Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012 ~ A new beginning

31st December '2011
11:50 PM, Saturday:

The wait that started…..is now coming to an end. Today it is the last day of 2011. The Sun that will rise tomorrow brings with it a lot of promises that shall be fulfilled. People, when they wake up tomorrow will rise with a lot of hopes......Hope to live, Hope to love, hope to work, hope to start a new life, hope to move on in life, hope to make things right and last but not the least, the undying hope to survive all odds. Yes, a new year has so much to offer. It is like a new beginning. All of a sudden, past becomes less relevant and the future ahead seems to pull the hopes towards it. The feeling for some is euphoric and for some, it is absolute anticipation. Still, what remains common is the hope that welcomes the new beginning so eagerly.....

.....And the clock will strike 12 in about 30 minutes from now, I recall this time window, many memories flash in front of my eyes today…..Days of happiness, days of sadness, days of laughter, days of loneliness, days of heavy work and days of boredom…..and most days were the ones filled with chaotic moments that I could barely do anything to keep the fears of unknown away. Considering the fact, that hubby is an army officer and was posted in an active field for a while (sans family accommodation), the past two years of my life have been tough, challenging, grueling and most taxing! I never figured out how tough it could get being an army wife, until these years came and made me realize the true meaning of what they say, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. As  As I reminisce each instance, I realize how much life can teach in subtle ways the real meaning of patience, the real meaning of love and trust, the real meaning of respect. Pertaining to my husband’s work environment back then, we couldn’t talk for days and with no news about his whereabouts in those times, the feeling of dread couldn’t get any worse. No mobiles and land lines actually operated at a height where he was earlier posted. Those phases have been insanely cruel. Sometimes, when he spoke to me after a gap of 4 days, we could talk precisely for just 50 seconds through an exchange number. I have felt exactly how short one could fall of those seconds just to say those soothers, ‘love u, take care and bye!’ No wonder, now that his field tenure is over and he is back in a civilized society where people can be easily reached through phones, I still end up dialing his earlier station number out of habit! Sounds funny? Perhaps for people who have been mere spectators can laugh about it. But those who have shared or are still sharing my state can relate to such instances clearly, as they offer nothing but insecurity and fear. And it was not just hard on me, but pretty much hard on my husband too who couldn’t talk to me when he wanted, couldn’t hug me when he wanted and couldn’t watch and feel the kicks and yawns of the beautiful life developing inside me then. Now being a couple of weeks away from my manzil, I can clearly comprehend the saying - "Life is not just a bed of roses!" After all, roses have thorns too! Such is the way of life, isn't it?

But then life has been good too. My adorable parents who have put up patiently with my severe mood swings in the last two years, my loving husband who comforted me every time I panicked for no reason a month before my son was born, my friends who have been a constant support to me, and my dear son who now defines the very purpose of my existence, have made me realize how lucky I am and how happy I should be, in spite of some not very favorable moments that peeked in at times to corrupt the sanity of mind. And that is when I realize, if I have got hurt by one, I have been supported by ten. Perhaps, I must have done something good to deserve the goodness of the people who define my life now. And as this year ends, I have also realized how wrong it is to be judgmental of a situation/person, how futile and debilitating it is to get affected by a pessimistic crowd, and how important it is to ignore certain instances in life to attain a peaceful life ahead. None of the above realization for me came easy. Yet, it did find its way towards me and I feel glad for a fact that I too have evolved as a better human being with time.

Now as 2012 is approaching,  I look back and take a stock of the lessons life has taught me. Won’t say, “I have learnt”, but yes, life has done its duty of teaching. The imbibing part will take its time though…..which has started.....

So, welcome 2012! And wishing everyone a lot of happiness, prosperity, success and goodwill .....

Cheers & God bless…!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

My first baking experience ~ Gourmet chronicles

Each time Nigella Lawson sizzled in her feasts/bakes/bites on TLC (Travel & Living Channel) with her exotic desserts most of which included sinfully delightful chocolate cakes/mousse/truffles and what not, my mouth watered and my hands itched a way too deep, to step into the kitchen and get into action myself! Very unlikely of me at any other time, I would say! I have lil inclination towards cooking but somehow Nigella Lawson managed to bring out the dormant zaaika in me and made me bake my first cake ever on my birthday on 4th December'11! So before I start with my first ever baking experience, let me thank my gourmet guru, Nigella and my guide and best friend, my mother!

