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.

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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 😦