Friday, December 10, 2010

Out of my comfort zone

I am a creature of habit. I like things a certain way (yes yes roll your eyes and think ‘anal control freak'), I like familiarity, I like a sense of routine. I will flirt with new stores (Ice at PP strongly recommended) but I seek solace in Zara. I will try new restaurants (Don Quijote in Dempsey- must visit) but I still crave for my idli and filter coffee at Murugan’s. And I am not ashamed of any of this.


I do enjoy spontaneity and impromptu plans and doing things out of the blue- but overall I take comfort in a structure of sorts.

So yeah I am a creature of habit. I don’t like not knowing about things. I don’t take part in activities that I am not good that. I need to be in the know. It’s all a part of being able to control things as much as possible. Though at this point I must add, I never worry about things that are obviously not in my control. Death, earthquakes, stock market crashes, train delays, terrorist’s attacks- these never faze me. As I can’t control them. So why bother wasting time and energy worrying about them? I have Krishna to look out for me on these fronts.

But the mortal aspects of life- yes I like to control them. And that’s why over the years I have built and pretty much lived in my comfort zone. This comfort zone is sometimes an actual physical zone. Like my friend used to incessantly tease me about my never having any desire or inclination to leave Juhu (let alone Bombay). Some of my comfort zones are mental like Jagjit Singh ghazals, Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies, my classic novels. MANY are food related- Maggi masala (only the one from India), mom's dal chawal, Awfully Chocolate's chocolate cake- well this lits can just go on and on. And some are more surreal ones like the ocean. So I have many of these varied comfort zones.

Hence at the beginning of this year I made a resolution to do things that are out of my comfort zone. And here is what I accomplished this year. Some big ones, some small ones and some completely trivial and meaningless but out of my comfort zone nonetheless.

1) Non beach holiday: In March I took a trip to Siem Reap by myself. Instead of the usual beach resort holiday- which would be, well comfortable. Siem Reap also marked my 2nd holiday all alone. First being Lagkawi (yes a beach resort).

2) Taking charge of my finances: From someone who did not know (and sometimes still struggles with) balancing a cheque book, try comparing home loans and insurance policies! But with help of some very sweet friends, I succeeded in this too.

3) Running the marathon: And I use the word ‘running’ loosely here. I 'run' slower than most people walk. But for me to run 20 mins on a treadmill was one of the biggest achievements ever! I have never been- and still am not- an athletic person. I do not enjoy sports and PE (or PT as we called it) was my worse period in school. No, actually that would be needle work! PE came a close- very close- second. So to start running on a treadmill, progressing to a cross trainer and then running on the streets was a triumph!

And running the 10K marathon was a dream! I never thought I had it in me. But I did it! The first 2 km were tough as I could see people who started 15 mins after me, racing ahead and I thought to myself “I can never complete this!” But I stuck with it and did pretty good till the 8th kilometre. And then came the F1 pit stretch with the scorching heat, and I was about to stop, sit, take a nap and then continue after an hour or so. But once again, I pushed myself. And reaching the finish line was one of the most fulfilling moments ever!

4) Sushi time: I had never had sushi until last Sunday. There I have said it. It’s in the open now. I am not a fan of Japanese food. The only Asian food I absolutely love is Thai. (India per me is not part of Asia, so Indian food is not Asian food). And the thought of eating raw fish never seemed appealing and it looked so bland! But I had decided at the beginning of 2010, I would eat sushi. And I have delayed it time after time. Fish curry, paella, tapas, red curry chicken, chole bature, paneer chilly, pizza- there are so many much much much tastier things to eat than sushi. So I did what I do whenever I need to get out of my comfort zone- I procrastinated.

Then finally I did it! A celebratory lunch post the marathon was required and it was Sushi! Thanks again Riva and Kaushal :)

The other smaller out-of-comfort-zone activities included:

• Cutting my hair shot (and getting highlights)

• Starting to learn a language. (I have a terrible ear for languages and only know Hindi and English, of which can read and write English only). Trying to add Spanish to my language repertoire now. Olla!

• Not crying every time Sanil is away from me

• Making a mean gajjar halwa (I am a chocolate cake, hazelnut mousse kinda girl)

• Reading motivational books (I am a Jane Austen girl who likes a dash of thrillers)

So it was a rather eventful year. Good things happened as did many bad things. But I survived another year and grew up a little too (and yes grew older also in the process).

But there are many more personal mountains to scale.My biggest one will be to try my hand (or rather mind) at meditation. That will be a toughie! My friend in college used to bet me 10 bucks if I could sit still in class for 5 mins without fidgeting or moving. It could be an easy 10 bucks every time! Except I never got it, as being still for 5 mins is an unaccomplished feat for me!

Another thing I want to attempt doing which will be COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone is learning art of patience and not losing my temper. That battle will be my personal Kurukshetra.

There are many fears to overcome and a lot of courage to build to step out of more comfort zones. But hopefully by end of 2011 I shall be writing a post longer than this one on my out-of-comfort-zone achievements.

Now I am off to my couch to watch back to back episodes of Gossip Girl. Now that is a comfort zone I would never want to leave ;)

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