The secret ingredient

When I was 15, I never imagined living away from my parents. I wanted to, but I didn’t think it would ever happen. When I turned 17 my parents sent me away to university and I couldn’t have been more greatful. It was freedom the kind I’d craved and it meant making my own decisions and it also meant a ‘HUGE’ bump in pocket money!!!  😮

In university, I learnt to wash my own clothes after I put all my clothes together in the washing machine and all the colors bled onto one another. I learnt how to make my own bed because, the lack of our housekeeper Roopa meant I’d come back to my dorm after classes to be greeted with a messy bed and a wet towel on top of my comforter. Also, learnt that I need to put my towel out on the line to dry if I didn’t want it to be smelly & gross & eventually grow mould. I learnt how to share a bathroom and keep all of my junk together in little bags as opposed to my dressing table back home, which if I have to be really honest with you, was my dumping ground for the wet towel I mentioned earlier.

But, the most important thing I learnt in University (besides the extremely expensive education my parents paid for) was how to cook. I mean I always knew how to cook, I mean who doesn’t? It’s easy to learn the technicalities, follow recipes available in books and online but you’re never quite sure if it turned out exactly like the pictures are you? It took me a while to bridge the gap between following instructions and the food actually tasting good.

Before I came to Uni my mom taught me how to put things together, no doubt about it. She was trying to teach me how to cook but I felt no need or interest in learning. But I soon developed the need to learn how to cook and that eventually became a point of interest, especially when I moved out of my hostel and into a private apartment building. A best friend I made in college taught me nuances, a few things to add or delete from some basic recipes and things started looking up. With every trip back home I took an active interest in what my mom was cooking, and she always made it a point to cook my favourite things. I’d go back to college & my shared apartment and always try out what I learnt, and if I must say so myself things I made turned out to be so great. Everybody loved it, but every morsel I put in my mouth tasted so so different from what my mom made. Why? How? I always seemed so confused about it. I’d cook the same things for my mom and she couldn’t find anything wrong with them either but I could.

I continued my cooking journey even after college and kept dazzling my friends (they were quite surprised that I knew how to turn on the gas, let alone cook) and my mother but I knew in my heart it was always missing something. Some years later when I got married I learnt some great things from my mother- in- law (also a great cook). I recreated those in her absence and for her approval as well and although she gave me a A+ it just wasn’t…

When Mukul & I got a place of our own I couldn’t get a cook for sometime so I took it upon myself to cook and with every vegetable I chopped, every pot I stirred, every dish I prepared, every time I plated it and served it I knew what I’d missed. Every bite Mukul would take and every time he’d open his eyes wider and say “mmmmm”, I’d take a step closer to acknowledging what gave my mother’s cooking that extra taste. Every time I cook his favourite meal and when he clears the dishes, he makes it a point to give me an extra few kisses and it always makes me smile and I finally know the secret ingredient..Love

If you cook, then you’ll know that when you’re in a good mood, the food that you make is always tasty, however small or large a portion it is. But when you’re in a foul mood things never tend to work out. My mother once told me that the key to making sure I cook good food is to remember to dump all of my stress, my sorrow & my grief before entering the kitchen. She told me that the food that I make (or anybody who cooks for more than themselves actually) not only feeds me but somebody else as well and I have to make sure I always add that extra ingredient: Love. Because that’s what I want in the bellies of my family & friends instead of all my life’s worries.

I have stood by this thought and I strongly endorse it too. Whenever Mukul & I fight we get take out or we pause the fight and go out. Another great idea for all you couples out there but that is another story for another time. For now I leave you with a little something on love: ” The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.” – Henry Miller

xoxo

 

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In pursuit of a Prince (Chapter 1)

Ever since she could remember, she always figured her husband would be like one of those guys you see in American movies. Charming, suave, well spoken, well groomed, tall. Handsome wasn’t necessarily on the list but well-groomed, well-spoken and charming trumps good looking any day. She’d daydream about him brewing coffee in the morning; making breakfast on weekends, even cooking on weekdays sometimes. An Indian girl’s American dream! Oh wow! More than anything else, it was the cooking she really looked forward to. It wasn’t as if she was a bad cook or an inexperienced one, quite the contrary but she just liked the idea of being cooked for. A dream of sorts for her, we could say. So she dreamed and dreamed and dreamed about her perfect man and his amazing cooking skills or atleast the idea of him. After all, a girl can dream, can’t she?

