The exit plan…

I consider myself generally lucky when it comes to the kind of people I am surrounded with. I have some great friend, but every once in a while you meet someone who sucks the life out of you. If someone had to describe my personality traits, it would probably be shy and submissive. I am not an extrovert and I hate confrontations. It is easier for me to run away from someone after a fight than actually have a conversation about it.

Over the years, I have had a few people in my life who really don’t bring out the best in me. I think it’s very important that you surround yourself with the right kind people, who compliment your personality. No matter what you do in life, if you don’t have a healthy environment around you, sooner or later, it will start affecting your work. It is difficult to realize that being around someone is not doing anything for you, and once you do,  it is even more difficult to let go of that relationship. But, your mental wellbeing is your responsibility. Just like your body needs a healthy diet and exercise, your mind too needs positive and healthy environment to thrive in. Negative feelings like guilt, sadness, non belongingness, brings your performance level down over a long period of time and erodes your confidence.

Every one has their own way of handling people, you can try talking to the person; that works for some people. For my personality type thought, it hasn’t, because I tend to bottle up my frustration and make things worse for myself. What I have learnt, is that as soon as you identify those toxic relationships (which are of course beyond salvage), work on an exit plan. Don’t be rude or nasty, but also don’t feel guilty about cleaning out the junk. Sure, keep in touch with people, hang out once in a while, but learn to prioritize your time and give yourself importance. Your time and energy is valuable. Do not waste it over someone who cannot appreciate it.

 

 

Garlic-Yogurt dip and Tomato dip/chutney: Party food…

I love hosting parties. On special occasions like Holi and Diwali I have cooked for some 30 people at a time and I just love to watch people eat my food! It is one of the greatest pleasures of life and anyone who loves cooking will agree with me.

I have these great recipes for dips to go with any kind of finger food, or even to be used as sandwich fillings.

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Garlic-Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt/ hung curd- 200 gms.
  • Onion-  1 large (finely chopped)
  • Cucumber- 1 large (grated)
  • Garlic- 2/3 cloves (grated)
  • Green chillies- 2 (finely chopped)
  • Cheese (any kind)- 2 table spoons (grated)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  • Strain excess water from the yogurt using a cheese cloth and put it in a bowl.
  • Squeeze the excess water from the grated cucumber and along with all the other finely chopped ingredients, cheese and garlic, add them into the bowl and mix well with the yogurt.
  • Season with salt and pepper as per your taste.

 

Tomato Dip/Chutney

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes- 6 large
  • Ginger- 2 inches (grated)
  • Garlic- 3/4 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Onion- 1 large (finely chopped)
  • Green Chillies-3/4 (finely chopped)
  • Mustard Oil- 2 table spoons
  • lemon juice from one whole lemon
  • Coriander leaves- to garnish
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 250 degree for about 30-35 mins. OR grill them on open fire, turning them regularly.
  • Take off the charred skin and let it cool aside. Once they cool down, crush them up using a masher or just your hands. The consistency must be rough and not paste like.
  • In a bowl, mix it all up with the grated ginger, chopped garlic, onions and green chillies.
  •  Add the mustard oil, salt and lemon.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

Tips:

  • Chill the dips for few hours before serving.
  • The yogurt dip can be used to make sandwiches. Just use it in between toasted breads.
  • These dips can last for at least 2 days, if refrigerated well in air tight containers.

An unconventional wedding…

I know it sounds cliche, but some girls grow up dreaming about there perfect wedding. I was one of them. All of my teen years were spent day dreaming about that perfect man, and what beautiful wedding I would have and how special ‘my day’  would be. I am a Bihari, and we have those elaborate weddings like most Indian weddings, that last a few days and the ceremonies go on and on through the night. I am also the eldest girl of my generation in the whole family, and so, my wedding would have to be a big occasion because it’s the start of the wedding series; after me, would be my cousins, and sisters, so on and so forth.

Well, I did meet my perfect man… when I was 16 years old. We were together in school and it was nothing short of a perfect school romance. After school, we lived in different cities for higher education, where he pursued his medical degree while I pursued law. We miraculously managed to survive in a long distance relationship for more than 9 years before we got back together in the same city.

All this while, the pressure of my marriage started building up on me. Relatives are an interesting breed of people. They derive some twisted pleasure in tormenting you. I used to dread going back home on vacations, because the aunties and neighbors believed that it was their solemn duty to remind my parents that I am old enough and that I would cross that age limit where I could have a pick from the lot of boys. Apparently, once you cross that age limit, your choices are limited to guys 10 years or more older to you, or guys who do not earn as much, or guys who don’t look as good. The good ones get booked early on in the game. Relatives exist to keep your parents from bad parenting, because god forbid that your folks forget their duties towards you.

Well, in any case, three years back, we told our parents about each other and that we intended to spend the rest of our lives together. My guy met all the criteria a Bihari parent could possibly ask for. Good looking, Check. Great family, Check. Stable career… a ‘Doctor’ you say, Double Check. Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet all of his parents’ criteria. I wasn’t the right caste. You see, my family had had their share of rebellious inter-caste weddings. So they were pretty burnt out by now, and had grown to accept such unions. But for his family, this was their very first. So, we tried to ease them into the whole concept of “caste is irrelevant…love conquers all…‘ marriage is a personal choice’.. blah blah blah”, but they wouldn’t budge. And remember… my biological clock is ticking. My relatives are pecking on my parents head like a woodpecker. So, amidst all the pressure, rejection and insecurity and after a lot of unsuccessful attempts to bring our families together we finally decided that we will get married in spite of them.

