I was in my shower post my evening workout thinking about life and lessons because clearly that is the only time we are ever free and constantly winning imaginary arguments. And guess what? I had unknowingly achieved something. After 2 years of constant self-motivation, counselling from friends and gyaan from the movies and novels, one fine day, it vanished. Naturally, like every other blogger, I thought I could write a post relating to this.
So I got into my sexy pyjamas and jumped on the bed to jot down. However, I look at my blog page and I’m shocked. It has been almost two whole months since I posted anything. My friends urged me to write now and then but I shooed their thoughts away thinking I will do it the next day. And the next day. And so on. So here I’m, approximately 48 days later, wanting to write something. If there is something I value now, that is definitely time. Where did it go? Maybe I was contemplating my thoughts on life, the people around us and how energy affects us all. Nah bro, I was just kidding. I was busy eating mangoes. Because food, baby! Always the first priority.
Anyway, back to my shower thoughts. So I had been dealing with a lot of negativity since I can remember. I still cannot pick on a certain issue but, maybe it was the incidents happening around me or the people I met or it could be just my stupid illusion. It still affected me in a big way. And in a bad way. It took me relentless hard work and dedication to lose all the baby weight by the end of 2014. Unfortunately, by the early of 2016, I gained all of it. Because? Stress! At the mid of 2016, all that revolved around my mind was WTF was happening to me.
I’m not getting into the sad and gory details of that phase. Not because it’s private but, I’m lazy now. Like someone-breathe-for-me lazy.
Come to think of it, the speed at which my over thinking brain was analysing things was just crazyyy. I really wish I listened to my friend when she said: “let go”. And she reminded me of it every single day. Let go of the worries. Let go of certain people. Let go of everything negative. Seriously, how did she survive repeating that to me for the last 365 days? I would have given up on the fourth day. Okay, not so soon but still! She is a boon to me.
So here I’m, with my waist size bigger and my hair thinner than ever, telling all of you the secret to my rather happy post. Yoga! I’m not here to propagate the principles of it and I certainly do not wish to get into the details. However, trying is never a bad thing. So go ahead and invest an hour into yoga. Screw the gym, ditch the weights and go on the mat. It will do wonders. Maybe not physically but, definitely mentally.
I’m more aware of myself and I learned a lot. Number one: you can be mindful. Number two: my body is super flexible. I could do wavy things with my tummy and twist my body to the point I do not recognise myself. Imagine that. How cool!
Whatsoever it did to me, it worked. Firstly, my mind is much clearer so I don’t have my brain speeding at 260km/hr. Secondly, I feel lighter and happier. I’m starting to move away from the negativity. I don’t stress excessively like I used to. And by the way, I’m still one size bigger but definitely better in my mind and heart. Weight will come and go. It is the heart and mind that needs constant effort. Focus on that.
I urge you all out there to try yoga. Get to know your inner self ’cause that is pretty badass! And finally, spend time with people that bring out the best in you, not the stress in you. Okay?
I know there are days when you feel directionless
I know you have thoughts about quitting yourself
I know you have nights of discomfort and utter silence
I also know there are days when you feel like sunshine
I know your eyes instantly light up watching your little brother smile
I know the beaming smile when you smell coffee
I know the sense of pride you own when you hit the five-mile mark
But why am I pining for more? What is this “more”?
Let me remind you, what you are going through is life. It tries knocking you down every day because it senses your strength. But, It treats you with small moments of happiness. Fear not, you are normal. You are just like every other being who craves to see the soul in everything.
I admit you have your flaws and imperfections. I know how you like things to move your way at times. I know the temper you possess. You love too much, care too much, give too much. There are days you try so hard and then again, there are those times you give up easily. But I’m here to tell you, you do not have to change anytime soon. Your good qualities balance it all and that makes you one hell of a strong person. You wake up every day to fight your inner demon but, you also live through it.
My dear self, you aren’t sad, you are just human. Let your light in and watch it do wonders to you. Give yourself a chance. Practice the act of standing up for yourself and being firm in your beliefs. There will be people who do not understand your journey and that’s OKAY.
All that hurt you have in you? Make art with it.
Write. Bake. Groove. Live.
After all, that is what life really needs: spreading your light in times of darkness.
