Lessons From A Small Kitchen

Let’s face it. You can never have a kitchen big enough to your satisfaction. But, what if you have a really small one? Well, small kitchens are not unheard of. Most people have small kitchens. Only a few select have the luxury of big ones. And let’s not get into the kitchens of tiny homes – the Tiny Home Revolution takes the definition of ‘small’ to another level.

It’s not that my kitchen is extremely small, but it is the smallest one I  have ever had. With the counter, a fridge and a door leading to a small balcony – we are left with a 4 ft x 4ft space to move around.

The small size of a kitchen may frustrate some people as it can be problematic to cook in such a small place. Or it can be a reason of relief as it hardly takes 10 minutes to clean the entire kitchen.

For me, it has been the latter and also a source of learning some life skills. Weird as it may sound, my ‘small’ kitchen taught me some valuable lessons.

And here is the list.

  1. Concentrating on one task at a time

    In this era when people are going gaga over multi-tasking, we sometimes fail to notice or rather ignore the benefits of NOT multi-tasking. Unless you have ever been caught in a situation where you got yourself into so many things at one time and ended being sloppy in each one of them, you will not understand this. So you ask how my kitchen taught me this? Simple – it is small. There is no place to do more than one thing at a time.

  2. Everything that you take out should be put back in.

    Not everyone cleans up after themselves. Everybody should, some do and most abhor it. I anyways used to clean up after myself. But I never really understood how much other people appreciate it when you leave something clean after using it.  So you ask how my kitchen taught me this? Simple – it is small 😛 . By the time you take out 5th item there is no place to keep it. So you have to start putting things back.

  3. Living in harmony and synchronisation with people around you.

    Having a small kitchen is something, but having to share it with others is something else. I share the kitchen with my husband. It may not seem such a big problem, as we generally stereotype husbands as the ‘non-cooks’. But before you make such an assumption, I must tell you, my husband is an excellent cook. And he cooks every day – some days or most days more than me. And I am his humble assistant :P. Hence, getting around each other is not always easy. But after a few days, you start to pick up patterns and moves of the other and learn to work with it. So, do you really need to ask how my kitchen taught me this? Ha ha. It’s small dude!

  4. Patience

    Cooking is definitely an art. But how about having to move every few minutes while cooking so that someone else can take out something from the cupboard under the gas stove? Will you still pour all your love into the cooking? Maybe not. But this is what you have to do in a small kitchen. And a big shout out to my husband for being a master of this virtue. While I, am only still learning it.

Life has a way of teaching us in subtle unexpected ways. It is only a matter of being open to it.

12/12: A Year-long Honeymoon

12/12: A Year-long Honeymoon

After 3 years of being friends and 7 years of dating, Sandeep and I got married on 5th Jan’17. As we were planning our wedding a question was put before us over and over again. “Where are you guys going on honeymoon?” To the surprise of many people we couldn’t answer that question.

For the past few years we often spoke about places each of us wanted to visit or discuss some travel shows or blogs or something else about travelling. Whenever we envisioned our future, travelling always found a place in it. So it was weird that we hadn’t given any thought about where we would go for our honeymoon.

It could have been because we were too engrossed with the logistics of the 4 days long wedding events. Or maybe because we knew that we didn’t have enough leaves to go on a proper holiday. Instead, I would like to believe that it was because we wanted to visit so many places together that going for just one long lavish trip did not seem appealing. Nowadays couples do travel a lot more than as compared to 5 or 10 years ago. But even for those people it is one or two big vacations a year. We, on the other hand wanted to travel much more than that. Since our vision was to travel frequently, we had embraced the idea of budget travelling. Hence an extravagant honeymoon had lost its sheen.

The question “Where are you guys going on honeymoon?” was still following us. I am not how this idea dawned in our minds, but we came up with a brilliant solution to our honeymoon problem. We would travel somewhere every month for the entire year. It could even be a weekend trip but it had to be every month. And friends and family are welcome to join us on these trips.

Yes, we will visit our parents at least twice this year and travelling somewhere else during those months might not be possible. We will cross that bridge when it comes.

For now we are taking it one month at a time.

Healthy Habits and the Cursed Child

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Benjamin Franklin

As a kid, this was one of the sayings which I truly believed. Some others included ‘Honesty is the best policy’ and so on. Time and again these beliefs were put to test. While some still hold true, others have miserably failed.

