Matrika’s Journal – a Notebook That Will Make You Write

When my friend Srilakshmi sounded excited about the Matrikas notebook, I was like “Dude! Why do you have to get so excited. What new can be done with a notebook!

Her immediate response was “Get one and you will know yourself”

As per her recommendation, I got a Matrikas journal as part of the outreach program. The product surprised me even before I opened it. The packing was solid and they shipped within a day or two from my friend referring me on their Facebook page. This shows how much they care about their customers and the pace at which they work.

Coming to the notebook.

The type of journal I got was a woman’s speciality journal (But the notebook was not too girly..girly). The cover was great and the pages were of good quality. The journal immediately got me excited. I’ve been wanting to have a notebook to note down all my novel and short story ideas and there it was wrapped in red fabric with a golden feather on top. I immediately flipped open the notebook and started writing right away.

 

After spending more than a week with the journal, let me tell you what I liked the most.  The different types of pages and sections they had built within the notebook.

It has got the following sections:

Normal pages – Normal ruled pages where you can jot down the thoughts that pop inside your mind.

Scribbling pages – Sheets of thick white paper that let you scribble your heart away

Coloring Pages – Boost your mood by doing some coloring on to the coloring sheets they have included in between the normal and scribbling pages.

Stickers – This is my favorite section. They have provided three sheets of stickers which you can creatively use in your pages.

Pages for To-do list – Matrikas makes it easy for you make a list of books to read and movies to watch

Pages for name and address – Forget the smartphones! Ink your loved ones’ number and address on a physical notebook. Trust me, its a great feeling! 🙂

On the whole, the journal is a perfect writer’s companion. It has got the canvas to make a writer writer, scribble, go crazy, and plan ahead (with the to do list and stuff). I like it? I love it. And, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking forward to getting a personal journal for themselves. The journal is priced at approximately Rs.450 and is available in four colors and variants.

You can check out their range of notebooks and journals by visiting www.matrikas.co.in

Happy writing folks!

Until next time 🙂

Aegam Decor Cafe – A one of a kind experience in Chennai

I am a new resident of East Tambaram. As soon as I moved in, I began to look for new places: Book shops, restaurants, burger joints, etc. near my place. But, what I couldn’t find was a decent hangout place. When I moved from Ambattur, I thought I would have many options in terms of hangout spots. But, the place I moved in was more like Ambattur.

The entire Selaiyur stretch until Velachery is filled with supermarkets, biriyani centers and parotta stalls. I recently thought that it would be nice ti  have a place where you people can hangout with your friends and have interesting conversations.

Last week, when I got an invite to visit Aegam Decor Cafe, I saw the address and my first reaction was “Cafe ah! Selaiyur la ya!” I immediately decided to check the place out.

Aegam decor cafe is designed to bring to you two things: a cool cafe and new decor ideas to your home. I was stunned when I went inside the cafe. It was like entering into a whole new world. The place had cool wall art, interesting props decorating the place, soothing music, wooden floors, cool looking tables and an interesting lighting setup. Every furniture was put in its place after meticulous planning. You could see the dedication of the creator just by looking at the place.

And, the best part is, if you like the furniture or their decor ideas, you can order the same type of furniture for your home or your cool new startup office. I really liked this idea. Whenever I visit a cool restaurant, I would often think “From where would they have gotten such a nice table. Maybe I should get one!”. At Aegam, you can actually get one 😉

And, I must say about their food. They have amazing cupcakes. Their Vanilla Cupcakes and Red Velvet cupcakes were amazing. They also have a great menu designed to be a treat to your taste buds.

Of all, the thing I liked the most was their backyard dining area. With the shade of trees and the dose cool breeze the place looks wonderful. You can also contact the management to host small events and parties at the cafe’s backyard.

So, either you live in Tambaram or not, I would recommend you a visit to Aegam as it serves great food, has a cool ambience and some amazing furniture and decor concepts.

You can find out more about them from their Facebook page.

So, hurry up! 🙂

How to Set up a Free SSL Certificate for Your WordPress Blog

Hey guys!

