Periodical Pain

I debated about writing this post for a few months, before it struck me that no one actually reads this blog. So I can dispense with any worry as such. Having said that though, in case any one does read it, here is a disclaimer:

I am not a medical professional, and I don’t claim to have a cure that works in every scenario. I am describing what has helped me through extreme menstrual agony, in the hope it may offer relief to someone else too. Please do not use this advice in lieu of visiting a professional, and also please keep your own medical circumstances in mind too.

Now that that is out of the way, I can get on with my post.

So, up until a few months ago, I suffered from debilitating menstrual cramps. I have a fairly high threshold of pain, having suffered from migraines for the better part of my life. But these cramps had me crying with agony, while clutching my stomach, and gasping for breath.

I used to chow down ibuprofen to stave off these cramps, but the pills somehow elongated my cycle. And to be honest, ibuprofen scares me a little, with excessive usage known to cause kidney issues.

I agree that the responsible thing would have been to visit a gynaecologist, and perhaps be tested for endometriosis or something. However, I am overweight and I knew how the conversation would go: “Lose weight. The pain will then go away.” This is my imagination at work mostly, but that’s my opinion of the broad medical profession in this country.

[Reader discretion: The concluding part may be TMI for some people. I talk about bodily emissions. So stop if you are squeamish or easily grossed out.]

When I recalled the cramps and the agony, I realised that I always felt I would end up feeling better if I could let out some gas. I always felt constipated during, and therefore putting two and two together, I figured out that maybe a clean gastric tract was the way out of these cramps.

So, I avoided food when I knew my period was on its way. The preceding few days, I would eat much less. During the actual period, I would eat practically nothing. I survived mostly on juice and water. And it worked. I didn’t have cramps at all.

As you can imagine though, this is not the healthiest decision to make. Also, it was sometimes not feasible to maintain a no-eating policy.

Apart for my cramps, I also suffer from gout, and the attendant swelling at my joints. To ease that pain, I started measuring how much water I drank in the day. To my utter shock, I realised I drank less than a litre. I slowly amped up the intake every day, till I was drinking between 2 and 3 litres. Yes, it meant more trips to the loo, but the swelling reduced considerably. And, I found it was much easier to clear my intestines.

Then a couple of months ago, I finally put the two theories together. If drinking more water helped with my digestion normally, then it should ease the constipation during my period too. So I started drinking a litre more during my period.

It helped. It really helped.

First of all, I no longer felt constipated. At all. Second, every time I could feel my uterus tautening up, I would drink a glass of water. Funnily enough, the full bladder forced my uterus to calm down a little. I don’t have a clue why, but it did. Third, my period cycle didn’t elongate. Fourth, there were fewer clots. And fifth, the flow became easier and more consistent. I forgot to mention before that I have extremely erratic periods, and they can vary between mere spotting to practically haemorrhaging levels of flow.

Like I said, I was unsure about writing this, but I think that if it helps even one woman overcome debilitating pain, it was worth it.

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Mistress of Mishaps

Just want to put on record that, this week alone, I have burned myself on an immersion heating rod, and stabbed myself with a diamond-dust bead reamer.

It would be a wonder that I reached the ripe old age of 32 without killing myself at all, if it weren’t for my poor mother for banning me from touching anything* till I was 15.

*Includes: fire, iron, toaster, microwave, electrical sockets, matches, lighters, computers, cars, grill, hobs, freezer, knives, needles, and so on.

No More Money Honey

In the wake of the demonetisation in India, my family was sitting fairly pretty. We have been salaried individuals for most of our lives, and have paid taxes in full each time. No evasionary tactics, no havens, no undeclared income, nothing. In fact, I have a pending refund with the Income Tax department, which will actually cost me more to get out that the actual refund itself. Therefore, the demonetisation was barely a blip in our daily life.

However, there is an old friend of my father’s who I instantly thought of, on hearing the news. He is a jeweller, and while he hasn’t explicitly spoken to us about black money, we know well he has oodles of the stuff.

Case in point: On a social visit one evening, he took me aside from the throng and quietly asked me to issue cheques to his daughter-in-law. For a bit of background, his younger son and he run their business, his wife does nothing mostly, and his daughter-in-law manages the household with the aid of a plethora of servants. His elder son and his wife both work with banks.

The daughter-in-law, a nice enough girl, has a fine arts degree. And I was asked to write out cheques, ranging from 10 to 25 thousand rupees, for a few months, apparently to pay for ‘drawing classes’. He would give me cash instead.

Although he never said so explicitly, this is basically money laundering. I am converting his black money with my hard-earned white money. I told him very nicely I would think about it, mainly because I hesitated to tell a friend of my father’s to fuck off in his own home. [My father would never have tolerated this, by the way. Always had this little pow-wow with me outside of his presence.]

