Let’s cook!

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Eating at home is a luxury, as all those who have stayed away from their families would agree to. Both of us come from families which love to eat, and every meal is a mini feast. In turn, we love to cook, and have friends who love to cook. My family shifted base to Hyderabad as I had just started with high school, and making new friends seemed scary. During our first visit to one of my father’s colleague’s place, S unhesitatingly called me into the kitchen to fix lemonade, and I knew we were destined to be friends forever. Since then, my definition of a kitchen changed; from a boring workplace, it became a place where we hang out.

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Thus, we have spacious platforms which we try to keep uncluttered so that I can sit and chat, while A makes the salad for dinner. Drawing inspiration from our favorite kitchen pictures, we have ledges full of fancy mugs bought impulsively from different parts of the country, small artifacts (again gifted for various reasons), cutlery and wooden ladles. The many appliance that we need (or one of our many well-wishers think we need) have been allocated places inside the cupboards; a charcoal barbecue oven (a house warming gift from friends) being the only exception, as it looks like a small yellow UFO, which adds a bright splash of color in the kitchen, which is mostly grey and black.

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There are some ceramic achaar bharnis or pickle jars, which A insisted on picking up while on a road trip, as it reminds him of the times he used to sit in his Grandma’s kitchen and eat the mouth watering jams, jellies and pickles. There are a couple of bamboo mugs, which we have never used and beautiful oriental inspired designer tea cups with lids which we use to keep the achaar! A conical Cambodian farmer’s hat picked up on our trip to Angkor Wat has also found its way into the kitchen!!

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The wooden ladles are a birthday gift from friends who know our love for fancy rustic elements and love for cooking while the jar holding it is a wedding gift to start us off into a new journey, and has finally found the place it deserves.

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There is a ceramic biker girl and biker boy kissing each other salt and pepper dispenser, given to us by my cheeky cousin who thinks it’s humorous that we both have individual two wheelers, and this apparently defines our love story.
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There is also an ornate elephant in muted colors made in fiber, a wedding gift which holds a rustic charm, and its counterpart, a baby elephant waiting by on the dining room ledge, a wedding gift from my grandparent’s neighbors in Kolkata.
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On a ledge on top of the fridge we have Ramkrishna Paramhansa and Shree Ma, a legacy from my mother when I first shifted into a hostel, overseeing our meal preparations. A basket of small stuffed animals have also made their way into our kitchen, all gifted one at a time for various reasons.

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On the fridge we have a lion hanging on all fours (which was a gift to Ma from my brother and that I pocketed when she wasn’t looking!) and a dangling “das Mädchen” as my father calls it (loosely translated as “the maiden” or the country maiden), which reminds me of one of my favorite childhood dresses, which my parents got from Germany while coming back! And the fridge also has magnets from the places we have visited, along with an auto, a bus and a taxi, finally some Indian magnets I feel happy to own!

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The other bright corner being near the kitchen window, where small buckets with money plant have been hung on the top of the sink (A has constant tussle with the daily help for keeping the soap and scrubber on the platform as well).

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We knew we had achieved our dream when, during the first house party, we often ended up just hanging around the kitchen while someone fixed the drinks. As Sh remarked, “This is the happiest place to hang around, munching something, and really breezy!”

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And they lived happily ever after…

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dsc_0077So finally, we have ended up in this house; our house, after
months of struggle (read: running for loans, pooling in resources, fighting over design details, finalizing agencies and meeting deadlines); and spending whole days standing on site, while A played around with the wooden pieces (of course, this playing around produced the furniture we love). It took a toll on our lives as well; we slacked at work, slept late and got up later, stressed over finances and project completion; in fact, we had to shift into the still incomplete flat as the lease for our rented place was over. But finally we are here, and we have the house to ourselves; putting in the final touches and loving the feel of it. It feels lived in and it feels like we belong here.

Truth be told, we never really planned to buy a house so early in life, it just happened to us. But that didn’t stop A from putting in all we had and much more. Being architects, just moving in was not an option; we had to make it ours. dsc_0023An elaborate dream list was drafted and we set to work. Like all Indian households, we needed lots of storage (and no, the top of the cupboard does not count!!) and the kitchen needed to be spacious and be equipped to cook up a storm whenever occasion required. We wanted conversation to flourish in the common area, hence relocated the television to the small bedroom, and converted it into a lounge. Since the master bedroom has an attached toilet, it has become the walk-in wardrobe for the entire household, with all the cupboards, and the other bedroom is the designated designer’s abode, where we happily spend entire weekends lazing around and reading books!

But what is interesting is that we have a story about every space and every element of the house. We have a habit of holding on to old things, and love the memories they store. Our training helps us to refurbish, redefine, and finally upscale them, and we have used this skill extensively to hold on to family relics which are hidden treasure box of stories. This is a story of all the little stories that we have weaved into our everyday life. So happy reading!!

