Saturday, 15 July 2017

Run Like the Wind

I have always shared a love and hate relationship with my body. My weight has gone up and down since I was a child just like a roller coaster ride which I hate as much as I hate my weight issues.

I have abused my body over the years by never giving it the respect it deserves. I have gorged on food as if there was no tomorrow, eating being my hobby since the day I realised that food could be the answer to not only my physical but also my emotional hunger. I did not believe in working out. Isn’t there “work” involved? Eventually I just gave up…healthy food and exercise were just not my cup of tea. Wasn’t life about enjoying? And enjoyment for me constituted of being a couch potato bingeing on TV and food.

Meanwhile here was my husband who after joining a runners group had become a running enthusiast. He had lost 8 kilos in one month after he began running and looked fit as a fiddle. As he extolled the many virtues of running to me every day I ignored what he had to say blindingly oblivious to the fact that  I was running too, running away from the benefits of exercise and eating healthy and most importantly I was running away from myself. 

I was running away and hiding not willing to go through the pain that is involved in achieving a healthy body and mind.  Life was not what and where I wanted it to be and that I was doing nothing to make it better was making my life and health both physical and mental, worse than ever before. I was dangerously close to a breakdown.

It was only when I saw the happy place my husband was in that I decided it was time to stop running away from myself and start running literally. I joined the runners group in my building complex who were ironically being trained by my husband, and though my stamina was as bad as my body and mental state were it was time to stick around and run for the sake of a better me.

Well for once I persevered and this time around ran as if my life depended on it. Truthfully speaking my life did depend on it and I have been running every day for the last 4 months now. 4 months is nothing you would say but in just such a short span of time everything has changed.

I have lost weight, and lost a lot of my negativity and the baggage I had been carrying for far too long. Running keeps depression and anxiety at bay and takes you to a happier and healthier place. The pain and struggle of running has taught me to never shy of the pain and struggles of life. Running has taught me to never run away from the troubles and travails of daily life but to face them head on.

Running has changed my life, my husband’s life and the life of all the others who run with us. 

Running I read somewhere is just like life, it’s tough and you don’t want to always do it but when you do its totally worth it. After the pain comes happiness both in life and running.

The best part about running is the simplicity of it. As you put one foot in front of the other you forget everything…all you want to do is reach your goal. And the high you get being out in fresh air beats being in a fancy gym any time of the day.  

So if your aim is to become fit and be happy running is the way to achieve it. Go ahead run…it’s empowering and will boost your self-esteem and improve the quality of your life. Buying expensive brands, clothes, the newest phone, being a social butterfly will boost your self-esteem to an extent but they are all shallow means and won’t last too long.

So run like the wind, do something different, be persistent, push yourself to be better, and stop making excuses.

Running has changed my life it can change yours too! Get out there today…

Monday, 6 February 2017

Life is a bitch!

“He who binds to himself a joy, Does the winged life destroy.

He who kisses the joy as it flies, Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”
William Blake

Or is it? For the last some years, life has been a bitch to me. It feels like nothing is going my way and every moment, every second feels like a struggle.  Why does it feel that I am being deceived, cheated and fooled by life?

Why does it feel that I have lost my laughter, the mirth I found that life had to offer? Why am I moaning and grousing about what and how my life is?

Or at least that’s my perspective. Is life really a bitch?

As I walked back from the gym today as usual complaining to God about how he is so unfair to me, not helping me in my quest to lose weight once again (this would be the third time that I have gained weight to unhealthy levels) calling life a bitch, a small voice in my head spoke up…who is the real bitch here? If you use me and abuse me and have totally unreal expectations from me, and can’t handle me, can it work?

And then it dawned on me, isn’t it also true that life treats you the way you treat it?
For two years I ate like the world was coming to an end, didn’t exercise either my body or my brains, held really unrealistic expectations from God, life and people, didn’t look after myself, didn’t learn any lessons and didn’t like the person who was staring back at me in the mirror. So, well really who is the bitch here?

