A Few Good Things

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." – Ibn Battuta

A Few Good Things

Tag: REC Surat

Back to College – Surat Transformed

What a transformation in 22 years. Both our college – REC Surat (Now NIT Surat) and the city has transformed beyond expectations.  It feels like yesterday in 1992 when the final results came and we were all overjoyed to have completed our engineering degrees. There was always the fear of what would happen in FM6 – that was one terror of a paper but the good Dr Khajuria had ensured that there was a 100% pass – even if many did not deserve to pass.

The story of our college starts with the Icchanath (Shiva) temple at the main gate. The good lord has heard the fervent prayers of most students and ensured that the elusive 36 always happened and his aura kept the draconian ATKT’s  away . The temple is still there but the “thela wala’s” selling Sugarcane Juice , Bread Pakoda and Pan are all gone. When I think of the Bread Pakoda shop I think of the dimunitive Nara and how he managed 4 years of snacks at that joint without paying a penny during the crowded breaks.


As you enter the college the admin department looks the same, faced by green lawns and lovely gardens. But you see an imposing building in the left. Thats the new girls hostel – a massive structure that has replaced the small building that could house 20 girls in the midst of the staff quarters. Lucky guys –  the male female ratio’s seem to be getting corrected in college finally.


Not just the girls hostels – all the other hostels are also revamped. The old ones are abandoned or demolished. Picture below is of the old Hostel 2 Sarabhai Bhaban ( I Think) – now abandoned.


Hostel 1 is now a fancy building with lifts. Rooms are 2 seaters and it looks like a fancy apartment complex. This massive structure accommodates all of the old Hostel 1,2 & 3 and more.



Shanker’s canteen no longer exists and as you walk towards Gajjar Bhavan you see the new Gajjar Bhavan – another large impressive building that stretches all along the road


Walking down the road the Physical education centre is still the same and so is the medical centre. Gandhi Bhavan is also abandoned and a new hostel with A/C rooms has come in its place. Looks like a lot of MTech / Phd students – many with family in campus.


Our Mech department – No Change  and the labs still are the same – not many additions on the infrastructure side. I see the list of professors and a few names like Professor H.B.Naik still continue to be there. The college has added new departments in Chemical engineering.


The canteen was empty but still serving Cutting Chai, Poha, Mitha Toast and Omlette. Inflation has caught on and the 50 Paisa cutting is now Rs 7/-. The library is still the same building. Right behind the Library is a new hostel complex coming up.  It was wonderful seeing how the college has transformed. I even spotted some peacocks in the campus.

Surat as a city has also transformed. The stretch from College to Dumas which was empty with small restaurants dotting both sides of the road has changed. This stretch and the university road stretch is full of apartments  and Malls. Its a broad 4 lane road that is being concretised.


The city is full of flyovers – Athwa Gates, Textite Market, Adajan – all have their own large ones. Trafiic is busy but organised. You can see the Modi infrastructure charm in effect. The river looks clean and was flowing strong and vibrant along Chowpatty.


All is vibrant and shining in Surat. The only challenge was the airport. Surat Airport sucks. Our Spice jet flight to Mumbai was delayed by 3 hrs. The airport had no electricity for 3 hrs (This when I thought Gujarat had no power cuts even in the villages), toilets were stinking. With just 2 – 3 flights a day and AAI running the show – the Airport is a sorry sight. The only disappointment from my 1 day trip.

Its always a nostalgic trip to visit your college after many years. And the 1 hr I spent between 8 – 9 AM in the midst of a rushed 1 day business trip was well worth it.

Losing Weight when you are 40+

The mind has amazing powers. As I start writing this blog I recollect a few lines from an elocution piece I narrated in Class 8 (1984). The topic was a humorous piece from Readers Digest titled “Confessions of an Obese woman”. Here goes

I cant bear to watch the spectacle of that sister of mine tucking in cakes, scones, pastries and what not …. and washing it all down with hot creamy tea while I had to make do with black coffee” . 

This kind of summarizes the situation for most of us. Some folks are born lucky to not put on weight while others struggle to lose a few inches. Unfortunately I fall in the second category. (How times change – many years back, 35 to be precise I struggled to gain weight and was on a special diet to add few pounds)

Losing weight at 40

REC Surat University Champions Badminton 1990 (I am the tallest guy behind the Coach) 

20 years of long hours at work, lots of travel , hotel & plane food, stress, an addiction to sweets and junk food , predominant rice diet, a hereditary fatty liver, connoisseur  of good food, and a recent Saturday night club ( thanks to 3 friends in the building) that converted me from a teetotaler to a social drinker to beyond   – all added to the problem. And when the weighing machine creaked past 105 Kgs and my daughter started calling me fatso- I realized it was time to act.

Diet for weight losing

What I am going to list down here are some points that can help you get fit & lose weight after 40. We all make New Year resolutions and forget them very soon. But if you treat this as a project with goals & targets chances of success are brighter. Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going and targets help you achieve your goals 

Step – 1

Take stock of where you are. Here are some simple tests that you can start with. Your ideal weight should be your height in Cms – 100. So if you are 192 Cms tall your ideal weight should be 192 – 100 = 92 Kgs. (If you are in 90 – 95 Kg range that is OK)

Weight is mainly composed of 4 key elements – Bone weight, Body Fat, Visceral Fat, Muscle Weight. A BMI machine can help you determine your body fat % (For men the ideal body fat range is 17 – 24% , anything above 25% is obese) Visceral fat should be 1 – 12%.

