Deception lurks in unexpected places and presents itself in manifestations you couldn’t imagine. We all know how recipe books and cooking websites succeed. Because there is no way to taste food through paper or computer screens. The authors of recipes in these books and websites face no accountability or a monitoring mechanism. Their families and the cooking assistants have beguiled them into believing that they can cook. So much, that they start inflicting recipes onto the rest of the world. Although I wonder why no-one is asking for their money back. I figure, this systemic problem is compounded by our low self esteems. We all think we aren’t good enough cooks. (Eye roll!)

I am currently in the middle of a short-lived lifestyle experiment, which has resulted in my fridge-shelf resembling the forest my University is built in. With all the leafy greens and nowhere to run off to, I decided to look for a good looking recipe and found one. Spinach pasta.

Ingredients– One onion (finely chopped), three cloves of garlic (diced), one tomato (also finely chopped), 100 gm of spinach, 100 grams pasta, oil, salt, a pinch of red chilli powder, chilli sauce, yoghurt.

Procedure– Put the pasta to boil in water. Add a hint of salt and oil.

Begin with lightly sautéing the garlic and the onions in about 1 tablespoon oil.Once they are cooked you add the tomato and spinach and wait for them to cook.

Once it cooks into a mush, you can add two teaspoons of salt and a pinch of red chilli powder. Add the cooked pasta and stir for a couple of minutes so it absorbs the rest of the ingredients. If the mix feels too dry, you can add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the water in which the pasta has been cooking.

Outcome– Needless to say, I was disappointed. I had added too much salt and the whole thing tasted like nothing. This is why I threw in the otherwise unexplainable yogurt into the ingredients which made it slightly tolerable.

P.S.- Have you tried recipes which turned out disastrous? Let me know. I need reinforcement.



Why I can’t keep running

writing journal
The dandy dandelion!

I should thank my dear friend Monica for sharing this web article with me about the benefits of running. It ‘jogged’ my memory, and I recalled the last time I had gone traipsing along the Saar.

I am sure many of you will resonate with on this- any form of exercise, running  included is immensely difficult to sustain. Especially if you haven’t paid that monthly subscription fee to keep yourself clawed into an establishment. It occurred to me that I must try and get back into running, not merely because I want to stay healthy, because ‘staying healthy’ is a reason so often thrown about casually that it fails to impact anyone anymore. It is almost  the same as telling smokers that cigarettes are unhealthy. We all know it, but continually fail to act. So I told myself, if I was to arrest continuing investment in larger cupsizes, I must put my running shoes  back on (Ladies, you know what I am talking about, don’t you?)!

The only thing which worries me, however, is staying motivated. Everytime I get slightly regular, I end up faltering. It is always either too cold, or too hot or I just washed my hair. And everyone knows how hard it is to get back into it once you stop. Also, the problem with all these articles about running, is that they try to point out the magic, the fresh air, the endorphins making us giddy like chocolate and cheese do (not together, of course). In my humble opinion, is far from true. Running is a mind numbing exercise, during which all you can think about is how to get the next bout of oxygen to your starved lungs, while somehow courageously and miraculously not stopping. There are no miracles to witness. No cheerleading squads await you. There is nothing to keep you going on, but yourself.

So I reckoned, if I am to sustain this habit, I must try and get used to the routine. I must make friends with ‘monotony’, who in turn (if I am lucky) might introduce me to her friend ‘discipline’. With the newfound excitement for the impending boredom, I hopped out of house, on to the riverside. As a sunny spring late afternoon would have it, I saw several people walking in groups, couples holding hands, children on their tricycles and skateboards, dogs playing fetch with their humans. And to my surprise, I even saw a solitary human or two jogging, as though telling me to carry on as well. To add to that, grass was ludicrously green and the river smelled like the soggy fragrance that was the sushi restaurant. Logs and twigs hitchhiked with the river creating a soothing environment and soon, I was having more fun than I imagined. Could it be the endorphins as the article had suggests, I couldn’t figure out. And then to my utmost horror, I spotted a dandelion in the grass and lost all my shit.

As I walked back home, I was trying to soak in the amazing hour it had been while repeating to myself that I couldn’t expect it to be the same everyday and it was alright. A few minutes from home, I saw this child on the pavement trying to tackle three steps to get back into the house along with his little bicycle, tripped and fell down. As I rushed to help, I saw that the mother was standing by the door, waiting for the child to get back on its feet. And she did. I suppose she was trying to teach her how to climb the stairs. Although, could she be teaching her that even when there is no-one coming forward to help us, the best thing that we can do is to trust ourselves and carry on?  I am waiting to see if I can trust myself this time.

P.S.- If you feel like you have encountered something similar yourself, comment below and let me know how you stay disciplined with regard to working out, or something else you were having trouble with.