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What’s a secret?

What has a secret become today? Something that you tell everybody to tell nobody! Or some truth that you’d rather take to the grave to save yourself from embarrassment! The definition of a secret could rather be described as something that you intend to not tell people. The reason for keeping a secret could either be logical or emotional. Logical being, the inability of the audience to handle such information. For example, hiding something from children because you are “protecting them” from the truth. Emotional being, due to fear, guilt and judgement. Or it could be the sheer thrill of knowing something no one else does. This gives you a sense of power and control. I have met such people and trust me, no good has come out it in the long run.

We all have secrets. Harmless, jovial ones, the deep regretful ones or maybe the gossipy ones. And keeping other people’s secrets is the most uneasy one. If they confide in you with a secret, you should respect yourself enough to hold it in you. If you have disclosed it to someone else, shame on you.

The problem is not in keeping it, it is the stress we put in mentally to not tell anyone. It keeps us awake in the nights, it makes us cry when we listen to songs that describe our life perfectly, it makes us choke when we see movies depicting our disturbed past. The idea of it alone stems from the fact of intentional hiding. So we choose to eat away, drink away, exercise away or do anything to rationalise the power of it.

Remember, having secrets is not a problem if they do not affect you in an unhealthy way!

But, my question is this: Is the fear of having secrets or keeping secrets more powerful? A secret, itself, has a lot of power. You don’t have it, it has you! It compresses you into a cage of judgements and doubts. Will people accept you for who you are? Will you be happy sharing it? Are we afraid or are we being judgemental about ourselves? Do I have the capability to keep a secret?

Am I bothering you with so many questions?!

Okay, here’s my thought on secrets!

I think keeping secrets between loved ones could cause havoc if not taken care of. I have things that I’m unwilling to share with anyone. The reason being I’m constantly in fear of being judged. With time, all these thoughts made me think of how foolish I had been at certain times. For a secret to remain a secret, one has to hide away from the fact that it is a secret. You pile up your thoughts with one or more lies to comfort yourself that not revealing it is the right thing to do. Eventually, you either accept it as a hidden thought or live with the consequences of disclosing it. Either way, it is a tough call.

Secrets are a fragile part of your life, at least the ones important are! The denial of it is what inflates the power of it. It will make you judge people. It will introduce you to a side you haven’t seen. It becomes an important part of your identity. My advice is if you are dying to tell things out, write it on a piece of paper and tear it. Even better? Talk to your trusted ones. You are not alone, ever. In a world where everyone’s life is shielded by a mask of social networking lies, we need authenticity and transparency!

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Achilles’ Heel

Once upon a time in optimist land, a 25-year-old was hit with tragedy. And thus formed the new me: a not-so-optimistic head with a hopeful heart. Things had gone from good to bad, better to worse before I could sink into the consequences. Talking about bad times, have you guys ever come across this term “Achilles Heel”?  Well, here’s the story behind it!

According to ancient Greek mythology, the great warrior, Achilles was foretold he would die young. His mother, Thetis, to prevent his death, took her son to River Styx which was known for its powers of invulnerability. She dipped him in the water head down by holding him near the heel, thus giving him enormous power- immortality. Achilles was held by the heel and his heel was not washed over by the water of the magical river. As time progressed, Achilles grew up to be a great warrior. He fought with the Greek army during the Trojan war. None of the weapons could hurt Achilles because of his boon. However, the God, Apollo, knew of Achilles’ “weak spot”. Apollo told the Prince of Troy, Paris, all about it and was thereby lodged with a poisonous arrow near his heel killing him shortly afterwards.

Moral of the myth: Even the world’s mightiest have a weak spot. Achilles’ mother defied the basic rule of humanity gifted by God: death. And the irony is death came after him in the form of God himself (Apollo).

All of us have our Achilles’ heel, including the toughest. Mine is certainly fatty things like tiramisu and ice cream. Well, apart from that, I definitely was hit with a reality check very late in my life. By the end of 2015, I had a career with no direction, a body with no iron levels and a soul without peace. I always looked at life in the most hopeful way, more like seeing the glass half full. But, what happens when the things around you make you look at the glass half empty? You start losing the warmth of life and you start to question every little thing you believed in till then. Does being optimistic make you unaware of how serious situations can be? Or was I using the word ‘optimism’ to cover up all the obstacles I had to eventually face? I was losing control on all the major aspects of my life, yet, I was hopeful things would change without acting on it. What I failed to realise initially was I had to act on it and stick to that decision: self-care.