April last year, we got married in a temple, in presence of a handful of our friends. And it was the Perfect Wedding I could have ever asked for! It beats all the big ceremonies and grand weddings I ever imagined. It was the most beautiful day of my life. One of my sister was with me (I really missed the other one). My best and oldest friends were there managing the whole affair, better than any relative could ever had. For me, it was the day of love for my partner, with whom I had already shared more than a decade, and a day of respect for all those who were present or could not be present but wished us well. All my girly notions of ‘a perfect wedding’, vanished. It did not matter if I had the perfect dress, or if I had those haldi-mehndi ceremonies, or the catering or decorations were non existent. Three years of coaxing and begging the families did not matter that day. We counted our blessings, accepted and understood our families’ difficulties and took a stand for us. We had an ‘unconventional wedding‘ and we had a day to remember for the rest of our lives.  

 

 

The Golden years…

Hostel years were one of the best times of my life. I had fought hard to study away from my hometown. I remember I was traveling on my own for the first time for counseling and admission procedures to Delhi. Due to engine failure, I had to ditch the train I was on, and jump on another one, without reservation, and at an unknown station, just to reach Delhi on time. I wasn’t letting Indian Railways screw with my plans. It was all worth it!

We experimented quite a lot with food and drinks during that time. We kept those small gas stoves with burner tops, and midnight maggie was a staple during exams. We would hide alcohol in snack jars and all odd places, and after night rounds of the warden, my friends would sneak into my room for a drink. Those were the Golden Years!

I have a quick, hassle free cocktail recipe from those times. It’s a simple recipe and you can make changes and adjustments according to your taste. Hope you give it a try.

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Ingredients: 

  • White Rum – 30 ml
  • Cranberry Juice – 60 ml
  • Soda – 30 ml
  • Ginger – 2 inches
  • Cucumber – few slices
  • lemon – 1/2 sliced or diced

Method: 

  • Crush the cucumber slices, lemon slices/dices from half the lemon and ginger together in mortar pestle (we used to do it using a bowl and back of the glass, as we did not have the equipments )
  • Simply throw in the crushed ingredients into a tall glass and pour in the rum and juice.
  • Give it a good stir, and then pour in the soda before serving.

Tips:

  • Salt the rim of the glass before pouring the drink if you like.
  • Cranberry juice gives it just the right amount of sweetness and tanginess needed. I have tried using sugar in this recipe, makes it too sweet for my liking.

 

 

 

 

The accidental break…

I am 28 years old. I completed my masters in law from one of the best institutes in Delhi. And I am not working ( I could have simply said I was unemployed, but you see, I am not working by choice). These are the three factors around which my interaction with the family revolve these days. My parents and friends fail to understand why in this age and time, when people cannot find work in spite of all the degrees and qualifications, I simply choose not to work.

Here is how I explain my situation. My decision to not work immediately after completing masters was driven by the fact that I wanted to give myself some time and lose some weight. (Which we will talk about some other time.) So I did lose some 12 kgs in 6 months. But, by the time those 6 months ended, and I was ready to start applying for jobs, I started questioning my interest and willingness in the field. I started wondering if this is what I wanted to do. I felt incomplete and unfulfilled. Never in my academic life had I taken a break. I was always too scared to be left behind. Peer pressure, expectations of family, pressure of being the eldest child and therefore, setting an example for my siblings were always fueling my academic pursuit. I had always wanted to teach. And here I was, ready to kick start my career, when I suddenly start questioning my desire to re-enter the game. All my batch mates started work right after their finals. But no matter how insecure I felt career wise, I could not bring myself to even go for an interview. Was I lazy? Was I Under confident? I have worked before. I was practicing law before I started my masters. Then what was stopping me this time?

The answer is perhaps too simple. The break I accidentally took made me realize that life is not just about chasing academic goals and setting milestones. Education was always a big part of my life. We were three daughters, and I realized growing up that my parents were constantly trying to prove to the society that having three girls and no boys was just as good. They worked hard for it. We got the best of the best they could afford. But, in this process, me and my sisters unknowingly got conditioned to constantly prove our worth to everyone around us as well. For me, pursuing my bachelors in law from Delhi University, practicing litigation under an amazing mentor, getting into masters program, were something I ‘needed’ , to prove my worth to the world and that my parents were justified in spending all their resources on our studies rather than worry about our marriages. And so I followed the rules. But amidst all the hard work, I forgot that I loved to cook, and what joy reading brings to me and that I once painted and I was good at it. This ‘accidental break’ made me realize that it’s okay to stop once in a while and make yourself happy, pursue your hobbies, and for once, not spend your energy in pleasing the world.

I WILL very soon start looking for a job. I will get back into the rat race. But for now I am grateful for the opportunity I have. I never in my wildest dreams would have started writing a blog had I not been confused and aimless.

 

For my next post I am planning to share some recipes I learnt during my hostel years. Stay tuned for that.

And so it begins…

After months of procrastinating, here I am, sitting in front of my computer, staring at the screen, thinking of something meaningful to share. I decided to join the blogging community to really help myself figure out my passion in life. I have always been one of those persons who mindlessly followed the rules of society, thinking this is what I am suppose to ‘do’ or ‘be’. Well, this is my story of identity crisis and an attempt to finally stop making excuses and do something about it. My life revolves around food and therefore, I hope to share my recipes, life stories, experiences and more here, until I find a direction. Looking forward to connect with people on this forum. Thanks for joining me and please be kind as this is my first attempt!