Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 I failed...I fell ... I got Up...

I am a dreamer and a determined one at that. I have been blessed enough to achieve everything that I decided to work for. Choices may have been wrong or right but the achievement part was constant reality. 2010 March I met failure like never before . The target was huge like never before and the stakes were high. I wasn't totally ready for it. I had a tough time but I am proud to scribble this that I didnot quit! I fought back and got up on my feet. Thus I achieved these lines of my favourite peom...Rudyard Kipling's 'If'

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

2010 the books I read

Well I did manage to read some despite my demanding schedule which was also about reading a lot but much formal and technical stuff. The books I finished included It's not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong, The Kite runner by Khaled Housseini, The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery, The secret Rhonda Byrne.

  But I liked the simplicity of 'The LittlePrince' . The beautiful way it expresses the different ways a child and an adult look at the world. The Boa constrictor sketch and it's dismissal by the adults , a perfect description how many an imaginative minds lose their creativity due to adult criticism. The importance of authority to be reasonable. The love that is unexpressed due to pride of the haughty flower. The interaction between the prince and the fox about friendship is so meaningful in its simplicity.

" One understands only the things one tames".  says the fox to the prince who refuses to tame the fox saying he has no time and has friends to discover. "what must I do to tame you?" " You must be very patient " replied the fox ."First you will sit down at a little distance from me - like that-in the grass . I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are a source of misunderstandings". And when the prince tamed the fox he learns that " at first when I met my fox he was one among a hundred thousand foxes. But once I tamed him he is unique because he is my friend".

Lance Armstrong's book was definitely inspiring by virtue of it being a true story of courage. I particularly relate the book with the phrase "Carpe diem" which mean sieze the day and the mention of the dialogue from the movie Good Will Hunting..." Do you like  apples?" " How do u like them apples" . Actually researched the origins of it (and I did find references and videos LOL ). It was good simple reading with an optimistic note.

The Kite runner was a much heavier yet beautifully written content about the complexity of human emotions and the devastation of a country due to war. Gives a vital insight into Afganistan .

I wasn't in for reading any self help books but this one was so strongly recommended during a little confusing and demotivated time that I bought it. The reading was pleasant and I was totally fascinated by the law of attraction .Well helped me attempt delibrate positive thinking for quite sometime. Law of attraction worked for me in a little way too. I wanted to see the movie which was actually made before the book but didn't know if it was available on net. Before I could start searching for it. One random day a friend of mine mentioned that her cousin made her see a movie about Law of attraction and she wanted to read the book. I gave her  the book! She gave me the movie! Made me really smile and believe that the law of attraction was working for me. I recommended it to few other friends . But slowly I said no more thank - yous as i woke up in the morning. I think it faded away a bit. Well as the principles of psychocybernetics say we need to review the positive image as our system tends to slip back to negativity. So I need to pull myself back on higher level of positivity again . What better time then starting a new year.

(P.S Gabriel Garcia marquez' book A hundred years of solitude seemed to torment my brains and despite wanting to finish it I left it mid way. The ever increasing characters and plethora of sexual perversions was maddening . But somehow I feel the book in the end would be excellent. Hope to pick it up some day again.)

2010 I am a confirmed book hoarder...

I wrote about my fascination for book stores and about the books left midway.. started and not completed..
Well at this time I feel I am a confirmed book hoarder. At times I go on a buying spree. But there is a pattern to my buying . I buy books by reference and those references could me anything.. Here is the list of books I bought and havent read...

1. The idea of justice .. Amartya sen is celebrated personality and I rever him. I read so much about this book in newspaper editorials that I bought this as soon as I saw. I even gifted a copy to a revered elder who retired this year.

2.The argumentative Indian... Amartya sen again.. I saw a copy with my cousin and read a few pages . The next thing I knew i bought my own copy in one of my random bookstore visit.

3 The audacity of hope... Barack Obama .. gifted it to my brother but now somehow lies in my shelf since he forgot to pack this one when he left. (He ofcos read it already.)

4.Dreams from my father.. Barack obama.. well a friend , a thorough obama fan , narrated me so many exerpts from the book that I , yes, bought it.

5.Three cups of tea... random buy as i liked the content ... a true story about mountaineer turned educator .

6.A mighty heart .. Marianne pearle.. the book turned into a movie starring Angelena Jolie . The author was the wife of the journalist who was beheaded by the terrorists in Pakistan. ( read about a quarter of the book)

7 A beautiful mind... a discussion with a friend about game theory led to mentioning of John Nash . I knew the movie but didnt know that it was based on a book. Bought it.