Sure enough, about 2 weeks after the dramatic events of 8th November, dear old uncle money bags called up. I answered the phone, and cordially asked after his health. He laughed a little maniacally, and replied with a question: “How do you think I’m going, kid?”

With barely concealed glee, I passed on the phone to my mother. She chatted with him for a while, going into expansive detail about how demonetisation would root out corruption from our country, etc, etc. It was quite masterful really, and I tried not to laugh so she wouldn’t lose her stride.

Of course, he went along with this tirade for the most part, and then came down to the ground realities. Would she deposit 2.5 lakh rupees in her account? We could return it to them slowly later. My mum, poor thing, thought she could stave off this question with her lengthy eulogy, but no, he was purposeful. She declaimed all responsibility, and said that the family finances were handled by yours truly. [Which is accurate, although we have a consensus.]

She said that I would ring him back later in the day, after having a word with my chartered accountant. That was a ploy meant to buy me some time, because no matter what the chartered accountant said, I wasn’t going to launder this man’s money. He could flush it down the loo for all I cared.

I called him back a few hours later to say just that, but much more politely. He didn’t press the issue, and agreed right away that if I wasn’t comfortable, that was ok.

Only after I disconnected the call, did I realise that I had been holding my breath. Which is when I got angry. I was dreading turning down a request for a favour, even though I had every right to do so; I was following the spirit and the letter of the law; he was asking me to put my family in the cross hairs of the income tax department; he had no qualms about putting us in an untenable situation; he offered us no token for this request (not that it would have mattered).

I was in a rage. That man has been raided by the income tax department 3 times by his own account. If I knew how, he would have been raided the next day for the 4th time.

Waste Not Want Not

Of all things great and small that I absolutely detest is food wastage by an adult. [I added that last bit, because children don’t really understand the implications of food wastage.]

The other day, we had one of my mum’s friends from Dubai over. She has moved back to India permanently, and is currently settled in Vishakapatnam with her Air Force husband. She was on her way back from Calicut, and was taking a detour through Mumbai.

She had rung mum up, looking to catch up. She suggested lunch, and we decided to meet halfway. Our home is in Matunga East, and she was staying with friends in Andheri West. Her contention was that it needed to be accessible by auto rickshaw, so the initial plan was to meet up at Bandra Kurla Complex, where there are a plethora of nice restaurants.

On the day of, my mum was feeling poorly, so she asked her to come over instead. Now, since auto rickshaws are not allowed past a certain point in Mumbai, she offered her an Uber instead. Somewhat to my surprise, she accepted.

The lady showed up, and dove immediately into the laden table my mother had prepared. Since she was coming after a while, my mum had slogged over about 10 different dishes, all vastly different yet complementary. We were of course pleased to see that she was hungry, and I set about serving her, as is custom in India.

[As an aside, I follow customs up to a point. I prefer joining the meal too, instead of hovering solicitously, like a fathead, trying to be hospitable. I can be hospitable whilst eating too.]

Mum wasn’t hungry, so she skipped on food, and concentrated on making hot egg wraps. I am not being crude, but I piled that plate pretty high. I made sure there was a little of every item, and I had to set out bowls for those that didn’t fit on the plate.

After I sat down, I continued to push various dishes forward, asking if she would like anything periodically. She did take several helpings of various dishes, although she never once commented on the food or the spread. Mum did ask her whether she was enjoying the repast, but she declined to comment. I furrowed my brow a bit, but decided not to be judgemental.

After about 2 hours of lunch [yes, really!], she deigned to rise from the table. I saw in absolute shock that her plate was still mostly full of food. She has wasted almost every single item, even those she had taken seconds and thirds of.

In utter disbelief, my mum and I scraped food that I worked hard to earn and she slogged to make into a plastic bag for the bin. I was close to tears because it was effectively a full meal I had to throw into the bin. My mother was as stunned, but perhaps more collected than I was.

The rest of her visit passed in a red haze for me. And I was glad to be shot of her when she left, happily paying for a second Uber, this time for her to get back home.

I cannot begin to describe the rage and pain I felt when I saw that laden plate. Aside from the moral implications, income is not easily forthcoming in my household. My mother, despite being ill, worked very hard to prepare that meal. It is against our family’s culture to waste food.

Never want to clap eyes on her ever again.

Getting Back in Tracks

After my initial enthusiasm of September, which appears to have been mostly fuelled by a desire to fulfil my goal of posting every day of the month. In any case, the gym membership lapsed, because after the first day under the tutelage of a trainer, I had pulled several muscles in various parts of my body.

On a slightly related note, I haven’t ever had much luck with resolutions, or for that matter the close of the old year. I always anticipate that the New Year will be better, and will thus contain less trauma than the previous. I am always wrong. Always. [But that’s a topic I will leave for another day.]

