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Thursday, July 31, 2008

the lilies in the fields, they toil not...

I met old friends at Tiru who don't even look at the Mountain. They sit in tea shops, smoke bidis and grow their hair longer each year. Some of them are born overseas, a few don't even remember their 'native place'.

One such friend just came back to India with a fresh passport, a first time visa. He had overstayed his visa expiry date last time by three and a half years, until the Iskon fellowship hauled him out. Two years later, he is back in Tiru, with a new identity.
'First time to India?' the custom lady asked him, smiling.
'Yeah, first time.' he smiled back.

'What do you do all day in Tiru? What is your spiritual practice?'
'We cross the street, to sit in the tea shop across the road.'

What gives a bum, the supreme confidence to be a bum?

Two stories come to my mind:

1. As told by Shree Ramakrishna :

At the time of Jesus, there were two sisters called Mary and Martha. Jesus Christ went to their house with his devotees. At the sight of him, Mary was ecstatic with Happiness. It reminds me of a song by Gauranga:


My eyes sank in the sea of God's heavenly beauty

And did not come back to me again,

Down went my mind, as well, forgetting how to swim.

The other sister, all by herself, ran around arranging food for Jesus. Mary just sat at his feet, blissed out. (Maybe she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, but this is another story.)
So Martha complained to the Master, 'Lord, please judge for yourself. How wrong my sister is. She is sitting in your room and I am doing all these things by myself.'
Jesus said, 'Your sister is indeed blessed. She has developed the only thing needful in human life: love of God.'

2. Once Ramana was sitting peacefully on the Mountain, minding his own business when an earnest seeker came to him and said,

'You are so ripe, you must take diksha from my Guru. I will come back in the evening and we will go together.'

Ramana was wondering how to escape the diksha, initiation, when another earnest seeker stopped at Ramana's hut for some water. He was climbing up to the peak.

'May I keep my holy books here? I will pick them up on my way back.'

And this was how the Mountain loved Ramana, for in that bundle of books, he opened a book to a page with these lines,

'Anyone residing within thirty kilometers of Arunachala need not do any sadhana whatsoever. No japa, no tapa, no guru, no seva, nothing needs to be done, because the Mountain Does Everything!'

and provided him with self defense against the initiation.

This is the promise, this is the creative license, and this is the secret of the lazy seeker.

It doesn't end here. There is another promise.

'Those who are meant to get enlightened will be drawn to the Mountain. They will not be able to resist the pull of the mountain.'

When I first heard / read this, my pride swelled up, until I looked around at the bums gathered on the tea shops. Someone is a jail bird, another has obviously run away from a nut house, this one is a proud dope addict, and of course, on almost each trip I get hit by a homeless sadhu.
'Are you single?' he asks me, too lazy to think of a better line.
'Happily married.' I smile back, no offense taken.

Years ago, during my first steps on the path, I was hammered by the concept, 'Keep Good Company.' But good company is a narrow lane, I get claustrophobic. I like to take U turns, I like to skip, jump or sit on the road. And the earnest seekers, may God warn me should they hover near. Let the white collared devotees run to the ashrams to make it in time for the one hour meditation.

I prefer to sit with my friends, the chilled out cronies of Shiva.

The uncarved heartless rock

As the bus pulls out of the town, it takes the pradakshina road to get to Bangalore road, thereby giving me a complete Arunachala darshan.

I realize that the Mountain loves me through my eyes. Only this morning I had walked up to Skandashram with Pavan. Skandashram is a cave like house where Ramana Maharishi lived till his mother left the body. It's a lovely nook in the hill, with a panaromic view of the temple town below.
But if I am in the mountain, I cant look at the mountain.

I wonder if there is mention of this specific brand of devotion anywhere in the spiritual texts. Ramakrishna, in the Gospel, talks about different kinds of bhakti.

Master (to the devotees) : God can be served in different ways. An ecstatic lover of God enjoys Him in different ways. Sometimes he says, 'O God, You are the lotus and I am the bee', and sometimes, 'You are the ocean of Satchitananda and I am the fish'. Sometimes he says, 'I am your dancing girl', and sings and dances before Him. He thinks of himself sometimes as God's friend, and sometimes as his handmaid. He looks on God as a child, as did Yasoda, and sometimes as husband or sweetheart, as did the gopis.

