Monday, May 31, 2010

Travails of a Trainee Cook

I would’ve titled this post “the joy of cooking”; had it not been for the fact that the chief chef was on a training program last week, and I was left to handle the kitchen all by myself. You get the sad picture don’t you?

For the record, I can cook almost anything you name – from the dunked in oil Gobi Manchurian, the pasta , spicy chilli paneer, simple south Indian food, and I can also make yum Vengaya Sambar, and deep fried kathrika curry. I learnt all this and more during the 5 months I was loafing around at home with little or nothing to do. Cooking and Power Yoga have been the only constants, and they balanced each other’s effect. A real case of Newton’s third law – every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction.

I must mention one thing at this juncture; all of you must bear in mind that these experiments in the kitchen were performed under expert guidance, and I’ve never opened the batting. What happens when an inexperienced candidate is at the helm of affairs forms the rest of the post!

Time: 5.30AM, I hit the snooze button a couple of time before I managed to pull myself out my blanket. Realising that it is only 6 so I decided to catch some more sleep, it was too early to wake up. I blink, and suddenly my mobile screams – it is 7.15AM. I swore at everybody else around me, cursed the air-con for being so comfy early in the morning, curse the curtains for making the room look so dark making me fake believe that it was still early to wake up.

I ambled my way out, brushed my teeth, lit the lamp in the puja room, passed off a scrawny looking star for a kolam, and cut open a milk packet to make some coffee. This was just the beginning of the ordeal. Next came the toughest part of all – cooking. I did not have vegetables cut the previous night, and so the onion chopping started, two different cups of rice were washed soaked and put into different pressure cookers. The peas and corn from the fridge were summoned; they were ready to go into the rice cooker to become yummy peas and corn pulao. And while all this was happening; the milk decided to boil over.

I had double work to do now; cook and clean the spilt milk. The clock was screaming 8.00AM now; I hurriedly put everything into cooker, placed the whistle on the nozzle, and performed my impeccable Mr. Bean Act.

Thankfully, I wasn’t late for work on my very first day.

These acts of goof ups and clumsiness continued over the week until my chief chef decided to come to my rescue on Thursday night. If not for her, the kitchen would’ve happily turned into a chaotic battle field.

This is called – Murphy’s Law. When something has to go wrong; it WILL go wrong.

You can make butter cookies, chocolate cake and vathakozhambu. But you fail miserably when you HAVE to perform!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monsters Inc.

Once upon a time in India; all fairy tales start like this don’t they? But wait! – This is no fairy tale; there are no fairies, no mention of a prince charming, or the regular ingredients of a cutesy tale.
This for the dilettante is a tale of monsters. These monsters are a cross between a vampire and a dementor. A vampire sucks blood, and a dementor sucks happiness. These monsters do both, and this makes them deadly.

Now, I’ll introduce you to the monsters.

Jack Daniels: This monster needs little or no introduction; if you’ve been a regular reader or my friend you’d know more about JD than anybody else. There is another angle to JD, that most have no clue about, and that is – JD is a blood and happiness sucking 3rd grade liquid. JD in combination with the below mention spice is a sure shot deadly combination.

Chaat Masala: Have you ever tried adding chaat masala to fruits salad or veggie salad? If you say yes, then you know what happens – it adds a whole new flavour to the otherwise mundane dish; it adds that vital ingredient called spice. I think I should name this character Garam Masala, thanks to the temper factor and also because – Garam masala is bloody versatile. Add some of it to any vegetable or gravy, and it adapts itself perfectly to the liquid.

You get the liquid and masala drift; don’t you?

The Namesake: The latest addition to the brood of monsters. The namesake is very evil, and the rest of the brood gives it the most wanted - HIGH. This spurs the namesake to act smart and throw around those “Oh! So, intelligent pearls of wisdom”, which will make you want to kick its backside. With the barrage of encouragement, the namesake grabs every piece of meat, and rips it apart with that ease of an expert butcher.

Fevi stick: The glue which binds together the three rouges. Fevi stick is supposed to be the one stop solution to all your heartbreaks and shocks from the monsters. Sadly, the glue renders itself useless when its presence is most needed. Fevi stick holds the ultimate authority in this case; but the roars and howls from the other three, make it lose its senses. Poor glue I say.

