America Calling... And here I go!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Scene: (Charlie baking – Two and a half men)
Charlie: Not bad aye Jake. This tastes pretty good.
Jake: Yes, Uncle Charlie. You bake so well.
Charlie: I know. And those chefs on TV show off as though they are curing leprosy.
Me: hahaha so true!
I am not a cook. The kind of cooking I do, I don’t even need a kitchen. It’s really that bad. Not an exaggeration. Plain truth.
But baking. Let’s talk more about that. I am a sloth of the first order. I love coffee and hope that a cup of it magically comes to my hands every morning.
And one day, magic happened. I felt like baking. A little finger running on the internet and I found a recipe. Coffee, I love. Cakes make me happy. So, coffee cake it is!
Did I forget to mention that I do not have an oven? Well, I don’t. I have been baking often these days and have fallen truly madly deeply in love with my Pressure Cooker.
To me, baking a cake is easier than preparing Maggi noodles and the fulfillment it gives is what I think people feel after childbirth. Okay, exaggeration there.
So buck up fellow sloths. Let’s bake a cake and make our hearts happy.
Tips: If you were me, a baby baker, I’d advise you to follow the recipe to a tee.
Beat in only one direction, ALWAYS. This is mandatory.
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1 tsp baking pwd
3/4 cup brown sugar or granulated white sugar
1/2 cup soft white butter (or a little lesser, say 1.4th)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup low fat milk
2 tbsps instant coffee powder (I prefer Nescafe Sunrise)
1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence
You could also refer to the following picture.
1. Sieve 1 cup maida and 1 tsp baking powder, thrice. Finely.
2. Add coffee powder to boiling water. Keep aside to cool.
3. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar till smooth and creamy. You might feel that the butter is not enough. Trust me, it is. Cream as much as you can, add one egg at a time and beat till well combined. Add vanilla essence and coffee, mix well.
4. Cover cooker with a plate and heat at full blast. Keep it on.
5. Add the flour in three additions alternating with milk, starting with flour and ending with flour. Do not over beat, just mix till well combined. It might comes across as too thick, no problem. Keep beating and it will smooth out.
6. Use butter to grease your baking pan. Be sure to spread out the butter thoroughly. Use sieve to sprinkle maida over the butter. Hold pan upside down and tap to ensure extra maida falls off.
7. Pour batter into the greased and floured pan. Place inside the heated cooker and bake for 20 minutes on medium heat. It’s a good idea to open lid after 20 minutes and check if the cake is rising well.
8. Close lid. Bake for 10 more minutes and check with tooth pick. If it comes out clean, feel good about yourself. If it doesn’t, bake for 5 more minutes and do so until the toothpick comes out clean.
9. Remove from the cooker and cool for 15 minutes.
Cut apiece out and admire. As much as you want. Infact, you totally should. You just made an amazingly tasty coffee cake. Ta da!
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
‘Well, You have a “Sag” in yours’ – He said, straight-faced.
The Libran him had a face of achievement. The Sagittarian me could not stop laughing. We had finally found out the reason why we were meant to be together. I’d sag without his support. I really will. He’d have no purpose without me, he says. Perrrrfect! But, how did we get here?
2009. A random friend request on Facebook. I sent it to him. I don’t remember why. Maybe it was the smile. An appealing Scotland picture of a fully covered 25-something Indian boy. No, don’t look at me like that. I had no purpose in mind. It just happened.
2012. We are poles apart. Cliché, yes. At 25, I behave like 40. With 30 just a few days away he is still the hyperactive super enthusiastic child.
2009. When our eyes met, when I looked at him, when he smiled – nothing happened. Nothing at all. I could not bother any less. He was too drunk to care. We knew there was no point even flirting with each other. We were not meant to be. I friend-zoned him. He did that to me faster. Convenient!
And then he got married. An arranged marriage. I wished him all the best of luck.
2011. We fell in love.
Can love happen overnight? YES.
Does a broken marriage always have to be the man’s mistake? Should I refuse falling for him just because he has an unpleasant past? Should I deny him the attention he deserves? Should I give up on something I want so much?
NO. I picked NO to all the above and YES to him. And so continues the ongoing tale of my relationship with a once-upon-a-time married man.
Written for: http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/
Written for: http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
As children, most of us grew up believing that our parents were born together and that’s why they are together. We never realized that something called ‘Marriage’ happened and they were tied together in a knot, and promised each other to live the way we know they do — together.As adolescents we realize what marriage is and wonder why it had to happen to our parents. When we see they are happy together, we know marriage is good. And when we see them fight, we are sure that marriage is the bitch there.
As adults, we are bound to hear a lot of that word. I am an adult now or so I was told and all I hear day and night is the M word. My mother who once thought that my plumpness was cuteness now suddenly thinks I should dance more or swim more or wash more clothes or do everything that takes to lose that extra 15 kgs. Why? Well, who will marry me otherwise? Marriage!
I always found enough food on the table and never bothered about that rocket science which went behind using raw materials and turning them to edible food. But now, I have to learn to cook. Why? Well, What will my mother-in-law think otherwise? What will my husband eat? Well, fair enough. Marriage, again!