8 Indomitable spirit ...APJ abdul Kalam... His books i read anyway.this ones half read.

9.The virtue of selfishness.. Ayn Rand... I am fascinated by her theory of objectivism. This was part of a buying spree on a destressed day.

10. Heart of Goof .. ah PG Woodhouse cos some humor could do me good.

11. Short stories by O henry.... well it was impossible not to buy it . Managed to read a few stories too.

12 To kill a mocking bird by Harper Lee... well was a full page article on thsi book .. the only book by the author.. it's a classic.. if I am hoarding why leave it.

13. Speed Post .. Shobha de.. well its her letters to her children... could not read it cos I was bored of it!

14. Essays by Aung san suu kyi... well got as a gift!

15. Half of a yellow sun .. Chimamanda Ngozi adichi... whenever I am at the airport I buy books.. can't help it. This one had the orange broadband prize.

16. Catch 22 recent buy... well Yossarian shall be read ... after this one added a word to the dictionary.

17. Blindness... read about Jose Saramago about a year and half back. If I found a copy in a book store I was to buy it for sure!

18. Snow... well Orhan pamuk I had to read. Heard and read a lot about him.

19 The art of happiness... I think I was depressed that day :P

20. A brief history of everything .. Bill bryson.. a friends recommendation... excuse for not reading... Bro packed it with his stuff.....

21 The beautiful tree... James Tooley ... phew!!!

so this is it .... well hope to read them someday or may be the list shall expand more :P :P....

the things created...

I been an off and on painter . 2000 i made an oil painting . In 2001 I tried glass painting and made one in one single day without any guidance. I took a thin glass so the framing costed me more then the painting. Then it was long drawn break till I got my post grad degree and in 2008 I tried oil painting again and then again in mid 2009. But in february 2010 Idiscovered another medium and my own style of doing it .Those were two weeks of creativity and till now i have not been able to replicate it. The important thing was I wasnt copying anything and every stroke , line and curve took me to a new level of concentration. A great change and relief from my multi tasking life. It was destressing and the results were exhilarating! I showed it off too :P and here is a glipmseof all the stuff i did ...

The things that were new...

I would start from december 2009. I discovered a new interest in growing and tending flowers. The winters always bring and amazing treat of colors and fragrances . I discovered it all once again. When I was a child I took my lush gardens for granted . I felt it was a natural phenomenon happening in the space around my house. But it was the great love my father always had for sowing and growing. He made it a point we could grow the best flowers and vegetables in the ample space we had (despite his amazingly busy work schedule). I am grateful for those natural surroundings. Those red blown up tomatoes, those radishes and carrots peeping from beneath, those amazing oil yielding  sunflowers whose large seeds the parrots swarmed in to peck at.

     But things changed when we had to change our place and the susequent new houses didnt give the luxury of  a  gardens . Still we had our garden so what the garden full of pots was  replaced to garden in pots. It was somewhere around that I went oblivious of these natural things . Until this time when I took initiative to bring it back all over again. Those  amazing shades of chrysenthmum's , proud petaled dahalia's, those sunny marigolds. The chilly winters were colorful once again. The buzzing bees and occasional butterflies , hoards of squirrels leaping around sure brought  me closer to nature.

this one grew valiantly in a flower pot.Infact the pot could not hold the
robust roots and broke off .So the roots held the soil together on there own.

Year 2010

Today is 30 december .The year 2010 is to close. Twice this year I expressed my inability to be creative or find the motivation to write. But these last two days of the year I hope to write more then I did the entire year. Probably I need to rewind and unwind . Nothing gives me more clarity as when I sit and write it down. So I have decided to relax keep my  hot steaming cup of coffee by my side and just write without thinking too much about the quality or relevance of what ultimately transpires.(Heck! this is my space .. I should defer even my judgement and let the creativity and thought process run unabated).

The French cook

As I watched that mouth watering roasted chicken recipe I had no clue that would introduce me to a cooking legend. One who discovered her love for cooking late in life. She replied in her interview though her mother never cooked she was always hungry and that probably helped (LOL). In 2002 a women called Julie Powell found a purpose in life by deciding to cook 524 recipes in Julia Child’s cook book in 365 days and blogged about it. The blog was called Julia/ Julie project. I found the still existing last few posts of the blog. I guess I should begin with the last of her post. It was about Julia Child’s demise in 2004 . She died at 91 in her sleep. Julie writes about the mails and messages that poured in to her expressing their grief . She had never met Julia Child and writes that even if she did she had no reason to believe that Julia Child would have liked her. What touched me was her statement( I don’t know I am authorized to quote it) that she had no claim on Julia Child except if a drowning person can have a claim on the person who saved them. Julie Powell’s blog turned her life around . She wrote the book ‘Julie and Julia my year of cooking dangerously’ and the two true stories Julia and julie’s became a major motion picture with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child.