So its Ok for me to feel angry and abandoned and separated when the bus pulls me away from the beautiful uncarved rock who slowly disappears behind the trees.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The mountain out the window

The mountain that lives most of the time in my heart-mind-dreams, is now outside the window. Then what am I doing indoors?

I shall go out and repeat my mantra.

'Look at the mountain, Look at the mountain, Look at the maaunton!'

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A pink bicycle

Till a few months ago, Tukru and I would walk holding hands everywhere we went. The shopping bag, purse, would be in my right hand, and the left hand would hold his. It was the sweetest feeling ever.

And then he got his bicycle. To and fro, he would ride his bike, mindful of never going too far from his mum. He was, on my insistence, to always remain within 'looking distance', and 'shouting distance.'

It gave me the much needed space from his constant questions, and yet my hand felt empty.
It gave him the chance to ride his bike on the roads, in a safety net of a screaming mother.

'Stay on the left! Don't overtake from the left. Not through the puddle! Get down, we have to cross the road.'

Till finally, he got a brilliant idea.

'Ai, why don't we buy a cycle for you? Then we can both go straight and fast'.

I wonder how long the child will be this subtle. I wonder how long till he says, 'Let me go alone, you slow me down.'

And I let the kid drag me to a cycle shop, asking for a second-hand ladies bicycle.

'Wow. This is a pink cycle. Pink is girls favorite color! Ai, buy it!'

And we squeal all the way home, racing, avoiding the puddles. My left knee hurts a little, but I am exhilarated.

Now there are three cycles in front of my house. When the hubby comes back home, next Sunday we are planning a family cycle race. I better practice.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bangalore Bombs

Scene: Creative writing workshop, day 3.
Location: Sristhi School of Art and Design, Bangalore.
Time: An hour after lunch.
White board Graffiti : Thought, feeling, Visual and Incidence
Assignment under discussion: Childhood.

Student 1
When I was a kid, I once got burned badly on both hands because I touched a burning stove. And, a few days after that, I saw my mother ironing clothes. She switched off the switch and went for a nap. And I, well, I knew I would get burnt, but, I had to go and touch that iron! So I touched the iron, and I got burned!

Me
That is an incident. A visual. What is the feeling behind it?

Student 1
I don't know. I guess I just wanted to see if the iron was really hot.


Me
This is a thought. What is the feeling?
A writer should always be in touch with the feeling behind every little scene that is written. What do you feel now when you look back at your childhood. Anyone?

Student 2
Nostalgic?

Me
Yup, that is a feeling. What else? What did you feel when you told us the story of burning your hand on the iron?
(Student 2 walks out of classroom)

Student 3
Stupid?

Me
Adventurous?

(Student 2 walks into the class)

Student 2
I hate to disturb the class, but I just got a news alert, that there have been two bomb blasts in the city.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Much later.
After the kid and I are safe at home.

Me

How do I feel? How do I feel? This should not have happened. No, that is a thought. How do I feel? Do I feel scared? A little, but it passes. How do I feel? How do I feel? Angry. Because this might disrupt my plans to go to Tiru. This passes too. How do I feel? How do I feel? Sad, for the woman who lost her life. Pass. How do I feel? How do I feel? Nothing, at all. Seven bombs and only one woman dead? And this is supposed to scare us? I am not scared. I feel brave! I am an Indian! I have gone through Gujarat! I have gone through Mumbai! Bangalore blasts are a chill pill. How do I feel? I feel brave!

A terrorist somewhere plants explosives. And the ego here explodes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Homeopath with a laughing pill.

I found this homeopathic doc, because he visited this post, and he found me. We have been exchanging mails since a couple of months, mostly about the fascinating concepts of homeopathy.

I have no idea if he is good looking, or even if he is a real doctor. You know, it is so easy to pretend online, all you need to answer a question is to Google it.

But this fellow, I am sorry, this doc, does seem to have a personality, and, finally I started to confide in him my woes, and he started to prescribe medicines.

Here is a sample from the correspondence:

Me: can u explain to me, why, in homeopathy, docs ask us to give up tea, coffee. And they hardly ever ask a woman to give up smoking, drinking, eating spicy food, etc, etc,....