I was brought up to be a morning person. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. was considered to be late; breakfast would be over by 7 a.m. and dinner served at 8 p.m.  Bedtime was strictly 9 p.m.  I would envy my older siblings who were allowed to stay up late. Things changed when I turned 15. No one woke me up at 6 or asked me to go to bed at 9. I now assume that being in high school and having board exams gave me that clearance.

In today’s world, staying in engineering college hostels or working in IT industry are bound to turn you into a creature of the night. I stayed in college hostel for 4 years while pursuing engineering and have been working in IT for more than 6 years. I should be a classic example of a nocturnal person. Defying all reason, I still wake up at 6 in the morning and find it hard to stay awake past 10:30 at night. I do have the occasional night outs but I immediately regret doing them because it can me take me as long as a week to get over it.

All through these years, it never really bothered me that I did not fit in with the late night crowd. For the past couple of years, I’ve even become outspoken about my preferences while making plans with friends or colleagues. Although, sometimes I do feel like a party pooper. I am ready to leave just as the party mood sets in. A 10-minute argument to make me stay longer is a common segment in team parties. I was even challenged in one such party to a 5k race because my reason for leaving early was that I had to go running the next morning.

Do I wish that I could enjoy all night? Absolutely – but only to enjoy the company of my friends.

Would I consider changing my sleep habit? I guess not.

Or a more truthful answer would be – I tried and I failed. It’s hard-wired in my brain.

So, am I am healthier, wealthier or wiser?

I hope I am.

Either way, I will still go to bed at 10 tonight 🙂

 

The One Thing I Never Let Go

“What is your hobby?”

“What are your interests outside work?”

“What are you passionate about?”

These are quite common questions people ask all the time. It often receives very common answers too – music, watching moving, travel, cricket and so many others like them.

As a kid I would answer -signing and reading, without thinking about it for a moment. Yes I did love to sing and read. I could sing well and I was in the school and church choirs. I read a lot too then. Reading was a handed down habit from my maternal side. But the most influencing factor was the set of encyclopedia that my parents had bought. I would also read some story books and novels which were mostly my mom’s. There was also a time when I couldn’t walk out from a bookstore without buying a book.

As I grew up, I carried the same answer around with me. Eventually a time came where I found it very difficult to justify my “interests” to myself. Not because I no longer liked singing or reading. I did, very much so.

But are they really my hobby?

Am I genuinely passionate about them?

I still enjoy singing and participate in events occasionally. In my heart I believe that had I taken some classes and learned some form of music, I would be really good at it. And I wish that I read more often.

The daunting truth – I don’t read as much now; and I never actively pursued singing or music. I could list down n reasons (excuses) of why I (had to) let go of these things.

But my predicament was scarier than the truth – what am I passionate about?

When you know people who have quit their jobs for their passion of travelling or making movies, have a collection of beautiful paintings, give breath taking musical performances at corporate and local events – you just cannot conjure up some hobby. At least I couldn’t. In my mind I had created a benchmark which an activity had to meet to be deemed as my passion.

Do I have sufficient knowledge about it? Can I hold a conversation about it?

Am I good at it?

Do I spend time on it? Does it make it to my to-do list in any form (doing the activity, planning for it, reading about it etc.) every day or at least every week?

I kept thinking – what am I interested in? What is my passion? Anything that I could think of never made it to the benchmark. But slowly I saw a pattern. All the activities I had as a candidate failed in some or the other criteria. But they all failed in one particular area – time.  When this hit me, I realized that the only question worth asking was – do I spend time on it?

What is the one thing I always have time for? Or I make conscious effort to make time for it?

The answer was in plain sight. And I laughed at myself of not knowing it for so long. I am passionate about workout. It doesn’t matter in which form – running, HIIT, strength, you name it and I am up for it. The one thing that I never let go – in between school, college, relocation, jobs, relationships. Yes, I do admit there were times when I did not actively pursue it. But it is what I always came back to.

So if you are trying to figure out what your passion is, don’t ask “what you like to do”, ask “what you always have time for?”

My First Time

With my eyes closed, I relish the silence. I take a deep breath, as if I could take it all in and keep it with me. A smile of satisfaction spreads across my face. As I open my eyes, I am still thinking about the beautiful dream I had. The pile of dirty clothes and still packed bags remind me that it wasn’t a dream; it was one of the most beautiful weeks of my life. I can still see the brilliant blue, the dazzling whites, the delicious browns, the occasional lush greens and all the other vivid colours in between.

