A simple question at every meet and greet. I like mine strong, milky, flavored. Rich enough to spark a thought process, an endless string of thoughts. More so, my sinuses make it hard to taste anything.
An age old tradition at home, is we make a little paste of the coffee. Much like the coffee vendors at train stations in South India. Add a half a spoon of hot water to two spoons of coffee. Whip in till color changes to a light brown consistency. I think, this enriches the texture and helps dispel punches of aroma.
We add a little brown sugar to the mix. The crystals should turn to syrup in the mix. Make sure to have a pot of milk boiling. The boiling hot milk is then poured in from a height to the coffee syrup. This is a visual treat. I like how the froth takes shape on top.
The best way to devour this, is by yourself. Wake up one early Friday morning. A silent ambiance, a thoughtless mind and a frothy rich coffee. Simple luxuries.
I’ve realized. A momentary epiphany.
How my existence, is a self repair system. I did not choose for it be this way. I did not decide what I would as a result of.
With every hiccup, stumble, heart break and minimal pathos – I felt it was natural to stoop to an all time low. This state of dazed numbness – this very grievous, heartbreaking, heartrending hiatus is the very foundation I would start building myself on.
I sincerely feel, I was destined to meet who I would – see , who I will see and embrace what ever or who ever came my way. I realized, when I have my most cherished memoirs taken away from – that very sense of being torn is usually the first step to re building myself.
It makes sense , to be learning to walk again . It makes sense to be learning to believe again. It is comprehensible to start at a point that may seem far below what you find acceptable. As long as I am not standing still – I credit myself to be wanting to be who I want to be. I think about how it would feel to be insurmountably happy and I intend to feel that way.
I am gracious that I have had eager ears and cautious eyes that happen to tred my way. Lest I set foot on my to self destruction, these ever serving hands have found their way into mine. They’ve set me free. Inspired to me to hold onto my sanity.
I’ve realized, change is the only constant and while crucial ‘living’ ‘breathing’ ‘speaking’ elements may change, with their roles having entrances and exits much like a play; They were to happen to you. Their journey never just meant ‘happening’ to cross paths. They were sent for a reason. Reason that even they cannot logic with.
I am one such element. My sole purpose, is to happen to others as they have happened to me. I do not live in a war stricken zone. I have ample choices to make. I make decisions. I have resources. I have so much hope. I have so much health, warmth and goodness.
While I recover from my ambiguous loss. I have realized, time and time again. I do not belong to me. My happiness, dreams and efforts do not belong to me. I cannot afford to be selfish. So much to create and so much to share. who am I to deny this to one who needs it just as I did.
I have realized, in sharing – i divide my misfortuned illness into self destructible pieces and have my joys multiplied. I owe my happiness to these ever serving gracious people. They have created impressions – leaving behind ripples of positive change. Reminding me, of how I must continue to be what was intended to be;
i am simply grateful. Simply gracious that you have happened and I promise I will too, to another person tomorrow.
This women in shock leaves the Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, Syria – last year Sept 20 , 2012. This day dozens of civilians were killed. This is still the case today.
A whole array of heart wrenching images that have won the Pulitzer Prizes. These were taken by journalists who risked everything to cover the on going civil war.
I chose this image, as it has had me stunned for hours now. I cannot image what she has felt. The last time I saw a blood ridden hijab was during an unfortunate incident that left a sibling critically wounded in my mothers arms. The appalling stains of blood, take me back to this very unfortunate incident that shook me to my very core.
Today, around noon – i felt a sudden dizzy lull taking toll of my senses. I felt lifted and left with a swift sense of turbulence. 10 days ago, we raced to the exits of our office building- as the whole of west bay experienced tremors coming all the way from Iran. Today, it came back stronger. Immediately, scraping the desk we flew down what we can safely consider a compromised concrete dwelling. Within, an hour I found myself home. Comforting myself with a home cooked meal and curious ears ready to offer me whatever consolation I needed.
An earthquake stricken day for a working girl my age in Iran today wouldn’t be half as easy or favorable. I couldn’t help being thankful to see those gracious faces at home, a generous home and all those well afforded luxuries I have taken for granted.
