Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Food Comes Full Circle

Life back then was very "English", as my cousins used to say.
Living in an oiltown set up by the British had touches of  the culture everywhere.
Definitely on food.

So we grew up munching "hamburgers" over a sunday evening movie in the Club, saw our mums serve roast chicken and mutton curry with equal aplomb. Our pantry shelves were lined with canned food- baked beans, sausages and sardines. The supper served at parties included soups and croissants.It was a time when puri sabzi and bacon and eggs shook hands on dining tables.

Then Guwahati happened.
Meals were mostly Indian- rice, dal, the mandatory vegetable and the special non vegetarian whenever my mother could make it. College life meant chole bhature in the canteen, aloo paratha at Kalyani, egg rolls at Feeds and oh yes- the butter chicken and naan we would treat ourselves on birthdays  at Prag.

Oh Calcutta ( Kolkata) and our Bengali cook dished up fish curries and aloo posto . Fish happened in my life like never before and at the behest of my good friend Shivaji, I also made the Sunday trip to buy fresh fish.
Gol Gappas, aloor dom, jhaal muri ruled the roost. So did the PeterCat Chelo kebab and the Prince Biryani.
The mishtis became permanent residents inside our fridge.

Mumbai  brought home a Gujrati cook who was really not a cook but managed to dish out basic stuff. Our meals were mostly chapatis and a  veg dish and dal  cooked by her coupled with maybe some sausages or cutlets from Venkys fried before dinner. She would cook in the morning and the same food would be breakfast, lunch and dinner. ( Diaries of a working woman!!!). Sundays saw me cooking Assamese fish curry and chicken.

Eating out was usually fast food or definitely only Indian and Chinese in fine dining.  And how can I forget my orders from our neighbouring Gurukripa- my daughter loved the Chicken 65 ( which I mistook for a Chinese dish)

So Mumbai was again primarily simple Indian and good Chinese and Konkani.

Finally , it's Delhi. Life  has become one euphoria of exotic roasts, pan Asian, Mediterranean, bakes, stir fries- you name it.It's like a TLC show happening live every meal.

But what I love most is the fact that everything I used to remember  from way back then has reappeared. 
Life ( and food) has come full circle.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Family First

I have to send that last email before  I leave.
Oh a brainstorm? Now? Wellll ok..
When do I reach home? Most times after nine at night.
Weekend work... of course... am always available.

That is me.
That was me.

Have made some minor alterations in life.
Like knowing when to shut the laptop and  swipe out of work.
Like  giving my little girl those precious moments every day- reading, watching her favourite show together
Or taking off on the weekend

I watch movies
I read
I walk
Even venture into the kitchen and make daring experiments

Laptop time at home is more about catching up with friends on FB
Or writing
Instead of checking, replying, forwarding, ccing, bccing emails

My family sees more of me
I see more of them
We enjoy each other's company
We have meals together
Say our goodnight prayers together

Realised that family comes first.
No matter what.

And this has made me a better person at work as well.
Coz I am happy. And  happy people are effective. Almost always.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life's Guinea Pig

At times I used to look at Life and say- why is it that I have been chosen as the guinea pig for all trials and tribulations?
But then I realise that  each trial and every tribulation has made me richer. And stronger.

With every loss of family or friend, I have gained compassion and love from new bonds.
From every move to a new place, I have made new friends , shared passion and interests.
With every change at work, I have had newer experiences, new clients who have believed in me, old clients who have become friends.
Every role- daughter, wife, mother, companion... has taught me lessons of a lifetime.

Every tear has been wiped with a million smiles
Every sulk smeared away with laughter
Challenges have brought out strengths I never knew existed.

From bitterness, I have learnt to believe .
In Hope. Opportunities.

Thank you  Life for chosing me as the guinea pig.....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Work to Live

Just back from a week long break.
A break from work.
A respite from responsibilities.
A rest from the daily race and pace.

I had been on many vacations before. Some for 10 days. Some for 3 weeks and more.
Yet I never really managed to switch off.
Would check my emails all the time.
Make that quick call over a coffee on a sidewalk.
Send that sms while  driving past lush meadows and chalets.
Call my maid  for telephonic  instructions  between trying out shoes in that weekend market sale.

No wonder, vacations just seemed like a longer coffee break at work.

This time was different.
Just a week.
But told myself that this was time I have earned.
And time that was solely mine.
And that the world would move on and manage very well without me.

Was difficult initially- kept checking my phone almost on rote until I boarded the flight at midnight.

But  let go soon after.
Every site and sound took on a new meaning.
Every bite seemed like heaven.
I frolicked, played, danced, swam, ate, read, walked....
Felt rejuvenated

Came back to change.
Change is a way of life today.

But this short break has made me realise that there's so much more to life than just work and ambition.
And, for the first time, I am beginning to work to live.
And not live to work.

Same words. Just a different order.
That makes all the difference.