Saturday, September 24, 2016

For the love of yumminesss

You know dear blog, how I am constantly obsessed about what is cooking at my place, no not like what's up at my place.. But more like what is the next meal going to be. I am either telling my cook what is to be cooked next or nagging my husband about what he wants to eat next. I am not even as much a foodie or so I believe, but my obsession is unparalleled. I used to always tell my mom, how can you be asking about the next meal when this one is yet to get over and she would just smile indulgently. That smile, now I know, meant.. lets see if you will turn out like me and Whoa I am such a replica.

Food really connects one to the soul, I mean, look at the colours, the produce, the aroma, the tingling of the palate, the happiness of recieving and giving a compliment based purely on the character of food. Shows like Masterchef Australia and other desi channels like Living foods and food food only add fuel to the fire. Over the past few years, the craze has just increased, novices like me put up every plate of food on Instagram accounts, marvelling at how beautifully this one has been created. Selfies on dinner dates have become a second fiddle to the gorgeous food that is served. My husband is mostly complaining, can we start eating if you are done with food photography and I am like, no baby no, not yet ;)

On the lunch table in office, the bunch of girls that we are, are either sharing recipes or discussing about eatery recommendations. And we are from all over the country, there is Maharashtrian food, Gujju snacks, Bong dishes, North Indian tadka, delicacies from Bihar and other places. The best thing about food is, it's not racist. Like you can go wrong in a fancy restaurant with elaborate descriptions or go gaga about the small joint which gave you lip smacking food. All the hardcore foodies I know, do not differentiate between a 100 rupee snack meal or a 5000 rupees degustation. It's a wonderful world for foodies, an amazing time to do culinary experiments.

Since I am on the topic, I realised that while we revel in the lip smacking food, it is our responsibility to not waste, for there are hundreds and thousands who still await their square meals a day. In our office, a month or so back, just outside the canteen, they started putting a board with the wastage in kilos and how many people it could have fed. The wastage has drastically come down, but we have a long way to go. Before I close this post, I am sharing this wonderful initiative for anyone who just happens to hop over my blog :)

More yumminess and smiles to all! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Growing old, here and now.

A very close friend sent me an article about how 30s are going to be the best time of our lives. I read the article a few times and I could relate to most stuff about how you change when you get into your late 20s. You know like subtle changes, changes that don't happen over night but they do, quietly without making their presence felt.

I got thinking and I felt how much have I changed from being a naive 21 year old to date. For starters, I accept myself the way I am, no constant need of having people around or getting everyone's approval. I can candidly express myself without thinking of how I will be perceievd. Being self aware, being health conscious, being able to read your own body and emotions. It is incredible how one mellows down, how the vulnerabilities are not a big deal. Like 5 years back, if I didn't know a word or a topic, I would be ashamed to ask, but now the question comes naturally "hey, what does that mean" plain and simple, no pretense. You want to hang around with people who are real, you know with whom you don't have to put up an act, no farce, no mask. Real people, real conversations, real laughter, real tears.. You want to get back in touch with friends not colleagues or batch mates or seniors, because the whole point is that you have got this wonderful time, that you would rather spend with people who you care about.

Getting into a relationship also changes you in ways more than one. You are at peace, like being at home. You can go anywhere in the world but you want to get back home, that's what a relationship does to you. As you grow, you don't just care about yourself but your partner and not in a way that is selfish but in the most natural way. Like encouraging each other, helping each other, appreciating small gestures, taking interest in your partner's hobbies, letting go off the annoying habits, letting go of disagreements.

Time has its own ways of teaching you stuff. Your life-plans don't work, career takes its own trajectory, people change, friends become distant but yet, you keep going on. There is a new found awareness of life choices, consequences of decisions, things that matter, people you love and the way you want to spend your life. You don't make delusional statements anymore like - "this day, this year I am going to be the Head of my company" or "you are my best friend for life" I don't remember when was the last time I used the word best friend, because I don't want to trivialise these things. I will say close friend or dear friend or just a friend. A natural transformation  from an aggressive, I-know-it-all person to a stable, subdued individual who is happy for other people's success and grateful of His blessings.

