Thursday, January 28, 2016


Over the last two days, I've slept for a grand total of 7 hours and therefore, I am now finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on the mountain of files piled on my desk and screaming to be dealt with. Instead, I am overwhelmed by the urge to blog, but what about, I wasn't too sure, my writing muse having last been seen cackling madly and disappearing away into the sunset.

When in such dire straits, what else is there to do but take up one of the millions of tags floating around the Internet. So without much further ado, here we go:

1. What have you realized recently?
That I am not the model of perfection I always thought I was and some changes might be in order. 

2. Have you given your first kiss away?
I'm not one to kiss and tell. Well, not on public forums anyway. 

3. If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, who are the 5 blog buddies you would take?

4. Where is the place you want to go the most?
London once again

5. If you have one dream to come true, what would it be?
That I could make a trip around the world going first class everywhere.

6. Do you believe in seeing the rainbow after the rain?
Of course, and the pot of gold at the end of it

7. What are you afraid of losing the most now?
My sense of humour

8. If you win $1 million, what would you do?
Pay off the home loan I've taken and travel around the world...

9.If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her?
I'd probably run away and hide

10. List out 3 good points about the person who tagged you
Ummm... I'd like to list out three good points about myself, but that might count as bragging. 

11.What are the requirements that you wish from your other half?
Quick wit, an ability to laugh at themselves and a love for football

12. What type of people do you hate the most?
People who take themselves too seriously

13. What is the one thing you can’t live without?

14. If you have faults, would you rather the people around you point out to you or would you rather they keep quiet?
I'd like to say I have no faults, but then I'd be called Cleopatra, Queen of Denial. I don't mind my faults being pointed out, it's the harping on about it that I wouldn't enjoy

15. this Q has been stolen 

16. Are you a shopaholic or not?
I'm not a shopaholic. What I am is a compulsive spender.

17.Find a word to describe the person who tagged you
Awesome, Amazing, Fantabulous! 

18.If you have a chance, which part of your character you would like to change?
My sarcasm

19. What’s the last shocking thing you’ve seen or heard?
I'd love to reveal, but alas, they're not my scandals to share

20. Would you rather have love but no money or money but no love?
Both. I'd like to have both. Who says you can't have it all. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lady of the Cake

I've been wanting to blog about my recent interest in baking for a while, well if you can call three years recent, that is. But I've always wanted to talk about the joy that baking brings me and how much I enjoy it. The calories, not so much.

By nature, I am a rather random person. I don't function very well when neatness and precision is necessary. I like to think of myself as a big-picture person. Not for me the analysing of every detail and the nitpicking and the perfectionism. But it is precisely this side of me that baking, the exacting science, that it is challenges and I actually revel in it. There's something about creaming exactly 100 gms of butter with 50 grams of sugar and mixing in 300 gms of flour. Measuring, measuring, measuring, beating, whipping to create a cake that is so much more than the sum of its disparate parts. The exacting nature of baking allows me to put my vagaries aside and focus with a 100% on the job at hand that pleases me. For someone who constantly has at least 5 different topics on my mind to think about, it pushes me to concentrate on what I'm doing and gives me serenity. For that hour or so I'm in the kitchen. 

Which is not to say I enjoy the everyday dal-Chawla type of cooking. I bake because I know i don't have to do it everyday. It's a good to do, not a must do and if I had to do it everyday, I'd probably stick my head in the oven instead and kill myself. Which is why I guess it's time I give my mother more credit for putting food on the table every single day, rain or shine. Also, sifting. Sifting flour is the devil and the one job I absolutely detest. No matter how hard I try or how many different sitters I buy, I still loathe it.

So what have I learned so far then? That looks aren't everything. Nigella Lawson's recipes look delicious but never ever turn out right, for me at least. Butter and sugar creamed together is the most delicious food ever and I have to hold myself from eating it straight out of the mixing bowl every single time. That's there's something very satisfying about presenting food to people and hearing them 'oooah' and 'sash' and even more pleasing, hear them ask for seconds - music to a cook's ears! That raw cookie dough is not as delicious as its made out to be, in fact I find it downright revolting. There, Sue me. 

So far I've attempted - 

*Nigel Slater's modestly titled 'My very good brownies' which have turned out perfect every time I've made them 

*Chocolate chip cookies - Thin crisp cookies are the way to go. 

