Category Archives: Namitha’s Notions

Cause you know I’d walk … A Thousand Miles


“If I could fall; Into the sky
Do you think time; Would pass me by
‘Cause you know I’d walk ; A thousand miles
If I could ; Just see you Tonight” – Vanessa Carlton

As I hum this song, I think about all the different places that are a 1000 miles from Chicago. Houston, Texas is 1090 miles from Chicago.

Would you EVER consider walking to Houston? Would you consider walking to Houston if you have a year to do that? Maybe not.. Maybe so..

But some amazing women have walked 1000 miles or more in a single year. These are walks they have stepped out on intentionally. For good health, for wellness and fitness and many time for fun and friendship after joining Happy Feet.

It is amazing to imagine how far we have come as a club. The total miles that we all have walked, the bonds that we have created and the healthy goals that we have met.

But today is the day to celebrate all the dedicated star walkers who have diligently walked and tracked their walking to reach the 1000 mile mark.

Our Happy Feet role models:

Big round of applause for these amazing ladies who have crossed 1000 miles on map my walk :

  1. Nita Awasthi (leader of  the pack with her quiet walking and her ability to find joy in walking alone or with a group!)
  2. Ritu Bhambhani (Tireless walker who walks despite all kinds of roadblocks)
  3. Jyothi Shirahatti (Speed walker with single minded focus)
  4. Sree Lakshmi Kukkapalli A.K.A Kukki (Cheerleader and motivator for one and all)
  5. Shubhada Lawande (Happy Feet Champion who promotes the club and healthy living by her words and actions)
  6. Vimi Shukla (Platinum Sponsor, Yoga guru, motivated walker and  all time supporter of club and healthy living)


First happy feet baby!

I was 36 years old and mom of two amazing boys 10 and 9 years old. Lakshmy and I started the club in June 2015.  I started walking everyday and was charging ahead in my mile count. Hit the first 100 miles within a month on map my walk right on the heels of power walker Nita Awasthi. Was going after the next 100 and made it to 200 miles in the same fashion and then … Boom!! I started feeling tired, irritable and not as social as my usual self.

I just turned 37, we were doing great as a club, work life was excellent, kids were doing good in school , more or less there was no reason to complain. Why then did it feel like something was really wrong ??

Now when the waterworks started for no reason (which pretty much never happens with me) and the nausea and lack of appetite latched on, lights went off in my head and the home test answered my question the same day!!


Everything was right again. Very obvious reasons for the  symptoms.

During this time I continued to partner with Lakshmy and lead the club as well as participate. The only group  events I missed were the heart walk in Lisle and the India Day parade as days were too hot and I could not carry a gag bag with me without being noticed 🙂

True to happy feet promise, I shared the news with all happy feet family.

After the first trimester queasiness settled down, I resumed walking as usual. Slower pace , reduced miles but walking nonetheless. This was both for me and the club. I often used to say the pregnancy is not an illness. This was my time to prove it.

Week over week went by and we walked together as group , we walked in smaller groups on weekdays, we created and completed challenges , we had several occasions and themed walks. Life was beautiful. I continued to wear the small size happy feet Tshirt too.  I also performed pre natal yoga under the able guidance of Vimi Shukla.


As the 3rd trimester was fast approaching, the family wanted to have a vacation during Christmas break. If not for confidence driven by Happy Feet walking , I may not have ventured out. We ended up spending 10 wonderful days in California with lots and lots of walking and on one of the days I even biked 7 miles.


January in Chicagoland is usually hibernation time. But not this year, we spoke to fox valley mall authorities and made arrangements for indoor walks at the mall. An excellent solution to keep walking as a group in a safe and cost free environment.


Around the same time, I had the first minor hiccup related to pregnancy. A potential to develop gestational diabetes. Doctors recommended walking to metabolize the sugar in the body after eating and watching my diet.  I was able to successfully do it because walking did not feel like exercise or an effort that I had to push myself for. It was just something I did naturally. For myself and for the club.

I kept adding those steps and walked to my repeat test to find out that I was not longer considered to be a gestational diabetic. It was a big win. I did not rest or start eating those mochi ice cream that I love. Instead I continued to eat healthy, guavas, coconut water etc and kept walking and doing my yoga.

Then came time to plan and execute the large annual Valentine Day Ball. It was a non stop marathon of phone conversations with Lakshmy for planning and execution. The husbands helped and kids gave their ideas too. The goal was to make it an evening to remember for everyone. Happy feet members their families and friends. We made it happen!!


I walked the ramp with Lakshmy , danced to the music , catered to guests and Logistics all with the super duper support from my partner Lakshmy. She did more heavy lifting and still did not make me feel like I should get special treatment. She supported me in proving that “pregnancy is not an illness”.

Just few more weeks to go, atleast per my calculations which was sooner than the doctor stated date of March 25th.