I treated life like a bitch and don’t they say you get what you give! I blamed everything and everyone for what was happening to me except myself. Jonathan R. Wachtel says that “Your relationship with everyone and everything around you is a reflection of your relationship with yourself,” and no doubt that goes without saying about ‘our relationship with our life”.

Everything we are and where we stand today with respect to our families, our work life, our friends, our society is all a replica of how we treated life. I didn’t treat it well for some time and I see it now reciprocating.

My unhealthy and impractical habits, choices, expectations be it from people, friends and family or life and decisions is why I see my life as a bitch and not the other way around. If I want to find myself again, my smile, my laughter and get back to what I was I need to begin treating myself with love and care. I will have to identify what beliefs and outlooks and actions I have been concentrating on and to change those that have harmed me.

I have to stop mistreating myself, my life and see it to be what it’s supposed to be seen as,  a beautiful life filled with love from my family, other people who make my life worth living, and situations and events that depict the marvel that is life.
If all I can say to myself about life is that “life is a bitch” I really need to look inwards and change myself. I have to realise that it’s only me who is making me feel it so. I have to choose what I want from life and how I want to experience it.

Life can be a joy that I need to catch hold of by catching hold of myself. Life is not a bitch until and unless you treat it like one.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Published Author! Who Me?

There’s a very clich├ęd saying that computer engineers are all Geeks and perhaps that was always true in my case. I left a lucrative career in IT to become a full time mom and along the way I wrote a book. My name is Sapna Bhog and this is a slice of my journey.

My love for books started when I was introduced to Enid Blyton at age 9. And since then there has been no turning back. Be it racy thrillers to urban fantasy to super natural to simple romances and many young adult books, I read them all. But I think my ‘all time go to’ books have been romances. They are my happy books. I totally enjoy the happy ever after at the end of such books. They are my stress busters. I was always the type of girl in college who had M&B’s in her bag at any given time. Most of the time I used to face so much flak from friends when they heard that I read romances. “Oh you read those M&B types”, “It’s all fantasy, how can you tolerate them?”, etc, etc. So you can imagine my apprehension when I started writing a romance.

To be honest writing wasn’t a planned endeavour from my side. It just happened. It’s really hard to explain because one day I just woke up with the idea of the book and it took off from there. The characters of my book came fully formed in my head and it’s like they kept talking in my head until I decided to sit in front of a laptop and started typing.

It took me almost a year to get the story in shape and I think I surprised myself when I read the whole story for the first time. My book, something that I had written, actually made sense. That feeling was undeniably euphoric. I just couldn’t believe it.

I sent the finished book to a few close girlfriends to read it and give their opinion and they all encouraged me to publish it. I think writing the book was the easier part of this journey. Finding a publisher was the most challenging.

I researched on the net on various publishers and their requirements for submission of finished manuscripts. Every publisher has a different set of requirements for submission and so many times you just never get a response back on your submission.

But the major problem as I saw it was that romance as a genre is not that big among Indian publishers. If you compare to the West there are publishers whose biggest business comes from selling romance books. But unfortunately that’s not the case here. I tried, unsuccessfully to find a publisher interested in my book and I didn’t find any takers.The book then went into a hard drive on my laptop and remained there for two years or more.

In 2014 I became friends with Nirja Sharma who was from the publishing world and already had tons of experience in publishing. She read my book and loved it and decided to help me find a publisher through her various contact. She tried but she wasn’t successful either. At this point she decided to fulfill her own dream of becoming a publisher and launched Aarahan Publishers and she wanted to print my book as the first book of her publishing house. We faced several challenges together right from struggling to get ISBN numbers, getting the book edited and re-edited so many times till we both were satisfied, designing the cover page and finally launching the book in November 2016.

It took us a year but now my book “Take a Chance on Me” is out there available on Amazon in both paper-back and kindle versions and is available on select crossword stores across the country.
I had asked Nirja so many times before we got the book printed if she was sure about this and she always replied her is usual calm manner than she had full faith in my story and my writing and she wanted everyone else to also read it and love it as she had.

Today I am happy to receive lots of positive reviews on whoever has read my book and I am working towards the second novel in this series, which is already sold to Aarahan Publishers to print in 2017.