It’s almost 7:45 am and I have yet to go to sleep. The past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. There were good times and sad times. Generally when one has bad news as well as good news, one prefers to hear the bad news first so that the good news can overshadow it. However, I’m going to switch it up today because I feel that the sad times my family and I faced over the past few days have a lot more importance than the good.
Finally Over 50 Pounds Lost… A Roller Coaster of Emotions… RIP Mota Kaka
As many of you know, on April 23rd, 2012, I decided I wanted to change my lifestyle. I was never dissatisfied with life or who I was but I knew who I was capable of becoming. I knew what I needed to do, but just never made time for it and I guess to a certain extent, never cared enough to do it. I’ve always put others in front of me and never dedicated enough time to myself. I recently realized that I can still help others and put them first as long as I dedicate 10% of my time to myself, so a little over 3 months ago, I decided that I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to look and feel better than I ever have so I made many changes to my lifestyle, particularly what I put into my body. On top of that, I decided I needed to be more active, physically. I have always loved challenges and this was a challenge to myself… I wanted to prove to myself that nothing is impossible. There’s been a lot of commotion about the world coming to an end. After that storm we had on Thursday, who knows whether it’s a hoax or if God is showing us that the end is near. This can be discussed in a separate post altogether, but basically, you never know when your life will end. I decided I may not have a chance to prove this to myself in the future so might as well do it now and so far I’m loving every minute of this journey. There are only 2 people in this world that can stop you from doing something… one is God and the other is YOU!!! You can’t control what God wants or does… you can only be your best and hope God will treat you well. So the only obstacle you’re really facing is yourself… your attitude… your dedication… your focus… your determination… its a battle I like to refer to as “MeAgainstMyself.” If any of you use an App/Site that I highly recommend, My Fitness Pal, that’s my username on there… feel free to add me (MeAgainstMyself) if you think it’ll help motivate you. I will get more in depth about the actual changes I made and everything and everyone who have helped me along the way in a separate post at a later time. Here’s a slight look at my progress over the 3+ month journey. A week ago I was a few pounds away from joining the 50 pound weight loss club and on Sunday, I finally hit the mark and went over. I know some people are sensitive about their weight, as I have always been and I would usually never tell anyone how much I weigh, but at this stage, I have nothing to hide. Being comfortable in your own skin is a great feeling. =) I know where I’ve been and where I’m headed and there is no way I’ll let myself go back to where I came from. When I started my lifestyle change, I weighed 263.2 pounds. My body fat % was fluctuating between 42% and 46% and my body water % was between 40% to 44%. Most of my pants were size 40 and I even had a few 42. My shirts were all XXL with a few exceptions of XL. As of mid-day Sunday, I weigh 213 lbs. I still have a long way to go in terms of my ultimate goal but I have finally crossed the 50 point mark. =) My body fat % has been fluctuating between 24% and 30% (close to half of what it was when I started). My body water % has risen to around 51%-53%. I now fit into size 36 pants and some are actually loose on me. Anything bigger than that doesn’t even fit properly with a belt. I have to donate over 80 of my shirts because XL and XXL literally wrap around me. I’m mostly a Large right now, but some Mediums are starting to fit too. Before I made this lifestyle change, I had gone to Quails at Woodbridge Center and I was barely fitting into a size 48 suit. I went back to Quails the other day and I fit into a size 42 suit (it’s slightly tight in certain areas but I should be able to fit into it within a few weeks). So there you have it. I did it! =) Thank you to everyone who has followed my posts and encouraged me along the way. It really means a lot. Throughout my blog, I’ll be posting various meals, healthy alternatives to foods that all of us love, lots of recipes, and lots of tips… small things you can do little by little that will change your life forever. What I’ve done is almost as easy as writing this entry… you just need to want to do it more than you want to live. When your passion for something is more than your passion for life itself, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen! =)
This achievement, if thats what you want to call it was accomplished sometime during the middle of the day on Sunday…well that’s when I had checked the scale. Later that night, I had to attend my good friend’s wedding reception. I was really looking forward to it because I’ve known the groom for over 17 years, which is more than half my life. I was going to see so many people I haven’t seen in a really long time… it was going to be an old school reunion of all sorts and I couldn’t wait. However early Saturday morning, I received news that my dad’s oldest brother who I call Mota Kaka (big uncle) wasn’t doing so well in India. He was admitted to the hospital a few days prior because he had a small stroke while he was at a religious gathering (Us Indians call this a Katha or Sapta or Pooja). At first, we were all really worried but then he was shifted to another hospital and then into the ICU and the doctor from the ICU told us things were looking really good and that he may even be released in a few days. On Friday night, I spoke to another one of my uncles who is a doctor and we basically had an entire conversation about how things are looking good and that there