Recently I read a book “The Art of Invisibility” by Kevin Mitnick, a well known hacker and security expert. In one of the chapters he talks about how important it is to secure your website with an SSL certificate. Have no clue about what I am talking about? When you visit a website on your browser, you would’ve seen a green padlock icon before the URL. The green lock signifies the presence of an SSL certificate and websites that have them often start with “https://“

In this post, I am going to explain what is SSL? why is it essential for your website/blog? And, how to install one for your website/blog for FREE.

Note: These steps don’t work for blogs that are created within Blogger/Wordpress.com as they themselves come with an SSL certificate by default. This tutorial is for those who’ve self hosted their website/blog. 

What is an SSL certificate?

Rather than telling you what is an SSL certificate and how it works, I have attached a 1-minute video:

Why do I need SSL for my blog?

Enhanced Security

An SSL certificate acts as an added layer of security for your website. It protects your domain from DDoS attacks. With the number of cyber threats increasing day-by-day, adding an SSL would be a great advantage.

Better SEO ranking in Google

Google has now started ranking websites based on the availability of SSL. If you have an SSL certificate installed on your domain, there are more chances for your website to have a higher rank in Google.

Badge of Trust

A green padlock icon always earns a sense of trust among the visitors.

Getting your FREE SSL Certificate

WARNING: The below mentioned steps were performed on a trial and error basis. I followed several online tutorials and articles to get this done. This article is to give you an overview of how easy it is to obtain an SSL certificate for your blog. If you mess things up when you’re on the way, reach out to your domain registrar and hosting provider for support. 

There are several options to get free SSL. One of the simple and effective way is getting it through Cloudflare. The free account of Cloudflare provides you basic protection against DDoS attacks and also offers you a free shared-SSL certificate for your domain.

To start with, create a account in Cloudflare and choose the FREE plan.

  • Once you have logged in, enter the URL of your website.
  • Cloudflare will scan for a while and will give you DNS addresses. It would look something like this:
    • example.cloudflare.com
    • example1.cloudflare.com
  • Now head to your domain registrar. Let’s say you have bought the domain from GoDaddy. In that case log into your GoDaddy account.
  • Click on your domain name and select the Manage DNS option.
  • Click on Add Record button and add the following nameserver information.
  • Make a note of the old DNS records and delete them.
  • Now, Cloudflare will be your default DNS.

 

  • If you complete this step, you’re done with 70% of the SSL setup.

The next step is to choose the SSL type from your Cloudflare account.

  • Log into your Cloudflare account and select SSL type as Flexible.

  • Check whether SSL is in active state.

Now head to your hosting provider’s account (let’s say you’ve hosted your website in Bluehost or Hostgator) and log in with your cPanel credentials. Once you’re in, select Cloudflare from the dashboard and login using your username and password.

Once that is done,  the last and final step is to make changes to your WordPress account.

Log into www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin using your username and password.

Head to Plugins section on the left sidebar and select the Add New option.

In the screen that follows, you will see a wide range of plugins. Type Really Simple HTTPS on the search bar and install the plugin.

Once installed, click on Activate and the plugin will automatically configure HTTPS for you.

Once your SSL is active you will see something like this: (Ignore the warnings! :))

Clear the cache and reload your website, and you will be able to see the green padlock icon next to your URL.

Until next time 🙂

Best Places in Chennai to have Amazing Ice creams – Guest post by Kripasri

I scream. You scream. We all scream.

For Icecream!!!!!

Every meal can be considered excellent only after a decadent and delectable dessert in tow with it. In this context, we list down few of the best dessert joints in Chennai (according to our taste buds).

Ellai kulfi anna

Place – somewhere opposite to Vivekananda house, Marina beach

Served in dried and patched banana leaves, we can savor one of the best kulfis in town. How does this kulfi differ from others? – Promptly comes the Anna’s reply : ‘We use the best ingredients and don’t use any artificial flavors. We condense the whole fat milk for about 6 hours and add Almond paste to it for the flavor. Later while pouring in to the molds, we use whole dried fruits for that extra crunchy texture.’
Best time to visit – 9 PM to 12:30 AM, every day.
Priced at 30 Rs per piece

Eighteen below

Place – Any Sathyam theatre café lounge, Jazz cinemas.

