For You, Daddy!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The LLONNGG And short Of It


Today being the Ides of March, I come bearing news of a hair-raising experience. Well, a lot of hair was involved and there was some gladness raised somewhere. That’s not what ‘hair raising’ means? Oh.  *shrug* Could you please read my story anyway? You might just about change your mind.  

Hair Today

Shorn Tomorrow

Ta da! I loved my new hair style!

When I chop ‘em tresses all off, I get a lot of “I didn’t recognise you!” and “You look wild!”. My favourite is a visiting cousin’s declaration once, “You look like a punk!” Truth is – I felt wild and I felt like, um, a punk? Alright, enough narcissism.

Three years is the usual time frame for me to lop it all off and donate it. I first heard about donating hair in Canada and I decided to do it the very first time I read about it.   

In my mid 20s, I had pledged my body for donation after I flat line, but it’s kind of a drag that I have to wait patiently to do something that I strongly believe in. Donating my hair every 3 years has helped assuage that restlessness. (I’ve looked into live skin donation, too, but sadly, the success rate for this isn’t encouraging.)

I followed in the footsteps of Daddy, Mummy and my older siblings, and became a regular blood donor from the age of 18. It helped that I am  B-ve  because it is not a terribly common blood group. That is not good enough today because I am not allowed to donate blood anymore. Over the past decade or so, organisations have became stringent about body weight, among other things. We have to weigh 52 kgs, at least. I’ve never ever touched 50 kgs in my life. So my blue blood now courses solely through my veins. 😦

A little side story. I have instructed my family (and my closest friends around me when I am away from home) that upon my death, I want whatever parts of me – all organs, of course, but also skin, bones, hair, nails, whatever – that can be used for others in need to be taken from me, and the, um, scraps to be handed over to the students at the local med school. But Big Bro vows to follow through with his plan. Um, what plan?

This one – he says he’ll douse my, um, “carcass” with ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel AKA jet fuel) and toss a lit matchstick to ensure I turn to absolute cinders. No, no, Big Bro is not heartless. He says it’s bad enough there’s one of me on the loose now. If anyone gets bits and pieces of me, he’s afraid they’ll morph into clones of me. Forget December 21, 2012, he frets, the day I die and re-incarnate via others through my donated organs; that day will be the true end of the world, he claims. Aren’t big brothers the best?

Back to me and my tail tale. 

I donated my hair twice in Canada. The first time I was told that it would wind up at Sick Kids (the children’s hospital in Toronto). The second time my hair went to some theatre group in TO (Toronto in local speak). 

The last two times I donated my hair were during visits to Kathmandu, Nepal and Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. In both cities, I did not find hospitals or organisations that accepted hair donations, so the salon folks kept it each time. I told the people I knew who asked about “all that hair” that I had donated it to the salon. I got mostly positive responses, but two people I know argued that I should not have given it to the salon because they would make money off it. Hair stylists are rich enough already, they thundered, and clients have to pay a pretty packet for a hair piece. Well, I countered, that’s even better than I expected because now two people would be happy – the client, of course, who would have flaunted my, ahem, luscious locks AND the stylist who would earn from it. I had not factored the latter.

I also added that it is not for me to judge who is rich and who is not; and only those who can afford to splurge on a wig or extensions would do it. (Not quite true, I know, but that’s a whole different story.)  If I could make yet another person happy in the bargain, “Go, Me!” I say!

So please feel free to voice your different points of view at any time, all ye detractors. I welcome those because one way or the other, I can learn something else via the argy-bargy.

For any of you considering donating your hair, here are some tips give the best you can. Before that, I want to brag about this – I had no split ends. w00t w00t!


i. Minimise styling: This includes colouring, changing the texture (straightening/perming) and blow drying. Ideally, doing none of all that is best. Yes, it is possible. Mine was virgin hair. No, I did not make that up. It is a technical term for hair that has not been chemically treated at all. 


ii. Minimise use of chemicals: Those used on a daily basis e.g. styling products, perfumes.  


iii. Tie it up: (When possible.) It reduces the impact of pollution on the strands.  


iv. Cover up: The same reasons as above. When in the sun, of course, but also from wind. 


v. Lifestyle: Hair is yet another part of us that mirrors our lifestyle. Our diet, exercise regime, sleep patterns and stress levels all play a role in the quality of our hair. 