I have to wear sarees more often (and not those awfully torn, superbly comfortable jeans), wear jewels (No, belly button ring doesn’t count), be less anti-social, more cordial to elders, smile more, talk less, and so on. Ah, marriage!
When you make a simple instant coffee for a friend’s mom, she grins and tells you, ‘Wah! you are ready for marriage!’ Your mother is already blushing with joy!
When all your batch mates start getting married one by one, please be assured that you will find a hyperventilating mom in your own house. 21 is ripe, 22 is looking out time, 23 is marriage time, but 24 is ancient/primitive/old. I am 24 and I already feel 80.
The situation in most of the houses where a poor 24 year old resides is pretty much the same. Mom’s are always checking out eligible bachelors, dad’s are running behind jogging hunks (yes, like the jeevansathi ad), uncles are ‘responsible’, aunt’s are networking… Phew!
Haven’t you felt that a ‘perfect’ job is what you get when you die and go to heaven or some place that is not on earth? Well, join the club. My job seems the most exciting when I get my pay check and that feeling diminishes gradually just like the money in the check.
A job is top priority for it pays for your bills and all your drinks. But workplace is important as well. To me, it’s almost as important as home. I spend a good 40 hours at work every week. Am sure all of us have wondered why we are sitting at our desks and doing what we do everyday, day in and day out.
That inevitable feeling has been gnawing me for a while now. As a favor to myself I tried understanding about what is going wrong.
Thanks to the dead mute and the forever cold air-conditioners at work, a weird silence encompasses my brain (or something that’s there in the head) by the time 2 meager hours at work have passed. The real problem here is not the work, it’s the routine. I have this nokia music phone and a good 150 tracks on it. I keep listening to the same old songs everyday and now what happens is, I sing along with them and without a cue I continue singing the following song as well. I know the order of the songs by heart. This is what I mean when I say ‘routine’. Here’s what I put together for people who suffer like I do, a list of things that ll save you from a trauma that’s hiding round the corner of your workplace.
Spice up your life outside work: I often catch myself mindlessly doing my job while my actual mind is occupied thinking about something that had happened in the morning or something that will happen in the evening.
To have a good work life it is very important that you have a less taxing personal life. Then the ‘focus’ word magically happens to you and work becomes a lot more exciting! Am sure most of us have issues which cannot be sorted in a day or two. In that case, treat your workplace as the break you deserve everyday. Shed your issues while you enter the glass clad building and pick them up while you leave for home. This treatment really works wonders!
Avoid patterns, as much as you can: Patterns look nice only on papers and screens not in daily life. I wake up dot at 8.30, struggle on the bed till 8.45 and then there’s this Olympic race until I board the office vehicle which reaches the stop at dot 10 AM. After two years of this routine, I realized that I am turning into a wall clock.
What you can do to avoid this is, try waking up early on a few days. Say, 7.30. Go for a walk or leisurely prepare your lunch or breakfast, read or watch TV, etc. Go for a bath early and take your time to dress up. On another day, sleep until you feel like it. It’s ok to miss the office vehicle. Take the bus instead. Stay back longer at work. If you follow something today, ‘unfollow’ it tomorrow. Prevent any form of pattern. It’s horrible!
Do more, be more: Try and spread your wings wider at work. If you have been assigned with some work, do that and alongside do something more. Like, you could help a colleague who works on something different. You could learn a new tool. No, I am not aiming at career-building tips. I am more concerned with building one-self. You get to learn more, yes. At the same time it’s a fresh change from your mundane work.
Read, read and read: I have made this habit of reading a few of my favorite blogs. I have this list of 5 feel good blogs I look into everyday. It is not against work ethics! It makes you feel light and that definitely helps avoid a heavy head.
Write, write and write: Have a scribble pad with you or like me, a blog. I take 10 min break whenever I m overwhelmed with work and scribble something down there. Anything I feel like at that moment of time and guess what I have 22 people following me now. What started off as a personal rough page is now being read by people, little by little! It’s a great feeling and makes you a thinker from within.
Walk, walk and walk: Take a break and walk down the stairs and say a quick hello to the outside would. Vitamin D is good. Get as much of it as you can!
The right job: If none of this works and you can’t stop from being stressed and hating your job, maybe it’s a loud sign. Quit and further your career in a direction that interests you. Maybe you are a software engineer who is a better photographer; maybe you are a finance guy who is a kickass writer. There is nothing like getting paid for pursuing a passion. The market is big. Identify and go grab your passion. It will pay off in good time – moneywise and life wise.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
As routine takes a knife and starts cutting into me, little by little, every passing hour, I decide to save myself. I need to stop feeling useless. There's so much I can do. So very much. The fact that I know this makes it even worse. I want to wake up every morning and feel proud of myself, the way I used to. Today, I wake up unwillingly, drag myself to a job I don't love anymore. Being with anything or anyone you no longer love, is a shame. To yourself. So that's what is leading me away from here. Anywhere, is my destination preference. Anywhere where I will know I am working hard and not just lazing around.