Check your metabolic age (at 43 my metabolic age was 48). Your metabolic age needs to be your actual age or lower. Its possible to reverse it even if it’s higher. (We have a neighbor who at 36 has a metabolic age of 18 – just that she spends many hrs a day in the gym!!)

Also check your Cholesterol, Vitamin D (You will be surprised that almost every vegetarian is severely deficient on Vitamin D in this country), and Blood Sugar.

Step – 2

Define a goal.  (I initially started with an ambitious goal of Six months to a Six Pack – but sadly realized after 3 months that’s not going to happen). A good plan is to try and reduce 2 Kgs / Month.

Step – 3 

Join a good Gym.  Many of us would have wasted money with gyms in the past having paid 6 monthly subscriptions and gone for less than a month. Zela the gym I go to (@ Residency Road, www.zelalife.com) is so good that it’s addictive. This is the first gym that I have managed to go almost 6 days a week for the last 4 months and I enjoy every single day.

good gyms bangalore

Choose a Gym that has good equipment and variety of classes. Doing the same activity every day can be boring. Also different activities help you work out different set of muscles. Circuit Training , RPM , Aqua Aerobics, Zumba etc. are group activities that can be fun and help you burn loads of calories. (Most of them can help burn 800 – 1000 calories in 1 hr).

Select a good trainer

Step – 4 : Get a good Personal Trainer. 

It makes all the difference to a get a good personal trainer. They are expensive (About 6 K / Month or 500 Rs / session) but its worth every paisa. They go about in an organized manner of helping you build agility, flexibility, strength & stamina.

Best Gym coach

My Trainer Muthu (In White T Shirt) 

The sheer variety of activities that they can plan in a 1 hr session is something you can never dream of doing by yourself. They also help you to set limits – not to overdo but at the same time stretch you as much as possible.

Planck to lose weight

Step – 5 : Follow a schedule 

A good rigorous schedule every week could be as follows

3 days of personal training, 3 days of RPM , 2 days of circuit training or Body Pump, 2 days of Surya Namskar (50 sets) , 2 days of brisk walking , 2 Days of swimming or Aqua Aerobics, 3 days of regular yoga  –  the idea is to try and do at least two sets of activities each day morning & evening. Each session for about an hr.

Zumba daily activities

In addition to this there are many things you can do in your day to day life – Walk down the stairs for lunch (I walk down 19 floors at UB City every working day and then walk half a km for my lunch) , Take a bath using a bucket & mug – you bend nearly 50 times every day – that helps with flexibility , Sit down on the floor and eat – you will find that you eat a lot lesser. (After doing all this I lost 7 Kgs in 4 months – its hard work. Now you have to work harder to lose weight –  as I have started to gain muscles). This is when you start losing inches even if you don’t lose weight and its so much of a joy when you need to poke new holes in your belt and your pants become loose & wobbly around the waist.

Step – 6 : Lifestyle Tips

a) Early to bed ( 10PM) and waking up early ( 5 AM) helps. At 40+ you don’t need 8 hrs of sleep 7 hrs is enough. After 8 hrs at work and 2 hrs of activities in the Gym you will be dead tired by 10 PM if you wake up at 5AM.

b) Eat out less

c) Don’t Drink (At best stick to Red Wine)

Step – 7 : Food 

This maybe the last point but is the most important element of reducing weight. A proper diet can help by as much as 50% or more in reducing weight. Since this is so important I will  treat this as a separate section in my next blog entry. But a few quick points

a) Your stomach is as big as both palms put together – that’s all the food you need at a meal

b) Eat a heavy breakfast and light dinner preferably 2 hrs before sleep

c) Late night snacks (Chips , Kurkures, Nuts , Coke) that we eat between dinner & sleep time can harm all the good that you have done in a hard days work at the gym – so stay away. (This is easier said than done)

d) Sweets are harmful & injurious to health. They should be banned – they cause more death and damage to the body than cigarettes & liquor – so stay away. If you are addicted to the juicy Rasogollas, the soft & delicious Kheer Kadams, ghee soaked Mysorepaks, the lovely Laddus, the tasty Baklavas, the  yummy Tiramisu ( I am already feeling like having some) – remember that one of them = 1 hr of RPM . If you MUST have them do it in the morning and not as dessert after dinner.

Gulab Jamun sweet

More on food later – it’s a big area of discussion and since it accounts for 50% of the weight loss program – will deserve a lot more attention.

In conclusion – two things –  As Gandhiji said “Find Purpose the Means Follow” – so get started. We have heard so much of supermoms (rightly so) but there are many super-dads too. Dads who work in tough jobs, and who come back on a monday morning after a weekend and say ” Thank God Its Monday” . These Dad’s owe some time for themselves – they need to invest for the health , they need some space & time of their own. Being a gym fanatic is a nice cathartic release. So guys no more coaxing needed – Get Started NOW !.

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