No amount of charities, well wishes and prayers can begin to provide solace to our brothers and sisters in Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Libya. You are our real heroes. My soul is much smaller to what I can comprehend.
In the light of the recent Boston Marathon attacks and the images of the youngest victim, 8 Year old Martin Richard have left a bitter taste.
I am lucky. Today I sleep richer, happier and safer than millions for whom, this was once a fond memory. I wish you Justice and enormous will to survive. Amen.
Friday. My end of week sanity day. A tinge of spirituality and going back to my roots day. It’s a constant reminder of who I am. Home cooked food, family and extended family faces round the dining table and the endless marathons of TV soaps with folks.
24 hours of mental system back up and reset. A good opportunity to introspect, imagine and relax.
When you come from a family that spends more on it’s monthly menu budget that any other expense combined, you know - what goes in the wok is a big deal.
I’m at advantage with both my parents who are aced cooks in their genre. While Dad is perfect imitator of all that is Asian and even Middle Eastern; Mom is more loyal to her roots. Her cuisine is a mix of Indian with a slight touch of the western expat influence.
And I, I enjoy both. Everyday, I have options. I relish dad’s creative aromatic surprises, while my soul’s finds it’s comfort in mom’s chicken stew.
Believe me, I’m not a big fan of fine cuisine. But, I love mixing a lot of them together. I was always a hungry kid. Can never say no, to a little treat every now and then. A desk job forces me to mend my ways.
At university, I cooked up what ever I found economically available at the vendor markets or settle with the freshest vegetable produce of the day. Sometimes, I’d religiously live on daily takeaways. Point made, the art of impromptu cooking runs through my veins and on several auspicious occasions, i tend to surprise everyone including myself!
My humble tagliatelle (above) was seasoned with a dash of teriyaki and some old school ginger garlic sauce and sauteed onions for base. I also used red chilies puree just enough to give its red color. More so, my biggest asset this day, was the bright burst of sunlight streaming in as I whistled my way through the recipe. A good light source, is a great way of knowing how well the condiments have been cooked.
The citrus crush (above) was a pitcher of Tropicana pineapple and orange juice with squared mandarins. All easy. It was a great sipper.
And, berries. I could eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blue berries and kiwis all day. (above)Is an organic raspberry and honey yogurt mix. The mints add a refreshing punch. A little water to suit your consistency.
While convenience, easy access and time of preparation are key factors to my successful recipe’s. It’s usually the inspiration that’s abundantly available in the form of a shining sun or a breezy day, which is the winning secret. I always take my dishes outdoors. Savour them on the yard swing or the sun seats outside. Believe me, every spoonful tastes more fulfilling that way.
Just got invited to the Magnolia Bakery Grand Opening in Qatar. It opens this week, Wednesday- 16th January.
Located at the Dar Al Salam Mall, Abu Hamour, I shamelessly admit I will be the first one through the door. The first time I heard about Magnolia, was from the Sex and the City series, where I saw Carrie digging into one.
Quintessentially, Magnolia will open to us a world of luscious, rich and comfort giving cupcakes , cakes, puddings, cookies, brownies, coffees, legit american coffees, fresh juices and a savory menu for later on.
Not only is the most anticipated event of the week, it is also the biggest Magnolia outlet to open ever!
If you love cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery is the place to be! Follow them on Twitter here and the invitation with a map.
On the night of 16 December 2012, a paramedical student, Damini was gang raped in Delhi. The victim and her friend after watching a movie boarded a bus in South Delhi, when they were beaten by a group of six males (5 adult, 1 minor), after which the female victim was raped.
The couple were on their way home after watching Life of Pi at a South Delhi multiplex. The couple boarded a bus at about 9 pm when a group of men, who were on the bus, began harassing her.
When her friend tried to intervene, he was gagged and then hit mercilessly with an iron rod. Five men then hit the woman with the same rod and gang-raped her while the driver kept the bus moving. At about 11 pm, the couple was thrown semi-naked onto the road. A passer-by phoned the police which then collected the couple and moved the pair to the hospital. The girl had been hit with the iron rod for nearly forty five minutes.
