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Monday, 28 November 2016

The life of a Master Procrastinator aka Master Slouch


Hello!

How is your life?

I know I have been away from the blogging platform lately (I know, I know, I haven't blogged in almost a year sheesh). I have been so busy trying to survive the hectic life of being a senior at high school that everything else just took a backseat. Even at the moment, I'm neck deep in upcoming exams, IELTS, internships and applications, you know, just the usual dangerous stuff.

So I thought, why not take a break and update my blog? You know, killing two birds with the same stone.

Here goes nothing. Or more like what happens in the life of a master (lazy) procrastinator. (see what I did there?)

#1 Wake up ONLY after every other person in the house is awake


Even the mere thought of getting up before anyone else in the house is preposterous. You wake up (at 10 a.m., mind you) to draw the curtains even tighter then they already are because the thin crack of sunlight unnerves you and you realize you are the only one still in bed, apart from your family cat. You go back to sleep. Pfft, you'll wake up when she does.

P.S. Imagine how long you could sleep in if you lived alone.


#2 Try your hand at cooking breakfast, chuck it for Starbucks


It's 11 in the morning, you are, after much effort and deliberation, dressed and raring to go, ready to take the day by it's horns, as they say. Only grouse? Umm, did someone mention breakfast?
You had been dreaming about pancakes, so they seem the most obvious option. You rummage in your kitchen cupboards for flour. Na. Nada. Zilch.

Okayyy. What about toast and coffee? Toast seems too much of a hassle. Na, coffee would do.
But wait, your microwave's not working and who heats their water on the stove, right?

Oh chuck it. What about a mocha Frap and bacon sandwich from Starbucks? Mmmm, now where did I put my car keys?


#3 Deadlines for you are exactly what they sound like. Dead.


You are a procrastinator. That should be slang for hipster.

Who adheres to deadlines? You are way too cool for that. The dictionary definition of a procrastinator is one who delays or postpones things, so obviously deadlines do nothing for you.

 So you skip project submission day to stay in and binge watch Gilmore Girls and order in pizza for lunch. Because its way better than the tacos that never saw the light of your grill.


#4 Exams are your apocalypse


It's a day before the exams start. (what's about to come is a really clich├ęd, really done to death situation, but read on.)

It's three in the afternoon. You have your Physics exam the next day.

You have already wasted half of your day by getting up at 10 and wasting another two hours contemplating what to have for breakfast (or lunch, lunchbreak?).

You have also uploaded an ugly picture of your best friend on Facebook, uploaded a pretty picture of yours on Instagram and tweeted about how sad your life is because of exams. Oh also, you have gone through snaps of all people that can exist on this planet and uploaded twice the number of your own snaps.

Currently you are browsing through dank memes and drool-worthy food pictures, simultaneously. Because apart from being a master procrastinator, you are also a master multi-tasker.

Okay. You need to study now. Now.

It's six p.m.

You have six chapters coming in the exam tomorrow.

So if you do one chapter per hour, you should be done by twelve.

No dinner, no toilet breaks, no let-me-check-social-media breaks.

Okay, let's start. Log out.

Oh wait, is that, is that a red banana?

"Share this post if you don't want to fail your exams."

Click.

Click.

Click click click.

"Why have I never heard this song before?"

Click.

Click.

"No, enough. I have to study now."

"Oh, this novel is so nice. Maybe I'll reread it."

"Chemistry is the best, wow."

"What if I could translate this poem to Spanish? would it still rhyme? Maybe I should try it."

"Geez, I am hungry."

Few hours later (read two in the morning) you have only done one chapter.

"I'll just go to sleep. I can always study during the exam, anyway."






XOXO

Master Procrastinator

















Thursday, 28 April 2016

Missing Out







Fear of Missing Out

In today’s mirror world, it is hard to be left out. You must see what is going on in the lives of others, they must see yours. You need to be up to date with every single event happening in every corner of the world.

So you need to be online on Facebook 1440 minutes a day, need to check for updates on Twitter 86,400 times and totally have to scroll through your IG feed more times than that. Of course it’s important, silly.

You absolutely need to know when Kim Kardashian is going to get her mani done or when will Donald Trump overthrow Leonardo DiCaprio as meme king (maybe he already has).

You also need to be aware of the latest beauty hack, because duh. Last time I checked, it was strobing. What? Is it something else now? Oh my God I think I missed out. 

And have you tried koji or chlorophyll yet, or even Artesian water bottled in New Zealand from a 680-foot-deep protected confined water aquifer? What, still stuck up with ceviche or harissa? Pfft. That’s so 2015.

