For The Love Of Food

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My obsession with food and its aspects dates back to years ago. I still remember the day I first saw Sanjeev Kapoor on TV on the show 'Khana Khazana'. I would have been around five years old then. And yet I was fascinated by the various recipes that he showcased on his show. Since my mom is an excellent cook, I became her apprentice in the kitchen at a very young age. Soon I was churning out breakfast, lunch and dinner in between attending school and playing. I enjoyed cooking more than I enjoyed eating and it became an important part of my life at a very early stage. I started long ago and there had been no looking back since then. Tarla Dalal came next and I learnt to cook it up with her. Watching cookery shows and learning new things were as important to me as cooking. I did not fancy making the same thing again and again. I wanted variety in my cooking and that is what cookery shows gave me.

Fast forward twenty years and today I cannot thank cable TV enough. Masterchef Australia changed the world of cooking forever and I am a sucker for these shows. I have watched Masterchef in all formats and have absolutely loved it. TLC is another favorite channel of mine along with FOX Life. These channels have shows that celebrate food and that is such a wonderful thing for a foodie like me who loves cooking as well. I watch these shows back to back and haven't got bored even for a second. When Masterchef has a break, I switch to TLC. If that has a break, I switch to Fox Life. You get the drill. Almost my entire life revolves around food and this is primarily why the page that my husband and I run on Facebook is called 'Live To Eat'.

Food is the ultimate form of entertainment for me. Be it gourmet dishes or plain old baking, I enjoy cooking to the core. If I'm not cooking, then I'm eating. I love to try out all the new restaurants in town along with my partner in crime, my husband. Most of our conversations revolve around food and we love sitting and watching a good food movie or show together along with a huge tub of popcorn or some hot pakoras. Thankfully cable TV has evolved to a great extent now so that we have food only Indian channels like 'Living Foodz' and 'Food Food'. These along with the international shows keeps me busy and entertained all the time. Have you guys tried watching food shows? If no, then please make a start. Nothing like watching raw ingredients turn into some fantastic looking dishes that I'm sure taste great as well. You can learn to make 2498 dishes using the humble chocolate. Or make something delicious out of the bitter tasting brinjal. Cooking is an art that cannot be learnt enough and these shows would help you learn as much as you want to. Try it, I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

But no matter how much I try, I cannot watch all my favorite shows at once. And I do not want to miss the delicious cooking as well. If I miss out a few shows, I try to watch them on YouTube. But the latest shows are not always available. Plus, if I am replicating a recipe I would love to have the recipe on my phone so that I can cook along with the chef. But then again, this would consume a lot of data on my phone. But just when I thought that you need to lose some to gain some, I learnt about the features of Tata Sky + Transfer. This enables me to watch a show and record any other show on any other channel. Confused? For example, if I'm watching Masterchef Australia at 9pm on Star World and there is Eat Street going on on Fox Life, I can record it while watching Star World. How cool is that?


And that's not it all. This comes with a storage space of 500 Gb that can store enough shows for you. But then again, while you are busy watching the current shows, how and when will you watch the recorded ones? Not a problem. Tata Sky + Transfer comes with a wifi dongle that enables you to send recorded content to your mobile phones and tablets. The transfer feature can be enabled on two devices at a time. This means that the Tata Sky subscriber can now record and view programs on their tablets or smart phones at any place via the Tata Sky app. So now I can watch my cookery shows while I waste time travelling to and from work. Or when there is a power cut at home. Or at any boring family function. Or anytime when I am a tad bit free! And this would not consume any of my mobile data. Because these videos can be watched offline! Tata Sky + Transfer is quite an innovative solution for people like me who want to be in touch with their favorite entertainment round the clock. And the best part is that I don't even have to be at home to record the shows. I can have the show recorded from anywhere using my mobile. Technology has improved so much that it almost scares me at times.

But I'm not exactly complaining. Because this is exactly what is called having the cake and eating it too!

One Night Stand

Reflection On My Soul

photo by Tess Kincaid

I can never forget this day last year
When I saw you for the first time
That's when I believed in love at first sight
In one glance, I had made you mine

Your slender frame perfectly teased
And those dark blue eyes spoke to me
My heart was bound in poisoned barb
One look from you set it free

Your silky black tresses swayed to music
I watched you with a smile on my face
There was something so positive about you
Every wound of mine you seemed to erase

Your red lips sang a tune of its own
Capturing me with every unsaid word
I had won and lost on the same day
Love does this to people I have heard

I wanted to come and talk to you
There was a lot that I had to say
Looking at you, my body stood frozen
I couldn't find my own way