I have been keeping a secret from all of you. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it and neither is it because of my personal issues. It’s just that I’ve never had the chance to express my feelings. You see, I have a love affair. Now I call it an affair because I heard it is unconventional to have a relationship with an already stolen heart. But I cannot deny the undying love and affection I have for my beloved. His touch is warm and makes me want to hug him tighter. He is probably the only one who doesn’t complain about my over expressive face and my hyper active mind.He is soft on the inside and firm on the outside, a porous heart big enough to fill in all my emotions and a beautiful taste to linger onto. Yes, I’m talking about my cake. My vanilla cake. And here you all thought I was talking about a man. Pff!
My previous relationship with mashed potatoes wasn’t entirely lump-free, as you all know. He was spud-tacular, no doubt about that. But time passed and I gave zero commitment to my potato. Meanwhile, I got introduced to this really gorgeous looking cake through my sister. We hit it off instantly and now here I’m, committed to my cake.
Chocolate and men are replaceable but a perfect vanilla sponge cake? Na! My sister recommended this recipe a couple of months back and let me tell you, this is all I bake now. Like literally this is all I bake now! Time and again, food has surprised me with my inner emotions. I can sense my inner soul doing backflips when I see the most luscious looking creamy batter getting ready to be enclosed in an oven.
Today will be the first time I will be making two batches of cake along with chocolate ganache(fingers crossed). I’m hoping to get it right. Wish me luck.
I have decided to share this recipe with you all because a) you will love it and b) it is awesome(duh)
A couple of things to warn you about:
- I have given the recipe for one 6 inch cake pan. You can multiply as required.
The first rule of baking: All ingredients must be at room temperature.
You can obviously get easier recipes but I swear by this one. This is the perfect cake mix I have come across in my rather avid knowledge for baking.
I’m a possessive lover generally but I shall excuse you if you fall in love with this cake.
- Flour – 86.3g (if you don’t have 86.3g, this will be a complete flop. kidding! but hey, good things don’t come easy. So take the damn kitchen scale and measure it)
- Baking powder- 3.26g
- Salt- pinch
- Sugar – 86.3g
- Unsalted butter- 57.6g
- 1 large egg
- Vanilla extract- 1/4 tsp
- Milk- 63ml
Preheat oven at 170-degree celsius.
- Sift flour, baking powder and add the pinch of salt in one bowl(dry mix).
- In another bowl, add your sugar and butter for creaming. Then add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat only until it incorporates. warning: do not overbeat as it can curdle.
- Now take the dry mix and milk and pour it in 2 to 3 intervals respectively into the egg mix. At this stage, I would suggest beating the mix less. Try mixing with your spatula just until it is incorporated.
- And your batter is ready. Pour the batter into 6 inch round pan which should be completely greased with butter and coated with flour.
- Bake for 35 minutes at 170 degree celsius.
- And voila, we are done. Wait for the cake to cool down for the application of ganache.
And this is how my cake looks like now.
For the chocolate ganache, it is a simple procedure.
Follow this ratio always; Chocolate compound: fresh cream = 2:1. Heat the cream and pour over chocolate. In case it still does not mix well, use the bain-marie method.
I was super confident that I could do this. All excited, I set my hands on the ganache bowl with devouring eyes. By now, my patience has gone and all I want to do is eat the damn cake. Despite constant warnings from my sister, I did not flatten the cake. At this point, my brain has convinced me that I have super powers and I could do anything, just about anything to achieve the perfect look. Because hey, who knows this cake better than me.
And voila, this is how my cake looks like now.
Haha, and you thought you would see the most perfect looking thing on earth. I said I had the love for baking, I didn’t say I was perfect at it. It was tasty as f*** despite all its imperfections. Well, everything is indeed fair in love and war.
Moral of the day: Do not keep expectations and do not look for perfection in love. It might look ugly occasionally, it might disappoint you at times, it can toughen your heart by showing how beautifully broken it is, but at the end of the day, you will back for its soul. You go back not for the way it looks, but for the way it feels from inside – comforting and fulfilling.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go indulge in some love therapy.
I was Skyping with a good friend of mine and I was introduced to her mum. And this is how the conversation went.
Friend: Ma, this is my friend, kita. Kita, my mum.
Me: Hi aunty. How are you?
Aunty: I’m good kita. How are you? Where are you from?
Me: (all excited) I’m doing well, aunty. Actually, I’m from el…
Friend: She is a nomad, ma. Nomad.
Come to think of it, maybe I’m actually one. I know I have been irregular with my posts but hey, I have been travelling like crazy for the last couple of weeks. Weddings, parties, pujas, doctor appointments, you name it: I have done all that I could. I haven’t had a decent sleep in forever. But I love this nomadic life that I’m experiencing now. New places, new people, good food, what is not to love! The rush in the airports, the profound seriousness of the lonely travellers, that peace in little quaint cafes, those persuasive street vendors asking you to buy kanakabarams and mallepoolu who are so oblivious to the ticking time of their lives reminded me of the busy routine that I had been missing for quite some time. Although at times, I did crave for some solitude in this trip.
