I think, therefore I write

Author: Keirthana (Page 2 of 63)

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 🙂

STP levels during the pandemic

Craziness – Fluctuating between low and high, hitting all levels on the way
OCD – Dialing down to tolerant levels
Gratefulness – Wildly fluctuating between medium and very high
Optimism – All time low
Letting go – Slowly inching towards medium
Happiness – Satisfactory
Fear – Always present, brushed to the one corner
Focus – Out the window
Operational mode – Do the bare minimum to keep it going
Energy – Starts at about 60% in the morning and ends at -80% at bedtime. No time to recharge until 100%.

Until later 🙂

Reality check 2020

All I wished for the 2020 year was to go by fast as I wasn’t handling being a working mom to a vivacious toddler all that well. I don’t know about fast but the year sure did take quite a turn. Not just for me but for the entire world. I feel for what has happened and I know that I cannot control anything other than my actions and maybe influence my loved ones. So I am not here to write about how the corona virus situation is bad and how this lock down is the worst crisis I have ever seen in my life. It is, indeed, but I want to write about the reality check that this situation has given me.

While many in this world may not accept, before this lock down, my life revolved around running a household and working at a corporate job. My schedule was clockwork and I couldn’t spare one second extra for anything. I did not have time to chew my food before I swallowed, no time for myself, no time for entertainment. Or at least that’s how I felt. If my maid or babysitter fell sick one day, my world would be doomed. Or so I thought. In short, I thought that my world revolved only because I had house help and a babysitter who was fairly regular and good at her job.

Well, when the COVID-19 situation got worse, I told my maid and babysitter to take a few days off even before the lock down was announced by the government. In my mind, I was going crazy but I had to do it for my family. With a toddler and a diabetic husband, I was not taking any chances. However, I thought that a week’s time would resolve things enough to go back to normal. Then came the lock down announcement and the reality hit me as I scrolled through the numbers every day with growing paranoia.

As the whole country shut down, sparing essential services, and our companies asking us to work from home, I thought that I was going to take off as long as this situation prevailed. Fortunately, as life gave me lemons, it showed me a way to make lemonade too. With Adit stepping it up, household chores were manageable.

Aditi, my daughter, took me by surprise by not throwing a tantrum to go out and play. *Touch wood* She has been an angel when compared to what I imagined she would be, locked inside a house and her parents glued to their office laptops. She has taken an interest in learning to help in chores as much as her age allows. She tries to fold laundry, sorts the groceries into piles for me to stock away, puts away dried vessels. She also eats by herself and plays by herself for the most part. Yes, she is still a kid and throws a bit of tantrum now and then but nothing out of ordinary in this out of ordinary situation.

I have had to let go of a lot of things to make it work but it did teach me not to be so much of a control freak. When I think of people whose livelihood is affected, who cannot be with their families, who are struggling to survive, my problems are not even a dust speck’s worth. So here I am taking on life one day at a time, hoping the world will heal, hoping that people get through.

Stay safe, stay in, stay healthy!

Until later 🙂

Weekend nothings

Haven’t you heard about sweet nothings? Not just when you are in love, but you can have those when are deep into marriage and then once in a blue moon, when you have a toddler too. Yeah yeah, I hear desperate parents asking, “Really?”. But I am telling you out of personal experience. It can happen. Don’t keep looking out for it, just enjoy it when it happens.

Adit and I were always the too-lazy-to-go-out kind of people (him more than me :P). So the first 5 years of our marriage, with just us and no kid (directly translating into no great responsibilities), we had weekends and weekends full of time to do nothing. Yeah, while some were out partying, meeting up with friends, exploring different pubs and restaurants, we were very comfortable in the cozy nest of our home, more specifically, our bed.

We had a week full of our jobs, then evenings filled with watching TV/shows mixed with office meetings and then we had the weekend nothings. We would sleep in, get up late and scramble something together for breakfast. We would then have a long debate about whether we can cook lunch or eat out. It ended being 50-50. And then with all the time in hand, we would eat, sleep, play some games, watch some shows, blog, read books, repeat.. You get the point. There have been weekends when we closed the door to our home on a Friday evening and then came out only on a Monday morning, with the exception of taking the milk delivered at our doorstep in.

Yeah, I hear you. We were that lazy but the point is that we kind of enjoyed it. Here’s probably why: We were brought up in highly ambitious families, running behind grades, winning contests, and scoring seats in acceptable colleges and this independence to slow down and enjoy not-running-a-mad-race actually helped us unwind. We had also had a pressured couple of years trying to get our parents accept our decision to marry each other, then trying to get them to actually marry us off, then being coerced into booking a flat when we practically had no money and hence ending up with a huge house loan… you get the point, right? I don’t know about others, but it caused a lot of subconscious tightening. So the weekend nothings were actually enjoyable. As for seeking out friendship, we had each other as best friends. So I guess that part never bothered us either.

After 5 years of doing this, we decided it was time for a kid. Again, we spent a few months being backed into a corner by friends and family telling us it is time and us not really knowing whether to cave or stand up until we are ready. Not to mention, we caved. So once Aditi was born, our weekend nothings vanished without a trace. There was some chore to be done. Always. And we got through all of it just like most parents do. Cribbing and then dusting ourselves off. Okay, I did most of the cribbing and Adit did most of the pick-me-up bit. But that’s also because of the chore imbalance in our situation. Practicality dictated that I take care of the baby and household along with my job while he focuses on the primary income of the family and his health.

Anyway, I had given up on our sweet weekends as our baby grew up into a toddler, demanding more attention and time when this weekend sneaked up on me in being nice. It just fell into place. We did get things done, like deciding the pre-school for our daughter, taking a picture of our daughter for school and going out on an impromptu snack trip to the mall. But, the rest of the weekend was relaxed with minimal tantrums, playing around at home, cooking the bare minimum that was needed (I never really enjoy cooking). In fact, this afternoon, my paranoid mind started to think that there was some storm coming up this week to make up for this calm. But then, whether I worry or not, I will have to deal with the storm when it comes. So here I am, sitting on my couch and writing a post (something I haven’t done in a really long time) enjoying the rest of my doing-nothing-weekend.

Until later 🙂

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