An International bank: This is the only one from the lot, which is worth some respect. The ideas from this bank are worth incorporating, and pleasing this entity is the most difficult task of all.

Ah! I have finished my introduction of the characters. It’s time we move on to the real plot.

JD, Chaat Masala and The Namesake are considered “experts”, and every word uttered by those truly intelligent, intellectually inspiring individuals is revered like the gospel truth.

Now, before we get lost in the world of monsters; and also to add to the completeness of the picture, I have to tell you about the – Kasperskys.

I’m sure most of you know that Kaspersky is the best antivirus software, and it is by all means the most impregnable to attacks from hackers. This very antivirus fails miserably when it comes to facing the above mentioned monsters. The monsters have superpowers in the name of “Power of superior intelligence” over the aam-aadmi Kasperky. So, they make use of their powers to hack the poor little software into a million little pieces and derive sadistic pleasure by watching them bleed. They’re humiliated so much, that these antivirus software lose the little respect they had for the system, and begin to rebel.

What happens after this is a well known fact – chaos prevails!

And amidst all this chaos, we the kasperky’s live in peace :D

Screw you guys! I’m going to work!!

PS: My favourite Prof was kind enough to make me look at this situation a little differently. He says, I must be glad that I met these kinds of sadistic monsters early in my life, and I wouldn’t be in for a rude shock when something like this happens at work. I sincerely wish and pray, that I should NEVER meet such creatures ever again.

Sir, I lack the sensibility or the maturity to look at it from an impersonal perspective. I'm the prey, and this is my way out venting out my feelings. I'd like you to enlighten me about handling junta like the above mentioned characters and walk out unscathed.

PS1: This is my official 100th post, and I had no idea, that I'd post one like this as my 100th. It's all for a cause, a lesson learnt and experience gained.

PS3: This post must serve the purpose of making you rack your brains about the characters. If you know them, please keep it to yourself. And the rest of you out there, keep guessing!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

To My Amma

Sometime in Dec last year, a day which could pass off as the most disappointing day in my life – there was one lady who held me tight while I sat on the bed wailing inconsolably. This too shall pass, and you will make it to a really good company. You have to be strong is all she said.

It took me 5 months to get placed in a company, but all through these 5 months of despondency, the lady never lost faith in me. You will make it is all she said- and it happened with a bang! I had to beat 250 candidates to get to the final round, and I was offered the job even before everybody else knew their verdict.

This is for the lady who has stood beside me like the pillar of strength. Not once has she let her disappointment show- every time somebody decided to put me down, she’s been there by my side, holding my hand and has helped me cross every hurdle life has thrown my way with dignity. I think that’s more important than anything else.

She has supported every decision of mine, the non-engineering course. The rest of my family warned her saying – no engineering - no career, she was the only one who raised her voice and green signaled me to follow my dreams. She gamely bought applications for; BA Eng Lit from Stella Maris and BA in Journalism from MOP. I pursued neither.

In all these years of growing up, there has not been one incident that’s made me say a thing against her. I know its clich├ęd when I say my mom is my best friend. It is the case with every girl, for she is the one – who feeds you, nurtures you, dreams along with you, supports you, corrects you when you go wrong, spends every waking hour praying for you, and also appreciates every little thing you make for her. Be it that badly drawn caricature in school or that greeting card with a scrawny handwriting or that half baked cake, and that semiya upma with no salt.

Forget all this – she appreciates it when I clean my room without her having to lecture me about it, cleaning the kitchen after waging a war with ingredients, even that hot cup of coffee after a hard day at the office makes her day!

I’m growing up to be the little version of hers. But there are some characteristics I can never replicate for the life of mine. She is never opinionated about anybody, every time I bitch bout somebody, she stops from bullshitting and says – we must accept people the way they are. And she lives by example; she had an awful SOB for a manager a few years back, and she never let it show. Instead of losing her cool over it, she channelised her emotions to prayer. She knows more about my friends than I do. She makes friends in a jiffy and keeps in touch with them over the years, which includes remembering birthdays and anniversaries.

