Friday, February 18, 2011


I have talked (or rather whined) about my exercising in various posts in this blog. My primary goal when I first started to exercise on a regular basis was to lose some weight and get some muscular definition.

For folks who have never exercised in their entire lives, even a few days of exercising can show a difference when looking in the mirror. Even other people notice enough to comment upon the altered appearance. And having muscles where none were before brought a high on its own. In short, it was quite easy to keep going.

But then, all new activities soon get the patina of boredom due to repetition. And sure enough, exercising too lost its charm.

Though I knew that exercising was helping me be fit and look better, it was still not a good enough motivation for me to do it regularly. Then I hit upon the idea of signing up for fitness classes. Knowing me, I knew I would feel guilty if I paid for classes and did not go since it would mean that the cost of every class I missed went down the drain (unlike the gym where I could always reason that I would go "tomorrow", though tomorrow sometimes never came for several weeks)

I was right. Where gyms had failed, fitness classes kept me exercising regularly. All this was back in the US.

Then, after we moved back to India, the first few months were too busy to think about resuming a regular fitness routine. I finally got back to exercising regularly in December. And of course, in January, I promptly fell sick. Fever and cough and cold and body-pain encourage lounging on the bed and not exercising.

Finally, I began to feel much better towards the end of January but (according to me  - I am great at finding excuses) still not in exercising shape. After all, I was feeling lethargic most of the time, sniffly-nosed and consequently, cranky .

But then after a week of excuses, even I became tired of them and finally decided that sniffles or not, I was going to start exercising regularly. I had exercised for 3 days in a row when it suddenly hit me that on all those 3 days, I was not lethargic and though the sniffles remained, they no longer made my cranky.

It did not take me too long to realize the only change I had made to my daily routine was to exercise. I had read in several sources about how exercise gives you energy and releases mood-enhancing endorphins. But, while I had always  agreed with being in a good-mood post-exercise (I attributed this to the wonderful feeling of knowing that I did not need to exercise for the rest of the day), I had always pooh-poohed the increased energy theory. Run over by a truck was what I usually felt like after exercising.

But now, I was a believer! I did have great energy for the rest of the day, the noon-time slump notwithstanding. And with this realization came another. Where I had not been motivated by the carrots of "being fit and looking good", I was motivated by "great energy and feel-good factor".

Not to say that I have now become an exercise freak. I still have to push myself to exercise on most of my designated exercise-days and I still sometimes continue lie down in bed long after being wide awake since getting up means having to exercise. However, it has become easier to not skip exercising and not come up with lame excuses since I started looking at exercise as something I do for mental and physical well-being and not for vanity.

Of course, since I have been enlightened only for a few weeks now, it is still too early to tell if this enlightenment too shall pass or not. Still, I am happy that it is working for now!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Indane is a great Indian company which sells LPG cylinders. Indane considers itself to be God's gift to Indians and makes sure you treat it with respect. After you register for a new connection with them, you wait, wait, wait and continue waiting till it generously decides to bestow a new connection to your name. Oh, the connection is not free or anything, of course, you have to pay for it. That way you can pay and feel extremely grateful for getting something you paid for too. Win-win all the way.

Among the other rules for getting a gas connection, is the rule that you should not have any other gas cylinder in house when procuring a connection. So essentially, when you wait, wait, wait, wait and continue to wait, you are expected to subsist with either wood-stoves or induction stoves or just keep buying your food from hotels. Since most people are not insane (wood stoves are too smoky, induction-stoves - haha, with the highly reliable electricity available here, you are kidding, right?, hotels would be too expensive and unhealthy), they borrow gas cylinders from kindhearted friends or relatives while they wait for the new connection to appear.

We applied for our LPG connection in August last year. After months of telling us they were processing our application, we finally got approval in the first week of February this year. Yaay, we got it in just 7 months - aren't we extra blessed or what? Right during the application process, S told the gas agency folks that we had a borrowed connection with a borrowed regulator due to the long drawn-out process of getting a new connection. Shouldn't be a problem, S was told.

Two days ago, a gas inspector came over to our place. Not for inspecting that the kitchen is well-ventilated or that the gas cylinder would be kept in a safe place. No siree - that would actually make the inspection useful.Turns out, his only job was to make sure that there was no other gas connection in the house.

Since I had no intention of dragging the borrowed cylinder and hiding it under the bed as soon as I saw the gas-inspector at the door, the inspector saw the borrowed cylinder in all its glory. The inspector then magnanimously told me that he would not report the existence of the other cylinder so we could get our own connection. I could not believe how he could shamelessly declare that while Indane took its own sweet time to grant us a connection, we are not supposed to have any alternatives. However, I did not say anything. In retrospect, this was apparently a mistake*.

Today I call up the Indane gas-agency asking what happened to our first cylinder which was supposed to have been delivered hours after the gas-inspection took place. Then we got the news.

After seven months of making us wait, the Indane Gods had gotten angry with us. Since we had a gas cylinder in the house, they had decided to cancel our application.

But I totally get it - how dare we mere mortals use borrowed LPG till the Indane Gods decided our time to use a LPG cylinder had come? Stupid, stupid mortals! When you are registered with Indane, till Indane says so, you don't get to use LPG. And hear ye mortal, Indane shalt make you repent your presumptuous folly. No LPG connection for you!

Thus, as of today, we are no longer in line for receiving our own LPG connection from Indane.

All this is happening in a the country which is aiming to become a future superpower. Bless its little heart.

p.s. BTW, the name of the gas-agency is Kalarani and it is located in Mylapore. Just letting you know so you know upfront what you are facing in case you get cursed and get assigned to them!

* When S went to the gas agency, he said the employees there actually hinted something like we had not grovelled enough for the connection. I guess I should have shed copious tears of gratitude and kissed the gas-inspector's feet when he magnanimously said he would not report the borrowed cylinder. Totally my fault.