Him : in homeopathy docs ask to give up tea , coffee as they are taught that they may antidote the medicine. but often the medicine is not antidoted that is a reality
and in context to smoking drinking spicy food etc has to be corrected if the patient is having gastritis, bronchitis etc.
in my way of working i ask my patient to correct the food habits if needed after two weeks of medicine. because if on the first day itself the patient is put with all the restrictions [ patient runs away , hahahahah ]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

hairbrained conversations

We missed the entire cosmos for this panipuri party. We can always go to the planetarium next Sunday. I figured the only way to get the neighborhood kids to include Pavan to play in their group is to invite them home and feed them.

So I spend the whole day thinking of the panipuri. For the filling, better to soak some chana than boil potatoes. For the pani, organic jaggery is better than sugar. Add some crushed dates, they are packed with nutrients. If six kids turn up, each can have two plums.

Half an hour before the party, both of us spring into action. Pavan starts doing up his room, I start the cooking. He helps me with the tasting. I compliment him on the way he has arranged the cushions, like a mountain against the wall. Half an hour after the party time, not one kid has turned up. I send him to the playground to get them.

'They said they will come tomorrow. Today they are playing the final match.' he tells me, looking up, eyes round with disappointment.

'Tell them I have made panipuri. Tomorrow I will make popcorn.'

'Its the final match, Ai. They wont come.'

'Why aren't you playing the final match with them?'

'I don't know.' he admits. From being the most sought after kid in the block to being ignored is a transition the little mind cannot comprehend.

'Oh well. Let us eat the panipuri then. We can eat lots. As much as we want.'

'Yippeee! Can we eat Panipuri for dinner too?' he asks.

'No, kiddo. We will both end up with sore throats.'

Dinner is toast with Maggie noodles. I put in the chana and some vegetables to garnish.

'Noodles are good for health,' says the little one.

'No, kiddo. They are tasty, but they not very good for health.'

'No, Ai, they are good for health.' He looks so innocent, with his fresh haircut.

'Ok, I will tell you why I keep saying that. To begin with, they are made of maida.'

'No, these are atta Maggie. They are good for health.'

'I am not so sure they are really made of atta.'

'No, Ai , they are really made from atta.'

'Oh yeah? And how do you know? You been to the factory?' I challenge him.

'I haven't been to the noodles factory. But I have gone to the Parle G factory. In Ahmedabad. With Navjyoti maam.'

'And?'

'There they told us how Maggie noodles are made.'

'In the Parle G factory?'

'Yes! First, you take atta, you put it in, on one side, then it goes in, then from other side, it comes out like this, like long long, then it gets cut, cut, cut, then it gets into the plastic and then it goes to the shops!'

'Thats cool. And what about the biscuits? '

'Oh, they are also made form atta. It's very simple. Just like the Maggie. From one side they put atta, and other side you get hot biscuits.'

'Hot biscuits?'

'Yes, we ate hot biscuits and they also had sweet smell.'

And just before he finally slept, he had one last question for me.

'Ai, can I have a little rat as a brother? Like Stuart little? I will make a car for him and take him out for rides.'

'This is a big deal, you know. I will have to ask Papa.'

'You will surely talk to Papa?'

'Yes, I will. Now good night.'

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A post card to the full moon

Brimming and bright,
on a mid-summer night,
You take me to a paradise,
Oh Full Moon of the Guru.

I stroll on my terrace,
and bathe in your grace,
and keep moving my head,
to look at you in bed.

You steal my sleep,
you attention seeker,
You pull the strings
that flutter my wings.

I am sure you are mine
in a parallel universe,
O, reflector of light,
O, dispeller of darkness.

Where you are not light,
and neither am I dark,
an abode of utter grey,
where the seeker is the sought.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If I cant meet You, I'll edit You.


It's 10:39 pm, and nine minutes past my bedtime. I am kind of sleepy too, which is lucky. Then why am I not in bed?

For the video editing workshop that I am conducting these days, I was looking through some old tapes to find material for the students to edit a documentary. Generally, I fast forward. But then, I came across a Tiru 1, a Tiru 2, and a Tiru 3 (Tiru is short for Tiruvannamalai, which is the town where sits my beloved mountain). I lost track of time, space was just the small camera window.