Sathyam cinemas are famous for its popcorn. But a less known fact is that, it serves few of the awesome flavors of ice creams. These naturally flavored vegetarian ice creams come with a variety of toppings, beaten on a cold stone for the perfect slurp. Those chunky bits of chocolate goodness placed  between vanilla bean ice-cream are sure to blow your mind.

Priced at 150 Rs for 2 scoops.

Movenpick

Place –Nungambakkam

Sourcing all their products directly from Switzerland, this place holds some of the creamiest ice-cream available. Its double almond flavor being people’s favorite, we can also build up our own sundae. A spoon of ice-cream in the mouth and it melts softly on our palette, though it burns quite a big hole in our pocket.

Priced from 300 Rs onwards.

Creamy Inn

Place – Chetpet, Shanthi Colony, Anna Nagar

A wonderful variety and combination of softies which can be doubled up as sundaes as well are the major highlights of this joint. Be it the creamy milkshakes which is made with only the icecream, or the hard cracking choco shell in a choco dip, each item on the menu is a highlight.

Priced from 40 Rs onwards.

Milky way

Place – Egmore

This place is the pioneer for softies in Chennai. I remember having my first softie icecream from Milky way when I was 6 years old. I still feel same urge and excitement, while swirls of softies are being doled out in crunchy waffle cones. They have special milkshakes too which doubles up as drink and mild snack with choco chips or nuts to munch on. Overall, a fantastic experience to be savoured.

Fruit Shop on greams road

Place – Greams road (Obviously)

As the name suggests, this shop churns out some of the best serving fresh fruit juices and milkshakes. Jughead special, beach boy and sheik’s shake are few of the wonderful creations that they serve. Their caramel custard and dream dessert is something which cannot be missed. It serves as a party in the mouth.

Got a list of food joints you want to write about? Send your articles to kart168@gmail.com.

Best Places in Chennai Where You Can Have Good Biriyani

My love for biriyani is beyond everything.

During the past three years I’ve been on a quest to taste different types of biriyani across the country and I’ve succeeded in having biriyani in all major cities in India. With that knowledge and a few more pounds added to my weight, last year I set out to explore some of the best biriyani joints in Chennai.

Let’s check out a few.

chicken_biryani_in_chennai1

Junior Kuppanna

Only a very few restaurants in Chennai make the perfect boneless mutton biriyani and Junior Kuppanna is one of them. They serve you the typically dindigul biriyani with mutton gravy and raitha. The Jeeraga Sambha rice with well cooked pieces of mutton will melt in your mouth. Also you can feel the aroma of ghee in every bite.

The quantity served will be a little less compared to other shops. But, this is one worthy place to have mutton biriyani in Chennai.

Recommended: Mutton biriyani

Price: Approx. Rs. 190-210 (Chicken and Mutton)

 Hotel Safari (Royapettah)

Sometimes you get surprised by a random restaurant and you become an instant fan. Hotel Safari is one such restaurant.   I stopped by this place for lunch once and I looked up for reviews before ordering. To my surprise, I found several people talking about their mutton biriyani. I immediately ordered one and it was a worthy experience.

The quantity of the biriyani was less, but the taste was really good. It was cooked in Hyderabadi style and there was an equal proportion of rice and mutton pieces. They serve good raitha as well.

The quantity might look very small when you get your order, but it would be enough for one person.

If you’re stopping by Satyam for a movie, check out this place.

Note: Ask for normal mutton biriyani. There is something called “Hyderabadi mutton biriyani”, which I would not recommend as it tastes more like schezwan fried rice 🙂

Price: Rs. 150-170

 S S Hyderabadi biriyani

This is an amazing local chain biriyani restaurant you can find all over the city.

They make amazing Chicken biriyani. The flavor, the length of the rice, the way the meat is cooked, my god! I love this place. And, the best part is, you can order one biriyani for two people! There would be so much 😀 If you want to taste a local south Indian biriyani in Chennai, then SS is your place.