The most real change happens when you see your parents after a few months and they look slightly different. It was my dad's birthday and retirement a week back and it just hit me. They are not as young as they were when I was in school or in college. Its strange, you just don't get to know where all these years have gone by. You suddenly don't want to fight with them, you just want to be around and available. It really happens. I made a small video for my dad and there were pictures of him from his very young days till date and yes, he has changed. Its weird, you are so busy growing up, that you forget your parents are also crossing life-stage milestones.

I have a lot more to say but may be a small note says more than a long essay.  Here is to growing old, to growing wise, to becoming a better person.

Love and luck. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Paperboats :)

Doesn't everything look different in rains, dear blog. Every time I look outside my window, all I want to do, is get into my bed, snuggle in a blanket and read a nice book or watch a good movie, while munching on hot bhajiya and chai. The city and my neighborhood looks brilliantly green and I can't help but get amazed at what rains can achieve. There are puddles, potholes, insane traffic and the constant fear that my clothes are going to be smeared in mud, but there is something mesmerizing about rains.

I remember when I was young, covered in a life sized raincoat, I used to rush to get to the school bus. When I would come back, mom would dry me up with a towel, inspect my white skirt and shoes for mud stains and then let me go out to play with friends.  I can still recall vivid images of paper boats which would sail in our verandah. On some odd days, there was no school, and on other our garage had water till my knees. But all it meant was long play days and yummy hot soups.

I remember this one time, when I was in Roorkee, it was monsoon and my chachu was going on a bike ride. I wanted to go with him and he convinced my grandmother, that it will be a short ride and I can go with him. How thrilled was I, I mounted myself on the bike, in front of him and it rained like never before. When we came back, after a long ride, we were not just wet, but shivering with cold. I had the time of my life and my Chachu got a good scolding from everyone.
Last year AD and I were in Bandra, for general chilling and it started to pour. We ran like children for we had no umbrellas and we found a teeny tiny shade for one person to stand. AD made me stand and ran again to get the car, by the time we got into the car, I was slightly wet and AD was drenched. We dried ourselves and laughed at how Mumbai rains are crazy beyond measure. Here is to the beautiful, damp, mad monsoon! May you continue to give me stories that last a lifetime :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sorry Kate Middleton!

A few days back, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge was here in India and there were reports that went on and on, about what she wore during the trip. One such report in the leading Times of India mentioned how her skirt billowed when she paid respects to our martyrs at the India Gate. The English daily posted a picture of her and remarked that she had a Marilyn Monroe moment of sorts. A few people ridiculed the daily and there was outrage in some quarters while others just looked at the picture and said that she should have chosen her outfit more carefully! If this was not enough, madam Shobhaa De went out of our way to advise and criticize, her body, her outfit, her style. I mean really, are we living in stone ages? She is a visitor to the country and she carried herself with grace and poise, little we could do was to not shred her to pieces.

It is always a matter of debate, what a woman wears, how she looks, is she fat or thin, dusky or fair. We rarely talk about what she says. I have at least not come across one report about the things she does or the things she believes in. All I know about are the prints and the lengths that she chose to wear. How difficult it has become to separate a woman’s clothes from her character and her beliefs.

We have women from all walks of the society, accomplishing feats that have been unheard of. From Dipa Karmakar to Chanda Kochhar, from Priyanka Chopra to Arunima Sinha, all these women proved that they have substance and strength to reach wherever they wanted to. But no, we will continue to remark and criticize guests and students and just anyone who doesn’t fit the bill. 

Last week, I chanced upon a video by the Pepsico CEO, Indra Nooyi and what should change in the corporate sector so that there is better women participation. She categorically said, that women don’t help women enough. They compete with other women and pull them down. She said young women hope for male bosses and colleagues, because that would be so much simpler.

We need to really become better sisters and friends and bosses and mentors. One day we may reach there, but right now, will have to stand up and say, this is not done TOI!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mangoes, memories, magic!

I just had a sweet, juicy mango dear blog and how I relished it! There is something about mangoes that touches my heart, you know. Because mangoes were not there all the time. They were special, reserved only for summers and always served with a whole lot of love.