So what did I bake? A very simple egg-less chocolate cake which demanded most minimal ingredients! And that is how I preferred it, considering the fact that I was baking for the first time and I did not want to hit the top that fast! Now before I start on ‘how’, let’s gather the ingredients. As my mom advises me time and again, ‘Before cooking, make sure you have all the required ingredients and vessels by your side. Not only does it save your time, but also the results will be rewarding.’

So here goes the list of ingredients:
  • Finely milled wheat flour (Maida) – 200gms
  • Powdered sugar (2 full cups, approx 300gms)
  • Fresh unsalted butter (250 gms)
  • Milk maid (2 tablespoons)
  • Baking powder (11/2 teaspoon)
  • Baking soda (a pinch)
  • Coco powder (11/2 table spoon)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Vanilla essence(1 teaspoon)

As I have used pressure cooker and not microwave to bake my cake, my method could be slightly different from the conventional baking style. So here goes the instructions:
  • First, put the pressure cooker on the stove. Prepare a thick salt base inside (about 1.5 cm thick) and spread the salt evenly. The purpose of using salt as a base here is the heat will be transmitted uniformly and will prevent the cake from getting over baked or burnt. Also salt absorbs any moisture content within the cooker. Now turn the gas on and heat the cooker for about 40 minutes on medium flame. As , 40 minutes is ample time to prepare the cake batter.
  • Now bring on the powdered sugar and add it to the melted butter. Mix them well until the final outcome is a beautiful creamy paste. You may also use a blender for this. However, I did it with hand.
  • Then add the baking powder followed by a pinch of baking soda. Again stir the mixture well. Make sure the paste is smooth sans any unevenly mixed ingredients.
  • Now add the cocoa powder and then a lil vanilla essence and blend it again. Once the paste exhibits a rich and brown texture, start adding the flour gradually as you blend the mixture. You may also add some milk maid (if you want to). I added some to make the paste a little thinner but creamier. Or you may add freshly whipped cream.
  • At the end add some milk to the lovely choco smelling smooth brown paste in order to get a consistency similar to that of Dosa batter. Remember, the batter should not be too thick. So now that your batter is ready, the next stage is baking.
  • Your pressure cooker is already preheated now. Now take an aluminum tin (aluminum tin is the best choice when baking in a pressure cooker). Grease it well with butter and sprinkle some flour on it. Now, pour the batter uniformly into the aluminum tin. Place the tin inside the pressure cooker and close the lid. Please do NOT put the whistle.
  • After 40 minutes, open the lid to check the progress of your cake. Take a fork and prick to see if it digs into a liquid batter or a baked one. If the batter is not baked yet, your fork will contain a sticky paste in it. So keep the baking going for 15 minutes more. Otherwise, your cake is ready. But do not open the lid immediately. Let the cake simmer in the cooker for some more time, till the surface of the cake hardens with the heat keeping the inner baked content soft.
So after your long wait, the simplest egg-less choco cake in the world is ready, waiting for you to dig into it! Trust me, my experiment turned out to be a success. Am not self praising myself. My neighbors can vouch for this fact that my cake really turned out to be good.

What I figured out in this entire baking episode is: Baking is no rocket science. But then what is, is knowing the consistency of the batter, the baking temperature and the time the oven/stove needs to be turned off. One can also add a few chocochips, roasted almonds/walnuts or some powdered rice crackers or biscuits even to the batter. Improvisations can be many and also creative. I did it the simple way as I was baking for the first time. Next time, will post a recipe on brownie.....Till then, let me learn more, bake more and prepare many more delectable desserts before I share them with my readers!

P.S: Oh! By the way, this is how my cake looked :D


Melancholy beats when.....~ Mind Bubble

.....time begins to unravel that particular deadpan phase of an otherwise roller coaster existence, a phase that is yet to dissolve at the dawn of conviction, which continues to elude the sands of time with persistence. The soul continues fighting the inner demons of untold fears, the fear of unknown. It feels the grim of the current state of mind and holds back the heat of emotions that are churning at the pit of the stomach. And that is when the silent soul while still unable to speak, continues to think.....

"There have been times, good and bad, happy and sad. And in all of it, what remains certain is this time, the current inevitable moment, the current microsecond that ticks away to another. Yes! Time marks the certainty of all uncertainties waiting to happen, pleasant or otherwise. And then they say, Karma is a crazy bitch! Then, time is a hell lot crazier! The times that are concocted of excitement tinged with apprehension, love traced with bouts of anxiety, hope filled pipe dreams clouded by unknown fears and optimism that comes after several rounds of severe mood swings and unthinkable insecurities, can bring in an eerie feeling, a feeling that is composed of myriad emotions, all jumbled up in such a fashion that it is difficult to comprehend which of them is overwhelmingly dominant…..The soul can feel the cloak of insanity engulfing the life into an abyss of darkness.....