Earlier, I would run by every emotion and issue with my peers. I would become low if they were in a bad mood. I became emotionally dependent on them. But gradually, I started to let go. I stopped ranting to my friends and being in situations that threatened my inner peace. I was becoming independent with my thoughts. I was able to sit alone in a coffee shop and eat my dessert. That is a big deal for me. I never, ever sat alone and ate in all my life. I love my friends very much, I do, but, I have come to terms with the fact that no one can make you content better than you. Somehow, amidst all these changes, I was looked at as arrogant, impatient and head-strong.

Eventually, I was questioned by many: “Why aren’t you telling us anything? Why are you distancing yourself?”

The ones who understood my change stayed with me and the ones who looked at this negatively, slowly began to drift away. The fact is I turned into a realist. I turned into this person who looked at the glass with hope and excitement. It is my glass and I can fill it! I can sit and do nothing with hope in my heart or I can act on them and live a life with hope. The choice was right there on the table all my life. I was just hit by a rough phase to remind me that the cards are still there on the table.

But in this process of loving myself, have I become insecure about my spot in others lives? Today, with fewer people whom I can rely on, can I call the fear of losing people my Achilles’ heel?

 

3 months later…

Hey, guys!

I know it’s been a while I posted on this blog. I have been super lazy and inconsistent with my writing so after much contemplation, I’m here. It so happened that on my recent visit to Hyderabad and Chennai, I met a lot of people who actually read my blog.  On one fine cloudy, have-a-strong-coffee kind of day, I bumped into a friend I hadn’t met since college. We greeted, did the usual hey, how are you exchange and this is how the conversation went.

She: so how is your blog?

Me: (in utter shock and in an obviously loud, excited voice) you read my bloggggggg?!

she: (quite surprised at my reaction) um, yeah!

Me: (happily glowing)oh my god!! I had no idea people actually read it. And it’s coming from someone I know!

She: (smiling oh-so-sweetly at me)I followed it until a while ago. In fact, there was a day I really wanted to read your blog and I ended up stalking your Instagram and FB page for the link.

Me: (still in shock) Wow! you stalked my social hubs? Yayy! (covering my face to hide my flushed cheeks)

She: Why did you stop writing, by the way?

Me: (confused now)Um, I never thought people actually followed it?

And I ended up giving really stupid excuses. The truth is, I couldn’t write because I was no longer upset about life. Does that make sense? I know I sound horrible when I say it but believe me, writing was always a medium to let out my sorrow! I never really practiced the art of expressing thoughts when I’m content and in peace. Maybe I should start to.

Anyway, back to the conversation with my friend. We ended the friendly encounter by her advising me to keep writing. She said, “don’t stop writing. You write really well and people actually do follow your blog”. I guess that was enough to hear because finally, it felt like my blog had a purpose. I never understood why I started this in the first place but her words felt like appreciation in its truest form.

Soon after, I left to Chennai. My darling bestie and I had planned our pre-birthday celebrations. Long story short: turning 25 is awesome! To my surprise (like as if turning 25 wasn’t exciting enough), everyone I met ended up asking the same question; “Why aren’t you writing?”

I figured, eh, I may be bad at writing but I still got a bunch of people waiting for my next post. So people! Be prepared to listen to all the random s*** I encounter, my food porn and my not so intellectual opinions on life.

And oh, a special shoutout to Sonal(the friend I met at the coffee shop) and everyone who asked my friends and me about my blog. Thank you! A big, huge, warm thank you! It was just the motivation I needed. Nothing makes me happier than making my loved ones smile.

Shower gyaan

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?

Dear Self

Dear self,

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

But

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.

 

My forbidden love affair

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:

  1. I have given the recipe for one 6 inch cake pan. You can multiply as required.

  2. The first rule of baking: All ingredients must be at room temperature.

  3. 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.

  4. I’m a possessive lover generally but I shall excuse you if you fall in love with this cake.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Instructions:

  • 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.

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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.

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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.