As it is in all Indian households, when she was old enough (atleast by their perception) to get married, her parents began looking for alliances. They weren’t closed minded people, oh no they most certainly were not! They, in fact kept asking her if she had a special someone in her life. She kept responding “No yet”. She said she was waiting..waiting for ‘The One’. She told them that she wasn’t going to go looking for him but she would sit back and let him find her. She was convinced that match making activities and online marriage portals wont lead her to him. He was going to carve the path that would lead to her. She had convinced herself that this was how it was meant to be. But you can’t really explain concepts such as these to Indian parents, can you? So what do you do? You give in and you hope that they inadvertently end up creating the bridge that will lead Him to find you.

Being caring and loving parents that they were they listened to her entire monologue on finding The One. They contemplated and subsequently confirmed that she did in fact want to get married, but her reassurances just confused them more. But she said, she wanted somebody who could cook. Parents being parents, they didn’t think it was as critical a criterion while selecting a possible husband for their precious darling. And I mean come on! What are you even supposed to say? “Our daughter won’t marry you unless you cook?” That would just sound like our daughter can’t cook. People will just think we didn’t teach her anything. She will come across as spoilt. We can’t risk that! Oh no no no!

So they searched and they met and they introduced their darling to several lovely boys, but she didn’t show too much interest. She returned from each meeting with a new deal breaker every time. The first one was too obsessed with his work; the next one was too obsessed with his looks. The third one seemed to love boys more than girls, and the fourth one smelt funny. The fifth, sixth and seventh were either too educated, too laidback or still connected to his parents with an umbilical cord of sorts. No! No! No! This was not working and she did not want to do it anymore. None of them were right and none of them were Mr.Right. The one she was looking for was just lost, needle in a haystack…you think? Her parents thought it best for her to find somebody on her own. Disappointment turned into sadness and soon depression, and bordered on thoughts like maybe she was being way too picky than was acceptable, maybe she didn’t know what it meant to recognize somebody for their inner beauty? Maybe she didn’t even know what went into deciding what was right for her in terms of a partner? Nobody trained her on the art of selecting a life partner, so how could she possibly be expected to know? There needs to be a rule book on things like this!! Ugh..!! But even amongst all these depressing thoughts, there was one underlining feeling, actually more of a faith now that you think of it. Faith that made her believe, that she was going to find him. He’s literally right around the corner, and when she finally meets him, she’ll recognize him for who he is: The One.

To be continued…

 

10 ways (tests) to know he is the one!

mr-right

Many of my girlfriends, who are still single and living the fabulous life, ask me how I knew my husband was the one for me. Truth is I didn’t and I don’t.. but I believe. I think that makes all the difference in the world. Fact is we never really know who is real and who is lying. There maybe a facade underneath the facade..how will you figure it out?

The best we can do, is look for a few things and the rest? Good faith, strong belief. I’m not an expert but I’ve listed down 10 essential things to look for (tests for him) when you’re trying to decide if he is the one.