isn’t much risk or reason to worry. On Saturday, I was told that Mota Kaka had bleeding in his brain and he won’t be around for much longer. In less than 24 hours, I went from receiving great news to receiving horrible news. Then the following day, I got to my goal of 50, which I was ecstatic about, but also had thoughts of my uncles situation in the back of my head. There wasn’t much hope from what we were told so we all knew that he was going to leave us sooner or later. All of us just hoped and prayed that he wouldn’t suffer during his final moments. They had put him on a ventilator and one of my uncles and aunts from here actually flew out to India so that they’d be able to take him off the ventilator. Well, while I was at my friend’s reception, he breathed his last. My parents didn’t want to ruin my night so they waited till the next morning to let me know. Because we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, it wasn’t shocking but it was definitely sad. It wasn’t just sad because my uncle passed away but because the world just lost one of the most generous and unselfish human beings I knew. Mota Kaka, was 75-years-old. He was all about living a simple life. All he wore his entire life was a white jabho (kurta) and lengha (white pants similar to scrubs or pajamas). He never cared about wearing fancy clothes or showing off. He was never well off but he still did whatever he could to help others. Most Indians had a craze about coming to America but even if you paid Mota Kaka to come here, he wouldn’t have. He loved his simple village life back home. Unfortunately because of that, I didn’t get to spend much time with him except for a few days at a time whenever I visited India, since I was born here and never lived in India. Even when I visited for 2-3 months, I was all over the place that my time with him and his wife was very limited. However, I was able to witness some of the great things he did. Probably since before I was born, Mota Kaka used to feed the poor every Thursday. Between 125-150 people would gather near his house every Thursday and he would go around giving all the poor, some bakhri/rotli (bread) and shaak (vegetables). This was called Bakhridaan (the giving of bread) and everyone in our home town in India (Khambhat) knows about Mota Kaka and what he did for the poor. He wasn’t someone who liked to get credit for doing good things. He had no ego and even when someone tried to make him the “big guy”, he’d try to pass on the credit to his father or his brothers or someone else because he did this out of the goodness of his heart. He never felt that he should be recognized. It’s rare to find men like him these days. Everyone wants to be the top dog, the guy whose picture is in the paper, whose face is on tv… people want credit for things they havent even done. Well that was definitely not my Kaka. Every year, during Diwali, one of our Holidays, poor families would gather in our neighborhood and he would distribute sweets to everyone. There would be over 500 people every year and he made sure that there was enough food for each and every one of them. He always helped people in need. Mota Kaka was one of God’s men. I had stayed at his place once when I was 5 or 6 years old and he’d wake up at 4:30 in the morning and start singing bhajans (religious prayers/songs) no matter what time he went to sleep the night before. I used to complain to my mom because I was trying to sleep but didn’t realize till I was a little older that this was a ritual of his since he was young and no one could get him to change it. He loved God more than he loved his life. I’ve never seen anyone who was as consistent with something as he was with his prayers. He sang so loud that it woke up everyone in the house but he didn’t care… when he prayed, God definitely heard him. He eventually, for the past 15-20 years of his life, hosted religious gatherings (saptas/kathas) known as Bhagavat Samaj, all over India which were attended by over 500 people and whenever he wasn’t hosting, he was attending. Kaka was also really fond of reading and reciting Gujarati books and he loved to write poetry. I can go on and on about my dad’s oldest brother but you’re probably wondering where this is going… Kaka had a daughter named Sonal who died when she was 8-years-old. She was struggling with blood cancer and towards the end she was suffering really bad. She died 7-8 years before I was born so I never met my cousin but I’ve been told that just like any girl in any household, she was the heart and soul of that family (they also had 2 sons). Mota Kaka wasn’t able to tolerate all the suffering his daughter had to go through. That incident changed his life forever. From that day on, he decided he didn’t want to see anyone suffer, which is why he started helping the poor and needy. Sometimes in life, it takes a small incident to change your outlook on life and change your thinking in general. Earlier today, I had posted the Robert Tew’s following quote on facebook… “Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that everything will work out for the best.” Unfortunately, I don’t always follow my own advice… I didn’t wonder, imagine or obsess, but I have been thinking about Mota Kaka all night. Sometimes you don’t realize how special a person is until they’re gone. He passed away around 6 am IST (Indian Standard Time) Monday and thankfully he died a natural death without any suffering before anyone could take him off the ventilator. I’d appreciate if anyone reading my blog can take out 10-30 seconds of his or her time and pray that my Kaka rests in peace. I figured it would be a lot easier to pray when you know a little about the person. This is my so called tribute to my late great Mota Kaka since I was speechless when our family met early last night for prayers. I can only hope and dream to become half the man that he was. On that note, I shall try to get a few hours of sleep and before I go, I’ll leave you with this quote…