I am transported to a time in last February, when Prayas and I had gone to Tiru. Roadside tea shops to chill, hippies and sadhus sitting together under the trees sharing the chillum, and the ox-cart pradakshina around the mountain.

If love is nothing but gravity, the feeling ought to be mutual, isn't it?
The moon seems to be circling the earth and causing waves, but will the earth let the moon go anywhere else? Just ask her. Nope, not even for a short visit to Venus. See? It's mutual, 50- 50. Or 100-100. In advaita, 100 is never divided.

Having proved my theorem, it is obvious that this is not a one-sided romance. There is no harm in being vulnerable, in fact, it might even prove beneficial to suffer, to pine, to breathe and to sigh.


Call me to you, or keep me longing, I am at your mercy, O, Arunachala.
I shall make you into a film and upload you soon, O, Arunachala.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mother's milk for grownups

'This is so good. Mmmmmm. It's like mother's milk.' said the Italian lady.
'It's pure love.'

This is what she was talking about:

Asli Punjabi Chaawal ki kheer!

And this is how I make it:

Pour two half liter packets of milk in the frying pan (preferably iron), and switch on the gas.
Soak two fistfuls (band mutthi / closed fist) of rice in water. Long grained, basmati chawal make the best kheer.
Soak a handful of raisins and cashews in water.
Soak five six elaichi/ cardamoms in water.

By now the milk will be boiling. Add the soaked rice to the pan, keeping the flame low. Keep stirring for twenty minutes, while cleaning the raisins, breaking the cashews one into four, and grinding the cardamom (not too fine).

Add sugar / jaggery / sweetener and the ground cardamom.
Stir for five minutes more. Make sure you stir well, the kheer now starts to solidify, and may burn from the bottom. When it starts to stick to the bottom, it's done.
Transfer the kheer to a nice bowl, sprinkle the broken cashew and soaked raisins and refrigerate.

Serve it to the love - starved Italian and remind her of her mom.

Courtesy: My grand-aunt, Vidya Sharma. We called her Behenji, because she was my grandfather's sister. And we called my grandfather Biraji, because he was her brother.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

On a writers block

No, Sir, no maam. Don't bother me today. Go get lost.

Yes, I say I am a writer, a writer I definitely am. I love to write and I hate to say this. Empty my pockets, you wont get no words.

I am falling in my own black hole, and my eyes are squeezed shut. You expect me to sing and dance? Then why the hell should I write?

I write when I feel like it. I write out of freedom. I write to shine my sword. I write to win the world.

My words are precious stones. They are more potent than semen. Why should I throw them in the gutter?

For right now, I am sitting in the gutter, there is nothing but darkness inside, and my eyes are squeezed shut.

Don't you dare tell me to write. Don't you dare hand me a pen. Don't even try to show me an empty page. Can't you smell the gutter that stinks? My hands are busy, holding my nose.

If you care, switch on the telly. If you care, light me a cigarette. If you love me, show me the stars. Take me for a long drive. Take me to Paris.

In Paris I know a shrink. Only he can cure my writer's block.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parting

When you stood outside the temple
looking towards the beloved's house,
why did the deity bless you?

When you left the city
without meeting the beloved,
how come your eyes were dry?

Your strings are softer than ash,
Be still, my friend, when it rains within,
let the water wash the ash away.

This is what the deity told me to tell you,
when you stood outside the temple,
looking towards the beloved's house.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Autorickshaw graffiti


( It is forbidden to sit with your boyfriend and address him as brother.)

I wish I could say I clicked this pic. But if I sat in this auto, the driver would probably ask me to get down. For I have gotten into the habit of calling my younger hubby Papa.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A farmer is born

Lord Hanuman, when he saw the mango as a baby, jumped to eat the sun.


'Ai, can I have one more mango?'

'No. Mangoes are expensive, and besides, they are hot.'

'I can solve both the problems.' says my genius.

'How?' I ask.

'Do you know what will happen if I put this mango seed inside the earth?'

'Tell me'.

'A mango tree will come out.'

'Like, immediately?'

'No, we have to put water every day.'

'For how many days?'

'A few days only.'

'Ok, then?'

'Then, we can eat the mangoes, we can also sell the mangoes. We can make money. You both wont have to sit on the computer all day.'