Price: Rs.150 (Chicken biriyani)

Recommended: Chicken biriyani 😀

 Fully Local (Radhakrishnan Salai)

I’ve recently been to this place and was a little skeptical about ordering biriyani. I took the leap of faith and ordered their Lucknowi mutton biriyani. It was a very different experience. The flavor of the biriyani was very different from the ones I had before. The biriyani was greasy, full of masala that seeped into every piece of meat, making it an amalgamation of flavors. I kept licking my fingers even after I finished eating the biriyani. The downside is, the biriyani here is quite expensive. So, avoid going here after 15th of any month 😀

Price: Rs. 350 (I know right!)

Recommended: Lucknowi Mutton Biriyani

 Ambur Star Biriyani

Ambur is well know for biriyani and Star Biriyani is Ambur is a famous local restaurant. They recently opened up in Chennai (I guess in 2013) and they have been having customers pouring in since then. I had had their biriyani recently and it is the best Ambur-style mutton biriyani you can taste in Chennai. I also had mutton biriyani in their Ambur restaurant and I couldn’t feel the difference at all. They maintain excellent quality and consistency in taste.

This place is my personal favourite.

Price: Rs.170

Note: Try their makkan peda when you visit their Ambur branch.

 Dindigul Thalapakatti

In spite of opening so many branches across the city, they manage quality and consistency across all the branches. They too serve good boneless mutton biriyani which tastes similar to Junior Kuppana. But, the quantity here is a bit more when compared to Kuppana and they use less ghee which would make you want to eat more. Order a plate of Tawa fish along with the biriyani and you’ll be set for the rest of the Sunday.

Price: Rs.210

Recommended: Boneless mutton biriyani and Tawa Fish

 For those who ask “What about Aasife & Brothers and Yaa. Moidheen?”

My answer is I’ve had biriyani in these places a couple of times and did not have a pleasant experience. They tasted good, but not good enough for me to add them to the list. Again, this is my personal opinion. You can always stumble upon a good biriyani restaurant.

Happy eating! 🙂

Note: This article was originally written for Chennai Bloggers Club’s (CBC) monthly newsletter.

3 Places to Have Lip Smacking Non-Veg Food Under 100 Rupees.

Most of us won’t have much left in our bank account after the first two weeks. (Or by the end of the first week itself!)

With few more weeks to go, we can’t compromise on our necessities like hanging out with friends, watching movies, and eating our favorite food!

What if I tell you that there are a few amazing places in Chennai where you could taste lip smacking non vegetarian dishes for Rs.100 or less!

I know what you’re thinking…Too good to be true right?

It is true and the dishes are too good 🙂

Kebab Centre (Near Beach Station)

If you want to have amazing, out of the world beef sheek kebabs, then this is your place.

The place is located a few hundred meters from Chennai Beach station and is by far the best sheek kebab I had in Chennai. Before this, the best sheek kebab I had was in Karim’s, New Delhi in 2016. It was Juicy, greasy, and tasted amazing (that was mutton!). After that, I’ve tried Kebabs in several places, including Hyderabad, but no luck. Bademiyan’s Kebab rolls in Mumbai was close, but I wasn’t able to experience the exact same taste as Karim’s.

mutton_seekh_kabab-1

But, kebab centre brought back the memories of Karim’s. The Kebabs were well cooked, juicy, and melted in my mouth.

Note: I should thank my friend Zeeshan for taking me to the place.

Price: Two pieces of beef sheeks cost Rs. 80. (And, you won’t just have two!)

Other dishes to try: Chicken/Beef Katti Roll

You can find another detailed review of the joint by clicking here.

The Kati Roll Shop (Gopalapuram)

This joint was our hangout place for the past two years. The place makes amazing Katti rolls. They’re a bit expensive (Ranging from Rs. 90 – Rs. 180), and each roll is definitely an explosion of flavours. The sauce, the pepper, and the pieces of boneless tikka is a treat to your taste buds. 

They sell rolls in two sizes: Single and double. I don’t know what does single mean as I always went for the double 🙂

chicken-kathi-roll-recipe-1

Price: Rs. 90 – Rs.180 (The day’s specials might cost more)

Locations: Gopalapuram, Thoraipakkam, and Besant Nagar

Savoury Sea Shell

If you like Shawarma, then Sea Shell is one of the places to resort to. Their rolls will have the right blend of onions, meat, and mayonnaise, making it a perfect evening snack for your hungry stomach.