 And fashion? Let’s just say that you should swap your recently bought gingham dress for an onesie (don’t ask).

My phone’s battery is dead. Please. That means I’ll have to stay offline for 5 seconds. Oh God. What if there is an alien invasion and everybody dies? Or what if Zayn Malik releases his latest single and I am not the first one to know?

Crap.



Joy of Missing Out

I have not been through my IG feed since 15 days (no I’m not kidding and before you ask, no, my phone is completely 100% charged). I have not uploaded any status on Facebook, have not chatted with anyone on WhatsApp and have no idea what’s currently trending on Twitter.

 And you know what? I’m alive. Alive and kicking and never been better. That alien invasion? Well let’s just say it never came. And Zayn Malik did release It’s You. And I was not the first one to know.

But I exist.

The world exists.

What? You need to know the latest life hack that made me see through the most difficult (not) days of my life?

Well I’ll let you on a secret.

 You don’t need to spend your whole life online to be deemed alive.

You don’t need to scroll mindlessly through IG and Facebook every second of your day. You don’t need to anticipatedly wait with half-bitten nails for something to break the internet. You don’t need to be part of that group conversation on WhatsApp.

You don’t need to be a part of everything happening around you to feel more in sync with your surroundings.



Sometimes sitting on the rooftop on a summer day, humming to your favorite song with the cool wind brushing in your face as you gaze at the stars does it.

It makes you feel a part of this world.

Makes you feel connected with every single person alive and breathing on this planet.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you are in a company of someone more important. Most important.

Yourself.
















Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas-y Cookies


Hi!
I have been away from the blogosphere for a while now.
I gave my SAT exam in early December and then got lost in the flurry of Christmas celebrations (!)

How was your Christmas?
To compensate for last year's disaster of a Christmas, where we had to make do with leftover carrot cake because the whole family got ill with the flu, this year I went all out and baked everything from gingerbread cake to cranberry cookies.



One of the things I baked were these totally Christmas-y cookies that were a hit with everyone, especially all my cousins!

This Christmas was hands down the best Christmas ever (though Christmas of '12, complete with a barbeque dinner and a terrace party, is a strong contender). We celebrated it at my Grandmother's place with the whole family. The Christmas dinner was a total feast, complete with roast chicken, spicy grilled fish, cross-hatched potatoes and the showstopper of the dinner table- duck. For dessert we had the traditional Christmas cake, obviously. Foodie's heaven!

For now, let us move onto these cookies which are as good to eat as they are to look at. (do they look good? This is my first attempt at cookies decorating, so please be forgiving).



These are not gingerbread cookies, though using molasses instead of golden syrup and adding more ginger powder to the recipe solves that problem.
But oh!, are they delicious.
Slightly crisp and sweet with that punch you get from the mixed spice, these cookies are way festive. And divine.



Coupled with decorative royal icing and silver dragees, they are a perfect gift this festive season, or if you are feeling selfish, to devour them yourself!

Happy decorating!

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies
300 g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100 g light soft brown sugar
100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 medium eggs
3 tbsp golden syrup

Royal Icing
1 egg white
120 g icing sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Method
  • In a food processor combine the flour, spices and salt.
  • Add the sugar and mix thoroughly.
  • One cube at a time, add the butter.
  • Whiz everything up until the mixture starts to crumb up.
  • Slowly, add the egg mix. DO NOT add the whole egg-syrup mixture. Just add enough so that the mix starts clumping up and resembles a dough.
  • Divide the dough into two parts and tightly wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thick then using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to a cookie sheet or baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 170 C for about 20 minutes.
  • Leave on a rack to cool.
  • For the icing, whip the egg white until frothy.
  • Sift in the icing sugar and whip till stiff peaks form.
  • Add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly to incorporate.
  • Transfer immediately to a piping bag with a small round nozzle.
  • When the cookies have completely cooled, decorate them with patterns of your choice.
  • You can use your choice of sprinkles.
Note:
  • Some people are skeptical to consume raw egg whites but I can vouch for the fact that I have had my share of cake batter and chocolate mousse and have never fallen ill. My 6-year old brother himself munched down a few cookies without any repurcussions. If still in doubt you can use egg white powder, also called meringue powder.
Happy New Year!