*Oatmeal raisin cookies - Semi triump. Somehow managed to burn the raisins the very first time I made them. Haven't dared to try them again since. 

*Date and Walnut Cake - Very very good. Next time a little less dates though. Mostly because mincing 200 gms of dates finely took 2 hours of my life and I'm still resentful of that fact 

*Bread pudding - Another family favourite and so easy to do. 

*Pigs in blankets - Unmitigated disaster and yet another Nigella Lawson recipe that didn't work for me. 

*Granola - Made a giant batch as a giveaway for a very health-conscious cousin's bachelorette. The feedback I've heard has been very good. Since I haven't heard any news of anyone else being poisoned I'm going to take it that the rest have enjoyed it too! 

I have many many recipes bookmarked and I'm not sure what I'll try next - White chocolate and cranberry cookies, pineapple upside down cake, date rolls, lasagna. But I know that whatever I try, I'll definitely enjoy it, calories be damned. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

And another year goes by...

This was originally supposed to be a list of resolutions for 2016, but I think I'd rather make this about the year that was.

In the last few years, the years have been in a pattern of peaks and troughs. 2012 was great, 2013 sucked, 2014 was lovely and so on... But 2015 really, it's hard to put it into words.

If 2015 were a colour though, i'd pick blue. Sometimes turquoise, sometimes indigo, ever so often a bright vivid cerulean and rarely azure, but mostly, mostly it was just plain blue. I'd love to spill it all out here, the reasons, the anxiety, the sadness, the emptiness, but I can't. Not while people I know still read. Not while I still feel too vulnerable to deal with questions and comments and criticism. More than ever now, I wish I'd left this blog anonymous.

But maybe some of it, yes? In 2015, so many life changes have happened around me, to the people closest to me, to those around me - jobs that necessitated moving out of the city, marriages, babies and more.

And in the midst of it all, I feel rather like an island in the midst of a raging storm. I'm content with my life, but it continues. It rather feels like I'm coasting my way through at the moment. Standing still. In 2015, I haven't challenged myself enough, grown enough. 

Job-wise, I think I'm as happy as I could be. Is this my dream job? I'm not so sure, in that I don't think I could do this everyday for the rest of my life, but I do like what I do and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction. But I've never been very ambitious, I've never dreamed of being an editor at 30, of running my own company at 40, of having my own team of 10 to manage. My ambitions have never been set in stone. I want to do what I do well and take up the right opportunitiesart at the right time, but I've never had any set ambitions. I was listening to the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg's commencement address at Harvard when she spoke of a career, not being so much of a ladder as a lattice. A thought struck a chord with me and stayed with me because unknown to  me, without actually thinking about it very much, that that was exactly what I've been doing thus far. I've not moved so much up as I have sideways and added skills that I can now proudly add to my resume and have that much more to offer a prospective employer. So despite my worries, over whether this job is my life, I think I've been doing pretty okay on that front.

Personally, I'm doing okay, but yet again, nothing has changed. Most of my relations have remained at status quo, but in 2015, I have been more perceptive of manipulation and machinations. I've been more aware of the times I have been available and not had the favour returned. It's not that I mind, because If your friends don't take advantage of you, who will? If I don't go out of the way for family, what is even the point of these relationships? But I know that there is a line to draw, that perhaps the time is now to not be so much of a push-over, to get over my fear of confrontation, to deal with issues head-on, to not make like an ostrich and bury my head in the sand (Just call me Cleopatra - Queen of Denial). That some things will never change and at that point, all you can do is walk-away. And this is perhaps my most important resolution for this year to walk away from relationships that are toxic and taking out of me far more than I put in. 

Where love is concerned, much has happened in 2015 which has left me far wiser than I was before and I think that as I go into the 2016, I am more prepared to put myself on the line for what may happen and if it doesn't, that someday I will be glad I took that chance and at least have the serenity of knowing that I tried. 

2016 - the year there will be more travel than home, more joy than tears, more laughter than whines. 2016 - The year of the dream.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We live in interesting times. We’re blessed that way.

The world is changing rapidly.

The way we work is changing, the way we live has already changed. Entire industries are crumbling, and more are growing on their ruins. People are empowered to express themselves, to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation, in a way that has never existed before.

What will you do with that?

What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?

Do something.

Do something interesting.