One blink and then you disappeared
I looked for you all over the place
There was not even a glimpse of you
Everything suddenly felt like empty space

I have never seen you since that day
Sometimes I wonder if you were actually there
Or did you come just to heal me
Sprinkling pixie dust on me with care

I hold on to those memories forever
That was the first time I have felt whole
Years may pass and I may not find you
But your reflection is present on my soul

Step Aside, Bollywood

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Most of the Hindi movies these days are below average. Ofcourse there were quite a few good ones in between, but that happens very rarely. For a person like me who hates to stay at home during weekends, movies are the first place I go to for entertainment. But what happens when there is no good movie playing? I tried to shop, spent a lot of money but did not feel good enough. Went out drinking with my friends exploring the nightlife of the city, had a wonderful time and yet something was missing. You see there is no activity where you can put up your legs, munch on some popcorn and just unwind unless you are at the movies. So when no good movie was playing in town I decided to watch them at home itself. My husband and I make a large bowl of popcorn, pour in some Merlot and park ourselves on the couch and watch a few good old movies.

The first time I heard about Stand Up Comedy was when a friend of mine shared a video of Russel Peters. I found it hilarious. I ended up watching quite a few videos of his on youtube. Jerry Seinfeld was the only stand up comedian heard of until now. This guy was something else. Soon, my husband and I started getting interested in it. Both of us are sarcastic people with a good sense of humor, so it only made sense that we enjoyed stand up comedy too. Stand up comedy in India was almost an unheard of topic until a few years ago. Stand up comedy back then was limited to shows like 'Movers &Shakers' and 'Comedy Circus'. But now, thankfully things have changed. So when we heard of EVAM playing in Bangalore, we decided to go watch it. And I am so glad that we did. Those guys were super hilarious and we ended up laughing our lungs out. A few weeks later we went to catch the 'Stand Up Tamasha' which featured a list of comedians including the sole lady of AIB, Aditi Mittal.

From then on, there has been no looking back for us. Even if there is a good movie playing, we prefer watching a Stand Up Comedy show now. The duration is short, you are sure to be entertained and you get you hear a lot of new jokes and innuendos that you can use later. What is there not to like? The only problem with Stand Up Comedy is that these shows are not publicised enough. We have to scour through new papers to find out places where a few of these shows happen. Or we have to visit places and just happen to see what is happening there. These shows hardly make their way to the important parts of the news paper too. Why is that? Are we still a country which is obsessed with Bollywood and cricket? Are we still a country that takes like forever to embrace something new? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Thankfully sites like LiveInStyle are around to help the ignorant understand about Stand Up Comedy. For those who think that comedy is easy and is as silly as those seen in movies you cannot be more wrong. Like they say, it is easy to make a person cry but very hard to make someone laugh. Stand Up Comedy happens in front of a live audience who can throw rotten tomatoes or shoes at you if they do not like your jokes. It takes a lot of guts to come up and face an audience, let alone make them laugh. And the guys who are ruling the Stand Up Comedy scene now are brilliant. Naveen Richards, Sourabh Pant, S Aravind, Biswa Rath, Aditi Mittal and many more - these people are amazing! Every joke is different from the other and more often than not you can completely relate to the situation. We needs more sites like this to showcase such brilliant talent. They need to be promoted more and stand out on their own instead of getting lost in the colorful bubbles of make believe cinema.


Gated Memories

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

"It looks so odd Mom, please ask Dad to change it", said young Ryan when he saw their new house for the first time.

"It is important to your father darling. You need to understand that."

"Our house looks so beautiful but the look is ruined by this rusty gate. Why do we have to keep this? It deserves a place in trash."

"Memories, my son. This gate was a part of your grandfather's house, that is lying amidst ruins now. Your grandfather was a very hardworking man, he made this himself."

"Actually, it doesn't look all that bad now."

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 18th September 2015.

Why I Write

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If I am having a crappy day
Or when every thing is going alright
I do not ponder over it too much
I feel happy when I just write

Poetry takes over me completely
Elevating my day from drab to bright
Everything seems to be sorted
When I just sit down and write

Fiction is a challenge to me
But in a dark room it is my lone light
I think of characters and their quirks
The story just flows when I write

Weird people are my favorite topic
I write about them without a fright
I only talk about what actually happened
I don't see why I should not write

It helps me clear the chaos in my mind
Be it during day or in the middle of night
Every piece just fits into the puzzle
When I decide to sit back and write

Most of my posts create controversies
Tongues of others then begin to take flight
While these losers are spending time stalking me
I just laugh out loud and continue to write

What I do is first for myself
Thankfully it helped me soar like a kite
No matter what happens I wouldn't give this up
As long as I'm alive, I shall write

In Your Words - Part 4

Read Part 1 here / Part 2 here / Part 3 here.

