4 reasons why your family’s lucky if you’re a lousy cook

  • No one will be terribly overweight. They may eat out once in a way, when they need a break, but mostly, they’ll eat just as much as they need to and not a bit more
  • Everyone will learn the true meaning of the first line of Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” Your family will eventually learn to eat the few things you can cook, which are edible. After many years, they’ll have gone so used to your cooking, that they’ll have lowered their standards and  will even insist that you’re the most amazing cook!
  • A lot more gets done at home, because you have the time. Because you can cook what you find easy, because there will be no special requests – for snacks, deserts or just about anything else…if Dal (pulses) and Sabji (veggies) are all you can cook that’s edible, everyone will be thrilled to eat it everyday!
  • You’re always smiling when you have guests over – because you can enjoy spending time with them. Everyone will be really thrilled if you don’t put yourself out to cook for them and will even try to hint broadly saying “Don’t worry to cook dear, let’s all go out for lunch, or order in. We know you’re busy and will just be tired if you have to do a lot of cooking!”

Some of my women friends who are amazing cooks and are now growing older, and feeling stuck. They’re getting older, and their priorities are changing, and they now want to spend less time managing the home and cooking, so that they get time for family members who are growing old and need their time.

They’re stuck, because other family member’s have stopped taking turns with the cooking, because they’re so good at. And everyone’s learned to expect amazing home made food from them.

I’m saying no to the requests I’ve had for cooking classes from some of them. They want to learn to cook like me & unlearn their amazing cooking skills!

😀

The truth is, all I have to do is ‘try’ to cook well and that’s enough for things to go terrible wrong….so I don’t think I can teach it. It’s just a natural talent!

The Newspaper.. an ode to a lost friend

She was the one you could go to…when you wanted to pick a fight with your neighbour without actually starting it yourself. A few well aimed barbs, whispered in her ear, and then, you just had to wait 10 minutes…it took just that long for your message to be delivered.

She was the one who came to tell you that your car had been stolen…just after you’d waved goodbye to the thief. Because you were so busy sitting in your balcony, having a good laugh with your family, that you thought a relative was waving to you and driving your car away.

She was the one who knew who visited whom, and what their business was. She had a job and she did it very enthusiastically, even though she was not paid a salary – “Keeping an eye on everyone around”.. mainly because, deep down inside, she cared.

And she kept us all safe. Because everyone knew there was always someone watching.

She was sometimes a nuisance, because she reported every minor transgression…Parents humoured her, and then had a good laugh when she left. They valued her, because she helped them keep track of what her kids were upto.

She’s got lost somehow, in the busy busy world of today, and I miss her.

Footnote : Some of my readers have asked who she is… I’ve used a lot of artistic license, here, to make a point.
She’s a little bit of you and a little bit of me – she’s the way we all used to be. We used to be friends with our neighbours, get in each other’s faces, rub each other up the wrong way, but when it counted, we all of us, were there for each other.
Mumbai’s changed so drastically…. and we’ve lost some of the good that we had.

I could look at you in envy

I could look at you in envy

For all the things you have,

The ease with which you cope,

Your luck when things get bad.

 

But i look at you in awe,

You’re my teacher and my friend.

I look at you and learn, that i can try to change,

Turn my struggles into chances and reach up for the skies.

 

I see the work you’ve put in and i see the dues you’ve paid,

And your graceful acceptance, when all you try just fails.

I see that every chance you’ve got you’ve carved out for yourself,

And i look at all of you in awe…my teachers and my friends.

 

… this poem was inspired by all of the wonderful women i know, who’ve succeeded.  In making time for their families, their careers and for themselves. In doing all the things they do with commitment & with joy.

 

Possibilities .. a poem about my dreams for the future

Sometimes i sits, i sits and thinks, of things i’ve never seen,

of places that i’ll never know, of what i may not be.

Of all the possibilities that seem so far away,

of all the lovely winding roads, that lead out from my gate.

 

I dream of possibilities i cannot see awake

Of walking lovely winding roads that seem so far away.

 

I know i’ll never really know what lies along my way,

or what i’ll choose to do, and which new path’s my feet will take.

 

I sits sometimes, i sits and thinks – in wonder, as i wait

for every turn that’ll take me on, to where i’ll be someday

 

One of my favourite books is ‘The Lord of the Rings’ .. and the start of it all ‘The hobbit’. I just love the poetry there, especially the poem by Bilbo Baggins (The road goes ever on and on….)

 

Dear Change,

I am grateful for your constant and steady companionship

I have not always felt that way about your many many visits, but as time goes by I’m growing to value them. When you visit regularly, I sometimes wish you away, but you know that I really do not mean it

 

You bring me joy and sorrow, rude shocks and pleasant surprises,

I would not have known the joy, if you had not brought me sorrow,

I would not have known I was strong if you had not shaken me up,

I would not have known accomplishment, if i did not accept the struggles you gave me,

Through it all, you gave me hope

 

I am never alone, because you hold on to me,

I remember not to be complacent, because you slap me in the face

 

I am sometimes wise, and welcome you with open arms,

I sometimes forget that wisdom and just want a break

 

I know you are good for me, as you make me grow,

I have learned over time to accept you as you are and go with the flow

 

I appreciate your constancy and I’m not asking you to be any different from what you are.