XOXO



 




Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Brain Over Brawn


Hi!
It is Diwali today! Happy Diwali everyone!
Lately I have been finding my political science classes to be very inspiring and thought-provoking, specially since we are studying fundamental topics like equality and freedom. 
This post is a result of one line that I came across my political science book that struck me. 
"Certain societies value those who perform intellectual work over those who do manual work and reward them differently."
It is a bitter truth-even in a society as evolved as ours, we still give more weightage to intellectual power rather than physical prowess.
Case in point are the laborers that work unwearyingly  in harsh conditions and help in the development and progress of a country at the basic level. They may not be educated or may not contribute as directly to the economy as an entrepreneur, but they work just as hard.
So why is it so, that they are horribly under-paid while other people who are engaged in 'intellectual' jobs are paid handsomely?
Equal salaries for both sets of people may not be possible. But what is possible is to bridge the wide gap.   


 It is unusually hot and muggy for a September afternoon.

A bead of sweat follows the crease of his brow and drops on the grey cement mix below. His swarthy well-beaten skin has turned a shade darker under the glare of the intense sun; his thin linen vest and rolled up pants don’t offer much protection.

He establishes a rhythm with the shovel each time he brings it down on the mountain of wet concrete.

His calloused hands have cuts in them which run from everywhere to everywhere.

He is not muscular and lacks the six-pack which has become synonymous with being manly. But he is every bit a man, who can bear the 40 degrees heat and the painful blisters on his palms without flinching.

A thin film of brick dust and cement has coated him from head to toe and he is enveloped in the pungent smell of sweat and dust.

He works tirelessly through the afternoon without taking a break.

By early evening he has transformed and molded the insignificant heap of cement mix into a solid pillar, all in a day’s work.

His only reward is his contractor letting him off ten minutes early.

At home, he washes the grime off his body and changes into a fresh change of clothes. He sits down on the floor of his bare one-room shanty.

Since he can afford the luxury of sabzi and dal only once in two days, sometimes three, he tucks into his modest dinner of leftover rice from yesterday mixed with some water and pickle.

He is lulled off to sleep by his own thoughts. He does not mull over or wonder where he would have been had his father not made him drop out of fourth grade. Life would have been different, for sure, but it does not matter now. Today, he may not have everything he needs in life but he is still grateful for what he does have. He may not see God face to face, but he knows that he is there, looking at and after him.

And with that thought he gets up every day and gets ready for work.

He may not be the most educated person but he just might be the most dedicated one. And that, my friends, makes all the difference.






Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Fall is Here


Fall is here.

Or at least it's supposed to be. It has been abnormally muggy for autumn lately and it would have been difficult to digest the fact that we are halfway into October had it not been for the colour-changing leaves taking on golden, amber and scarlet hues and the shortening of the glorious summer days as the sun sets early into the horizon awash with jaw-dropping shades of blue and purple.

Fall is my favourite time of the year without doubt and it has nothing to do with the fact that my birthday falls (pun intended) during this lovely time of the year.

During autumn, the weather is perfect perfection.
Slightly nippy but warm and cozy at the same time.
The sultry Indian summer with its harsh glare is long gone and the chilling-to-the-bone winter is still on its way.

Nature is doing its happy fall dance as God goes crazy with  the colours painting huge strokes of greens oranges reds yellows and browns on  his vast canvas.

The food is nothing to be apologetic about either. There is an abundance of all things warm, nutty and sweet as we tuck into heavenly cinnamon buns or drool-inducing pumpkin pie. What's not to love?

I love that apart from eating tasty food, I get to make it too. So it's time to fire up the oven and bake superdelicious stuff like these donuts, this  autumness in a cake or these yummy yummy pumpkin rolls as my house is enveloped in the mellow aromas of fall.

It is also that time of the year when half of India is decked up in lights and colours. Your spirits are inadvertently lifted when all around you are broad smiles and nothing else as people gather for colourful dandiya nights and lively cultural programs. You dress in your ethnic best, eat, dance, socialise, enjoy.

The warm fuzzy clothes are brought out and the flimsy summer outfits, which somehow make my fat body feel oddly uncomfortable are packed off until next spring. Furry sweatshirts and baggy jumpers are quite welcoming as they conceal the necessary and make you want to snuggle into bed with your favourite blanket.

I relish the cold autumn mornings when I can stay a little late in bed with a mug of hot cocoa to warm my fingers while it is still dark outside. It is a stark contrast to early summer dawns when there is a long-fought battle between the sun and me which the former always seems to win.

I cherish the calm silence that accompanies the onset of fall. As the crisp autumn air blows past your cheeks and catches a tawny leaf as it floats gently to the red-carpeted road, you somehow feel oddly at peace. A world apart from the silent and deserted summer afternoons which are more deadly than comforting.

Most of all, I love fall. I love fall for what it brings, what it takes, what it makes. I love fall for what it is.



Raising a toast to autumn!

XOXO









Friday, 11 September 2015

Grisly

Hi!