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Alisah looks for her father and sees him walking towards her.

"Shall we start our rounds?" He asks with a smile.

"Sure." She says thinking that would give her time to think about the face that she had just seen.

She plugs in her ipod and lets the music take over. She jogged slowly at first and then increased her speed gradually. The face refused to leave her though. She now knew who exactly he was, but a part of her mind refused to believe it. She could be mistaken as well. Into her fifth round, she felt a bit exhausted. She sat down at a nearby bench and stretched her muscles. In a few minutes her father joined her.

"All okay darling? Your face is drained of color. What's wrong?" He asks sounding worried as he sits beside her.

"Nothing, Pa. Ran a bit too fast than I usually do. That's it."

"Let's sit for a while and then get back." Alisah nods as her father says this.

They sit for a while on the bench and do some breathing exercises and once the sun set completely they walk back home.

Alisah showered once she was back and then switched on her computer. There ofcourse was a reply from Kay and he had even pinged her a "Hello" on chat as well. She read the email first. Kay seemed more than happy by the poem that she had written. He told her that nobody had analysed him this well before and it was strange that someone who had never met him before had written so well about him. Apart from Kay's mail there were a lot of other mails as well. All her regular readers had loved this poem of hers and the comments were pouring in. She smiled. Nothing satisfies a writer than the fact that their work is appreciated. As happy as she was, she could not devour the happiness completely. Her mind was occupied. She was just about to log out when there was another ping from Kay.

"Hello! You there?"

"Hello, how are you?" She typed back.

"I'm doing good, thank you. How are you?"

"I'm good too."

"Thank you for the poem. It made me feel wonderful :)"

"You are welcome. I just wrote it on an impulse. I don't even know why."

"Who cares? You wrote it, that's all that matters. Right? :)"

"I guess :)" This time she genuinely smiled.

"So what do you plan to write next?"

"Not sure. Tomorrow is a Sunday so I shall be at mom's bakery all day. Not too sure if I shall get the time to write. What about you?"

"Now I'm writing something. Hopefully it shall turn out to be good."

"What is it about?"

"You. What else can it be?"

":)"

"I hope it is okay Alisah."

"It sure is, Kay. But one thing...."

"Oh, what?"

"Call me Al. Alisah is too long a name :)"

"Hahaha sure Al."

"Is Kay your real name?"

"No, it is short for my actual name; Krishna."

"Oh, but why Kay? Why not something like Kris or Chris?"

"Well, I'm a writer. Not someone working at a call center :P"

"Hahaha." 

Alisah actually laughed out loud as she typed this. Kay was helping her forget the turmoil in her mind. She enjoyed talking with him so much that she continued for a while until her mom called her down for dinner. She looked up at the clock. 8.30 pm. Wow, she had been talking to Kay for more than an hour now. Bidding him a goodbye and promising to check his poem before sleeping, she headed down for dinner.

Her mother looked very cheerful and happy now. Her father was already at the table and listening to his wife talk nineteen to a dozen.

"The banana ones sold like hot cakes. Well, literally. We were done with the prepared batch in less than ten minutes. The poppy did well too. But a few expressed concerns over the orange peel. They said that it tasted well only in a chocolate and not in a cup cake. But most others loved it. They said that the sweet and bitter taste was fabulous as the topping was very sweet anyway."

"Good mom, I'm really happy for you." Alisah sat down at her seat.

As usual the dinner was like a banquet. Saturday nights were her mother's favorite along with Sunday noon. She cooked like a dream everyday but on these days she put in a little extra effort. There were lamb chops in a thick spicy gravy, steamed fish in banana leaf, a variety of breads and some freshly made rice with a hint of lemon. It smelt delicious.

"Your mom shall be the only one responsible for my cholesterol, if I ever get it." Her father mocks his wife.

"Yeah, yeah. Next time I shall not save the best selling batch of cup cakes and bring some for you."

"I'll come raid your store then."

Alisah laughs at her parents who were clearly the best couple in the world. Alisah's father was a tough and strict army man. But when it came to his wife, he melted just like the butter she used in her cooking. Her mother was a gourmet cook who loved entertaining people and hosting all their friends. Even though a bit reclusive, her father indulged in her mother's fancies and played the perfect host along with her. Alisah smiles at them.

"What's up with you darling? You are awfully quiet today?" Her father asks her.

"Yes Al, are you unwell?" Her mother joins in too.

"Actually something is bothering me." She looks up at her parents with sad eyes.

"What happened Al? Something at work?" Her father puts his fork down in concern.

