Cake for Helen and Carl

Cake for Helen and Carl

I am still reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Baurmeister. I am super excited reading about this novel. There is a recipe hidden in every chapter. Thinking about how this novel is making me happy, I am also happy that my favourite novel, Pride and Prejudice didn’t have any cooking descriptions. I would have taken ages to finish reading that classic.

At this point in the novel, Lillian, the protagonist and the master chef of the novel, is teaching her class how to bake a cake. As you must have understood from my previous blog about the choco-coffee, Lillian doesn’t believe in handing out recipes to her students and asks them to cook or bake using their senses. This time too, there is no written recipe for the cake. But here among her students, we have an old couple, who got married without a traditional wedding cake, and still are going strong despite ups and downs, and even an affair. Lillian dedicates this cake to Helen and Carl, the couple who believe in love. And I, like the last time, am giving you the detailed report of how my cake turned out as per her instructions. Given below are the instructions taken directly from the book. So they are not exactly instructions, but are parts of conversations and narration.

Lillian’s Instructions for the Cake

My Cake

Separate egg whites from yolks. I did this later in the process.
Lillian put the butter into the bowl and turned on the mixer. I used about 125g of unsalted butter and softened it manually using a spoon instead of putting into a mixer.
Slowly, in an impossibly thin waterfall of white, she let the sugar drift into the bowl. I used about 100g of fine sugar powder and blended it with the softened and now air-filled butter.
Finally, when the butter and sugar reached the cloudlike consistency of whipped cream, she turned off the motor. Since I was manually blending and air-filling the butter and sugar, it took me longer time.
So, now we add the egg yolks, bit by bit, letting the air rise into them as well. Separating and placing yolks and whites of 2 eggs in separate bowls, I whipped the egg yolks well enough to make a yellow coloured free flowing liquid and then slowly added it to the butter-sugar mixture while stirring.
She remarked lifting out a scoopful and letting it fall through the sifter in a fluttering snow shower into a large measuring cup. I sifted about 200g of all-purpose flour (maida) and set it aside.
Lillian began adding some of the flour to the batter, the milk alternatively. I used about 200-250ml of cold milk and added to the batter alternatively with the sifted flour.
If you mix the flour with the other ingredients for too long, you will have a flat, hard cake. I didn’t set a timer to know for how long I was stirring the batter to blend the flour and avoid lump formation.
Lillian beat the egg whites into foam, adding just a bit of sugar at the end, as the class watched it turn into soft then stiff peak. I beat the egg whites and added sugar to it in the end. Maybe it’s because of the manual blending, no stiff peaks were formed.
When it was done, Lillian carefully folded the frothy cumulus clouds into the batter, a third at a time. Well, I did just that.
The frosting was a thick butter-cream. Since I was in no mood for frosting, I skipped this last step. If I do this, I will surely update.

There are a few things you need to know here.

  • In the novel, Lillian brings out eggs, milk, butter, flour, sugar and baking soda and places on the table. But while baking, she doesn’t use baking soda. So, I just added about 2g of baking soda to the flour and sifted both together.
  • Lillian doesn’t use any flavouring agent, either natural or artificial while baking. You may add it if you want.
  • She doesn’t mention pouring the batter into the cake mould or anything. So please use your commonsense and pour the batter into aluminium cake mould or tray, and then place it in the oven. The mould or tray should be greased and dusted before pouring the batter into it. Otherwise, half of your cake will be stuck to the mould itself.
  • About the baking temperature, I baked the cake at 180°C for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven at the same temperature for 5 minutes before placing the tray inside it.
Freshly baked cake for Helen and Carl. Just out of oven.

Freshly baked cake for Helen and Carl. Just out of oven.

The cake came out fine. Honestly, it was way more delicious than the ones baked following a proper recipe. But I am not a professional baker. I guess Lillian is right. Food turns out to be better when you follow your mood and sense than a recipe. The yellow colour of the cake is due to butter and egg yolk. Most of the recipes out there don’t recommend using egg yolks and only mention egg whites. If you decide to bake as per Lillian, do let me know what you think of it when compared to “recipe” cakes.

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

I am currently reading The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I am a voracious reader and a foodie. When a book caters to both the senses, how can I not fall in love with it? At the point where I am reading now, Lillian has prepared a drink for her mother who has her head stuck in a book all the time to escape the reality. The girl just wants to bring her mother back to being herself and prepares delicacies to entice her. In one such attempt, Lillian prepares a drink and I thought why not I try this on my own because the recipe looked simple enough and I am no Julia Child. But Lillian is someone who doesn’t follow any recipe and goes by instinct. So, let me tell you how my little culinary adventure turned out.

Given below (sounds so academic) is the comparison of what Lillian did and what I tried.