Last year, judging by my post, I had a similar thought: I would get a jump on my resolutions from December. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as this was prompted by a peek at the scales.

*shudder*

Anyway, I had intended to get started on a bunch of resolutions in December, so come January and the pressure to maintain said resolutions, they will have already become habit. At least, that’s the hope.

I told my mum, the kitchen in-charge, that I would like to eat healthier food. Fresh fruit and salads were already a staple in our meals, but we ate a lot of sweets too. Plus, pastas, pizzas, and noodles on the regular, with great big honking doses of parathas and rice as well. We have a carb-heavy diet, and it was doing me no favours.

So, from today on, we are going to have healthier meals, with the carbs and fat cut out as far as possible. Because I am terrified of a binge later, I have allowed myself one cheat meal a day, at least till I get into the stride of things. It is 8:00 pm here, and I still haven’t had a cheat meal as yet. I am guessing that this will take the form of a hunk of cheese, but who knows.

A second measure is to start some form of exercise. I actually enjoy exercise quite a bit, once I’ve gotten over the inevitable starting aches and pains. However, while starting is easy, carrying on past that obstacle isn’t. So once again, I’m starting easy. Not with the gym this time, but at least a walk around the neighbourhood every morning. I plan to do this at least 4 times a week for the present, and I started today.

The third and last resolution is to be more considerate of my body. I tend to get bored with lathering and conditioning and the associated ministrations that are necessary for general upkeep. I have fine hair, with an oily scalp, prone to dandruff. I have dry skin that would put a desert to shame. And while I once only had cracked heels, I now have cracks under my toes AND in the arches of my feet. I have no clue how I managed that.

So, I have devised a hair care and body care routine to combat these ills. I also hope that the cut out carbs and fat will assist somewhat. I already eat quite a bit of fruit and vegetables anyway, so I don’t think that will have too much of an impact.

All in all, I hope to do a better job of looking after myself next year. I would also like to increase productivity, learning, and mental well-being, while reducing stress and illness. I hope to make more of my time, and spend less energy on useless pursuits.

Here’s hoping.

Do You Even Lift Bro?

For the last couple of days, I have been having hysterical giggle fits in the evening. This particular evening, one of my friends was unfortunate enough to ring up to discuss a project we are both working on.

He sounded a bit out of breath, so:

Me: “Hey, are you climbing stairs or something? Why are you out of breath?”
Friend: “No man. Started working out a bit every evening.”
Me: *stunned because he is a super scrawny character who eats like a sparrow* “You. You’re working out?!”
Friend: “Oh dude, just stretches. No weights or anything!”
Me: *giggling* “Good. Although, if you wanted to start, they suggest water bottles. You should start with empty ones though.”
Friend: “Geez Karishma. Thanks man. I should always call you when I’m down. You will always show me that there is obviously further to go.”
Me: *in hysterics at this point* “Of course! And you can increase the quantity by 10 ml each week!”
Friend: “You need to go lie down. Good night!”
Me: *crying with laughter*

Ok, so I know it wasn’t that funny. But he thought it was funny too, and we both got a good laugh.

Saffron-Coloured Glasses

Ah, I am in the mood for a rant. Of late, I haven’t been spending too much time on Facebook, having been swamped with work of all description. So, I was ripe for some gossip when I logged in a few days ago.

Now, I have several relatives on my Facebook, most of whom are computer illiterate, and essentially are ghost profiles with the odd picture with a caption in all caps. But one of my cousins is not quite that useless; she uses her page to share posts, pictures, videos, news stories, updates, and the minutiae of the daily life of her guru, Nityananda.

*barf*

First, in his list of awfulness, is the fact that he assumed the name of an older sage, venerable and divine.

Second, the man has been embroiled in a sex scandal, and has the ineffable temerity to claim that his driver morphed the video. I wonder why this apparent video production wizard toils at being a driver.

Third, he wears so much gold that it looks like the Dubai gold souk vomited on him.

Fourth, he has woven such an elaborate web of deceit and conceit that his followers are entirely besotted with him. They fail to see the blatant aggrandisation. They are oblivious to the fact that true spirituality doesn’t seek material wealth. True spirituality exists alongside only humility.

Fifth, my stupid cousin has embroiled her children in this insanity too. These youngsters are now his disciples, and spend time and energy spreading his “teachings”. There is a photo of him dressed up as a revered deity, blessing my niece. My niece, with all the clarity of a teenager, went bonkers. It is now “one of her most precious photos”. The creep is looking at her like she’s meat.

I could go on really, and believe me I have derived much amusement from my cousin’s utter nonsense. But right now, I’m annoyed, and don’t feel like joking about the baboon’s arse any longer.