'Then what are we waiting for? Lets plant that mango right away.'

Save water

Water-Saver Faucet with Measured Out-Flow Arrangement-Saves 60% Water

In case you are designing a new apartment complex or a house, or renovating your plumbing, check out this swanky water saving tap design from here.

It is an innovative tap in which the user pre-decides the actual quantity of water to be used every time the Faucet is operated. You have to pre-judge the out-flow, there by make effective & optimum use of the water.

My grandmother used to say that water is a national treasure, and the Jains say that one should use water like ghee. Technology says stop fretting, here is a solution.

I play cricket

I get up this morning with the familiar body ache, and the yoga mat looks too boring for words. Being a Sunday, the boys get up late, cranky and demanding.

'All right guys, we are going out for breakfast, and then we are going to play cricket!' I announce, just as the OA is about to switch on his comp.

'Yippeee!' yells the kid.

After the idli-dosa-coffee routine, we head for the park.

'You guys play. I will sit on the bench.' I sit cross legged, breathing deep the grass fresh air.

In less than five minutes, I am on my feet, running to catch the ball. And I am playing cricket! For the first time in my life!

'Ai, you are supposed to get the ball, ok?' Pavan instructs me, when I make him run out of the park to get the ball.

'Yes, sir!'

I stand nervously facing the ball, holding the half sized bat.

'Thats a wide ball! You have made a run!' Cool. Cricket ain't so very hard. You make runs by default.

'Mango, run!' Says Prayas, when I hit the ball, walking slowly to pick up the ball. And I am scoring runs!

'Papa, this is cheating!'

'Get lost. We make the rules as we play.'

I make ten runs, Papa nine, and the kid is out at six! Is this beginners luck or what.
My body ache is gone, and I have won my first cricket match!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I walk

Near the tree where the Buddha got his bulb lit, I am sorry, around the Peepul tree where the Tathaagataa got enlightened, are a pretty set of seven stones. Buddha must have been a tall man to have been able to long jump on these stones, for they are, I have heard, not seen, quite far apart.

What we learnt at Vipassana Meditation Center, was basically a sitting effort. 'Adhisthan', the firm resolve to sit in one position, not open an eye, nor move a leg. If pain happens, watch the pain! I have no doubts of the efficacy in disciplining the mind in this method, but discipline is not my favorite word.

I remember reading Osho's take on how the Buddha walked on these seven stones to and fro, how he swam in the river, how he relished that bowl of kheer (milk pudding) that Sujata brought for him (bless her), and then sat on the kusha grass brought by the boy (bless him too), on that auspicious full moon night.

So why not walk instead of sit? Or rather, walk and then sit. Or better, walk and gaze, at the Mountain. I am talking of Pradakshina, a sixteen kilometer walk around the holy Arunachala, a spiritual practice highly recommended by Ramana Maharishi.

I came across this while searching for walking pilgrimages. How To Meditate While Walking.

I cook

Ever since the family reunited, I have been after the OA to buy me a big pressure cooker.
The one which will make dal, rice, and potatoes in one go. Yes, I said potatoes. Nutrition be dammed. After all, I have to reorganize my life to suit the needs of a mouse potato.

The OA just now read my post and asked me what's an OA?
Other Adult, I said.
'So write that', he said, 'tell people what it means.'

He might not be familiar with bloggers lingo, but he has given me a good option for a cooker. Any of you, mommas, cooks, chefs, if anyone has tried this cooker, please let me know.

Its called EcoCooker, this is the link.

Its supposed to save fuel, save effort, and improves taste.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I acknowledge

Here is my personal response, not book review, to 'the three mistakes of my life', a novel by Chetan Bhagat.

I am stunned.

I was in Ahmedabad during the riots, and I had cultivated some opinions, some fears, about the common man in the city.

I concluded that most of the non-minority group was against the minority. I believed that the businessmen were crude and selfish. And cricket, well, cricket was a game where one ball was tossed from one end of the TV screen to another. Whenever someone talked about the score, I'd ask without caring, does that mean we are winning or losing?

So when I started reading a novel about three hindu boys in Ahmedabad, who open a cricket shop next to a temple, well, I am simply being faithful to an earlier high of Chetan's first two books.