Oh, look at all of you! In awe of me for bragging telling you about being a serial donor. I did not donate blood every six months (a long time ago) and I do not donate my hair every three years now because I care about some poor person in need. 

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Dr. Howard Thurman (American philosopher and educator. 1899-1981) 

So you see, this is why I am generous with bits and pieces of my being. I do not just want to ensure I live on after my mortal demise, I’m so .. so… full of myself, I want to share while I’m alive!  

You still don’t buy that I’m egotistic, do you? Oh, I know. I’ll tell you what I do when I miss my hair after I donate it. I go for one of these options that always work – beg, borrow or steal.

Borrowed Tresses




:::  :: ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::     READER  REQUEST      ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  ::  :::


One of my blog buddies is MJ. MJ is fun and a good sport. Most of all, I like that he is generous with his time and encouragement with all those who visit his blog and leave a message. That, and he is just plain nice. 

MJ made this request via a comment in my earlier post titled ‘Giving Up. And Taking On.


>Do give an update on how the lenten activities are going when you get some time.

– I promised to update you in my next post only (meaning, this one), MJ, because I would have had some more time with my challenges and I would have a better picture of how I am faring now. (And more time to get my, um, act together for the “report”.)

About the things I’ve given up. Giving up all the food was easy. I’ve got a few years of practice under my belt, so it’s no biggie today. As a matter of fact, I am pleased that I do not crave my meat, fish and all things sweet. I don’t fantasise about them either. I don’t even feel sorry for myself for abstaining! A far cry from not too many years ago.

Refraining from checking out new articles online is much harder. I try to stick to health related articles, but have caved in and read non-health related articles like:


Sara Blakely: How one woman made a billion from big pants–how-one-woman-made-a-billion-from-big-pants.html


5-Week-Old App Draw Something Hits 20 Million Downloads And Generates 6-Figures Per Day 


Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

Headlines like these grab me. I remember my vow, hesitate, then cave in. I do not feel too bad about breaking my Lenten decision to refrain from mainstream news online because these kinds of stories (which to me, are more about the human spirit than the dosh) feed my soul. I learn about their doggedness and I learn from their doggedness. Now, using that same doggedness with my struggle to pray and reflect is a whole different story. 😉

I still read three (hardcopy) newspapers a day, so it’s not like I’ve given up on news entirely. That would be very hard. So I won’t even go there, except when I’m on holiday. Then, I truly do not care about what happens in the big, wide world. 😉  

About the things I’ve taken on.

Not going to mince words – I did a lousy job the first week in. Just could not focus on prayer or the Scripture readings. Today, I am more settled in that groove, but I’m still not groovin’. Know what I’m sayin’?  I wish I would look forward to that hour of prayer and reflection, but I don’t. I even feel a little relieved when I finish. Relieved, as in, ‘Done! Let me check this off my list’. I am disappointed with myself about this because I know how good I feel when I pray, I know how good it is for me, but I just do not seem to put in the effort required for me to reap bigger rewards that I (also) know are so easily within my reach.

I don’t beat myself up though. I also enjoy being human. 🙂  

Thank you for asking, MJ. Knowing that someone (in this case, you) asked that, made me a little more, uh, accountable. I am quite confident I would have been lackadaisical a little longer had you not asked for feedback. So ‘Ouch!’ (initially) and ‘Thanks’, too, MJ!


Thank you, misslisted, Cheerful Monk, The Book of Terrible ,ElvieRose,  orples and  mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible and orples for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Giving Up. And Taking On.

The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi


I was raised Catholic. Today, I would like to think of myself as a good human being who embraces certain Catholic practices.


Participating in a procession held on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.


 Catholics have Lent and Muslims have Ramadan. 40 days and roughly, 30 days long, respectively. Both periods are meant for increased prayer and reflection, and personal sacrifice. Are there any other religions or streams of thought that have similar periods marked specifically for this? Please share. I would like to learn. And maybe adopt some of those practices.