But would it be so hard, to just give me a call now and then, and let me know you’re on your way to see me?

The colour of gold

To the average Indian woman, gold is beauty, security and an investment for the future. A woman loves gold jewellery and thinks it’s beautiful, because of its appearance and sometimes also because of it’s value. A more expensive piece of bling simply is more beautiful, to many.

A woman who does not wear a gold something – earrings, a necklace or bangles often gets advised, by friends, to wear something gold. I shop at Archie’s so, I’m usually on the receiving end.

I know -I’m the married Indian woman who does not even wear a chain! Absolutely shocking!

Concerned friends, have even asked if I own a set of jewellery – the answer is No. My mother-in-law offered to make me one, because i did not own any gold before marriage and I thought it was a waste, as I was never going to actually wear it.

 

But when I look around me everyday, I see gold.

Gold is the colour of :

  1. All the machines that do my house work for me
  2. The comfort I get in shopping for convenience and not necessarily for discounts
  3. The education that my parents gave me
  4. The family support i get, so that I can work at what I love
  5. The silence of the morning every day, when I’m having a leisurely cup of chai

 

Maybe someday, I’ll consider buying some bling that’s actually gold. I don’t know – maybe….

But it won’t mean anything more to me than all the lovely stuff at Archie’s……which remind’s me, I haven’t been there in quite a while – I’ve lost halves of most of my earrings and am long overdue a visit.

What 2013 has taught me

As 2013 comes to a close, I finally realise that I am not wonder woman, and it’s quite ok

This past year has been a year of change – new opportunities, new challenges and a year of goodbyes to some very special people, who were an important part of my life. Life can be so short and I need time to enjoy it – my family, friends and job – I want it all – I want it all – I want it all – and I want it now .. Freddie Mercury had the right idea.

Someday, when the years have gone by, I will look back at what I have done, and hope that it will be with a smile in my heart, knowing I did the things that made me happy and gave me joy. And with affection for the people who loved me and made it all possible.

 

On finding an imbalance between work and home

I am learning that there is no such thing as balancing home and work, but just different kinds of imbalance. You get more stuff done at home, and you have less resources to focus on your work – it’s as simple as that! These wonderful multi-tasting women who do it all, that I read about seem unreal! It’s just so free-ing, to realise, after years of trying to do everything, that there’s no way to succeed. So I am now striving to find an imbalance that works for me and my family

 

Maid in India

I have fond memories of the maid and cook we had before we moved house. I found it easier to deal with leaving my friends, but missed the house help terribly.  After moving, it took time to get help at home. The maid I got was really very honest, and nice – she would turn up either when I had just woken up, or when I was leaving for work, and the new cook took 3 hours daily to cook a dal and 2 veggies (that takes me 45 minutes on a bad day). So, when I finally ended up doing it all AND paying for it and figured that i could just do it all and not pay for it!  I do sometimes dream of having a maid or a cook, but right now am finding, that it’s less stressful without them. At least this way the house work gets shared, since everyone knows there’s no help at home.

 

Coping Techniques

  • If something can wait, just leave it be for another day – procrastinating is an art and it is well worth learning

  • Keep a couple of hours a week to deal with pending stuff

  • Spring Clean and give away unused stuff regularly, it reduces the time taken to clean up at home and getting rid of junk somehow let’s good energy into a home

  • Keep the vacuum cleaner and mop easily reachable, so small spills can be taken care of quickly

  • Look around – you will see a lot of other women in their 40s, like you, trying to do it all and not succeeding, and you will feel much better, when you know you’re not alone

  • Be an imperfectionist at home – it is better to be an average housekeeper who is relaxed, than an amazing one who is always upset that something at home has not been done

  • When things get too much, sit down with a cup of chai, put your feet up and think of something else – this takes practise, but works. You will feel much better after a little while and will be to handle it all when you’re done

 

Is it important to do everything for everyone else in the family, or let them learn to be self-reliant

Is the woman who does everything for everyone wonderful, or is it the woman who teaches her family to look after themselves and be less dependent on having help to do their work? I am sure every family has different thoughts about this. It is worth thinking about.

While it is nice to have help with the home chores, it is also quite a relief to know that the family can survive comfortably even without it, when necessary. I do think people who do work a little bit at home, keep much better health than those who don’t.

 

There’s a time for work and a time to rest

There’s a time and place for everything under the sun, and for me, this is the time to do my own house work. I know that when life thinks I really need a break, the most amazing maid and cook will come knocking at my door (like it happened when we were moving house earlier) and help will just come my way. Until then, it is important for me to accept that i have no house help, be flexible and do my best and simply leave the rest. At least that way, I’m still smiling and relaxed at the end of a busy, busy day.