Julia Child was too tall an American woman to join the army or navy .So became a mere file clerk in OSS. Her journey to cooking started with her love for eating food and the desire to cook French cuisine for her husband. She started learning to cook at thirty seven! The last post in Julie’s blog dated 13 august 2004 reveals the bond between two women who never met . This reveals the amazing ways one can save and redeem and give purpose to a stranger’s life by the simple acts of love and courage in their own lives. Julia Child never believed she ‘can’t do it’ . At thirty seven she had the courage to compete with French men in learning ‘their cuisine’. Her cook books made history. The kitchen that her husband designed where she did her show is part of American national museum. She is a part of American history . When asked about her success she humbly but proudly said “ I like it and I know my business’ .To the question whether it’s about her personality that made her shows so popular she smiled and said “Yes, because when people saw me cooking they said if she can do it .I can certainly do it ‘. She was a great teacher who taught to be bold and free to experiment. In one of her shows she dropped food from the pan while flipping it and putting it back in the pan she said” it didn’t go too well . See! When I flipped it I didn’t have the courage the way I should have .But you can always put it back in the pan if you are alone in the kitchen who is to see!’

So hats off to the lady who said “ Go ahead ... what could happen?”

Bon appetite!

P.S. Love the way she cooked omelette! Looking forward to more cooking and life in the coming year.

Discovered Julia Child !

As i mentioned in the last post about my sudden falling in love with cooking . I had no clue that I would blog about cooking again.In fact I had some other things in mind to blog about. But I made a sudden discovery that left me awestruck . Is it exciting to find a way to something intresting when we were't actually looking for it. This is to refer to someone that I randomly found. I would rather term serendipity. Here is what happened. I found a link, a random one on  fb .As I watch that video, about a person who defeated odds in her life, on the side bar I notice a video entitled 'Julia child's roasted chicken'. My recent interest in cooking made me click that link.I thought it must be Julia Child cooking but no it was her recipe and the cook kept mentioning her in ways that got me intrested and curious. So I searched 'Julia Child'  and I am led to videos of her show and then Julia/Julie project and Meryl streep  and I end up being fascinated. It's pretty late and I am too tiredto write about it . So I would sign off  but i could't help mentioning it now ! Next  post is definitely about Julia Child.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm loving it!!..tada tada tadaaaaaaaaaa

My mother never allowed me in the kitchen and  I avoided it even more. A total bookworm, I excelled in studies and a few academic extracurriculars, but chores were beyond me. I was infact  hazardous for the kitchen .I had no interest in eating food let alone cooking it (how my mother made me eat is another story). On the contrary my brother showed immense interest in both. He was a curious kid and had a talent for flavours , tastes , mixing , innovating and of course marvellous presentation. On the other hand I just managed to learn making tea. Though later I tried learning a few things  when I came home from college. But somehow  I absolutely  lacked a memory for recipes and measures and  possessed an in appropriate salt sense. So those were  frustrating periods of learning, forgetting  and then learning all over again.

              But this year something miraculous happened. Like an absolute change of heart. I fell in love with cooking. It does not seem a tedious job anymore. It has become a joyful art for me. Chopping, mincing, mixing engages me.The aroma , the flavours and the colors are just beautiful. I 'think' food and 'realize' it. Remembering recipes is not hard anymore. Infact I am eager to learn more . I find the patience to listen to my mother's instructions and follow them ( earlier it annoyed me). What mesmerizes me is how beautifully  culinary art amalgamates nature .Every recipe has ingredients that would bring together mountains, oceans , earth and sky .  They all come together and when added in the right proportion  transform over fire into a heavenly experience.

            I wonder  why I could'nt see this joy before? Why i could'nt recall recipes earlier? why I lacked the patience to listen to instructions earlier? May be the only answer to this is that  I had negative thoughts and emotions for cooking but now it's different. I fell in love with the process of cooking. Love helps us see the beauty and goodness in possibly everything and lets us have the patience. So it's great to be in and stay in love !