So on one of the days, I had gone to attend a perfumes & fragrance exhibit recently along with dad. It was put up in this gorgeous luxury hotel. Damn, it was architecture done right. The scaling, the mix of tradition with modernity, the ever so classic union of marbles and POP, you get the drift right? It was everything an architect would love: progressive and avant-garde. Anyway, about the exhibit, it was too much of chemistry for half a day. By lunch, I was done and exhausted. So I went downstairs searching for a café while my dad was busy attending informal meetings. As my eyes scrolled through the beauty of this hotel, I noticed a tiny chocolate boutique called ‘Fabelle’. Okay, girl. Your day is made. I walked into a gush of chocolate-scented air mixed with the fresh smell of just baked goods. I was left spellbound. Whoever thought that chocolate in this world was all about Godiva’s and Lindts, you will certainly change your mind. I’m talking about an Indian brand breaking all barriers and producing the best chocolate. This is what is called paradise! And the cute barista was the icing on the cake.
I mean the interiors were fantastic but the feel of the whole café was something else. I was involuntarily at ease. My eyes gazed towards this gorgeous looking dessert displayed on one of the counters. Sensing my eye direction, the barista proceeded towards the counter. We started engaging in a conversation about food and explaining about why the Éclair Venezuela was his in-house favourite. The dessert was a Éclair topped with a pure gold dusted chocolate crumble and beautiful drops of white chocolate cream icing. The tempered chocolate flakes just added to the perfection.
Going to that café and ordering that dessert was the best decision I have made in the past couple of weeks. I went bonkers over it. I took a spoonful of it and to my surprise, it was a chocolate choux filled Éclair. OMG, if only food could talk. It was all gooey and creamy and gorgeous inside. To top it off, the adornment of crumble and the icing worked just well. It was the right mix of everything, like a party in my mouth. It was rich, crunchy, velvety and above all effortless in its own manner. Just like life, this dessert surprised me: simple, decadent and yet so full of flavour. I sat there, enjoying every tiny morsel of it, taking in all the beauty of it. I cannot put into words what I felt within but the moment I took my first bite, I unconsciously closed my eyes in tasting it. And when it became all about the chocolate and me, I beamed with realisation. I was alone in a café, all by myself and throwing a wide smile. I think I probably scared the cute barista who, till then, was convinced that we had an interesting talk. But who cares! It was a moment that gave me immense joy. Somewhere between all that dopamine rush and the calmness, it hit me. Sometimes it takes really simple things to make you happy. I sat there alone, without any company, enjoying myself in that intimate moment. I guess some moments are best felt than said.
Maybe I had forgotten to appreciate the small things in life. Maybe growing up, being in your 20’s, chasing towards your career, searching for meaningful relationships can occasionally leave you disheartened. We all read, send and post quotes on loving ourselves and being happy (including me) but we forget that it starts from within. Sometimes the mind registers them in the most atypical manner. Life is amusing that way. It teaches you to be content. It teaches you to stop yourself and take a break from all that haziness of life.
Pause and feel the things around you. You will be amazed by the hints life throws at you. Sometimes that could happen through a broken heart, sometimes through a rough patch, sometimes by retail therapy and sometimes just by making you sit all by yourself, alone, drowning in chocolate heaven.
I guess having a nomadic life isn’t so bad after all. Shit will keep happening but you gotta stop and eat that chocolate!
Why is everybody driven towards “being perfect”? Is that the only route to happiness? Could it be the over increasing power given to technology? Every day we wake up checking our phone, we go to the loo with our phone and we sleep after we stalk every inch of all the social networking websites. We are constantly forced to update ourselves: Exercise more, dress like that, read all the possible news in this world, have an opinion on everything, be strong, don’t show weakness, strive for that perfect flawless body and skin. I’m so tired of hearing these things. I’m so tired of people making resolutions. I’m so tired of pretending like I-know-it-all. Has the definition of happiness changed today? I would say YES. I recently stumbled upon a post on Instagram and I was startled reading this.
“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturizer? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel they are left behind.
To be calm becomes a kind of a revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our money, human selves, would not be good for business.”
