Thursday, November 19, 2009

'What's cooking?' with Mrs. Iyer!

Considering all the 'dance therapy', 'music therapy','laugh therapy', 'walk therapy', 'talk therapy', 'write therapy', 'paint therapy' workshops all around, each with atleast a dozen suckers [what else do you call someone who thinks someone else can make him/her get in touch with him/her-self?]attending, maybe I'll begin a 'cook therapy' group too and charge a 1000 bucks for a 2 hour session. Ofcourse, I already know some people do find cooking ..

Here's the plan.

When you enter the class, you are led blindfolded to the kitchen where everything you need to cook up a good, fresh meal is laid out in eye-pleasing formation. This is so that you gasp when we remove the blindfold.

Lesson 1- It was all beautiful in the beginning!!

...we then get started with the 'THERAPY'

Positive venting = chopping veggies, grating cheese - also kneading dough.
Blending in = Chutney making, Dosa/Idli batter making.
Relaxation = watching tea leaves in boiling water making wonderful patterns in a deep golden brown.
Aroma therapy ( Optional - chargable) = Ginger and Holy Basil in the tea
Negative Energy release = Exhaling loudly with the whistle of a pressure cooker.
The colors of life= The spices you add to the food
You need a good cry= Chop some onions.
Coping with grief= Realising good food, like life, can be spicy, sugary, salty, sour or bitter. If you have the right proportion of everything, you have it made.
Doing away with excess baggage = Straining cooked rice, keeping only what one needs. [Oh my..I'm getting good at this - should I write and sell a book? I wonder]
Achievement bonus=Sputtering mustard / Cumin seeds and seasoning.

Life is beautiful again = Fresh coriander/Basil/Mint for garnishing.

Now say OM three times with your eyes closed, breathe in very slowly the wonderful aromas rising from the food you just prepared, open your eyes and my main door very slowly and go home. I get to keep the food. Thank you very much.

[Haven't found a replacement for my old cook...sshh]

With all due respect to the genuine therapists...those therapists who are angered and stressed out by my sorry sense of humor will be allowed to attend a session of 'What's cooking' for free.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Living a li[f]e

There are so many hammocks to catch you if you fall, so many laws to keep you from experience. All these cities I have been in the last few weeks make me fully understand the cozy, stifling state in which most people pass through life. I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.”...... Henry Rollins quotes

I watched a man yesterday, smartly turned out, having coffee at the Chembur Barrista ( on our way out from Mumbai to Pune) talking animatedly and laughing intermittently. He looked happy...seemed to be enjoying the conversation. [I was in my car..waiting for hubby to get his cuppa.]
I assumed this was a dialogue...I turned fully to look at this man...saw nobody talking back to him or listening. I then thought he had one of those silly ear fittings that come with the cellphones that make most sane folks look demented...but he turned around twice...smiling and talking...nothing. He finished his coffee, took out his wallet, settled the bill and left...still talking to himself. He was the kind of guy you look at and think 'smart looking chap'. And this.

What drives people mad, I wonder. How does one remain sane in this crazy world, I wonder. But again, maybe like a very young friend of mine who battles bouts of Schizophrenia says..."everybody is is just that some of us know it"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Face Value

Why does Shahrukh notice Kajol in KKHH only after she begins to wear sarees and jewelry - like the typical Indian beauty?
Why does Amrita Rao have to dress like Sushmita Sen to get her boyfriend's attention in Main Hoon Na?
Why does the frog turn into a prince when the princess kisses him? Can't she fall in love with a frog?
Why does the beast also turn into a handsome prince when belle falls in love with him?
Symbolism be damned!
How many advertisements do we have for beauty products that promise us instant fame and love?

Yet, my favourite love story will remain that of Prince Charles and Camilla.

Dilli Blues

I write this to assuage my conscience and as an apology to all the Dilliwalas I've offended deliberately and inadvertently [Most deserved it but hey!]. Born, bred and having sworn only to breed in Mumbai, I moved to Delhi and later to Gurgaon when I got married 15 years ago. I was already biased against the hugeeeeeee city having heard stories of its 'auntiyaan', 'behenjees' and 'showbaazee'.

None of these stories were false and I had enough reason to be opinionated and very superior with the Dilli Walas for the first few years not realising how warm and welcoming our new neighbors had been to this nayee naveli, totally lost in Delhi, dulhan and her husband.

Dilliwalas have a 'chip on the shoulder' too. They KNOW that they're not as 'kewl' as the Mumbaikars or as 'elite' as the Kolkattans. They all deny that they're 'basically' Dilliwalas although their families might have lived there for generations. Even advertisements for rented apartments are very clear in saying 'company lease' or 'south Indian family' preferred.

The shopping in Delhi is incredible. Karol Bagh, Sarojini Market and Lajpat Nagar for the casual shoppers, Greater Kailash, Khan Market, Hauz Khas and all the new ritzy malls for the more 'discerning" (??!!)...CP, Saket, etc for the youngsters to hang out...and for the khadi crowd we have Santushti and Dilli haath.

I'm now in Pune...yes...of all places. Tiny city in comparison. Cold, unwelcoming people...academically sound yet tunnel visioned in culture. A genuine, warm invite for a casual cup of tea in this city would give me a heart attack!

I long for the warmth of Delhi...the freedom to say 'Come over' knowing that the invitation will be echoed sincerely....the impromptu singing sessions with total strangers in some resort somewhere...the India Gate and the annual music shows held there...the 'showbaazi' even..where we all dressed up once in a while and showed off...the lovely places to visit with friends and kids for overnighters an hour or two away from the city...just the whole feeling of belonging.

This warmth is lacking in Pune. Everyone is an outsider...Bombay was never warm...I realise and remember that now when I revisit it after 12 years of being away. It is a city built with an didn't was planned. The people reflect this culture. I love it still, only because I can't suddenly is a huge part of me and that will never change...but nostalgia is a big liar and I just don't feel the same way about the city today. There's too much apathy...too much attitude...too little depth. It ... just isn't the same for me anymore.

Delhi is evolving....the people know they have to change and progress..they're trying. And I like those who falter and make mistakes and try to improve better than those who pretend they were born perfect. Somehow, I've gone from the latter to the former...and I miss Delhi!