When insanity plagues, time stops. The atmosphere is suddenly stand still . Soul does not speak as before. The otherwise rational mind gives in to the vacuity, created by the ‘grace’ of time. And that is when time turns out to be insanely cruel keeping the mind in absolute trepidation, leaving behind a cold feeling of dread. The soul can now feel the body crouching. The lovely lively lips have dried and have started cracking leaving behind deep set red lines smudged with pale colored blood. The bright ebony colored eyes that danced with life just some time before, have sunk deep into their sockets leaving behind an emptiness in a stagnant pool of tears that refuse to come out. The ears do not perceive any distinct sound from the indistinguishable cacophony around. The throat is parched in spite of gulping down glasses of water one after the other .The once glowing rose colored cheeks are drawn inside and now exhibit a pallor that loos more chalky white in appearance. No music seems to soothe the soul. Sleep eludes as usual. No food succeeds in stirring up the taste buds. Every where the mind turns, there is a dead end, with nowhere to go! Yes, if there is anything that is felt, it is pain tinged with fear, fear of unknown! And the only organ that feels it is the heart, the ever indulgent heart that keeps beating as ever.....
Heart! It may be the weakest link but is yet the strongest pain bearer. It somehow keeps up with the capricious pace of time, despite the fact that the pain is debilitating the strength of the body and the mind alike. And at such times, the heart succeeds in winning over the perturbed mind by consoling it with hope, faith and tonnes of optimism."

Hope the soul recovers from the irrepressible mind bubble…..Hope the inner peace returns.....Hope this time too shall pass, to let the new beginning dawn in.....Amen.


Why this 'kolaveri di', after all? ~ When creativity died

Off late, I was amused at how a status message (even if it is just an opinion) could garner a storm of attention instantly. Had one such experience with a status message that I had put up on Facebook. Now, before I share it here, I want to tell my readers as I always state time and again, that whatever I write here is a mere reflection of my thoughts and not some universal statement that should intentionally brush someone the wrong way. Nothing more, nothing less!

So this was my message on Facebook:

“well...well..am really forced to react to this horrible 'kolaveri song'.....every damn news channel is blaring with this ear pricking song by a totally wasted actor whose voice is even more irritating than the nonsensical lyrics of the song....and here, am not sure which one sucks more! #stupidityisnotentertaining”

And I was astounded at the way my status paved way for a discussion forum and all for what? A tacky song by Dhanush (the Kadhal Konden star) that has been composed and sung by him in Tamil, in a funny Tam-glish tone. I do understand that this actor has a huge fan following, but failed to understand what made this song such a rage? Facebook was over flooding with the updates on this song, and there were other funnier linguistic versions in Gujarati and Marathi. But still, there is absolutely nothing that made this song such a center of attention. Here, I have a few reasons on what made this song such a hit!
  • The 'Kolaveri di' song is full of nonsensical lyrics sung in a regionally baked English in a rustic tone. Hell yes, it had to be a hit in Tamil Nadu. And why not everywhere, thanks to the herd mentality!
  • Creativity is so misunderstood today. Even some gobbledygook such as this is treated as something indigenous and some people find it ‘catchy’. Don’t know what to catch in it, 'soup' or 'flop'? 
  • Social networking is another reason for this song to have become an instant hit! Where less than a quarter of this world might have actually understood this song, most of them just liked and shared it because they thought it was cool doing so!  
  • The song is supposed to be some 'soother' for love failed guys! But then, people did not enjoy it because it was some ‘soup song' or 'flop song', but because people are highly entertained by stupidity, something they can make fun of and can giggle about for no rhyme or reason! And then for Dhanush, the song just got him in unlimited limelight (something which he saw coming his way). After all, publicity be it any, always works out for celebrities. And doesn't it always?  
  • And last but not the least, the actor/singer is none other than Rajnikanth’s son-in-law. And when Rajni is still the ruling rooster in South (and probably world famous for his 'out of the world' gimmicks), then why not his son-in-law be not his successor?
The actor's skills are highly overrated and his attempt at singing is surely not worth the efforts he has put in it. I may sound more conventional in this post, but blame it on my ears that have heard a lot of melodies and beautiful compositions and some nice catchy ones too, unlike the above tacky soup flop song. Overall, I find this song horribly composed with ridiculous music and spastic lyrics! Period.