I did not know what it means to sleep under the starry sky. I didn’t even know what a starry sky actually looked like.

I did not know how crushing silence can be.

I had never witnessed a selfless act.

I had never greeted strangers.

I did not know how soothing it is to hear a stream flowing by.

I had never imagined how majestic the Himalayas are.

It was my first time with the Himalayas. “It’s hard to describe” was my honest answer to most of the people. The ones who have already been there, just smiled at my reply. They know what I mean.

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I have been thinking over and over that I have to go back there. I don’t know if and when that will ever happen. I hope and pray it does.

My cellphone stages

When I got my first cell phone, I had to explain each call to my parents – even incoming calls, ‘coz baby they weren’t free.

When I got my first feature phone, I had to explain the additional net pack recharge.

When I got my first smart phone, the battle was epic. Why for once I couldn’t stop looking at my phone screen while sitting with my parents.

Well, now my parents and grandparent have smart phone.

I can now stare at my phone as long as I want, freak out about no network and battery low “nightmares”, even they join in. And funniest of all, I have to mute my whatsapp during office hours because of the non-stop beeps of family group messages.

I am not complaining, in fact I am so proud of my mom, all my aunts and uncles and so much more of my grandfather, who embraced the ever changing technologies. It just funny how times change 🙂

My First Bike Ride

As I lay awake on my bed after a short siesta, I wonder will it be okay if I can postpone sending a parcel to my sister (something which I have been doing for the past two weeks ;)). But then I thought better not. It wasn’t because she would kill me if I didn’t, but because I was eager to take my bike (which I had just got home this afternoon) out for a ride.

Technically this wasn’t going to be my first ride on the bike – I did ride it home from the showroom.  But I had two escorts with me then, making sure I did not run anyone over :D. Thanks to them, my bike reached home safe and sound.

So this was the first time it would be just me.

This is what I had planned – stop at a stationary shop on the way to buy an envelope. Get to the courier place. Send the courier and back home. Easy peasy japanesy 😀

No sooner than I started from my place, something struck me – I would have to take two U-turns :O. Well it might seem silly to most of you, but I believe you have all been there at some point of time.

OK so I’m out of my society gate, a small speed breaker (oh I’ll do just fine), keep going…..so the road is going up…oh I need to stop before I go into the main road…. Stop… stop. Okay I stopped (that wasn’t too hard).  Waiting for some gap in the traffic… waiting… here it is… lets go.. The U- turn is already here..Ahhhhhhhhhhh…. ohk chill chill… turn on the indicator…slow down… no cars from the opposite side… cool lets go… I made it, I made it… areee I better turn of the indicator. I made it. I made it (a little tap dancing going on in my head). I made it. I made it. Hey where did that stationary shop go??? Head turning to see the shops…. HEYYYY… eyes on the road honey!! Oh forget it, I’ll figure something out when I reach the courier place. Keep going…. Ok, I see the shop…. Slow down…. Annnnnndddd…. Stop. That’s it. Good. And into the shop I went – they had envelops – nice. I was out in about 10 minutes. Ok I need to get back in the road,  into the right lane and take a U-turn. Hmmmm lets see…. Lots of cars… waiting…waiting… there’s a small gap… but still waiting… a small gap again… hmmm… I don’t think its gonna get better that this… let me take it… here I gooooo…..ahhhhhh lot of horns honking….”HEY HEY HEY”…. I almost ran into another bike…. Oh “SORRY….” Awkward stares… hmmm…. Here’s the turn… indicator.. slow down… and goooooo…. All the way home…

I made it back home alive.

Things I learned – don’t panic, you can do it… and saying sorry just invites stares 😦

Two days of AWWWWW

Mabaleshwar - Kate's Point

From filling out google doc for date availability to checking every possible travel site to find the best place stay, from inviting people to black mailing them with leave approvals to join in for the trip, it started a about a month ago and we finally did it.

I have been to trips and picnics with lots of people, but have never seen a bunch of people who do not need to be woken up and literally kicked out of bed on the morning we were supposed to leave. I’m not saying that we were right on time but its the closest I have been.