  1. When you walk into the room…Is he looking at your face or is he checking out your cleavage?
    1. The ideal situation would be when you walk into the room, he looks at your face first then proceeds to check out your cleavage. (Why shouldn’t he? You’re hot and after all, he’s a man!)
  2. When deciding something…say for example you both decide to watch a movie, how does that conversation generally go about? Him: “I have booked tickets to go watch blah”, You: “I don’t really want to watch that”. Him: “Well..Too bad! I have already booked the tickets”- So no consultation and only Domination?
    1. NO WAY!!! Always consult. You don’t have to like the same things, but that doesn’t mean the other person’s opinion doesn’t count. He needs to take into consideration what you like and what you don’t and if he doesn’t care, then maybe he should find somebody who’s willing to put up with his crap.
  3. Does he respect his parents? Does he care of what they think, how they function? I don’t mean to be tethered to them with the eternal umbilical cord, but respect. Be aware of their feelings and their discomfort.
    1. Remember girls, if he respects his own parents, he will respect your parents as well.
  4. Is he self sufficient? Not how much money his dad has, or how fancy his dad’s car is? What about him? What does he earn?
    1. He may not have riches in his kitty, nor does he have to be the Duke of Yorkshire, but if he didn’t have anything can he take care of himself? or you? When you fall sick, will he drive you to the hospital, or will he wait for his daddy to send a car from home?
  5. How do you feel when he is not around? Do you smile, do you laugh?
    1. I shared this incident with a friend of mine. My husband has a habit of making cheesy jokes. For example, when I ask him what he wants for breakfast, he’d invariably reply “love” and some days he would add “you’re my breakfast, as long as I’m looking at you, I don’t need to eat anything”. I personally hate this drama- It’s so corny! Yet..on any morning, when he doesn’t say something silly, I start worrying if something is wrong. When he is not around, I almost always repeat these stories to my friends and I laugh, coz it’s sweet & funny.
  6. How does he treat your friends? Does he suck up or is he normal like he is with his friends? The trick is to balance. If he is going over the top to make your friends happy, then you’re absolutely right to be suspicious. We should never have to go that far to make somebody happy. It’s wrong of you to expect him to impress your friends as well. Friends are there for a reason- they love you and support you and if you screw up, they slap your face blind. But when you’ve made the right decision he shouldn’t have to impress anybody. They’ll already be impressed.
    1. He should be casual, friendly and just himself. If you’re expecting be somebody he is not to impress your friends, then you should check yourself- It basically means you know you’ve made the wrong choice and you don’t want your friends to throw it in your face so you’re getting him to suck up to them. Not cool girl!
  7. How does he consider your choices? Is he critical or judgmental or supportive?
    1. When my friend wanted to buy an expensive Gucci handbag from her second or third paycheck, her boyfriend couldn’t bring himself to be supportive. He explained to her how he would love for her to treat herself to something that fancy but it was too early to splurge and he would wish that she hold off for another month or so, but if she did’t want to wait then to go ahead and he will manage things at home for the next 2 months- That’s how it should be!
  8. What does he want to do in life?
    1. When my friend was getting married, I asked her husband-to-be what he wanted to do in life.. His response was one of the best I have heard. ” I don’t know what I want to do, but I do know what I want to be- A good husband, and a good father”
  9. What does he expect your position to be in his life? A wife, a friend?
    1. He should never forget you are his wife, but that doesn’t mean you stop being friends. Why should he choose one over the other?
  10. Why does he want to marry you?
    1. Because you make his life better, because with you he can imagine his life being so muchmore successful, because he wants to spend his life making you happy & because he can’t live without your smile.

Make the right decision my lovelies. Have faith, good things will come to you! 🙂

40 Fantastic things about Delhi & Delhiites

Being a Delhiite (any person who belongs to New Delhi, India) there are soooo many things we see and experience every day that are actually outside the ordinary. Interestingly, some of those things we have actually fallen into a habit of seeing or even doing without giving it much thought and it certainly doesn’t strike us as odd. But, then along comes an email like the one I got today called: 40 fantastic things about Dilli (that’s how you pronounce Delhi in Hindi) and you realize “Holy Crap! That shit is so true” 🙂 I actually admire the man/woman who took the time out to write down these quirky little things that only Dilli-wallas (again people from New Delhi India) can relate to.

Read for yourself and if you are from Delhi or know somebody from Delhi, then you know this is true! Read and enjoy and thank you to the perceptive and observant person who put this list together.

40 Fantastic things about saddi Dilli (our Delhi)

You know you are from Delhi when…..