–Matt Haig, Author of “Reasons to Stay Alive”
You cannot recognize the surrounding substance till you take a step back and see it from another perspective. When you are born into it, it is hard to distinguish the mental chains. We, humans, are an arrogant species governed by greed. We have taken our planet and placed it on the road to destruction. The technological world has surpassed the human psychology by ten times fold and we are desperately trying to reach within those limits. I don’t understand this: What is so wrong about being sad when life hits you hard? What is so wrong in being satisfied with just what you have? Sometimes happiness is staying in bed all day and sometimes it is about enjoying our morning cup of coffee and practicing yoga. Sometimes it is about munching on peanut butter jelly sandwiches in the midnight. The road to your happiness does not depend on what the world wants you to be; it is who you want to be.
We live in a society that puts maintenance first. We are taught to maintain that perfect body and maintain calm and unaffected by sadness, we are taught to maintain perfection aka happiness throughout our life. Is that the only emotion ruling us now? And even if it is, isn’t it being portrayed in the wrong way? I have personally met people who are affected by the society and its norms and let me tell you this: the mind gets easily webbed into lies of perfection. Look at the people walking outside. Look at them. There. Outside the window. Why can’t you be like them? Maybe I would be happy if I had her looks, I wish I had money to buy those expensive footwears and cars, maybe I would have been happy if I was like him. It’s the maybes’ that will pollute you. Constant comparisons and unremitting struggles: that’s what the so-called happiness has led to. There is a very fine line between perfection and happiness.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, the oldest yogi in this world(98 years old) was asked, ‘what advice would you give to your younger self?’. She said, ‘I wish I knew the power of everything was within me. If you feel the life within you, nothing is impossible. It is within every planet, every blade of grass. Whatever you put in your mind materialises, so materialise what you believe in life’.
Please remind yourself: happiness comes from within. It comes from silly thoughts of your crushes and late night couch dinners. It comes from Sunday brunches and finding extra money in your pocket. More often, it comes from seeing your loved ones happy. Feel the sun on your cheeks and the rain on your skin. Eat amazing food. Drink more water. Travel if you can. Enjoy solitude. Meditate(if you haven’t, you should). Stop chasing happiness, perfection, or whatever you call it. Being happy does not mean everything is perfect.It means looking beyond the perfections. No one is perfect, my dear.Remember:
Have you ever wondered how these motivational posts pop right up in your instagram account and they describe just how you are feeling at that moment? It boggles me how apt those posts relate to me. It is a mind reader. Really. I follow my instagram account religiously and I’m shamefacedly admitting that I cannot live without it (well, at least as of now). It somehow motivates me in my horrible I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed days. Having said that, I think it is okay to feel sad. And you know that moment right before you feel sad? You try to sidetrack your mind by checking your phone and texting all your friends “hi” in a row or you watch your favourite movie or dig on ice-cream tubs till you feel immobile? Right at that moment, you feel you are okay, you feel alright, but uh oh, here it comes! It erupts like a volcano inside your cracked sealed heart and gushes over your mind leaving you breathless. Let that sadness consume your soul, let it seep through the deepest veins and engulf you with burning flames. Introduce your soul to sadness and let it know what it feels like. Feeling sad is one of the greatest pleasures of life. You should give a damn and cry, but only about things that set your soul on fire. Quit hiding the magic that sadness can create. Cry out and get stronger, bolder and happier. And it is in those moments you learn about yourself and realise that you should love yourself more. Be the love you never received. Loving yourself is the greatest boon you can give yourself. Don’t give up on yourself even though you want to. The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart. Find peace in knowing that your love is enough to conquer this world. Sometimes you don’t need saving, you need to recognize your power. When you recognize your power, your spiritual side gets in tune with vibes, frequency and energy. And when you get in tune, you recognize your own INNER “G” aka gut feeling!
Bell Hooks said, ‘Sometimes people will try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power – not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.’
Don’t allow the success or failure of your goals to determine your happiness. You cannot base your joy on whether something works or not. Happiness comes from within, or it will be frail or flimsy. While we are on this subject of loving yourself, let me tell you what all I have learned from such incidents. I remind myself every so often. Speak out loud when you read this. The louder I told this to myself, the stronger it hit me.
- I will listen to my intuition more often.
- I will not say yes when I really want to say no.
- I won’t accept responsibility for other people’s problems.
- I will be less moved by the opinions of others.
- I will put myself first more often.
- If it doesn’t feed my soul, I will let it go.
- I will not give people the benefit of the doubt when their character is unclear or not known to me.
- I will rid myself of all self-limiting beliefs.
- I will implement/maintain no or low contact with anything negative.
Trust me, this works. Every. Single. Time.