I think, therefore I write

Author: Keirthana (Page 1 of 63)

Recreating memories

By this post, you would know that my interest in cooking is fairly recent. It still is a chore for me on most days but I manage to get by knowing that I can cook up a delicious meal, when needed. Anyway, as I made my way through different dishes from amma’s culinary repertoire, trying one at a time, I realized that the newly discovered interest has a backstory after all. One that’s so obvious that I am surprised that I missed it.

I miss my mom and her cooking.

Though this has happened when I first moved out from home to my hostel, then dealing with various cuisines of PG food (ugh!) throughout my spinster life and so on. I have missed amma’s cooking earlier too but that was different. This time, with each of us locked in different cities in the pandemic, it’s been a while since mom got a chance to pamper me and my daughter I got a dose of her pampering. It’s amazing how she never gets bored with cooking and always has the energy to cook up something delicious.

Anyway, this week as I tried my hand at making Vaazhaipoo urundai (A type of falafel made from banana flower), Vaazhaithandu adai (A patty with banana stem – a variant of the first dish), paruppu dosai (My favorite dish with coconut chutney, always ready when I visit home from hostel), Mushroom curry fry, Masala dosa and many more of mom’s signature dishes, the aromas wafting through my kitchen reminded me of my childhood memories, particularly around food that I enjoyed the most as I grew up. I could just close my eyes and see amma working her way around in that dingy kitchen of the monumental house that I grew up in.

Amma in the kitchen was the norm for us. I was a pathetic daughter who didn’t help around much, I did an odd chore here or there but that was it. Yes, I do feel bad that I didn’t do more for her. I would ask her why she keeps at it and how she is not bored day after day, doing the same chore and she would reply, “You enjoy the food, right?” I couldn’t imagine the level of selflessness it took to have that attitude, even if it is for one’s own daughter.

For more than 30 years, she has never tired of the kitchen and cooking. Every time I cook something, my mind automatically compares it with amma’s. The comfort of childhood memories with amma combined with the comfort of food just makes my heart fill with content to the brim. That’s probably what made the experience better for me with time – else I was unhappy that I had to work to develop the interest unlike amma for whom it just came naturally.

Of course, there is a benefactor to all this – my daughter. She is happy that she is getting a variety of dishes as opposed to the mundane routine of rice and sambhar. I don’t think I’ll ever get over amma’s cooking, no matter how old I get. I hope my daughter retains some of these memories as nostalgia when she’s all grown up. I am surprised that she, unlike me, shows an interest in cooking and household chores at such an young age. She loves sitting in the kitchen and watching me cook. And narrating the recipe to her as I cook does make the chore less boring. Sometimes, I put on music and we do a bit of dancing jumping around as well.

So if my daughter looks back at one of these evenings and thinks of it as fondly as I think of my mom in the kitchen, I’d consider it my greatest reward.

Until later 🙂

P.S: Maybe, I should start posting some recipes. Lemme think about it.

Drunk

Out of all the ways to get drunk, 
I chose to get drunk on you
And your memories

I do admit, it's an incredible way
To get high, high on the emotions
And the way you made me feel

I laughed right in the face of closure
And didn't even bother moving on
Surprisingly, no regrets there

I liked the trance, the trance of feeling
How I wanted to feel, how it felt to feel
The desire, going wild with no reigns

 Even now, it's like age old wine
 All it takes is a tiny sip
 To get intoxicated once again

Until later 🙂

Yay on the gaming

Gaming was never my cup of tea. Even as a 90’s kid, I used to try and play simple games like tetris, pacman but even mario was too much for me. I used to be interested but I struggled to work the controls. Maybe not enough hand-eye-brain coordination. In college, farm frenzy was a craze and a group of friends playing it hunched over a laptop made it easy enough for me.

However, one of the perks of being married to an avid gamer is that it does not matter that you suck at playing most commonly played games. He finds you games that you can handle and yet are challenging and interesting enough. Adit even found my category – I do well with tower defense, time management, and business games. I never realized that I had a type with gaming until he proved it to me.

He slowly started buying me games that felt interesting enough for me and I had a chance of succeeding which made me want to play more. Then he sneaked in playing co-op. I never imagined that a hard core gamer like him would even enjoy co-op games such as overcooked but we had a blast with it. We became addicted so much to it that we played late into nights after our toddler falls asleep. We’d be so tired yet we’d want to play. We also had some real fights over something as silly as a game – when the levels got so hard that losing out on a level because one of us couldn’t do something right got intolerable. We fought, made up, then fought some more.. you get how it went 🙂

So after a stream of Overcooked (both versions), Kingdom rush (all PC versions), Plants vs. Zombies, Train valley (both versions), Stardew valley, a bit of Age of Empires (I didn’t persist enough with this one), world of goo, and now trying out the co-op game “Moving out” – I think I am getting interested in gaming. Just that, I am really interested in staying with my type. I don’t like 3D, life-like or violent games but the ones that have a bit of a distance from the game and maybe a bit childish, those are fun for me.

