drastic change when I consciously adopted this style. He started expressing himself by drawing comic strips which he used to be conscious about in the past. His is a world made of scary dinosaurs, pokemons, silly aliens, funny boys/girls, weird minecraft characters, dragons, sports car and legos.

Parenting is the toughest job in the world, it’s tougher when you are constantly bombarded with what-to-do and what-not-to-do, what’s-good-for-your-child and what’s-not. It’s tough to not get carried away when a lot of children around are being measured on how well they can skate, play football, play an instrument, top in Kumon/Abacus and in turn that becomes the definition of successful/good parenting.

But aren’t we happiest being ourselves, when we truly love ourselves? Then why can’t we let our children be. As parents, we should follow our instincts and not confuse our instincts with what everyone is saying/doing around us. Honestly, I haven’t felt greater joy than letting my son be himself.

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