4426756074_8f3b735373_b-1

Also, apart from other places they have three variants of Shawarma:

  • Chicken Shawarma
  • Mexican Shawarma (a notch spicier than the former)
  • Mutton Shawarma

Sea shell is spread across several locations across Chennai. So, where ever you are, you can grab one of these on the go.

Price: Rs.80- Rs. 100

Locations: Present in 5 locations across Chennai.

Try these places and tell me if you like the recommendations. Got other cool places in your list? Please send me an email to kart168@gmail.com.

Until next time 🙂

 

My Blog Will Be Taking a New Direction

Hello Everyone,

When I started my blog in 2013, my only goal was to improve my writing habit. I did not put so much thought into what I am going to write in my blog. Until now, I write blog posts on random topics. I even found my tagline “Specialist in Mastering Nothing” to be cool.

But, recently I realized that specialization is the key to becoming a serious blogger. When people ask me “what do you blog about?”, I often say “I don’t know!…random stuff”. I feel that shouldn’t be an answer coming from someone who blogs for more than three years. I personally feel that that doesn’t make me look like a serious blogger.

I want to come out of it.

From now on, I will try to reduce the number of random posts in my blog. I have decided to write on three important domains, which I think shapes our culture and society today. They are:

Food, Technology, and Health. 

Personally, I consider this an experiment – similar to how I started my blog in 2013 to improve my writing skills. The goal of this experiment is to become a serious blogger.

I personally thank every one of you for the support you’ve been giving for my blog. Nothing would’ve been possible without you guys! I am grateful and will always be.

Looking forward for your continued support.

Cheers,

Karthik Pasupathy

 

I am shameless. But, that’s okay!

I have friends who often tell me that I am shameless.

Reason?

Well, according to them, I make a statement or have an opinion about something and later will stand different to what I said. I don’t deny. I’ve done that a couple of times.

pexels-photo-196988

Example?

I always hated the idea of buying expensive footwear. The most expensive pair of shoes I’ve got since last year was for Rs.1099. When one of my friends told me that they had bought a new pair of shoes for Rs.2500, I said “buying expensive shoes is a waste of money.”

But, things became different.

I always had a thing for Nike shoes. I don’t know the reason, but I love them even though I haven’t worn a Nike…like ever.

Then the day came.

I was in a shoe store to buy a pair of shoes and a pair of Nike’s caught my eye. The fluorescent green swoosh mark tempted me to try it. I tried it, and I loved it. I asked for the price. It was Rs.3146. I immediately bought the shoes. It was an impulse buy.

I wore it to work the next day, and I was labeled shameless. Because I said “buying expensive shoes is a waste of money”. I didn’t know what to say. I try to defend myself, but I knew nothing’s gonna work.

I still regret spending three thousand rupees for a pair of shoes. But, buying a pair of Nikes made me happy as it helped me strike off one more thing from my bucket list. (For a middle class Indian guy, buying a pair of Nikes is a valuable thing. Valuable enough to go on a bucket list)

Similar incidents happened for a few other instances.

My point?

Everybody has opinions and they stick to it. But, it doesn’t mean they should stick to it for ever. People change and so are their opinions. The process is continuous. King Ashoka, who went great lengths to conquer the entire nation, changed his opinion about war and victory and turned himself to Buddhism after the Kalinga war.

I am sure my friends have also had opinions about other people and later realised otherwise after they became friends with them. (I am expecting them to deny it. But, let’s see.)

Changing your opinion about something and accepting that you were wrong is a good thing. It makes you a better person. I was wrong, several times. I admit it. If I am being called shameless for changing my opinion, I’d very much welcome it. Being shameful would make me stick to everything that I’ve said and would make me live a fake life. And, I don’t want to live a fake life.

If you’re hesitant to change your opinion on something thinking others would judge you, please come out of it. It feels a lot better.

Until next time 🙂

Nostalgic 90s: Parle – G and Shaktimaan

For those who didn’t recognize both the names, you will, by the end of this post.