More things to do, parties to plan and attend. Nothing stopped for a single minute.

Here is the critical timeline:

Wednesday March 2nd: Planned and executed a birthday party for a friend with my buddies Lakshmy and Ushasri. Line danced with the group in cow girl outfit and had a blast with the birthday girl and friends.


Thursday March 3rd: A full work day with non stop meetings.

Friday March 4th: Woke up to a sign to head to hospital. Got there at 4 AM. Had the most awesome experience of labor and super short duration of less than 15mins to actually deliver


“The first Happy Feet Baby”

His name is Khush meaning “happy”.


From left to right:

Happy Feet Mamma 2 days after delivery

Happy Feet Baby at 1 week

Lakshmy welcoming tiny Happy feet to club

And back to walk with our lovely happy feet group after 2 weeks!


Go happy feet!!



Why walk? Doesn’t it get boring?

This is a walkers club. What’s new about walking? What keeps everyone motivated to keep on doing it? Why should walking be done as a group activity?

These are some of the things we ponder upon and I’m sure every existing and new member has thought about it at some point of time or other.

This is what I tell myself, let me know in comments if you agree:

There is nothing new about walking. It is how we walk that makes all the difference.

Everyone is staying motivated because of the variety, the friendships and the interesting challenges that is a constant reminder to move.

Women are social by nature, we band together to achieve great things. We push each other to keep on going. Without the group, I would have stopped walking a long time ago!

Can it get boring? No way, some of the types of walks we have already done:

1. Saturday group walks

We have walked every Saturday without fail, rain or shine since June 2015.

2. Heart Walk

Triggered by our own Kukki , our group participated in a Heart Walk at Lisle. It really brought awareness and Walking together beautifully.

3. Family Nature Walk

A desire for all members was to include the family in some way. Obviously we would do it with a walk. What better way than to include a guided nature walk where a nature enthusiast walked with our group at the forest preserve and pointed out interesting flora and history to us.

4. Purple Walk

In line with Pancreatic cancer awareness month, we wanted to raise awareness about this relatively rare and challenging type of cancer. We walked together for a friend and also discussed how we can better care for ourselves.

5. Themed walks

Holiday time is special and exciting and filled with lot of family time and rich food. Happy Feet celebrated these times with walks as well. Walks that catered to holiday themes such as

Halloween Walk

Thanksgiving Walk

Diwali Walk

Reindeer Walk

New Year Walk

6. Indoor and Outdoor Walks

We are not held captive by the weather, when the season is favorable we walk outside and enjoy the outdoors, when its cold and snowy we walk inside the mall. There is no excuse not to!

7. Goal driven walks

What better way to challenge yourself than to attempt a 5K walk? We did that too and had great fun doing it. We have another one coming up on April 24th 2016.

8. Cat Walk

Who would have thought that a valentine day party had anything to do with walks? We did! A fun event for the entire family is not complete without a walk. This time walk of a different kind, a cat walk on the ramp! Come check it out for yourself on Feb 13th 2016 at the Happy Feet Valentine Day Ball!

We keep thinking of different types of walks. The fun is never ending and fitness is always the goal. New friendships and strengthening existing ones is a beautiful side affect!

Its a new year!

When we started the club in June 2015, our hopes were to ensure that we continue walking beyond 31 days which is the duration mentioned to achieve any degree of habit formation.

Now as we step into a new year with great strength and motivation, my heart swells with joy and pride at how much we have grown and achieved together as a club and as friends.

12 key highlights of 2015:

  1. Walked every Saturday as a group rain or shine since the weekend we started.
  2. Grown membership from around 20 starting members to over 110 members while having a high degree of retention.
  3. Over 60% highly active members with daily walk stats.
  4. Over 10 members who have walked 500 miles of targeted walking (not including steps while performing daily activities)
  5. Over 25 members who have walked over 200 miles.
  6. Over 12 club level challenges conducted with exciting prizes from sponsors
  7. Many subgroup level challenges conducted on weekly basis.
  8. Steady and updated website and Facebook Page.
  9. Quick turnaround time for all queries and suggestions.
  10. Listening to member feedback and making modifications as necessary.
  11. Strong volunteer leader support.
  12. Support for causes such as “Heart Walk” and “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk”

Last but most important is fostering of healthy culture of motivation and positive support for all members retaining fairness in all actions.

With big smiles and happy feet , we welcome 2016! Looking forward to more walking, more milestones being met and healthy mind and body!

I am sure I missed many more wonderful achievements of 2015. Use the comments section to remind me 🙂


Purple for a Purpose

A year ago I was faced  with the fact of a dear friend being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She is the epitome of positive, calm and gentle energy that I could not fathom how something like this could happen.