“It appears to be that a rod was inserted into her and it was pulled out with so much force that the act brought out her intestines… That is probably the only thing that explains such severe damage to her intestines,” said a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital where the woman is being treated.
What were the First Questions that were asked -
1. What was the girl wearing?
2. Why was she out post 9pm in the night?
3. Why was she alone with a boy?
We live in a society where daughters are asked Not to get raped. As if it were an option they can avoid. We are told to hide our faces in shame, if we were to be abused, eve teased, harrased and sweared at. It is ok to live in wed lock comprising of physical abuse than to file for divorce.
It is “culture” to be tolerant and toil away as a women, as it is testimony to your femininity.
Damini had her intestines completely removed. If she manages to live, she will live on intravenous fluids for life. Her partner will require extensive therapy to overcome what he has experienced.
I am furious. Enraged. I’ve been eve teased before. I’ve been bullied by coward men. I’ve been followed home and abused. And I have been taught to be perfectly silent about it. There would be repercussions if I made anyone “uncomfortable” with my woman problems.
If anything, I now feel the need to be more shameless. To be more impolite. To be more zealous and rebellious. I cannot sleep tonight. I do not think I will sleep in peace again.
To only think, I was in Delhi 7 days ago. *jitters* Only 6 months after a minor Girl was openly molested on road by a group of men in Guwahati, enjoying every fistful grope and video taped for the world to see.
I do understand the process of Law takes time and the constitutional protocols must seep through layers of bureaucratic, bribe sucking, male chauvinist, porn addicted middle aged crises law makers.
I do understand, while the tinted Bus in which Damini was raped and her insides were castrated outside, passed three police vans during the assault, meant the Delhi Police has no better way of knowing how to do its job.
I understand, that now in spite of everything and the arrests made, the Delhi police is resorting to providing a “high security” getaway for the alleged. Life imprisonment is as good as it gets. Isn’t that perfect.
I understand. I’ve understood.
I’m a woman. Nuff said.
Update: 29th December 2012
I woke up to find several BBM updates screaming R.I.P. My heart wrenched because of what I was dreading the most. Last I knew she was flown to Singapore for treatment at the Mt. Elizabeth Hospital. She didn’t make it.
This was murder. Rape is murder. Murder of hopes, dreams. Murder of ambition, prayers and everything good in this cruel world. This young brave women, will never have another birthday, never go on a date, be married or live to have a family of her own. She will never complete her education nor will she live to support her family.
Her family will wake up to an empty room everyday. Her friend will forever remember the heinous crime, where he was beaten to unconsciousness and stripped naked, thrown out of a moving vehicle. This family has been scarred.
India is a place, where girls are neither safe inside the womb nor outside.
Damini a.k.a Nirbhaya died a fighting hero.
A little part of me died today. Weeping inconsolably I found the strength to get out of bed and walk to my laptop to know of her last.
Her body was prepared in a funeral parlor in Singapore, before the coffin began its journey back to India with her parents who were at her bedside when she was pronounced dead at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Just yesterday, a punjabi teenager who was gang raped in November (yes, we didn’t know of the crime until yest.) committed suicide, giving into the pressure by her attackers and the cheap police officers in Punjab, who would call her in the wee hours of the night and ask ” Rape kaise kiya unhone”? ( tell us, how did they rape you?). She was asked to visit the station alone, and pressurized to drop the charges. She left behind a video recording her ordeal and a letter with the name of the accused. Within, 24 hours, Damini left us.
I wait for the day, we can walk the streets to buy groceries for our children with a promising contentment t return home safe and unharmed. I wait for the day, I can stroll in the park with him, without the fear of being battered by a mob and left naked and exposed to the eyes of the world to see.
We have lost. Dear Daughters, Girls, Wives, Sisters and Mothers, do not cease to fight. We promised Damini we’d fight. We promised never to give up. We promised, that we’d look after even if she was gone. We promised.
On the 4th of January, Father of the victim Badri Singh, revealed her name to the world. Her name was Jyothi Singh Pandey.