relaxation

Vegetable Paradise

I am always ready to go vegetable and fruit shopping. It takes me some coaxing to go to malls to buy clothes, especially with the possibility of doing it online without moving an inch from my comfort zone a.k.a the sofa. The sofa where everything I need: water, cigarettes, munchies, fruit, laptop, kindle is within an arm’s distance from me. But every Saturday, I simply can’t wait to go to the local market nearby and touch the thousand different textures and revel in the rainbow of the vibrant colours of fruit and vegetable.

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Today’s treasure

In fact, fruit and vegetable window shopping is always at the top of my travel itinerary, no matter where I go. Especially in foreign lands, I think local markets are the only place where you feel less like a foreigne. I got the same feeling of domestic warmth when I visited the farmer’s market in Yorkshire, or the local market of Santa Fe in Granada, that I get in the markets in India. My weekly vegetable market tour never disappoints me. Most of the times I don’t even have to buy anything in particular. I order most of our groceries online, but I have to go through my weekly routine to stay sane. In fact, more often that not I end up buying stuff I’ve never brought before, without any idea of how to use it in cooking, but this doesn’t deter me one bit from buying it anyway and instantly going home and using it in some way.

This is probably going to sound like something straight out of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth but when I am walking on the narrow lanes in between small stalls with huge wicker baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables, I feel so connected to the earth, to the mud and to the very feeling of being a human animal. And it’s a wonderful feeling when an unexploited patch of earth is a rarest of rare sighting in the fast metro life. Going out to buy food for yourself connects me to the very meaning of existence, to the primal act of providing for yourself, just like animals in the wilderness. Of course, I know my life is a lot simpler with just having to shell out money and get WHATEVER but the brief feeling of connection with life itself is so exhilarating.

I will live, I’ll grow old, my walk will perhaps become slow and vision impaired, but one thing that I never want to change is the primal joy I get out of inhaling the fresh smells, taking in a myriad of sensations and colours and feeling a sense of belonging and fittingย  into the larger scheme of things, through this seemingly simple activity.

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Lost my sanity…and found it in the kitchen!

This is an old article from my blogger days, which were very few. Still imported this as it’s about food. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I felt depressed over the soon to end weekend, I knew there was still hope…in the kitchen. Kitchen is where I always get solutions to my needless perplexities, anxieties and depressions. It’s where I talk to myself the most, it’s where I’m at my busiest…chopping away like there is no end. It is where I come up with my customized philosophy. And it is where I do something really productive.

I really didn’t know what to cook for today, when i suddenly remembered Nigella’s super simple “Lemon linguine”. Now I didn’t really have linguine, or double cream or parmesan. But these things don’t bog me down in the kitchen. The kitchen always forces me to create rather than not. So I decided to make spaghetti with lemon sauce, made with cheddar instead of parmesan. The end result…Y.U.M.M.Y.!

As I am on my couch right now, my belly content and my taste buds pampered with the very refreshing and soothing flavour and aroma of lemon zest…I wonder, why is it that I suddenly feel like writing? Probably, the kitchen energy! I have this sudden surge of emotions where I’m happy that there is at least one activity that doesn’t seem like work to me.

So what is it about cooking that is so therapeutic? I would choose cooking over getting my eye brows shaped or my arms waxed, any day. In fact, most of the times, it’s the process of cooking rather than eating that I get a big kick out of. And by process I mean everything right from getting the idea to cook a dish, buying ingredients for it, figuring out what substitutes to use or what changes to makes to actually making the whole preparation, anxiously waiting for the oil to heat and garlic to sizzle and the aroma to waft and fill your kitchen with a sumptuous warm energy…something that is every bit as rejuvenating as getting a head massage.

I guess, it’s the feeling of absolute liberty that is what makes it so wonderful…especially when you’re cooking just for yourself. When you cook for yourself, you get bolder and more experimental. And when the fear of judgement is gone, you’re no longer scared of that extra dash of fish sauce or a more than generous sprinkle of pepper. An ideal state I’d say, to develop your palate and introduce it to unusual tastes. And I can’t really deny that the sense of adventure you get in the kitchen does rub onto your life outside as well. And who doesn’t like to be a tad bit bolder, smarter or more confident?