I think a writer bores you to establish your belief in the truth of the story. And then, when the ordinary bloke with whom you begin to identify becomes superhuman, the book has grabbed you. Your heart is stuck in the book, you and the book get into a bubble that is tighter than a spaceship hurtling in space. It is in the telling of the story lies the art. The telling of the story is the story.

Yes, I did ask myself, could this story really be true? I went back to Chetan's track record. God calling on the phone and all. But Five point someone was so so real. So Chetan gets fifty percent credibility. Thats no help.

The question still remains. Could this really be a true story?

Does it matter?

What is relevant is, the characters in the book have walked out of the book. I have met them. And they have changed my mind about certain stereotypes I carried in my baggage.

And for this, I can't thank him enough.

If you don't like browsing book shops, buy the book from here.

The Grasshopper says

'Maybe I should take lessons from you on how to hop.' asked the sms.

'Hopping happens when there is music in the head, very low gravity and elastic strings,' I smsed back.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I confess

I confess that I have two reasons for the meanness in my last post.

First reason:
I usually don't do this. In fact, I once refused an offer to visit Amitabh Bachchan's house. I believe in letting the stars doze. More than an year ago, before I started blogging, I wrote an email to Chetan Bhagat. I poured out my struggle with publishing my manuscript, and also appreciated his first two novels. And then, I waited for a reply.

Second reason:
For the moment, this is unprintable. I do not yet have the courage to bite the hand that might feed me and make me famous. The courage will come after my novel is a bestseller!

And 'The Three mistakes of My Life' begins with Chetan Bhagat reading an email. A suicide note. And Chetan's response? He not only tracks down the emailer in a hospital, he takes the next flight to Ahmedabad from Singapore, meets the guy and gets his long story, his joys, his mistakes.

So you can imagine my jealous feelings.

Having said them, they are gone, and all there is left is love for this writer, and an urgent desire to get back into the book.

Book review, next post.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The three mistakes of my life

'Is there a bookshop near your house?' my mother asked on the phone.

'Nope.'

'Well, go to town, then. And buy this book, Chetan Bhagat's latest mistakes. I couldn't put it down. It's situated in Ahmedabad. You will love it.'

Sorry, mum, but this novel is such a drag that I have to make tremendous effort to remember to pick it up.

As of now, I am on page 50 something. Hopefully, it will pick up. If it does, I will complete this post. If not, I shall toss it in delete.

Are you a mouse potato?

Here is a story I copied and pasted, like a true mouse potato, from here.

It all started with a couch, a bag of potato chips, and an endless supply of television. The couch potato phenomenon has now spread into the computer gaming and Internet communities, creating a new sedentary human tuber known as a mouse potato. A mouse potato spends an excessive amount of time in front of a computer monitor, often exhibiting the same lack of interest in the outside world as the original television-addicted couch potato.

The term "mouse potato" is believed to have entered the popular vernacular in 1993, although the phenomenon itself was not completely unknown until that time. Some early computer enthusiasts, particularly gamers, were already spending numerous hours a day in front of their monochrome monitors, only leaving their keyboards long enough to eat or sleep.

Because a number of modern computer games are designed to engage the user for a seemingly endless amount of time, some users find themselves so addicted to game play that the idea of leaving the computer seems counter-productive. Others find themselves performing extensive Internet searches or participating in online chat rooms or attempting to keep up with email and other computer-based correspondence. This is all in addition to maintaining one's own Internet presence through personal blogs, home pages and social networking websites.

With all of these enticing and time-consuming features of the Internet and computer world, it shouldn't be surprising that the number of mouse potatoes has grown exponentially in recent years. Even elementary school children as young as 5 have been known to exhibit early signs of Internet addiction and many will go through actual withdrawal symptoms whenever computer privileges have been revoked.

The mouse potato phenomenon has become a medical concern as well, since a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which in turn can lead to any number of diseases and health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Chronic mouse potatoes often fail to get enough restorative sleep between computer sessions, and may also maintain an unhealthy diet of convenience foods and excessive amounts of caffeine and other stimulants.

Some computer enthusiasts may spend several hours a day in front of a monitor but not be considered mouse potatoes by others. A true mouse potato often modifies his or her personal lifestyle to accommodate his or her computer habits, not the other way around.