Jimmy

Sometimes, there are stories that truly makes you happy. This is one such story.

Jimmy is a former Singapore defense force staff. Just after the war and before Malaysia gained independence Jimmy as a 20 plus year old young man was posted to Sabah. Near the base, there were a row of houses and Jimmy often noticed a young girl standing by the gate and watching him. But he was older, she was still a school girl. Before he went back to Singapore, Jimmy managed to find out her fullname.

Jimmy eventually found the love of his life, got married, became a father of three, quit Singapore defense force and migrated to Australia in the 70’s.

Few years ago, Jimmy got divorced.

Now that the kids have flown out of the nest, Jimmy often travels around S.E Asia to go for diving.

He was in KK and the couple who was running the airBNB accommodation he was staying at told him that they were heading to play Balut and asked him if he was interested. He was heading back to Australia early next morning and he did consider telling them No.

Balut is not a very popular game, but some of the Kadazans are very fond of the game and they often host a game or two at various locations in Kota Kinabalu. Jimmy had never even heard of Balut and decided he might as well go and see what it is all about.

When he went, he was introduced to the other players and one of the ladies in the group caught his attention. She had introduced herself to Jimmy using her first name and Jimmy asked is your surname xyz?. Turns out she is the same girl who used to watch him.

She had a difficult marriage and got divorced 20 years ago, promising never ever fall in love again. Jimmy cancelled his flight back home and now they are together.

When I saw them, all I could see is the happiness in their eyes. It is a truly remarkable love story.. all because of a game called Balut.

 

So!

She did Pre-degree with me. I remember her very well because I was in awe of her.  She is the only daughter of a Kottayam Achayan and until then I had only ever heard about real Kottayam Achayans and their lifestyle.

She was the  epitome of beauty and style. In those days, she had earrings that matched each of her outfits.(while the rest of us had a pair or so earrings) She had black metal earrings even before they became available in the local market. She talked about shopping in Bangalore, holidays to Singapore, parties at home etc etc. I still remember her story about one of the parties her mom organized.  Her mom hired a chef to cater for the event and the highlight of the dinner was an art creation made of vazha pindi and cutlets.The chef rolled the cutlets around paddle pop sticks prior to frying them and stuck the stick on the pindi. At my house, cutlet itself was once in a blue moon thing and I wondered where the chef sourced the paddle pop sticks. (I thought he might have eaten all the ice cream and saved the sticks..and that became the second wonderment.. you know, for someone to be able to afford buying so much ice cream…)

After pre- degree she went to Kolkatta to study fashion design and I never saw her again. Couple of years ago, she found me on FB and made me promise her, if I ever visit the country she is currently staying, then I must visit her and I did.

First thing I noticed when I saw her walking in to the cafe to meet me was the jet black hair. I have always found it amusing to watch middle/old age women coloring their hair in jet black hair. The idea is to look younger, but the reality is that it makes you look a decade older.  She wore a flared long skirt and a full sleeve top that probably was in fashion 15 years ago.. As she sat in front of me, I noticed the layers of foundation on her face and it wasn’t very hard not to notice the black eye underneath all that makeup.

To be honest, what I was expecting was the same woman who was voted the college beauty in first and second year pre-degree. Well dressed, manicured nails, etc etc. The person I knew and the person sitting in front of me were two different people and then there was the black eye. How do I deal with the black eye? Ignore it? It is not like we have been really good friends. The only reason I told her when I was I was visiting  her country was to see her progression in life. I was curious… It was meant to be a short visit.. Hello, coffee, compare our vital statistics ( you know, the husband, average 2.3 kids, house, luxury car  etc) and a good bye.

And we ended up talking. Her parents are dead. She was married off to an Achayam who was born and raised outside India. Achayan loves to drink and then he bashes her. Achayan also has a steady girl friend.(Another Achayathi!) and visits the red light streets. But she is putting up with all this because her religion expects her to.

I told her, if your religion tells you to live with a philandering husband who bashes you, then you need a new religion.

When it was time for us to leave, she looked at her watch and said “Oh my God, I am going to be in so much trouble for being late” and rushed out to get a taxi.

I assume, she got bashed for coming home late.

I didn’t ask. She didn’t say.

63

It all started with a top that I wore before I had Yaya. I was going out and thought I would wear it, only to find that it was a bit tight. It was the same with couple of the skirts.. and I knew there was no point trying to escape from the inevitable…And I found myself walking to the washroom and checking my weight on the weighing scale.

I weighed 55 kg last year and I now weigh 63.

I have no words to describe the devastation I felt.

Part of the weight is due to the medications I take. Part of it due to lack of exercise. Before going to Manila, I walked 10 km everyday and it was impossible to walk in Manila and I kind of gave up. Once back home, I was bogged down with work  and didn’t have time to go for a walk and often ate out. It wasn’t a good combination. Weight gain is a bane of middle aged women and I had allowed it to happen.

Few months ago, I needed to jump on to a boat from the ground (low tide) and I couldn’t lift myself up. Few days ago, I saw a youtube video of an elderly lady on monkey bar.

I felt it is time I got my acts together.

The first thing I needed to accept was that this was a long process. There was no quick remedy. I allowed this to happen and I just have to work and get the weight off. So, I now walk everyday for 60 minutes. My aim is 6000 steps/ 5 + km and 60 minutes. If I walked really fast and managed 6000 steps in less than 60 minutes, I continue, till I reach 60 minutes. The same with the distance.

After a successful month of walking, I checked my weight. I gained an extra kilogram.

The only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficiency. ie, you reduce the calories you consume and increase the expenditure of the calories by exercising. I did the exercise part right, but not the food intake part. I love good food!

I met with a friend who is a dietitian and she found a few things wrong with my diet.

  1. I don’t drink a lot of water. I don’t like the taste of plain water, so every time I am thirsty, I have tea.
  2.  I eat a lot of chocolates and cheese
  3. I eat out a lot

She suggested fruit infused water. Every morning I make a pitcher of fruit infused water. (lemon slices/orange slices/strawberries/mint etc)

I only have tea twice (and then cheat and have a coffee when I really need a hot drink..and convince myself that I am not really cheating as the coffee is still berry infused..coffee berries!!)

I cut down on the chocolates. I like cheese too much

If I have not lost much weight in the next couple of months, I will have to take off cheese from the menu.

My aim is to get back to 55 kg by December. If I didn’t lose my weight by then, I will just have to start going to the gym.

As for the upper body/arm strength, currently I use my son’s chin up bar and so far, I have managed to get my feet off the ground.

I know hindsight is a bitch, but I wish I hadn’t been this lazy.