It started out as a great day – the sun came out!!! A pleasant drive to Panchgani through the winding mountain roads, multiple pit stops at the sudden unexpected waterfalls and viewpoints, uninterrupted laughter and songs (old…not new, as we were promised :P) marked the beginning of our weekend. Following the GPS navigation instructions, climbing the steep slopes – we found our hotel and that was when the ‘awwww’ started. A beautiful place in the lap of woods just below the Table land. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. Some of us even hinted that they would love to just hang out there and forget about sightseeing. But there were greater forces at work(;)) and off we were to see the Table Land. After a long walk around, breath-taking views and not to forget the photo sessions we finally made our way back. Hungry as we were, we ate as much of the good food as we could. With each mouthful making it more difficult for us to decide whether to head back out again for sight-seeing or to sit back at our cottages and relax. Finally the rain and little advice from our hotel owner nudged us towards our lazy side.

Sitting around in a circle playing dumb charades (guessing movie names at quad-core speed ), memory games with funny names, and a weird game with super complex rules. It was not long before we found ourselves in the swimming pool. A small walk to the market place followed the hearty dinner and the ‘awwww’ session continued till we couldn’t keep our eyes open.

And again to my surprise we were out at the market place at 8 in the morning looking for tea. But nothing could have prepared me for what was in store for the day. I had only seen fog, rain and cloud covering the road the way it did in a few selected movies. And I would think..  aah that’s just special effects, trying to make the movie scary. Being honest, it was one of the best drives on my life. Fog, rain, moss-covered trees on either side of the winding narrow road and good music (new ones this time – mind it). Nothing beats the drive around Mahabaleshwar – scenic beauty of the Western Ghats, waterfalls (and the hunt of its source :P), old temples and the company of cool people.

Few almost touched death, some solved waterfall mysteries, some remembered their mums as they stepped into cold water, few were reminded of their time spent there, some got the inspiration to take up photography again (:P)… but all in all we all fell in love with the place.

To one of the most beautiful places and some of coolest people i know…. AWWWWWW.

Cheers!!

From Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi to The Big Bang Theory

I distinctly remember rushing home from school that fateful day. I no longer cared about barf gola or gupchup, all I wanted was to find out whether ‘Mihir’ had really come back from the dead. If you are still wondering who the hell is Mihir – then sorry to disappoint you, but you missed the beginning of an exciting era in Indian television. I was really moved and heart-broken by seeing ‘Tulsi’ cry and pray to the Gods to return her ‘Suhaag’. I was merely a middle school student. The intricacies of married life and dealing with in-laws were something far beyond my comprehension. Even then I kept following the story of Virani family and some others like ‘Prerna and Anurag’. A couple of years later, when I started understanding the chemistry of families, I thought to myself “WHAT CRAP HAVE I BEEN WATCHING ALL THESE YEARS”. I can’t believe I wasted so much of time and energy on these stupid sitcoms. “I swear to the heavens I’m never ever falling into this again”.

All through my high school and first two years of engineering I looked down upon my friends and relatives who were in love with any kind of soap opera. And then something happened during my pre-final year in college. ‘Lincoln Burrows’ was wrongly accused of a murder and given a death sentence and his brother ‘Michael Scofield’ got himself into prison so that he can break out with his brother. I’m sure most of you know all about it. If not, then I’m once again sorry that you never came across ‘Prison Break’. This time I went so deep into the story that I started dreaming about helping Michael break out. Well the series ended with a little disappointing turn in the story – never the less, it ended. And once again I was thankful that I am out of this addiction. But God had other plans for me – and so F.R.I.E.N.D.S. came along. And I must confess even after 4 years of watching it, I’m still not over it and I certainly do not regret it.

The Big Bang Theory was a completely different start though. It was recommended by a rather special friend. I normally tend to like the recommendations that come from this friend, but this time around I did not quite like it. It took a lot of effort following what Sheldon was speaking and five minutes through the pilot episode I had had enough. But you know what long and boring summer afternoons can do to you – I fell in love with Sheldon!! Sixth season being currently aired and I’m still watching it :D.

I don’t know if watching these English sitcoms makes us like our parents who love saas bahu serials. But at least it makes us laugh for a while and forget about everything else. And that’s good enough for me now J

Cheers!!

And the silence that follows…

A crying baby in the gently swaying arms of a tired mother,
A soothing lullaby,
And the silence that follows….

The beautiful melody floating in the air,
The last swish of the ochestra conductors’ hands,
And the silence that follows…

A hearty laughter amongst friends,
The sceret meeting of her eyes with his,
And the silence that follows…

Years of waiting, the crowd cheering on,
The last swing of the bat,
And the silence that follows…

Holding on as tightly as you can,
The last breath,
And the silence that follows…