I left home for college at the age of 19. As I tend to in every new city or country that I live in, I try to get to know every possible facet of the place. It helps me understand the people better and it makes me appreciate the different life there so much more. That knowledge and experience then adds a little colourful piece to the big, resplendent jigsaw puzzle called ‘Life’.

Until I left home at 19, I was still considered a child, and therefore, was not expected to “give up” anything for Lent. I love eating. Which is why I was horrified when Big Bro would fast all day on Good Friday. The rest of us at home had very scaled down meals that day and I hated those! Hee hee! “Boring” food was torturous enough; not eating at all was simply unthinkable for me.

Then I left home and I very conveniently left all those practices at home, too. Until I moved to Saudi Arabia. By my mid 20s, my horror at the thought of starving to death fasting had turned to curiosity. I read more about why Muslims fasted during the month of Ramadan. I liked what I learned and I decided to give fasting a shot since my Muslim colleagues did it without a murmur.


This image is from


The first year, I fasted on Fridays alone, being the first day of the weekend in Saudi Arabia. Emboldened by my success, the next year, I fasted on Fridays and Saturdays i.e. the entire weekend. I finally worked my way to fasting every alternate day. I did not attempt the full, dawn-to-dusk-for-a-month fast like the Muslims because I had already gained the insight and experience I sought, and because I was concerned I would lose weight, something I can ill afford to date.  

During those years, I fasted only to see if I could will my mind to stay away from food. It was hard, but I did it. And I felt great!

After I left Saudi Arabia, I decided to apply my well honed, um, fasting skills during Lent. I pulled it off with ease every Friday. That is why I do not fast all day on Fridays any more. Not even on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. Fasting all day is too easy for me now. The bigger challenge for me today is staying away from things I love eating.

During my second Lenten season after Saudi Arabia, I decided to jump in at the deep end. I gave up chocolate or some form of dessert that is the wonderful ending of my lunch and dinner every day. I suffered. I grumbled. I ranted. To everyone. And the whole purpose of abstaining that year for Lent was lost.

A few years of decreased wailing followed, and I am wiser today. As I got stronger i.e. I made less of a ‘woe is me’ scene, I gave up my absolute favourite food items – desserts, pork preparations and certain other favourite dishes i.e. steaks, grilled meats and biryani (a fragrant, South Asian pilaf).

This year, I have upped the ante the highest I can go. I have given up meat and fish as well. Avoiding meat and fish is not terribly hard for me, but I chose to give them up because I enjoy them very much. I also want my Lenten sacrifice to have a bit of a green lustre this year.   

Oh, there are two other things I gave up last year and now again, this year.

1. I have restricted my PC time to my e-mail and blogs of people I know personally, and those I have been following before Lent began.

2. I listen to Choral or Classical music all  day instead of my usual Pop and Rock during the week, and Country and Classical on Sundays.



So that’s the “giving up” bit of my Lenten practice this year again. Giving up then spurred me to take on something else now that I had a little more time on hand. So here’s what I took on last year, and again, this year.


1. More time in prayer. (Not doing a good job there. My motor mouth has nothing on my Duracell-bunny-brain.)


2. More time reading the Scriptures. (Not terribly exciting for me.)

That’s it. Those are the only two things I’ve taken on for Lent. I pretty much like the way I live my life the rest of the year.

Now, I’d like you to meet two bloggers I stalk I’ve RSSed. Take a bow,

MJ (


Chris (  

This past weekend, I read MJ’s post ‘My So-Called Simple Life‘)

and then, I read Chris’ post ‘love is a verb…‘ (

Somewhere along their respective posts, MJ said, “Amish” and Chris said, “Lent”. A couple of things clicked and clanged in my head and this post was born.


One of my Lent projects is to make sure I hug each of my children every day that I’m with them.    

The above line of Chris in particular, was what sent the ball rolling in the direction of MJ’s third question.

3. What changes have you made to simplify your life?

I am going to answer that here because these are changes I have made over the years and I follow them all year round. They involved giving up some things and taking on other things.