As a kid, I had very limited choices when came to TV programs. My friends who had cable TV connection had Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. But, for others like me, it was just Doordarshan, the government TV channel that telecasted kids programs only during weekends. ( The government was concerned about our studies.)

On weekdays, a bunch of old people would be playing Sitar or Shenoy or sing their lungs out in the name of the hindustani music that will fill the whole living room with melancholy.

This is when I came to know about a new TV series that was going to be aired on Saturdays. It was India’s first superhero series, Shakthimaan. Our country’s answer to Marvel and DC Universe.

shakti-bd_051116024141.jpg

They aired the show every Saturday from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM.

But for me, there was a problem. I had school on Saturdays till 12:30 PM.

That did not put me down. Shaktimaan was the first and only series that helped me put my athletic skills in action. I usually run home after school before the end of the title credits. And, most of the time I was able to do it. Shaktimaan in a way contributed to my fitness.

Mukesh Khanna, a Hindi actor who played Bheeshma in the Mahabharata series played the role of Shakthimaan.

The series started with yogis and rishis in the Himalayas transferring the universe’s energy into another yogi, making him Shaktimaan.

The word “maan” refers to the “possessor of” and the word “shakthi” means “power.”

So after the transfer of the universal energy, Shaktimaan gets ready to go to earth. He wore a flashy new maroon suit with golden boots, belt, and anklets. On his chest was a golden chakra denoting that he got his power from yogis, or so I thought.

His superpowers include: Moving from one place to another by spinning himself (Yeah! You heard that right! He can move from one place to another when he moves he would look like a moving tornado of red and gold), super strength, flight (if he felt too giddy from all the spinning) , shoot laser from the eyes, blow powerful air, withstand fire, hear distant conversations, etc.

He was the total package deal.

His mission is to save everyone from Thamraj kilvish, the dark lord whose aim is to spread darkness on earth. The villain looked more like the Grim Reaper’s cloak. Most of the episodes showed just the cloak with a voice coming from it and not the actor. (Cost cutting , I guess)

After coming to earth, shaktimaan realizes that he can’t roam around in his flashy maroon suit. (A color scheme similar to iron man.)

So, he disguises himself as Pandit Gangadhar Vidyadhar mayadhar omkarnath sashtri and he joins a newspaper office as a photographer. (On your face superman!)

And the chief editor pairs himself with the leading female reporter Geetha Biswas (on your face Loui…nope..not appropriate.)

And what was the disguise? A grey coat, a pair of glasses, and all the hair combed in such a way that it fell on the forehead covering the top rim of his eyeglasses.

And, in the case of emergencies, he didn’t even have to tear off the shirt to show the logo like Superman. He’ll simply have to spin off the old clothes and get on into his suit.

The series was exciting as it had bits and pieces from superman, star wars (yeah! Which was later spun off into an entire space opera series called ‘Aaryamaan’), spiderman, Indiana Jones (a scene from ‘The Raiders of the lost ark’ was actually ripped off) and several other movies and comic books.

It was exciting and it didn’t make me miss much of the other series on cartoon network. I was getting all the excitement in one series.

Now, you might wonder what is that have to do with Parle-G?

For those who don’t know Parle-G, Parle is a brand that makes biscuits and Parle-G is the brand of Glucose biscuits they have been selling, for god knows how long.

The biscuit will usually come in small packs, with a baby’s photo on top of it. The pack is always priced at Rs.3.

Even now, you can get a pack of Parle-G for Rs.3. It’s been more than twenty years and the price of the biscuit is still the same. I don’t know how they do it!

When Shaktimaan was popular (so popular that a kid in Delhi or somewhere actually jumped from a rooftop thinking Shaktimaan would save him.) Parle wanted to make use the opportunity.

They introduced an offer where, if you buy two packs of Parle-G you will get a Shakthimaan sticker.

The stickers came in three variants: One with Shaktimaan with his hands on the hip; Another one where he fights the electric man (like the one from Amazing Spiderman 2) and I honestly do not remember the third one.

For the next couple of weeks, I ate Parle-G biscuits three times a day and had had multiple copies of the same sticker. Even though it all looked the same, I never got bored.