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The beloved flower in the covers of a book; A book of romance and of dreams coming true

DSC_0167We all love magic; the magic of romance and youth. The excitement and naivety and faith, that which makes the world rosy and life like a dream. The beloved flowers in the covers of a book, letters written in red ink, the secret meeting, the telltale smile, and surely, each time we press a flower in our favorite book, we dream of these romances. To be a part of the unspoken true love, of fighting against all odds, of the long walks in the monsoon and the fields of flowers, to be mesmerized in love and be besotted with each other. We want surprise gifts of jewelry and chocolates, stuffed toys and scarves, flowers on occasions and dates to celebrate.

But isn’t it blissful to be able to pour one’s heart out or sit in silence through the night, every night. To know that even though you argue over the silliest of things, you’ll walk through the rough patches of life holding hands. And to be right there armed with tubs of ice-cream, even when you are complaining of everything you have. There may not be surprise gifts and date nights, and there will be many caustic comments, but there will also be secrets you share and the dream of a future, and the promise to build it together.

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Tomorrow: a wonderful place to be

DSC_0364It’s next time once again, and I still don’t have anything interesting to say. My plans are still in my head. Tomorrow is this wonderful place that I never reach. I am drowned in a lifelong of todays. Somewhere, deep down inside of me, a voice tells me, it is good to be at least dreaming of this wonderful tomorrow, that it is what lends you hope and the strength to wake up smiling every morning; but who am I kidding? That voice is just my way of procrastinating without feeling guilty.  Then the other voice chimes up. The depressing one, which reminds you that your wonderful tomorrow is a hoax, because you haven’t really done anything to deserve it, and are not focused enough. This voice at least eventually leads to something constructive. Because, then you list down all the steps you have taken to bring you closer to at least one of your dreams. It may be as small as cleaning your cupboard or pruning your small collection of plants. I think this is the reason some people always start their serious work sessions by cleaning up regime. If only I could stick to one single regime.

For me, one session might start with a cleaning up regime, which I will abandon halfway because I have had an idea, and that needs to be executed immediately. Then the next time, I would just keep sitting in a mess because I have no time to think of anything else. If I make out any pattern of my working style, it is last minute panic. That just sets it off. I envy the people who can put out good work effortlessly. You know the kinds who get up in the morning, know exactly what needs to be done around the house, read the newspaper and take a shower. They get dressed and head for work. They work till the evening. Head out, meet up and socialize, come back home, and all the while produce great work. I’ll tell you the secret. They don’t give up when they are bored or low. They go on. And so do I. I will start

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enjoying the walk to that wonderful place

finishing my mini projects. As soon as I clean up my cupboard and do the laundry.

Eternity!!

DSC_0702Shall I write of the moon and the stars, or about the birds playing hide and seek amongst the leaves? Or should I write about how the plant they had given up for dead has new leaves budding again? Each moment in itself seems like an eternity, with thousands of parallel stories vying with each other to be heard, while a few small ones remain content to lay hidden, till someone cares enough to hear it out, like the tiny green potted plant!

The plant was a peace offering, from an anxious husband to an irate wife, and had brought a smile that lit her face up, and the warmth spread to his heart. Now they bickered over how much manure was to be given, and whether it got any water that day or not! The plant blossomed under their inexpertise, and brought them together in a whole new way. When they moved, they decide to leave it as a legacy to the place they had called home for what seemed like an eternity!

 

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Work from home!

It’s been a long time since I had an urge to write. To be honest, I am here today only because I saw the journal, and felt a wee bit guilty. The thing is that there is just no time. Or let’s put it this way, there’s plenty of time, but I just can’t manage it well. I want to do so much, and all of it all at once, it’s like god forgot to the basic planning  software in me. I want plants in the garden, with fairy lights entangled among creepers. I want every inch of the wall to be filled with sketches and every room filled with flowers. I want clean kitchen and neat cupboards (I also want this to happen magically by on its own). I want to play and swim, and go for long walks on the beach, have a cup of coffee while reading a book. It all is so idyllic. The trouble is, often when I would make myself coffee, I would be too busy imagining how idyllic it would be to sit in the veranda, reading the book and sipping coffee, to really get any time to read the book. Then the outside would be so distracting with crows on the tree and dogs on the street. Often, I would end up reading a couple of pages, without really taking anything in at all. I store movies on my hard disk, to watch when I have time. But when I do have the time, I spend it day dreaming, about all the wonderful things I would do. And the cycle starts again.

Maybe, next time, sometime, I’ll have something more to write about, than my rumbling thoughts…..

A warm summer afternoon

One day I will write a story. There will be flowers and sun, and water and green, and it will be oh! so beautiful! The moonlit roads would be walked by lovers holding hands and antique windows framed by bougainvillea would glow by the light of the candles. Peacocks will run through shaded courtyards, and girls in colorful skirts will laugh and dance, while the men in sober hues would pay compliments with their music. Grannies would sing lullabies and children would fill the air with their innocent laughter, and the gentle aroma of freshly crushed spices and barbecue in the open.

Oh! If only I could pen down my thoughts! But, no words come to my mind when I sit to write; it’s only when I let my mind go free, and just lie on my bed, thinking about all the things that could be; when there is no book, or tv, or work, and I just sit in a corner, images flash through my mind, one after the other, waiting to be strung together in a thread. Oh! One day, for sure!

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