"No, Pa. Today at the park I think I saw Arjun." She says slowly.

Her mother looks at her in shock and her father just goes mute.

"I did not get a close look at him. But he kept coming by my side as he ran. He wore a hoodie, but I did catch a good glimpse of him. I think it was him." She continues.

After a few sips of water her father finally spoke while her mother still sat in shock.

"Did he talk to you? What does he want now?" He sounded angry.

"No, he did not talk to me. He gave me a wicked smile though. That's how I'm pretty sure it was him."

"Oh God, I can't believe this is happening again. Is he back in the city?" Her mother finally says something.

"I thought he was settled abroad. What is he doing here now?" Her father flares up.

"Why are you asking me all that? I have no idea what he is doing here." Alisah defends herself.

"I'm sorry darling, but I'm really shocked about this."

"I know, Pa. But don't worry. Maybe he was just there for a run. Maybe he won't trouble us again."

"Knowing him, I doubt that."

"Whatever it is, we shall handle this together." Alisah consoles her parents.

"That's like my strong daughter. Let us see what he does this time." Her father calms down.

Her mother looks at her sadly with tears in her eyes.

"No matter what you say Al, marrying Arjun was the biggest mistake of your life."

To be continued.

The Cafe On Thirteenth Floor

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

They say thirteen is an unlucky number but the only place available at my budget for me to start a cafe of my own was on the thirteenth floor. Cooking is my passion and I wanted to share it with every one. When I started I hardly got customers. But things changed after the fire. When the fire broke out almost all the stores in the building were burned down. But not a flame touched my cafe. It held on strong with nothing out of place. Today I get a lot of customers. They call this place the 'Lucky Cafe'.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 4th September 2015.

Do Not Let Go

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The noose is the easy way
How about trying to sort things out
As a person you are beautiful
Why do you dwell in self doubt

It is hard to move on I know
But the jump is not the way to ease the pain
Get a grip and look at the positive side
Do not let your life go in vain

Failures and rejections are a part of life
It does not define the person you are
Learn something from every incomplete story
Within yourself you end every war

There is more than an episode
In this really long journey called life
Sometimes things look bright, sometimes dull
It is a complex mixture of joy and strife

The pills will only cause an abrupt end
Your soul will never be completely free
You will cause suffering to the ones who love you
Their pain and melancholy you will continue to see

A heartbreak might seem like the end of the world
But weren't you alive before it happened
Not every love story has a happy ending
Start a new beginning from what seems to be the end

Your wrists are meant to wear joyous charms
Do not slash then in utter despair
Stop, breathe and count your other blessings
There are a lot of others who genuinely care

The crushing waters are meant for the hard rocks
They will not bring you any kind of solace
This too shall pass very soon
There will be an end to this agony phase

Everything happens for a reason
Experiences always help you grow
No matter how deep you fall
Hold on to hope, do not let go

Today's news paper is all about death. Either someone is being killed or someone is killing themselves. Since when did it get so easy to kill or die? Young kids are committing suicides over failed relationships or exams. Another girl planned her suicide so well that she spent days finding the perfect building to jump from as she thought that was the fool proof method to ensure death. And who told her this? Google. Abandon the Internet and go out there and mingle with people. Make friends, fall in love, live, laugh. Is it that hard? Or is it easier to just let go?

Action Replay - August 2015

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Ah what a month this one has been. A month of severe action and non-action. A month of happiness and pain. A month of complacency and adventure. A month of being treated like a queen and yet feeling worthless. If you think that I have gone crazy, then you are not entirely wrong. My birthday month brought with it a lot of unexpected adventures. Some good and some nightmarish. But then you can't just sit back and watch life take a dig at you. You need to fight. Every day and every second. Forever. And so I did. It gave me the strength to bear a lot of things. Pain, emotional outbursts, annoying people and the urge to stay connected all the time. It also taught me a lot of lessons. Something that I'm going to follow forever. I've never been the person who discusses every detail of my life with others. Honestly, I don't even do that with my best friends. As much as an extrovert I am, some things are better left unsaid. The quote above had held good for me in terms of talking in person. But it turns out few people just follow my blog to learn about the intricacies of my life. Yeah, talk about being nosy. And voyeuristic. And jobless.