  1. You drink alcohol only on Monday, Wednesday , and Thurday to Sunday evenings. And try not to drink on Tuesday.
  2. Treating a friend means – Daaru Shaaru te kabbab shabaab. (Booze and Kebabs)
  3. Even in the most posh colonies, you hear, “Aaloo lelo !!!, Bhindi le lo !!!! Pyaaz le lo !!!!, Tamatar le lo……” (Potatoes for sale, Okra for sale, Onions for sale and tomatoes for sale)
  4. And you hear women asking the vegetable vendor “Bhaiyaa dhaniya hari mirchi nahi diya!” [Even with Half a kilo Carrot – Dhania & Hari Mirch (coriander and green chillies) is expected to be free ] 😉
  5. A place to meet is Mocha, (CCD), Barista, Hookah.
  6. You use the word “setting” or “jugaad” at-least once a day. (Jugaad:  a colloquial Hindi word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple work-around)
  7. You have not visited either of – Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Lotus Temple. That’s only for tourists, so Delhiites say.
  8. You ride on the cycle rickshaw in NOIDA (more populary known as NEODA) – haggle over the price, but still pity rickshaw walla’s condition and give him what he asked.
  9. You glare at people who call Gol Gappas as Pani Puri!
  10. You always ask the vendor “Bhaiya yeh Gol-Gappe Aate ki hai ya Sooji ke?” (Are the Gol gappas made of flour or semolina?)
  11. Schools are the best is Delhi not because of CBSE, but because you’ve had school cancelled thrice due to cold in winters & summer vacations preponed due to sudden increase heat in Summers and at least two Rainy Day off during Monsoon.
  12. You have been to a wedding at a Mehrauli farmhouse at least once.
  13. You understand all important words in Punjabi & Punjabi “helping verbs” like teri maa di, teri bahen di… oye madar @#$% … oye bahen @#$$. Almost every Delhiite understands Punjabi to an extent. PUNJABI unites everyone.
  14. You call the waiter in the restaurant “boss” or “Pappey” & tack on “yaar” “bhai” to almost every sentence.
  15. You know that Pappay Da Dhaba or Kake Da Hotel has better butter chicken than Taj. You’ve at least tried it once! And you see a BMW, a Porsche OR a Mercedes parked outside it!
  16. You describe practically every other person on the planet as “Vella”. (‘Idle’ or Nikamma in Punjabi).
  17. You see middle-aged Aunties wearing Gucci shades and holding LV bags having Gol-Gappas in GK or Bhelpuri in South Ex along with Diet Coke !
  18. You call every stranger ‘Bhaiyya’.
  19. You refer to East Delhi as ‘Jamuna Paar’.
  20. You refer to AIIMS as Medical.
  21. Pretty girls as Totta, Maal or Bamb (Punjabi for Bomb).
  22. Aashiq mizaz boys as Majnu di Aulad !
  23. You dont buy tickets for a music concert or cricket match, but try to use political contacts… of the deputy secretary of the chief secretary of the Minister of State for Khadi.
  24. You overtake everyone from the wrong side and stare into his/her eyes while doing so.
  25. You have at least two cars and a motorbike at home.
  26. And you have fought at least once every month with neighbors over parking…
  27. You park your Car and take a Auto-rickshaw to Lajpat Nagar / Rajouri/ Kamla Nagar/ Karol Bagh. But CP, you don’t get parking space easily, yet you go always in your own vehicle.
  28. And then you say apni Kanvense (conveyance) howe na ta badi Kanvinyance (convenience) hondi hai ji !!!!!
  29. You have bribed a traffic cop (Mama) at least once.
  30. You know that a farmhouse has nothing to do with cattle or farming. It is luxurious hangout for whole night.
  31. You use “contacts” (jugaad) for everything, from getting movie tickets to restaurant bookings to play-school admissions.
  32. You have had Anda parantha outside Vikram hotel and Bun Omlette at Dhaula Kuan, Kulfi at Karol Bagh, Gol Gappe at India Gate, Dosa at Madras Hotel, Chana/Kulcha at Scindia House and Chaat at UPSC.
  33. Metro rail is your Pride but you travel in your Car.
  34. You think going the mall for shopping is equivalent to walking the ramp at Milan fashion week. You break out all the labels, because when else will you use your Prada, Dior and Louis Vuitton bags?
  35. You feel indicating which way you are going to turn your vehicle is an information security leak.
  36. You are a good driver coz you are correct in your guess of what the driver in the front vehicle will do.
  37. The only time you went to the Chidiya Ghar (Zoo) was on a school picnic.
  38. You expect around 10 FM STATIONS in every city! Woho.!
  39. DESPITE all the good and bad……..You still Love Delhi…
  40. You keep singing ….. Dilli hai Dil Walon ki….. Oye Balle Balle !!!