First and foremost, I have to say I have learned from watching my parents exemplify the ‘Non multa, sed multum’ way of life. In Latin, that means ‘Not many, much’ or ‘Not quantity, quality’. So it has never been too hard for me to give up or take on certain practices because among a few other things, Dad and Mum stressed these two thoughts about most choices we, three children at home, would make.

1. Will it make me happy?

2. Will it hurt anyone?

That said, here are some of the bigger changes I have made over the years. I practice these all year round now.   


1. Cyber Life: I do not have accounts on Facebook*, Twitter or any other social medium; just e-mail and this (4 month old) blog. My decision to not jump aboard the social media bandwagon is the same for not posting more frequently here. You can read those reasons on the ‘About My Blog’ page.  

*I have access to Big Sis’ Facebook account because I put up her photo albums and update her Profile picture. I like doing it for her. She likes me helping her out.


2. Television: I have slotted one hour a day for TV, except for certain events like award shows and significant live events around the world. One hour or less of telly time each day is easy for me because my beast is reading.


3. Diet: I used to eat meat and fish every day. For the past 4 years, I’ve still been eating fish every day, but I have reduced the meat portions to three, four times tops, a week in an effort to reduce my contribution to greenhouse gases. Not only has my carbon footprint reduced, my conscience is lighter, too. Although, my bragging about my green ways has more than doubled. I do not want to remedy that because bragging about it makes me feel good.  


4. Travel: For six years now, I have been using public transport as often as I can (which is 95% of the time) because it helps the environment and the forced commute on foot to bus stops or car pool spots doubles as exercise. Planning ahead is key when using public transport.  


5. Social Life:

a. When at home: I do not attend every social function I am invited to. Just belonging to the same social circle is not criterion enough for me to oblige anyone. I go only if the acquaintance has been kind to me, my family or my close friends. Traditions and social obligations mean jack little to me. This practice gets me into trouble, but I go to bed happy at night knowing that I did not force smiles or spew empty words at some meaningless-to-me fancy do.  


b. When away from home: I work all week and I play all weekend. Play includes one day at least, out of the house doing something I like. It can be as cheap as a reading and falling asleep on the grass in the local park or the most expensive choice (for me so far) of going for a play or concert. Almost every weekend includes friends coming over for the weekend or me going over to a friend’s for a sleepover.

And this is how I try to embrace some of the wholesomeness (in my opinion) and simplicity of the Amish life, not just during Lent, but the entire year. And from now on, I’m going to add Chris’ practice of hugging my relatives and friends even more. If that were even possible. 


Could I BE any more of a hugger?


Thank you, MJ and Chris, for generously letting me steal your ideas  share your posts which resulted in this mash-up post of mine.   

A slight change of pace now.

Today is Elvie Rose’s birthday. Who is Elvie Rose? I dunno. Personally, I mean.

This is Elvie Rose’s blog. ( I got in touch with her because I wanted to use one of her pictures for the post I had originally planned for today. (That post has been re-scheduled.) She gladly agreed and then she told me it is her birthday today. I love my birthday. She was nice to me. I decided to surprise her!

From the food hound in me to the doggie lover in you – Happy Birthday to you, Elvie Rose!


This image is from


I’m going to end on a green note. Chill. I am not going to bore you all with yet another strident verse of, “I love Mother Earth! Am I cool or what‽” This is a different kind of green, Emerald (Isle) green specifically.

It was MJ’s birthday two days ago i.e. 28 February. Happy Belated Birthday, One Of The Very Nice Bloggers I’ve, um, Met! True to your Irish roots, here’s a birthday (hangover) wish.


This image is from … egad! I did not save the URL of the e-card site when I saved this image and I cannot find that site now. 😦

What do you mean, “Kate, how could a nice young lady like you talk about MJ’s … underpants?” Do you think I started it? Nah uh.  He started it. Here.


Thank you, The Book of Terrible , orples and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post. Thank you, Bucket List PublicationsThe Book of Terrible , orples and mj monaghan for liking my last post.


P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 

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