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My blog is my open book and I write about everything that I feel here. Be it some random poetry about a picture that I have seen, a fiction series about some character that refuses to leave my mind or some personal achievement or turmoil in my life. Writing to me is very different from talking to others. But thanks to the intrusions and unnecessary events happening in my life, I have decided that talking about my personal life here has to stop. I have not been the one who cares about what other people think about me and what I do, no matter how close they are to me. But now I have come to believe in the concept of human jinxes and the dirty human eye. I thought it was all bullshit initially, but some how over the past few days it began to make sense somewhere. It may be a coincidence or a random event, but too many random events cannot be termed as a one off thing. Call me foolish, but this is something that I have come to believe in the hardest way possible and I'm going to be sticking to it. Ofcourse there will be posts about my life in general and about the people in it. But nothing too deep. And nothing too vague and shallow either. Damn, turning twenty nine has made me philosophical. And I'm not too sure if I am liking it.

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Anyway, I digress. August was one hell of a roller coaster ride for me. But I managed to get back in touch with my reading, thanks to the large amount of time I had free for myself. I was happily progressing with 'The Palace Of Illusions' until 'Mrs Funny Bones' happened. And what an awesome book that was. I have always loved Twinkle Khanna. Yeah, right from her acting days. I find her very pretty, very classy and extremely stylish. Now add witty to that list. She's a gorgeous woman, who is a loving wife and a doting mother. I have been following her columns since their inception and I have loved every bit of it. At one point of time I wanted to cut out all her columns and make a book out of it to read on a boring day. Looks like she read my thought. This book keeps you hooked right from the word go. The A to Z of what she talks about were witty, hilarious and yet made complete sense all the time. The writing style is breezy and effortless. The fact that she can laugh at herself is what makes her a good writer. I'm glad she decided to hang up her boots in the acting department and foray into something this wonderful. I'm not a fan of non-fiction. Infact I don't even remember when was the last time I read one. But this one makes its way to the top my list. And it sure as hell deserves to be there.

Being sick gives you the time to do a lot of things. Unfortunately writing was not one of them as my mind was all over the place. I'm a workaholic. Take my work away from me and I feel like a loser. But the past few days have made me question this belief of mine. Work is important yes. Not more than yourself though. You first, only then comes everything else. Maybe with time I'll get work to be an important part of life and not my whole life. So instead of being plugged to the computer I decided to lean back, have some tender coconut water and watch a few movies instead. 'Do Dhooni Chaar' was on my list since like forever and since the husband had the movie with him, we decided to watch it one fine rainy evening. I absolutely loved the movie! What simple narration and so damn relevant. The middle class has never been portrayed this well before. And Rishi Kapoor was so adorable in the movie, that I just wanted to give him a tight hug. Beautiful concept and an endearing movie. We need more movies like this.

When it comes to movies, I have always been a Hollywood and a Bollywood fan. Regional movies were a complete no no to me. Still are to a large extent. I find some of their execution shoddy and cheap. Being a Malayali, the number of Malayalam movies that I have seen is definitely less than ten. And half of them is what I have seen over the past couple of years. I rediscovered Malayalam cinema through 'Drishyam' and then there was no looking back. The concepts, the execution and narration was far brilliant than most of the recent Bollywood movies. And some Hollywood ones too. I watched 'Bangalore Days', '22 Female Kottayam', 'Mumbai Police', 'Memories', 'Artist' and a few more movies after that. And loved most of them. Malayalam movies are not as bad as I thought them to be. One fine night when I was feeling a tad better, we went out to catch a Kannada movie that was being applauded oflate. I hate watching Kannada movies as it is too bright, too loud and too vulgar at times. The acting and direction included. Same with Tamil cinema. But being a Thalaiva fan, I do not miss any of his movies.

'Rangitaranga' was being spoken about so much on social media that I thought I might as well as watch it. Plus, I was in a desperate need of getting out of home. The movie surprisingly was excellent. My best friend was so shocked that I was actually praising a Kannada movie. The concept was brilliant and the execution was very decent. The good looking hero didn't hurt the eye either. If you are someone who can understand the language then you should watch it. You will not be disappointed. But such movies come once in a while and hopefully a day will come when I shall look forward to watching a Kannada movie. Irrespective of the crazy hype I stayed away from 'Baahubali'. The buzz over it is still tempting though. Maybe when I find a day where I have nothing else to do, I'd go watch it.

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Wow, so I wrote three whole paragraphs about movies alone? You must have guessed by now how August was for me then. But do I regret it? Not one bit. These days taught me a lot about life and how situations affect us. It also taught me that it is okay to be a little discreet at times. It gave my body the much needed rest and my mind the much needed calmth. Well, to a certain extent atleast. Looking back at the past month, I would not change a thing. I'm the one who chooses to accept things and fight rather than bask in denial. I know that September is going to be an awesome month. It is Cal's birthday month and my brain cells are already over active planning the day. And this post got longer than I intended it too. With only 8 posts in August, I had a lot to say finally.

How was your August?