Her adaptability to different situations amazes me – the way she handled her transfer to her branch 20kms away, or the way she has handled that culture shock that struck her 25yrs back when she came down to good old Madras from Bombay where she was free to do whatever she wanted.

She has moulded me into what I am today, and in the process has also passed on a few enviable qualities – I can cook. I’ve become more tolerant towards people, developed a liking for Hindi movies and those old songs. I’ve learnt the art of talking to people. There is a teeny weeny ounce of belief that I can do what I want to do, and there is tremendous power in prayer. All thanks to Amma!

Funnily she calls herself “Auro” – thanks to a screening of Paa. Her argument is – she is old bodily, but deep down inside, she is still as old as I am. And what’s worse, I’ve seen people compliment her saying, she doesn’t look a year older than 35, well in that case; it makes me and my brother illegal :P. Instead of listening to my argument, she basks in the glory, and laughs it off after that.

Looking at her, I can’t help but agree though.

With lots of love,
The girl who refuses to grow up.

PS: I'd be cheeky if I said I'd be a nobody without her. The fact is - I'd never be here without her.
PS1: The lady did try supporting Mumbai Indians during the IPL. The yellow fever was too much for her :P
PS2: She still hasn't stopped laughing over the fact that my job is going to be half finance.
PS3: Amma, if you stop laughing, I might just consider sending you a facebook friend request. :D

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fascination for Facebook

I drafted this post ages back, and I'm publishing it after a gap. My blog has been dead for almost a month now.
Here we go...

I signed out of facebook after reading my Sister-A’s status message which read “I had yummy cauliflower and onion pakoda- perfect for a rainy evening in Bangalore.”
What started off as an innocent conversation, turned into something like this;

Me- “Amma do we have cauliflower at home?”
Amma: “Why? I made cauliflower two days back”
Me: Oh... oh... never mind... A-Akka had put up a status on facebook which said “cauliflower pakoda”, so I was hoping I could make the same at home.
Amma: Weren’t you supposed to be on a diet.

I walked back to my room sulking about the non availability of cauliflower.

Amma: How do you know A-Akka had pakoda yesterday?
Me: It was her status, she’d put it up and hence I read it.

Now, the lady gets damn excited.

Amma: Tell me more- What is a status!
Me: Something like, you tell our neighbour S, that you made bisi-bele bath and it turned out to be really good.
Amma: But in that case, only S would know, and the rest of the people in the apartment would know about it only during the gossip sessions.
Me: Yeah, the status message is something like that. More like, you put something on the notice board of the apartment and everybody else gets to know about it.

The lady gets super duper excited, insists that I login and starts checking out my friends, their profiles, and yeah, the pictures too.
Thankfully the only ones she checked were the ones she knew.

Eg: She looks at friend S- and says – Oh my God, look at her, she’s put on so much weight.
Check’s out Friend G’s profile – Why does she have so many siblings, while you have none listed? Isn’t Adi on your friend list?
Me: Hmm yes, he is on my list, but he refuses to acknowledge me as his sister online, and both of us are cool with it.
Amma: This is strange. What’s wrong in declaring that you have a brother.
Me: it’s no big deal.
Amma looks at Akka-A’s list and sees my perima listed as her mother.
Amma: Look at Akka, she says her mother is also on facebook, and you refuse to send me a friend’s request.
Me: Amma, I added you as a friend on Orkut, and isn’t that good enough?
Amma refuses to budge, and says – I know neither you nor your brother will send me a request. I will ask R-Perima to send one, and I will be friends with her.

I passed out after this. Oh good lord, if you are reading this, please make sure my mother doesn’t get anywhere close to facebook!

PS: After this incident, I've listed all my cousins as siblings :P

Time Lines

10 companies
5 months
2 major blows
Bouts of depression and self pity
Flickers of hope here and there..
..... and finally one job!!

-- This is me life!

Thanks a lot to all you people who've been there through this rough patch of my life. Thanks is too small a word to convey my gratitude.
God bless each one of you :)

- Love,

PS: Hope the two blows also give away to positive results, and I can live my life in peace.