Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Mamta and Pritty Show...

Anyone who knows me understands that family is my life. Most people could never live with their parents again, but we fight over ours. I want my children to live with their grandparents. Not next door or down the street from them. With them. I lived with mine, and I was most fortunate to have had that opportunity. I cannot even articulate how I miss those days. Even though all my grandmother cared to know was whether I ate while away at college! No wonder I love food so much; it's in my genes.

The most fun I ever have is with my siblings. But, if I described those experiences, you wouldn't think they were fun. It's unfathomable, really. We laugh, a lot. We argue, A LOT. We eat, sleep, and play stupid games. It is undoubtedly these memories that define friendship for me. Friendship and Family. I am blessed that the two coincide for me.

Few would argue with me when I say that my little sister, P, and I are inseparable. Distance has separated us before, such as when I accepted a position at NASA. But, essentially, we are inseparable. Honest. She is my best friend and biggest supporter. But, she is also the person with whom I argue the most. Correction-she argues with me. Let's not be mistaken now. More than Srin. Seriously. It's actually quite pitiful now that I have put it in writing. Some might call it bickering. We call it "talking", I'm jus' sayin'. Some friends tune it out (Tress), some yell at us to stop (Amee), some are amused (Rando, Drea, Hemben), some are annoyed (Amee, Daxaben), and some plow right through as if the arguing never commenced (Ames).

What shocks us is the number of friends who have proposed that a reality TV show star us in our everyday bickering life story. P and I laugh in public about this notion and in private we wonder, "WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WATCH THIS SHOW!?!??!?!" Yet, friends, SANE friends, propose that it would entertain them. So, friends, explain away. Why would you watch the Mamta and Pritty show?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Large, Small, Useful, Useless, Itty-Bitty-So-Cute-So-Small-Nothing-Fits...

Boxes. All kinds of boxes. I have a fetish for them. It's wholly eccentric. And, solely disturbing. To alleviate my worry of being stuck in a day of pure ennui, I woke up determined (as it has been on my To-Do list for 6 months) to go through my capaciously filled closet of boxes. I mean, I have boxes for my vacuum, drinking glasses, dishes, iron, ironing board, candle sets, candle holders, side tables, knives, blender, cell phones, old cell phones (old, unused, and broken), garden tools, and who knows what else. In "cleaning out the closet", I cajoled myself into keeping boxes for a gamut of reasons.

"Dish boxes are great for when I move"
-I just moved a year ago. Into a house. That I bought. Do I really plan to move THAT soon?

"Home Depot may let me return my weed eater if I have a box even if it is over 90 days old."
-This could not be more false. Plus, Home Depot doesn't even require boxes for returns.

"These boxes will be great when I have to mail something."
-I physically mail something once a year, on May 2nd-ish for my niece's birthday. That is it. Seriously. And, I never remember to check my closet of boxes. I end up buying a box at the post office for it's oh-so-convenient factor.

"This box is so small and compact."
-I don't even know how to defend this one. But, I did save it for this reason.

"If I organize the boxes, I won't feel all discombobulated and need to clean."
-It's true. I thrive on organization. And cleaning. Oh and eating too.

I feel like the consummate box-keeper. Dr. Consummate Box-Keeper. It has a ring to it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dreams DO Come True...

So I did it! I actually was given my first real writing gig--whoo hoo!!! I will write articles that people actually read...it's almost a little scary. I will write for online sites such as eHOW.com and Livestrong.com (Lance's group...yeah, we're on a first name basis...okay not really...let me have my moment!). I applied to be the health/medical writer, but it looks like they have a large pool of titles for various articles they need written. Those of us in their group of freelance writers get to claim which articles we want to write. And, I get paid.
It's like my dreams just keep getting more and more real....
Except for the scary one I had last night. I hope.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

If I Weren't An Engineer, I Would Be...

a stay at home mom.
I was blessed to have both parents with me nearly every day of my childhood. But, I get that most women today have careers blossoming long before they meet Mr. Right, let alone have a baby. So, I often struggle with the whole would-I-be-a-stay-at-home-mom or go-part-time-mom or be-the-real-life-superwoman-hero-mom-that-most-of-my-friends-are. I figure I will know when the time comes. But, I like to think that for me, money and a really cool career are not nearly as important as being at home with my future children.

a musician.
I love music. Ever since I was a child, I would sing, often to the dismay of my family. I mean, one time, Pritty and I were having sisterly-girl-time-stay-up-all-night fun and were singing what I obscurely yet distinctly remember as a Michael Jackson song. And, it was this day that I learned that certain sayings were existent in all languages because my dad yelled from his bedroom "Who is killing the cat?" in the most emphatic Gujarati I had heard! Plus, I figure if current music technology can make Britney 'recordable', then I am in!

an author.
Reading is my 'thing'. I mean, I really think my friends associate me with books. I would choose a good book to TV any day. In fact, there is no way to describe to a non-reader how hypnotizing a good read can be. If you have found a truly 'good' book, then when you put it down, it feels like a commercial just interrupted a fabulous movie. I would love to write something that made someone else that "in love" with reading. Currently, my latest find is Kindred by Octavia Butler.

