Sunday, 27 March 2016

With Love

Photo: Michael Stern

Dear Food,

We have known each other for quite sometime now and you may be wondering what this letter is all about. To be honest, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You have always remained by my side- both happy and sad. No matter how upset I was, you never failed to bring a smile to my face. On those gloomy days when nothing seems to go right, you were there to give me comfort. You understood my need for constant company and entertained my intrusion every few hours.

Yes, there were times when we had our problems. Remember when you made me fat and I had to throw away my new jeans? I was so mad at you that I started avoiding you..atleast for a couple of days. I hated those days..I missed you too much. Am happy we made up and now have reached an understanding. And like any healthy relationship I have started putting an effort- I go for walks once in a week!

I have always admired you. Your sense of justice and humility. You are beyond age, religion, caste, money or any other crazy politics! Even a beggar can feel the same happiness in you, which a rich may find.

By the way, I think you are sexy! Just the sight of you makes my heart flutter..I know it sounds crazy but it's true.

In fact, to show my commitment I have started cooking! Can you believe it? Just so I can see more of doesn't sound too obsessive right? I mean just because I hate sharing you (even with my best friend), doesn't make me a selfish person right? I hope so...But I don't feel guilty.

Because love means not feeling guilty (even if you pretend otherwise), and wanting to scream from the rooftop and smiling just to think about it. It means being there for someone even if you are totally mad at them. I could give a long (very long) list of signs which can confirm love but the truth is you just know it!

So here I am..I may not say it every day but I want you to know that..I Love You..

With Love,

Monday, 14 March 2016

Cooking: A Family Affair !

Photo: Or Hiltch

My mom loves cooking. But cooking at our home was never a lonely affair. I remember growing up seeing my father constantly hovering over the kitchen, sometimes giving a lending hand but mostly just sitting there with a bowl of freshly cooked (rather half-cooked) food from the stove!

Even we were dragged into some of her elaborate dishes such as making home made potato chips or tiresome pickle making ritual! Those days I found it quite cumbersome and would often grumble about buying from market instead of spending so much time on such things. Nevertheless, we always pitched in at the prospect of eating the final product.

It would take me years, to finally understand what cooking really means. I spent most of my adulthood living alone and that meant endless chain of making-maggi and dosas (for brunch and dinner - no one living alone makes breakfast!). The only exception was when I used to have friends come over. On those occasions, we would take our time and make a meal together...and it tasted better than any take-away food.

When people say, "Am too lazy to cook for myself", they aren't lying completely. You see, cooking is not just about making good food. It's also about having a good time making that food. If you are to cook mechanically every single day without any emotion, it would show in your food as well.

And like any other good work, cooking needs inspiration! It may seem a little too much when I say that to this day my mom expects us to compliment if we liked something she cooked, no matter how ordinary every-day-food it is! Initially I used to find it little amusing but over the years I have seen how such a small gesture can create huge impact on the person cooking. Since we are used to complimenting at home, I follow it everywhere - even if am eating at a strangers place and have had the privilege of receiving the most genuine smile in return . And I don't mean fake it, but there must be something you liked and we Indians are often quite shy about complimenting!

Today when I am in the kitchen all those memories come flooding back to me and I feel overwhelmed to realize how lucky I am to learn from my mother true art of cooking. Watching her cook is like watching an artist paint, such enthusiasm and passion and instead of isolating herself in that world, she chose to involve us and share that passion with her. To remind me that we should never take anything or anyone for granted and appreciate every small moment. Because at the end, these smaller pictures glued together makes the bigger picture -life.

Even now when I call her, I hear her talking eagerly about some new recipe she is trying and I know that somewhere in that background dad would be sitting patiently with a bowl of half-cooked food...and suddenly world becomes a happier place!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Women's Day and Me!

Today is Women's day. At least that's what every radio station, newspaper and television channels seems to be discussing whole day. Now, I don't have a problem with it but it mildly amuses me.

What purpose does Women's day serve? To celebrate womanhood, perhaps? Yes, thoughtful. But then why don't we "celebrate" Men's day (Yes, it exists-Nov 19th)?