So this is the second post in the road-menace series.

In this post, I try to paint a grim picture of Indian roads  and have told the problem through the eyes of a car.


He opens the door and steps inside, brushing off the dirt on his expensive oxfords but caring nothing of the grime under them which smears my cleaned mat.

He inserts the key, clutches the gear and steps on the gas.
My engine whirs to life even as I drive off the grand driveway on to the cramped roads.

One look at the filthy littered and dusty road and I wince. I just had a wash and my tires try to get adjusted to the muck underneath them.

He is inside, not a bead of discomfort on his young groomed face and his sunglasses clad eyes shielded from the harsh glare of the sweltering sun as it pounds on my navy metal body.

Suddenly I feel the  soothing fragrance of leather and cologne overpowered by the acrid smell of cigarette smoke. Minutes later he rolls down the window glass to throw the cigarette butt out. I sigh.

He steps harder on the accelerator, urging me to move faster than the speed limit (if there is a speed limit) on the crowded road. He zigzags across the sea of chaos, honking mercilessly, even when not required, and my ears start to ring.

I slow down with a lurch as I go over the water-filled potholes that dot the roadway, evidence of yesterday night's storm. He has shock absorbers and cushioned seats to block out the shocks, my whole body rattles.

I roll past the yellow walls where betel leaf red stains, urine splashes and torn faded flyers are the only graffiti.

I roll past the beggars- barefoot, one-handed, one-legged, unwashed hair flying, clothes tattered.
I roll past the frail kids who try to chase me to sell gaudy toys and huge balloons to him. A sold toy could mean a dinner bought .

I roll past the red lights, the yellows, the greens with equal ease.

I roll past the stopped car smack on the middle of the road with its driver spitting red betel leaf juice on the road,windows rolled down.

I roll past the overloaded bus halted beside the curb because the conductor has to relieve himself.

I roll past the overturned SUV, the crushed motorbike and the blood on the road.

I roll past the dog whose foot came under my alloy wheels and is lying helpless on the road.

I roll past it all, affected but helpless. He is nonchalant, a hum on his lips.

And I know that he is different when he goes to Paris, or London, or Chicago, or LA or God Knows Where.

He is different because he has to be.

He brushes the dust off his feet before entering a car.

He doesn't smoke inside a car and certainly doesn't throw the butt out. Never.

He doesn't speed.

He doesn't overtake.

He definitely doesn't honk.

He greets the street performers with a smile, even if he doesn't want to and sometimes drops in a note or two if he is feeling too generous.

Not once does he jump a red light and waits patiently at a yellow light.

He even makes way for an ant strolling down the road, gushing about he is an advocate of animals and their rights.

And when he sees something disturbing, he stops, he empathises.

But back in his own country, he does what he does because he can.

No, he is not uneducated or poor. He is lavishly rich and is Somewhere Abroad-educated.

He has been taught the rules, the road etiquette.

But he doesn't follow them. Because he doesn't care.

He doesn't follow because he thinks that he'll get away with it (and he does).

He doesn't follow because he sees that nobody is.

He doesn't follow because he thinks that his birthplace is already so far gone that his efforts won't matter.

He doesn't follow because he thinks it does not matter.

If only he knew otherwise.




Sunday, 30 August 2015

First Blogiversary

So the blog turned one last month.

And lost in the flurry of tests, events and commitments, I did not get the time to sit back and celebrate.

It still hasn't sunk in that my labor of love has turned one.

It was an eventful year of late nights, much brainstorming and erratic posts.

But it was also a year of experiencing blogger's high, wide smiles and lit-up faces.

I had not imagined that a person like me, who has major problems when it comes to sustaining through most demanding activities ( I had a failed attempt at writing a novel and quit karate soon after starting and let us not even talk about that morning jog) would be able to continue blogging for a year (and more).

So, in a way the blogiversary is also a milestone of overcoming a personal flaw, which makes it all the more special.

I would like to thank all my readers and friends for the overwhelming response which is a bazillion times bigger than my expectations.

A big shout out to my parents for being my constant pillar of support (who did not mind my absence at the dinner table sometimes and listened to my occasional complaints with a straight face).

And a big hug to my dearest chum Akanksha for being my biggest critic and corrector. You're a star!

I had wanted to celebrate with a grand cake but due to the treacherous weather (100 degrees and 70% humidity) and less time to bake than what I would like (exams approaching), my plans never saw the light of day.

For now, I am content dreaming about this cake, which I think would be just right to celebrate WBT's first birthday, no?

Raising a toast to first year of blogging and the many more years to come!

Adios

XOXO