a world-wide traveler.
Often I feel like I just 'talk' about travelling. I am thankful to have been able to travel as far as I have been, but I yearn to see more. To feel more. To learn more. So, if my life has yet to make me a mom, by gosh, I am going to make the most of it! This year, it's Dublin and Costa Rica. Next year, I hope it's the long awaited family excursion to India and a trip with Project Cure shared with my main squeeze, Dr. Nagaraja.

a pediatrician.
I never really wanted to be a doctor. I had no desire for the fancy car or fancy house or saving someone's life (like that, at least). But, during my first year of graduate school, I had THAT feeling. I wanted to know about the human body...how it works...how to fix it when it was broken. I never did decide to do it, but if I did, I would have been a pediatrician. My childhood pediatrician was the best; Dr. Dodson was his name. I distinctly remember him saying that he would treat me until I got married. Joke's on him-little did he know I would be 29 and unmarried! Lucky for him and unfortunate for me, he retired.

a photographer.
Have you ever seen a picture that made you wonder "Where IS that?"? We've all heard it as trite as it may be, "a picture can tell a thousand words". But, it's sort of true. The best part is that we each interpret a picture in a completely unique way. Here's one that has always made me ponder. He has one of the coolest picture blogs. http://rammorrison.com/

the founder of my own non-profit organization.
It would probably benefit children, to be quite honest. There would be travelling because all children deserve to have a safe, clean, and nurtured life. There would be opportunities for high schoolers to volunteer because it has always been my belief that 'giving back' can be accomplished at any age. There would be a small, humble office space with a small team whose camaraderie would be unfathomable by most. There would be passion and drive. And good hearts all around. Plus, a killer blog about it!

a chef at my own restaurant.
I love to cook, probably more than I love to eat. It is so thrilling to make up a recipe or flip through new cookbook for delectable ideas. Kitchen gadgets make me giddy. There are buttons and shininess. They're all new and useful. I get to clean afterwards. I mean, what's not to love?!??!! My restaurant would be posh yet comfortable. Probably modern Indian, with a personal twist. A really cool sense of style. Head chef would be my mom.

Even in my young 29 years, I have learned life can lead you astray from the master-minded plan developed by your effervescent 8 year old self. I always said that I would not know what to do if I were not doing what I do now. Clearly, I was wrong.

So, what would you be if you weren't...?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Always Knew Sleeping Was The One Talent That Could Save Me...

I sleep-a lot. Now, my definition of "a lot" has changed over the years. "A lot" in high school meant sleeping until noon, maybe even later. Why my mother let me do that is still beyond me. However, according to this research I am about to 'blog', maybe I should now thank her! "A lot" is now relative to how many hours others get compared to me. Still, I think my slew of former roommates would agree that I take sleeping to another level. I mean, I am OUT solid for eight hours every night. In the college dorms, I totally missed a fire alarm. I am NOT joking. I have slept through hurricanes and tornadoes. Thunder does not phase me, and things that keep others awake like the television, kids, lights, and to-do lists only challenge me to sleep better! For the record, I always win that challenge.

Suffice it to say that we have probably all heard the ol' rule: "Doctors recommend eight hours of sleep per night." Parents are inundated with regulations and warnings related to how much sleep a child needs. Children are oh-so-deprived of superfluous slumber parties, instead usually succumbing to their rooms at a time likely not chosen by them. Well, a study* performed at the University of Chicago Medical Center actually showed that suppressing deep sleep decreased insulin sensitivity, thus reducing glucose tolerance. In non-medical-jargon-because-this-means-nothing-to-me English?

If you do not sleep long enough and sleep well , you are risking developing type 2 diabetes!

This group has previously published** that the amount of sleep played a role in glucose tolerance, but now they are reporting that the quality of that sleep matters too! Most people have heard of the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. This stage is preceded by non-REM (NREM) sleep in 4 distinct stages***. Stages 1 and 2 are the "light" sleep where one drifts in and out and can be easily awoken. Stages 3 and 4 are where I excel! Sleep is so deep that brain waves are extremely slow (called delta waves), and this is the cycle where some sleepwalk, nightmares occur, and being awoken is difficult. In this study, the scientists kept their subjects sleeping but used a method of acoustic stimuli delivery to prevent subjects from ever entering stages 3 and 4. They measured glucose and insulin after regular sleep for two nights and suppressed deep sleep for three nights and re-measured. Comparing the results, they found this reduced glucose tolerance and decreased insulin sensitivity.

Pretty relevant and interesting. Lucky for me, I sleep absurdly well. In fact, if there was an award for who sleeps the best, I'd win. I mean, not that my sleep is cocky or anything. It's just that my sleep knows it can rock diabetes. That's all. (There's your shout out, Catherine!)

So for all of you chocoholics, you should exercise. But, if you don't, at least sleep. And sleep well.

*This article was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) and is available to the public at http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1044.long. For those who are unfamiliar with scientific and medical journals, PNAS is well respected and represents the journal of an elite group of doctors, engineers, and scientists.

**This article is also available to the public at http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/5/2008?ijkey=a4610ad4ed2a7a1bbb3bdf28bfd2887fd1de5817&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha.

***A great source for easy-to-understand sleep stages can be found at http://www.sleepdex.org/stages.htm.