Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Short and sweet(?) - #01

Sometimes, it is better to let go than hold on.

(Such a cliche but I have a reason for posting this)

Monday, 26 July 2010

Chronicles of a hungry student

I'm so into cooking of late. I search for blogs on cooking. Youtube downloads of Srirangam mamis cooking Pongal and Vatha kozhambu cramp my RealPlayer library. The weekends that I spend at my cousin's are dominated by 'Nigella's feasts'. For someone who used to consider holding so much as a ladle an offense, this is big time transformation.
Like so many other changes happening in my life, this change is also attributed to the fact that I'm staying alone. Away from family. Eight months of survival owe it to curd rice and home made pickles and podis and appalams. Making something for myself to eat was the last thing I wanted to do along with the battle against homesickness. The weekly calls home made things worse. Hearing all my favorite dishes being spelt out as "sadharana samayal inikki" only made the starving demon in me stronger.
Still it was not strong enough for me to feel inspired enough to enter the kitchen. The curd rice saga continued. Monthly trips to Komala Vilas and Murugan Idli shop were meticulously planned. A couple of thayir vadais and a dosai transported me into a state of euphoria. Ashamed as I am to make this comparison, it was my weed.
My friends/ neighbors in my on-campus accommodation had begun full fledged culinary experimentation. Cross breeds of established recipes were unleashed by the day. And their questions of "What did YOU make today?" stopped with time. The answer was only too obvious.
Seeing myself in the mirror one fine day jolted me to my senses. I had reduced to a quarter of what I was in high school and a sickly looking person stared back at me. Enough was enough.
All it took was one long distance phone call two weeks before Diwali.
"Chiti, sambar podi anupungo!"
I can swear I heard jubilatory screams on the other side from my aunts, my grandmom and possibly my little cousins, too.
"Ippovadhu unakku thonithe!"
Erm. Survival of the fittest.
"Enna samaika porai nee?"
Good question.
That's when Srirangam Radhu entered my life.
Seeing her bony hands with throbbing veins in close up, churning out all my favorite dishes on Youtube served as a big time motivation. Oh, and throw in the software professional Iyengar father of two little girls making the most endearing video on how to make vatha kozhambu. Next find, the Eatomaniac blog.
Time to get into action.
My first attempt at keerai kozhambu was a disaster. The tamarind was too much in proportion and the spinach had been boiled to a mush like consistency, which was not of the approved state.
Rage boiled inside me. What does it take to be a good cook??
Involvement. And the love for what you do.
That was my answer.
Pyar se pakao aur anand mein khao.
Akin to the jaadoo ki jhappi this worked wonders for me. The compliments from my roommates was proof enough.
Now I can't resist cooking. What I cook may be simple, but I love what I'm doing. And turns out that makes a world of difference. Not only in cooking but every small thing that we do in our lives.
Maybe I will ask my dad for that really expensive cookbook off the bookshelf for my next birthday.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


So here I am sitting and typing away another post for my blog, which has no followers(Whee!). I'm supposed to be working on my thesis and doing productive stuff that grad students are expected to do. But then I've never been a good student. Superficialities aside, it is the truth. I may pretend to be a sincere, devoted workaholic. All I am in reality is someone who craves to do nothing but sit and stare at the ceiling. I know it is the hardest thing to do but it is easier than putting your brain to work on something that you don't care much about any more.
When I get into a mind freeze(which happens ONLY when I'm working), I let it wander everywhere. What a paradox. Isn't it weird how you think about everything under the sun and still feel like you aren't thinking about anything! I fantasize about writing poetry again, being in absolute solitude, listening to soul lifting music, sometimes a world tour too! And dreaming about things does make me happy. It is probably a small consolation for the emptiness that surrounds me now. It's always great to think, "Well, someday I could be the one skydiving just like HE is now." You get the idea.
When you are alone and you have nothing to do, you also tend to bring out the worse attributes inside you. And then,people see a whole new you. Suddenly, things that seemed like the end of the world dissolve into nothingness. You hear people complaining about say, pathetic morning coffee, or cheating boyfriends, or an overcrowded bus. And it goes six feet over your head. Suddenly, it doesn't matter at all. All the blemishes of reality seem inconsequential. You are so lost in this Utopia you have constructed in your head that everything that is apparently negative is not worth a second thought. You keep telling yourself that all that is real is not going to last. What happens today, is gone with today. Tomorrow, you may be too ill to drink coffee. Your boyfriend might leave you for good. Anything could happen.
Well, I guess I've deviated from my point. come to think of it, I never had a point to begin with. This was another session of mind freeze and my mind went all the way round the Milky Way. Now I'm brought back to reality and all these simulation designs stare back at me. And I realize I've work to get back to. It was nice talking to you all. Wait, there is no one! Anywho, see you around.