So that’s one more for Adit, his persistence in wearing me down to try new things has a track record that’s almost unbeatable. And I am not complaining 😀

Until later 🙂

Inexplicable

When it comes to social skills, I am kind of stuck in between an introvert and an extrovert. I would want to be a social person but I cannot be the kind who initiates a conversation or keeps it going for the most part – I would require the other person also to be equally talkative or sometimes, more talkative than me. This may be the reason for me not being able to keep in touch with my school and college friends. In addition to moving through the gears of time and life, the distance between me and my friends robbed me of my comfort zone and I let it slip away. I didn’t feel much of the pang because I got married to my childhood sweetheart – I had him, forever with me, to reminisce. So life just went on.

All this changed, oh so suddenly, when I stumbled upon a couple of my school friends Facebook profiles and messages. I wanted to talk to them but was skeptical if they would feel the same, after all these contact-less years. Nevertheless, I started talking to a couple of them and we started a Whatsapp group – all the while wondering if others will feel comfortable connecting after such a long time. How would everyone react? Will they be as involved and interested?

As for my tingling doubts about people’s reactions, boy, was I wrong! Everyone connected and pulled in more people seamlessly. We could get in touch with almost everyone in 2 days and our group flooded with messages. So much so that all of us were stuck to our mobiles through day and night. The emotions, excitement and joy was almost tangible even though we were only texting. For once, I believed technology and social media has done something useful, in creating as much joy and happiness in a bunch of people, especially during this hopeless time of a pandemic.

In less than a week, we planned and met virtually over a conference call with our families. We had just planned a trial run to see if we can find a suitable time for a real one. But again, almost everyone made it and the reactions on our faces said everything. Amidst talking over each other, talking at the same time, catching up on each other’s lives, managing to get our kids to talk and then be quiet, we enjoyed everything. We didn’t even know how the hour went by. There was so much to talk and so little time.

All of us remembered and reminisced about the joyful memories, our teachers, our daily school lives that we led as naive kids. To me, it felt like something that was frozen in time and memory had been thawed by friendship and brought back to life. Such was the feeling – it was truly inexplicable. It’s true what they say, meeting school friends after a long time and feeling nothing really has changed in the friendship is the best feeling. And especially childhood friends, there’s something about them that you cannot replace.

As the hour went by and our family lives pulled us back into each our lives, we bid adieu, with a promise to stay in touch and do this more often. I know we will, for every one of us had felt the pang of missing our friends. And now we know how great it could be, to stay in touch, to feel and connect with our younger selves. And I hope that I could keep this feeling that I fail to express even with writing, close to my heart, and treasure it for as long as possible.

Until later 🙂

The art of cooking

As I have mentioned too many times, I never enjoyed cooking. Up until the last couple months. It always bothered me, given that my mom is an excellent cook and has her roots deep in the art. She does not just cook the regular dishes but also has a lot of specialty dishes to adore her mantle. But surprisingly, when it came to teaching me the art, she never bothered to pressure me into it. She did attempt to pull me into the kitchen for a chore or two, like all mothers do, but she never forced me to learn cooking when I expressed no interest in her favorite chore.

So I spent my growing up years, blissfully eating all that she cooked and never bothered to think about the effort that went behind it. Then I got married. So when I had to run things in the kitchen, I stepped up and got a crash course from my mother to learn to cook the basic things. With Adit having a lot of food restrictions and not being able to eat a whole lot of varieties even if he wanted to, he had attained food nirvana. So my ability or inability to cook tasty food never mattered to him. However, my tongue was not so forgiving – growing up with mom’s cooking and being a foodie, I could never learn to like my cooking. I never thought too much about it and just settled thinking that I can’t cook.

Years went by and I was still the same. Didn’t cook too many things, just the basic ones and the taste was edible but never anything more than that. I would eat out a lot to compromise for my cravings. I actively started to believe that I cannot cook tasty food and that I don’t enjoy cooking and I told myself to be okay with that.

Then something happened. With the Covid pandemic afoot, I had to give up eating out. Plus, I was at home all the time and boredom started getting to me. As icing on the cake, Aditi is someone like me and enjoys a good, tasty meal. So there, I had my perfect opportunity and the perfect audience to set me up to try to cook better. And I am glad that I did. I started trying out a couple random recipes. When they came out surprisingly well, I was encouraged to try more. I started talking to my mom about my experiments and she was so excited that I was able to connect with her in this aspect. She kept sending simple yet tasty recipes my way and I kept trying without any inhibitions.

Over time, I realized I was cooking more dishes every day. The regular menu for Adit with our usual restrictions applied and then a dish that I cooked without any restrictions. But I was enjoying it. I was pleasantly surprised by the feeling and wanted to ride it as long as it lasted. So I started a digital cookbook just for myself and started jotting down recipes. I reached out to my mom and asked her to give me all the traditional recipes she has. Even if I had not tried them all out, I didn’t want them to get lost. I wanted to carry on the legacy and know how to cook them.

Getting the cookbook done was a humongous effort. Although, I had only used a note-taking application to categorize and write down the recipes, it was exhausting. Over the period of 2 months, I managed to get everything I wanted in the cookbook and I can add more as I try stuff out. It felt liberating to know that I can cook well when I have always felt otherwise. Like Adit said, I guess it was all in my mind. I never bothered to try further than it was required. I could have tried something for myself even if he wouldn’t eat it, but I didn’t because I never considered that possibility.

So here’s to an year which was so tough, boring, troublesome, and exhausting that it pushed me to discover something about myself. Here’s to seeing a bad year in a positive light. Hope it gets better from here.

Until later 🙂

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