 

Mothers. Where would the world be without them?

I love that line “Mothers. Where would the world be without them?”

Where would the world be without mom? Probably in ruins 🙂 A mother is the most loving, understanding, steadfast and merciful person in your life. She is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness and I cannot imagine a life without my mother.

Somebody once told my mom that she had an insane, old world, past life connection with her daughters: that’s my sister and me and you know what? When I heard that, I wasn’t really surprised because I think we all have some inexplicable deep connection with our mothers, because it seems so bizarre for somebody to just lay down their life for you, after they have known you for a mere 9 months. I mean 9 months isn’t enough time, is it? And most of that 9 months, you’re just a kidney bean.

Maybe I will understand it better once I become a mother but till then, I am awed by the extent a mother goes for her child and I feel maybe there are several lifetimes worth of connections being carried forward which causes a mother to know you better than yourself, to understand your needs even before you comprehend that there is such a thing as need, to scold you when you’re wrong and immediately turn to mush when you start crying. How? How do you do it mom?

I asked my mother once, if it was tough for her raising rebellious, unruly children such as my sister and myself, and all she did was smile and stroke my hair and tell me if it weren’t for all that we wouldn’t have turned into the people we are today, and we wouldn’t have truly been “her” children if we hadn’t been rebellious 🙂 Turns out, mum was a bit of a rebel herself (cue in my mom’s big rebellion for true love and her marriage to my dad- a story for another time 😀 )

In our time of need, our mother went through hell and high water to make sure we were ok. In our time of weakness, she hid her own pain and tears, to wipe ours away, in our time of happiness, she cleverly disguised the weight she was carrying (to ensure our happiness remains intact), and in our time of success she silently, and slowly slid into the shadows somewhere while we stood in the limelight, basking in the appreciation.

How is a mother this selfless? How is she able to do so much with no reward and sometimes even no recognition? How do we repay her for all her sacrifices, her strength, her love, sympathy, wisdom and support? And when we try, she rewards you with such gratitude, that I am humbled, ashamed and truly taken aback.

My mother gave me this greeting card for my birthday this year. I was so surprised and moved, I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t even bear to finish reading the whole thing. All I ever did was hold her hand, she did so much more for me, when will she ever realise that? Do mothers ever realise it? Do they even keep count?

From mom to me, 2013 August

From mom to me, 2013 August

From mom to me, 2013 August

From mom to me, 2013 August

From mom to me, 2013 August

From mom to me, 2013 August

Mother’s are unanswered questions. What drives them, what supports them, what gives them the strength, I don’t know but I agree with George Washington in what he said,  “My Mother is the most beautiful woman I ever saw. I attribute all my success in my life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her”.

My dear darling mother Rekha,

I love you mom. I promise to be your strength, your heart, your support, your confidant and your friend along with being the good, obedient daughter that you deserve. I can never quite thank you for all the times, you brought me back from the dark places I have been in, I can never quite understand how you dive into situations to rescue me without knowing anything, just the fact that I need you being enough to drive you. I can never see you as somebody other than my mother, (as if that is your only role in life 😀 ) Every, time your knee pains, or every time you forget something, I curse the stupid rules of the world and society, for taking me away from you. Whenever I see a new wrinkle appear on your face, I am painfully reminded that you are an year older, but even then so beautiful. If there was anyway I could go back to the beginning of my life and choose a mother, I would still choose you, and put in an application to God, to Bless me with you (as a mother) if ever I am reborn, because I know as much as you do that I would be lost without you. 🙂

 

mummy and me

mummy and me

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

I am not a morning person! Not in the least! And you know how they say opposites attract? Well that can be a pain in your neck sometimes, because my husband is a morning person. I don’t just mean “a-regular-start-your-day-on-a-good-note-in-the-morning” kinda person, NO!!! He is a “the-sun-is-going-to-rise-in-10-minutes-and-I-really-can’t-wait-to-bask-in-the-amazingness-of-the-sunrise” kinda person.