Like everyone else, I love mangoes but every time I have the first of the season, I am reminded of my school summer vacations. The long, hot summer months, a good part of which I used to spend in Roorkee, my grandparents place. I remember how my Daddy Ji, used to get cartons full of mangoes so that I could have as many as I wanted. I remember how, my Badi mummy would make a lachha parantha which also I used to have with a mango and if there was some boredom during the day, I would leisurely sip on Frooti kept in the fridge. I never thought of that mango eating as anything extraordinary or anything that I would miss a few years later. It was as normal as it could get. Anyway, today during lunch my colleagues and I started discussing Mata ki Chowki, which is quite common in the northern part of the country and how as a little girl, I was made to dress up like a Mata, and bless everyone who had come with my tiny hands. To give full authenticity to the setting, I would also mount a lion, usually some uncle or cousin who would be dressed in a lion attire and take rounds of the pandal. I mean honestly, how cool was that. I never thought that I will ever think or even vaguely remember that but here I am, blogging about it, creating a web memory of sorts.

Today, like any other ordinary day, I woke up, got dressed, went to work and came back to have a mango. May be today will also become extraordinary some decades later. You know, I will think about how I used to look, what I used to wear, how I used to write, what songs played in my head and I will again laugh and warm my heart by recreating what was here today, in this moment, in this day.

Aren't all of us dear blog, just made up of memories and experiences and feelings and songs and fragrances and food. Isn't just everything else too trivial too bother, too small to be important, too irrelevant to be ever relevant. I don't know, may be it is, may be it isn't, may be I will know when the time is right, or may be I know it now, just while I write this. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Show some love - Part 2

We watched the movie Airlift yesterday and liked it very much! And I am sure, so many other people share our sentiments, which I believe is a good good thing. At some level, all of us belong to a common identity, a nationality which is above everything that we stand for. While, I am in no mood to give a sermon and I am sure, whoever is reading this right now, does not need a prescriptive lecture about the identity that I am talking about, this is more to do with a dialogue that is an absolute must.

Day and night, we talk about issues with our country - corruption, pollution, crime, just everything that is depressing and dirty. I rarely ever come conversations that are positive and talk about the good things that happen all around us. For example, I had no clue about bringing back of Indian nationals from Kuwait, during the Iraq invasion, however I have read and heard so much about the Babri Masjid issue. The point to be noted here is that both events took place within a couple of years of each other, one lead to so much hatred and blood shed and the other was the quiet reassurance that being Indian gives you an identity to belong to wherever, whenever.

How difficult can it be dear blog, to accept that there are hundreds of acts of kindness, of humanity, of love that take place all around us. How difficult can it be to talk about them more often, how difficult can it be to write posts and make documentaries and movies on events and issues that have brought about a positive change, however small it may be. While, I see social media increasingly taking our mind share everyday, I also observe how it is used for making our unpleasant experiences known to the world. Like a rude driver's pictures, like a delayed flight status, like a defective product, like long traffic jams etc, I rarely ever across someone posting, way to go #indigo or that #flipkart  almost never disappoints or that #trafficpolicerocks.

Let's be a little more kind dear blog, a little more humane, a little more happy. By the way, just as an after thought, I love the reverberating sound of national anthem that is played in Mumbai cinemas, how nice it would be if it was played across all the screens in our country. A little love, and a lot of respect can never hurt.

Good night :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mid life crisis or what!

Can you believe dear blog, first post of the year and I am going to write about experiencing mid-life crisis cum career issues! It is slightly early, I suppose for having such ideas, but then can I help it! Not really, so I will rant till my heart's content. As you know I love my job, on most days that is and today was not one of those love-hate days, it was in fact a normal, unassuming kind of a day, nothing which can have an impact positively or negatively but still I was getting these weird, absolutely non-practical kind of ideas. Hence, I thought, what can be a better idea than typing it down, to create a day-memory just in case I get serious about changing my career some day.

You know what my problem is, I am not satisfied with the ordinary, I like everything with a little more. Like these days I am feeling, I am not doing that little more outside of work and hence the need to look at alternate career choices. While discussing and thinking about a range of career options from being a pilot to being a failed software engineer, I realised I am not as smart as I think I am. Infact, there is hardly any real job that I can do, except what I am currently doing. But you know, there are a lot of non-real jobs, the jobs that don't pay for the lifestyle, that I may really want to do some day. Like teaching, teaching children who don't have access to good quality education, like being a project manager for health and sanitation somewhere in the rural part of the country, like starting an enterprise to encourage the small-scale artisans somewhere in interior Rajasthan. I mean, there are real people who do these non-real jobs right. Only, if I had some encouragement, a lot of courage and no desire for this big bad city life that I almost love.

Oh dear God, why can't I have it all :)