Be a part of the conversation, and say something remarkable. Create something unique, new, beautiful. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.

How to do this?

Write a book. Or an ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on You Tube. Be passionate. Write a web app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it. Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well. Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted, or that you are frustrated with in other companies because the service sucks. Put your heart into something. Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better. Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before. Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it. Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach. Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a web comic. Be a dork, but do it boldly. Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them. Be interested in others. Surprise people. Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better. Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

I just read this recently on the Zenhabits blog and it gave me some mixed feelings. Part of me is tired of reading this. This constant telling us what to do. This constant need to sound clever.

But in other more important ways, it resonated with me in a way that I haven't felt in a while. It touched upon a conversation I've been having with myself for the last two months now, which is, am I doing enough with my life? As the saying goes, am I truly living the life I am capable of living? Am I doing enough? Am I learning enough? Am I challenging myself or am I coasting my way through? Am I improving anything around me - my desk, my home, the world? How am I leaving anybody/anything different after I've passed through?

In college, a professor often spoke of what he called the learning curve in life and it's stuck with me ever since then. I've measured every job I've ever had by the learning curve. Leaving when I felt the learning and the buzz were done. But only recently have I realised that I haven't applied the same as strictly to my personal life. I struggle to think of how I've bettered myself in terms of skills or talents or goals I've set myself in the last 4 years, ironically in jobs that have given me the most time to myself. For the longest time, I was obsessed with the idea of travelling the world and everything else around me fell to the wayside. The only skill I've added is that I've begun to cook and bake and I know it's something I enjoy.

So anyway here it goes. The list of what I'd like to accomplish this year in the six months that are left. Not to be the best at, but to learn and to do competently

  • Make a great cup of chai to satisfy the standards of my exacting family that expects perfection in every mug that's placed before them
  • Take a driving refresher course and drive, drive, drive. 
  • Join a gym and go regularly six days a week
  • Learn how to ice a chocolate cake
  • Establish a skin care routine and follow it dutifully 
  • Write, write, write. At least once a week on the blog 
  • Take an online course in something I really care
  • Complete the project I've been planning for my bedroom wall 

And most importantly of all, I need to remember that the results are not as important as the process

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Kindle vs Books

A few months ago, I sat with my BFFs (I think now might be the time to stop reading Cosmo) and we spoke late into the night about life, love and careers. What was going right and where we'd gone wrong. What needed major surgery and the bits that needed a little bit of tinkering. In the contentment of being all together after what felt like a long time. It didn't matter that it was 4 AM. It didn't matter that I had to be at work bright and early the next morning. I didn't even feel the ache in my bones or my eyes struggling to stay open. 

But that's not what this is about. A conversation came up in which I participated very little. It was about Kindles vs eBooks. Books are books, they said, Kindles are nothing. While I sat back chuckling to myself, what exactly were we arguing about here? I'd be the last person to tell you that Kindles are all good. I love old books and I love new ones. I love sinking my nose into the spine of a book and reveling in that smell only books have of parchment and ink.I spend way too much time and regularly shake out my purse to find the last few coins lurking at the bottom to buy another book I absolutely must have.

Seriously though, lately this is an argument I find myself involved in a regularity that never fails to astound me and since I'm far quieter and shyer in person than I am in writing, I just generally just clam up and let them ramble on.

So what I often want to tell everyone is, surely the important thing is that we're reading? It may not be exactly the same experience, but are they so radically different? Why are we arguing form over content?

I love my Kindle for many reasons. Mostly for the number of books I can stuff there which is especially a blessing when I'm travelling. For letting me read late at night. I spent a recent 16 hour flight to New York, reading, reading, reading. Plus the e-books are far cheaper and I can buy many more of them

Do I miss my hard copies, the feel of a page? Yes, of course, I do. I miss the crack of a book's spine, the wrinkles on the pages from bathtub steam, the margins I've written in, the things that spoke to me that I've highlighted. I like that they don't have a standardised font, that there is no homogenised cover

In an ideal world, where trees were plentiful enough to afford us the luxury of printed books and I lived in a huge spacious castle, and not in Bombay, I'd have only books, books, books everywhere, Stuffed into every nook and cranny, piled atop each other until they threatened to topple over and bury me under then.

Until then however, I'll use my Kindle happily and gladly. Because you know what? I'm READING and that's all that really matters.

"If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape"
– Ray Bradbury