I had a sticker notebook, where I used to paste all the stickers that I’ve collected as a kid. I’ve dedicated a section for Shaktimaan.

I’ve also collected other Shaktimaan stickers from a stationery shop nearby. It was one of the best times of my childhood.

What happened to Shaktimaan?

I don’t really know. I think they ended it abruptly. They discontinued the series and launched the Star Wars-like space opera series “Aaryamaan”, which was also discontinued after a few episodes.

Recently there have been talks about bringing the series back, but I don’t know how far it is true.

Even now, every time I see Parle-G packs in a supermarket, my mind would think of times where I madly ran home to catch the title song and eat as many packs of biscuits to get multiple copies of same stickers.

How I lost 10 kgs in 12 months?

Weight had been my biggest problem for a long time. (It still is.)

It started with all the binge eating and stuffing up junk food thinking that my body to could handle it all. A 12-piece KFC chicken bucket after lunch? Two plates of biriyani and a piece of Tandoori chicken? I would say yes and jump in right away.

Apparently I was wrong.

In 2013, the weight scale in a hospital nearby had declared that I had officially reached the 100 kg club. And, within the next few months I gained a few more pounds. I constantly told myself that that was my last for having a big bowl of biriyani. I always think about weight loss. But, just thinking doesn’t bring down the numbers on the scale.

It was June 2015 when I decided to get serious and shed a few pounds. By June 2016 I lost 10 kgs. I went down to 96.2 Kgs from 106 kgs. It wasn’t a great transformation as we’ve all read several stunning weight loss transformations. But, I had learnt a great deal about weight loss, exercise, and the importance of diet.

Truth is, I did not work out vigorously or had followed a strict diet throughout the entire span of 12 months. I did it in two phases, and there was a huge gap in between. Let’s see what those two phases were about:

The “All week gym – No oil” phase

I’ve joined a gym and started working out six days a week. On all days, I used to repeat the same set of workouts, concentrating all muscle groups. Also, I didn’t change a lot about my diet.

  • I started my day with a cup of coffee.
  • I ate three meals a day.
  • I had evening snacks – usually biscuits and coffee.
  • I avoided everything that had oil, ghee and was completely off biriyani. I’ve also reduced my non-veg intake limiting it to one meal, once a week.

Result: I lost close to 8 kilos in 2 months, coming down to 98 kgs from 106 kgs.

Problem: I worked out all my muscle groups all week, which made me tired most of the time. Also, soon after I stopped going to the gym, I immediately got back to binge eating as the low fat and no oil diet made me crave more for oily foods than before. By November 2015, I again got back to 101.5 kgs.

Fuck!

The “Eat all you can, but…” regime

In Feb 2016, my friend Geetha told me about a book “Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight” by Rujuta Diwekar. The book basically spoke how one can lose body fat by following the right diet. It was a treasure. The book spoke about several  principles, which I followed religiously everyday for over a month, and by the end of one month, I lost 4 kilos.

The principles were:

  • Avoid coffee in the morning. Start your day with a fruit.
  • Eat mindfully and eat once every 2-2.5 hours.
  • Try including 2-3 spoons of ghee or a small cube of cheese every day.
  • Eat more when you are more active and less when you’re less active.
  • Finish your last meal 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Get 6-7 hours of sleep every day.

After following the diet regime for close to two months, my weight went back to 96.2 kgs. Note that I did not work out during this entire period. Just the diet.

Also, in the meantime, I felt more happy as I did not get to miss out on the foods that I liked, and also did not feel the craving for having more.

Later, I’ve also joined the gym and have worked out one muscle group each day. I worked out 3-4 days a week and spent not more than 60 minutes each day. This did not reduce much of my weight, but I got back in shape a little bit. It made me feel fit.

Now, I constantly go on and off on the diet, and I stopped going to the gym. But, I am still able to manage my weight in the range of 96-97 kgs, which is good for the moment.

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Recent pic – weight: 97 kgs

But, I’ll have to reduce another 10-15 kgs to get in shape. I am on my way to figuring that out. But, I’ve learned a great deal about how proper diet and exercise can help in weight loss.

Keep watching this space. There’s more to come 🙂