I mean he wakes up ridiculously early, and goes for a run and when he returns, he is almost always in a freakishly good mood, full of energy, ready to make coffee and breakfast. I love him, I really do but I cannot be so bright and sunny in the morning, especially not on an empty stomach.

I am always hesitant to start my day in the morning and I don’t know how many times I have actually prayed for an entire day to be skipped 😦

But, I grudgingly get out of bed with lots of encouragement from my husband (God Bless him!)

But it’s technically NOT a “Morning” for me unless I have a plate of yummy food in front of me 🙂

photo

 

And it becomes a “Good Morning” when I have a cup of coffee before going to work.. And I’m ready to start my day 🙂

 

image

 

Be Social and share share share! 🙂

My mommy-My hero

So, I realise I haven’t blogged in a while but here’s the thing, with work and a commute of over 2 hours (everyday- ONE WAY) and a complete home to take care of (including cooking) with no help whatsoever, can be tough!!! phewwww…! 🙂

And nothing gets better when on top of it all you have the flu. Your nose feels like its gonna fall off because it’s so raw from the constant wiping. You feel like your body is heavier than lead and you have a 2 year pounding on a drum inside your head. Uggggghhh!!!

Falling sick is the worst thing that can happen to anybody, especially me. Why? you ask? I guess it’s because I can’t feel as sorry for anybody else as I do for myself now, can I? 🙂

I was so unwell last week that I could barely get out of bed. But, my husband dropped me off at my mommy’s for some serious TLC.

Whether you are 5 years old or 50…. I honestly think that whenever you are sick all you can think of is your mom.

I don’t know about anybody else, but whenever I am sick I crave for my mother’s hands, stroking my hair like she used to whenever I used to fall sick as a child. My mom pouring me a hot bowl of soup, fluffing my pillows, tucking me in…. Aaah! The works. 🙂

A mother’s love is a mother’s love and nothing can stand up to it, not even you-oh flu virus..!

When I was younger, I used to fake being sick on school days (as I am sure everybody has done so when they were children). Atleast I used to try. My mom would never buy into my bluff and would always say “go to school, and if you start feeling sick, come back home”. Disappointing as it was, I’d still go to school because you see my true motive was not to avoid school (although that was an added bonus) it was to get my mom to stay home with me. 🙂
And funny as it is ironic, I know for a fact, that’s exactly what I’ll be saying to my kids when they try to fake being sick on school days 🙂

It wasn’t the “quality time” we would spend together, it was just the idea of knowing she is at home because between my teenaged sister and me and my dad (who, by the way my mother claims, was no less than a 5 year old child, when at home) and a full time job, I used to think my mom doesn’t have any time dedicated especially to me. But I realise now how much time she actually did dedicate to me. She took years off from a full time career to be with me, she tucked me into bed every night, said my prayers with me, made me delicious food whenever I wanted it, irrespective of how tired she was, and how she sacrificed sleep, food, comfort, basically everything to sit next to me when I was in the hospital for an appendectomy.
She was unwell herself but she did not move from my bedside. She wouldn’t eat but she would make sure I am well fed, she wouldn’t sleep but she would make sure I got several hours of sleep.
Even today, she manages to take care of me even though we don’t live together anymore. I have a home of my own now and I am the “go to for anything” person in my house, I am the one who “takes care of everybody” but my mommy, still takes care of me.

My husband and I continue to be amazed and surprised at the amount of energy, enthusiasm and quiet strength that lies within her.

We appreciate you Mom, we love you and we inspire to be like you-more and more each day- My mommy, my hero! 🙂

Have you thought of all the things your mother has done for you in the past? Or continues to do even today?

Take some time off, call your mom and tell her you love her. She may know it, but would be so nice for her to hear it, out of the blue, randomly, because she did and she does all that she does for you because of those 3 words.

Thanks for reading everybody, and don’t forget to tell your mom, how much you love her. That’s what I do, everyday! 🙂