It’s the anticipation of being able to cook one more day is what motivates me to even get out of the bed every morning. And it doesn’t even have to be any complicated cuisine. The mere clatter of pans or even something as simple as the aroma of a perfectly brewed tea (trust me, you don’t get it right everyday!) is probably what even keeps me going. I think kitchen and cooking appeals to a very primal side of me that understands only sensuous pleasures. Watching the mustard seeds dance whimsically in the hot oil or getting lost in the hypnotic rhythm of your chopping boards and knife…aren’t these the simple pleasures that keep alive the fun and cushion the blows of the maddening crowd? Aren’t these after all the things that reunite you with your lost humour and some-one else’s positive attitude (I aint got any of that ๐Ÿ˜‰ )?

I can’t imagine my life where I wouldn’t have a chance to enter the kitchen ever again. I mean what would I do then?

Well, why worry about this now, when I can still find peace and sanity…in my kitchen! I’m off to stock up on these and make myself a rejuvenating cup of coffee. I’m tired after all, with so much blabbering!

An Ideal Weekend…Finally!

I’m in my office sitting at my desk, but my mind keeps going back to the insanely lazy and spaced out weekend I had. All the weekly frustration, depression and resentment is totally worth the while if it’s going to be followed by an ideal weekend.

I woke on Saturday morning determined to not let this weekend be boring like the ones I’d been having since I moved to Bangalore last month after marrying EM (That’s a whole different story and deserves another post). I had been totally organised and professional about my Saturday. I had booked an appointment for a massage at 12:00 pm, right after EM would have left for work. This made me feel like an awesome mature calm-headed wife (which I’m obviously not) who has it all figured out. It was the first Saturday since our marriage that I felt so relaxed, probably in anticipation of the massage. I woke up early, made pancakes for EM, had tea, smoked a couple of cigarettes and it was still only 9:00. When EM asked me what he could do for lunch and if I could make anything, I surprised myself by saying I’d actually pack a lunch box for him. Wooohooo! This was another way of making myself feel like a power-woman who just moved about nimbly juggling between a zillion tasks like a seasoned monk, when the reality was that I had no intentions of making a habit out of it. As much as I love cooking and find it therapeutic, making chapatis and aloo bhaji does not quite fit in with the romantic ideas of cooking while sipping a glass of red wine, that generally flood my brains. I also had an ulterior motive in cooking btw, I knew he’d eat with his colleagues and they’d be all praises for the hard-working, loving young wife. Reality: The wife doesn’t move her ass off the couch because for her a little bit of mess never hurt anyone. While the husband is perennially in the kitchen, doing dishes left by his culinary enthusiast of a wife who pretends that she is Nigella and keeps cooking just for the heck of it.

I left home with EM and reached for my ayurvedic massage appointment at sharp 12:00. They pretty much strip you of any decent piece of clothing btw. I had no idea since this was my first professional massage. It was like a nightmare come true when my therapist gave me what looked like a very basic and ancient version of a G-string..eeek! Now I had no idea how to wear that long string of cloth with 2 strings attached. I decided to be bold and put it on anyone after making unsuccessful attempts at persuading the masseuse to let me keep my really old underwear which I didn’t mind throwing later. It was surprising how I felt quite at ease after I plunged in. The next 45 minutes were sheer bliss apart from the incessant thinking my mind kept doing. Well why wouldn’t it after it’s owner lay with her precious derriere sticking up in the air and being manipulated in really unflattering angles. I’m sure that now there is only one person in the world who has seen parts of me that even my partner hasn’t…thank God he’s not into trying acrobatic sexual positions. By the end of the massage and steam I felt all new and pretty.

Out of the massage centre, I went straight into one of the exotic veggies store I like here and quickly picked stuff faking efficiency all the time. Back home, the sweet after effects of the massage had just begun to spread their haze over my eyes and I spent the next 2-3 hours awake but unaware of anything around. The evening was reserved for making delicious and super healthy tomato soup and potato wedges for EM and Thai Chicken Noodle soup for me. I know…it seems unfair that I eat light and make heavy stuff for EM. But believe me you, I’ve taken up a personal project of making him heavier by 10 kilos before the end of the year…even if it means making 2 batches of food every time. Then I spent 10 minutes pickling baby cucumbers…yumm!! After what felt like a long fruitful day, I sat back watching Seinfeld and that is exactly what I did for the next 3 hours, even as EM came home and we had dinner.

Isn’t it absolutely empowering to look back upon a day that was so relaxing yet so productive?? Sunday was equally relaxing only with a lot less activity. We woke up late and started drinking at 11, right after breakfast…no wonder then that I hardly remember the rest of the day. ๐Ÿ˜›

I don’t mind this being my weekend routine…something to think about, huh?