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! 🙂

Being Grown up

I realize I haven’t written anything in a long time, but with our recent move from our hometown to a different city altogether, life has been pretty busy for my husband and me. Setting up a new house isn’t an easy task. Carefully selecting each and every piece of furniture, or household electronic or any home décor item for that matter. You’re probably going to think and discuss it over with each other a gazillion times before you do it. Because you wanna make sure you fill your blank canvas with the best of the best.  🙂

I like to call this the ‘adult life’, and my husband finds it a funny when I say that. Although somewhat a challenge, we are really enjoying, going through the entire process of culture sensitization and discovering local food, places to shop; but most of all, we are still coming to terms with the fact that we left our childhood back home with our parents. It was somewhat unsaid between the two of us but it just so happened that we both left every piece of our childhood (every memoir) with our parents. Looks like we have graduated into the ‘adult life’ 🙂

But lemme tell you something, it’s not easy being an adult. The fun and the frolic that accompanies adulthood, always comes with a side order of responsibility. When we got married, my husband and I had an idealistic view of what it would be like to be married and living the adult life, which we expected to transition into like IMMEDIATELY. And although it didn’t turn around that fast and we didn’t just wake up the day after our wedding in some beautiful new land, we realised that we could help each other grow into the people we wanted to be . With the move to the new city it graduation to real, true adulthood became even more easier.

When I was in middle school, I remember seeing this pretty mom dropping her kid off at school. She was beautiful and so well groomed and so independent (because apparently my 11yr old mind thought that if she drove a car she was independent). Then right for a moment, in a wonderful slow motion moment, she looked at me; she looked right at me and she smiled. At that instant I felt so proud and I was speechless and my feet were rooted to the ground. Her hair was twisted into a lovely side bun, she had sunglasses on her head with beautiful almond shaped eyes with red lipstick, and I knew right then and there, how badly I wanted to be an adult. I wanted to be an adult so I could look like her, have a car of my own like her, be free as a bird like her. Now I’m there, my own car, hair in a French knot, red lipstick, the works. But it’s not as much of a delight (some days) as I would have imagined it to be.

Now I think back to my middle school days and wonder if there is any way for me to go back and relive a few memories. That was the time when you could do anything and get away with it. If you ate fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you wouldn’t gain a pound. You could come home from school and throw your clothes and backpack on the floor, and somebody would pick it up and would put it back in its place. Aaaah the good life! 🙂

Although it’s hard to let go of your childhood, but you need to move on and experience new things because it doesn’t matter whether or not you move ahead, you’re life is moving irrespective of you. The key is to recognise and embrace the good moves and walk over the bad ones. In the end know this, however difficult it is to be an adult, nothing can beat the fun you get out of it.

“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.” 
John Connolly

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 🙂

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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 🙂

 

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