At least, it means people acknowledge that something is wrong with the society. That somehow women are not given the status they deserve and hence a need to highlight. Which again is quite confusing because I don't think anything substantial is being done on such a day. Of course, you get lot of discount on shopping and free entry to few places but that's hardly an event to rejoice!

I have met a lot of women who are considered strong "feminists". Who work very hard to prove that they are equal to men in every aspect. I do admire them and to the sheer audacity of the energy they put on to it. But unfortunately I don't agree with everything that is going on at the name of "proving you are equal".

Yes, I agree that there should be gender equality whether it's political, work, intellectual or  in any legal form. You cannot just assume that being a woman means you can't run a train or being a guy means you can't knit! By now, we have seen enough examples to realize that people who are passionate about something would excel in it regardless of gender.

Everyone is different in their own way. We are all good at somethings and not so good at others and it has got nothing to do with gender. Men and women are different(thank god for that!) but that doesn't make either one stronger or smarter than other. And this is a fact. We need each other and would always remain a team. And sooner you accept that, sooner you realize that a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders. You see, you don't have to prove anyone anything!

It doesn't matter whether you are a man or woman, don't feel ashamed to do "stereotypical things". Like crying when you are upset or giggling when you are on date! So what? The problem lies in the notion that being strong means being "manly". Which is untrue to say the least.

I think a day like this would serve it's purpose if you just realize how amazing you are. That you have every right to be happy and live life to the fullest regardless of circumstances. You should do what you want to do, not because you have to prove "you can do" but because you deserve it. And never forget that you are not a superhero but a human who is bound to stumble once in a while but has the right to stand up and walk ahead.

Yes, I am a woman and I am as special as a man or as a flower or for that matter any other organism on this planet. That's what equality means and it is as omnipresent as air. Even if you don't believe it doesn't matter, it still exists.

So this Women's day raise your glass in toast to being yourself and being proud of that.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Wish I Was Young (-er) !

I am in my late twenties and would most probably get whacked by someone for saying," Wish I was young"! So let me clarify that by young I mean school days or even college for that matter.

Now I don't deny that I miss younger-skin-effortless-stayfit days (sigh..) day dreaming about your future life or listening to music whole night (even in class for that matter) or when shopping was about street shopping and lot of window shopping. I still remember when at the peak of Harry Potter fever (just after the release of 5th book), someone in class managed to get a copy through friends-friends-friend and each of us would get one night to read. I am sure nowadays parents would buy an expensive book without a second thought but those days we wouldn't even dare raise such a request. And it was fun in its own way because that day I realized I could finish 766 pages in one night!

There are countless such memories, and I relive them time to time. But the thing which I miss the most is spending time with my friends. Yes of course I still have friends, and we meet up occasionally and talk to each other once in a while but I am sure you know what I am talking about. Those were the days when your day started with friends and ended with them. A time when your life revolved around them (much to the annoyance of your family).

As we grow up, we loose something and gain something. We gain experience, which is very important because it brings us closer to reality, makes us more aware of the workings of the world. But we loose innocence and to a great extent- optimism. Let me give you an example, when I was a kid I wanted to be an astronomer (Yes, I am serious). But back then I didn't see why I couldn't? All I understood was that I have to study well and keep pursuing science! Even today I could technically pursue that dream, but my mind instantly lists out all the cons (Ain't I too old to pursue it? Which college to study? Would I even clear the entrance? How feasible is to even try something like this? etc etc..)

I miss being super optimistic. I miss being ignorant of the worldly affairs. You see, to a kid everything is possible. But somehow as we grow up we fool ourselves into believing otherwise.

So I often feel nostalgic and miss old me. But I can't reverse time and to be honest I don't even want to. Instead, I am going to take the liberty of picking up few things from the past and carrying it with me as a souvenir.

So next time you hear yourself say,"Wish I was young" , remember that all that is stopping you is "You!". That younger version of you is still inside you, making sure that you see the endless opportunities you have in life. Don't let yourself be overshadowed by "reality".