It was a rude awakening to the possibilities of life. But what amazed me then and inspires me each and every day is that fact that she has not let the illness affect her, instead she has given a new found perspective to all around her. Each day I see her with a smile. She continues to be the warm, gentle and funny person who can laugh at silly jokes with a twinkle in her eye. She continues to power me everyday when I think about her (inevitably in my thoughts everyday) and I know that everything will be fine. She will continue to fight through it and along the way light a flame within everyone who comes into contact with her.

Due to her closeness, we (Lakshmy, I and many others too) realize the importance of health, we realize the importance of strength of the mind which gives strength to the body, we realize that if one sets your mind to it, nothing is impossible.

This walk today was dedicated to her. As we continue to send positive vibes and energy her way, we also look within ourselves. We want to shed the negativity, we want to shed the stress, we want to embrace healthy leaving and being gentle and loving towards everything we come in contact with.

We embrace learning about healthy attitudes towards food, exercise and the universe around us.

Wishing our friend lots of comfort and continued return to recovery and good health. We are with you and we love you!

We all stand united in Purple for this purpose!



The beauty of the fog!
















A long road that looks clear at first and then seems to disappear into a haze. How often have you felt that way on your path to fitness?

Like all new year resolutions that seem absolutely certain in late December and fizzle out mid January, like the new gym membership that feels like a drag after a few day.

I have never stopped being amazed at the strength of Happy Feet. I always knew it in my heart that women who stick together can achieve anything they set their hearts on. But the amazing continued success of HFWC is just like the fog lifting and no longer being threatening but actually cool and comforting.

Each member has the flexibility to choose the level of commitment and each subgroup has leaders who really care for the well being of the members and friends and give so much of themselves and their time and attention in addition to being perfect role models themselves.

The end result is a beautiful glow in each member. Something that comes from inside and emanates.










It makes everything beautiful when you are looking at being healthy, fit and happy instead of constantly worrying about weight and pressure of workouts. The side effects could range from weight loss, to glowing skin to uncontrollable laughter at funny anecdotes by friends but the main symptom that we are managing is the lazy monster in all of us.



Natures Message – By Archana Shukla

Good morning friends! What a beautiful day it is today. I had a migraine headache since yesterday so I decided to walk in the prairie, take in more oxygen hoping to feel better. So now, all the headache is gone and I returned with a smile on my face after seeing nature’s message!

Here is the message I got, visualize them in the pictures as well.


As I entered the Prairie, sunflowers were wishing me “good morning, how are you doing?” with the big bright yellow happy faces. Better than any emoticon on the electronic devices.

Next a squirrel walked with me a short distance without fear. She walked with me, showed her dance moves and even grabbed an acorn for me.

As I walked on, the clear shadow of the trees in the lake, reminded me to be calm and clear. Reminded me to train my brain to be like the water.

My shadow looked taller too. I found messages everywhere.

What I concluded: distance/miles etc. are not as important. What is important is that I went out, I listened to nature,  I opened my mind to the soothing messages and the effect that it had on me.

I have hardly done justice with the words for every wave of positivity that is cruising through me, but hoping that this helps you find your messages too.

Use the comments to tell me what you heard from nature!

Nature’s Canvas

As I walked,
The prairie path today,
Nature’s canvas,
Just blew me away.

So many colors,
So many shades,
You could guess some,
And there still will be more.

Browns and greens of the grass,
That stands proud and tall,
Yellows and pinks of flowers,
That bloom big and small.

So many shades of the sky,
In the colour blue,
Dotted with white clouds,
Someday many, someday few.

Colours and patterns bountiful,
On butterflies floating by,
Orange stripes on a black snake,
That just slithered by.

The colours of the meadow,
So serene and beautiful,
Make my mind calm
And my soul peaceful.

Gave me a chance,
To appreciate on every walk,
Nature’s vividly painted canvas.

Overcast or shine… 6 mi your mine

One day as I was lacing my shoes to walk,
Doubts were running in my mind amok,
Will I be able to make the everyday walk,
Or everything I did was just talk?

As I turned on my app and stepped outside,
I was greeted by overcast and dull skies,
A step ahead and it started to rain,
“Go back inside” it seemed to claim.

I took shelter under a tree,
“Let’s walk a mile and then see”
I convinced my mind to keep going,
Though against me were elements divine.

The moment I stepped on the daily path,
Mile one came up soon and fast,
“Another mile won’t do any harm”
I was feeling uplifted and calm.

By miles two and three,
The clouds cleared and sun shone on me,
There was a coolness in the air,
And my feet walked faster there.

As I covered miles four and five,
My confidence rose and stride was back,
My phone was clicking pictures galore,
I was looking forward to the collage score.

My #happyfeetwalkersclub friends,
As I saw the familiar door,
The motivation was so sublime,
Overcast or shine.. 6 mi your mine.