Lillian’s Recipe (You can’t actually call this a recipe)

My Deed

Put milk in a saucepan. Use real milk, the thick kind. Half a litre of Goodlife milk by Nandini poured into a saucepan.
Make orange curls. Set aside. I don’t know how to get curls of orange peel! So I grated the outer peel carefully avoiding the inner white layer. White layer gives bitter taste.
Break the cinnamon in half. About 2-3g of cinnamon stick.
Add orange peel and cinnamon to milk. Added to the milk in the saucepan.
Grate the chocolate Grated about 18-20g of plain Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate into the milk.
Add anise. Just a touch. Added about 1g of anise powder into the milk.
Let it simmer until it all comes together. You will know when it does. Yes, let it simmer. When all the chocolate melts and you get a faint aroma of spices, that is when you know it is done. By then, the milk would have reduced to half of the original quantity.
Use your wand (what she means by wand is a spatula). I used a spoon. Keep stirring otherwise a layer of cream/fat forms on the surface spoiling the taste.
Now add that to your coffee. I added about 5-6g of Bru instant coffee mix to the milk and filtered it to remove cinnamon piece and orange peels.
Top with whipping cream for softness. Fresh cream from Milky Mist helped. I added 50g of the whipped cream to each of the two mugs.
Serve. One mug for myself and another for my mother.

I have to mention here, Lillian did not filter the contents to separate the cinnamon stick and orange peel. She used a spoon to hold them back as she poured her preparation into mugs. I just made my work easy. Also, Lillian’s coffee was already prepared. Considering it had sugar in it, sugar for my choco-coffee came from the Dairy Milk chocolate.

About the drink, it turned out to be yummy. I am not a fan of coffee or tea, but this tasted good. If you don’t trust me, then ask my mom. On some days, she survives on coffee when I pester her a lot.  I don’t know what this is called. Lillian hasn’t named it in the novel. I will just call it choco-coffee. Simple enough for a person who is not much into the world of coffee. If you don’t add cream and whip the drink itself, I guess it turns into a cappuccino. People who drink it regularly would know better. Do let me know if both are same. And the picture doesn’t show pretty patterns on the drink. Bear with it.

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

The Choco-Coffee from Lillian to Her Mother

Thus, We Suffer

Thus, We Suffer

Sometimes, happy thoughts say goodbye. Cherishable memories move from their addresses in the Happyville. They don’t tell where they would go. Without them, there won’t be any difference between physical and mental agony. Whatever we do, just affects us the same. We talk about our emotions. We bare our skin. They attack us by wringing our emotions. They attack us with sickles and axe. We cry. We bleed. We hide our emotions. We suture the wounds and conceal them with bandages. Pretend the weakest links are not present. Avoid the emotions. Avoid risks. How do we feel alive again? How do we stay alive? One fine morning, the suppressed emotions leak out and we don’t know what to do with the fallen facade. The suture of the wounds snap and the blood wets the bandages and stains the skin. The curbs of the road break and we don’t know where the pedestrian path is and where the road. Like the alcoholics, we embrace the weakest links before we struggle to get back on track. The emotions douse us and wounds burn. In vain, we suffer. Vacuum suck the emotions back into the ampoule. Suture the wounds without anaesthesia and pull to knot them in place. Somebody needs to hand out a strategy to us: How to avoid being killed, physically and mentally.

Image source: LiveInternet

Making of paddu: Stage 2

Dunk Slurp Lick Smack

I lost a bet related to writing. The bet was to treat a friend if I didn’t complete writing an article in the stipulated time. What was the treat? Food. Since I had never been to the famed Food Street of V V Puram in Bengaluru, I told my friend that he will be fed there. I had always seen this lane in pictures of others, but had never seen it live in action.

When I neared this lane, it looked like every other lane at its business, glowing in the lights announcing every shop. I realised I was wrong only when I entered the lane. The whole lane was flanked with street food shops on both the sides. People stood carefree and sumptuously ate. Ee Janumave Ahaa Dorakide Ruchi Saviyalu (This life is given to enjoy the taste), a song from a Kannada movie Oggarane (means seasoning or tempering) started playing in the background, well in my mind. It was a difficult choice for us to decide from where we would start to eat. After looking around perplexed, we decided to eat the food that is not made at home or easily available everywhere, and not to eat more than one kind of food at the same shop. Most of the shops offered the same dosa, idli, vada and potato twister/twisted chips. So, we started hunting for the kind of food we wanted.

We ordered a plate of curd kodbale. The usual kodbale are the deep fried rings made of rice flour and spices. As the name suggests, curd kodbale have curd mixed while kneading the dough to give softness to the otherwise crispy junk. They were served with chickpea chutney. Hot, mouth watering curd kodbale gave us a good start.

Curd Kodbale with Chickpea Chutney

Curd Kodbale with Chickpea Chutney

While eating kodbale, I saw pav buns stuffed with red coloured curry and stacked in the shop on the opposite side of the lane. I thought that must be spicy. They are called Dhabeli. I don’t know their origin, but they turned out to be sweet. A plate of Dhabeli has one set of pav i.e. four buns with the red sweetish curry stuffed between the top and the bottom buns, garnished with bhujia, and served with green chillies and chopped onions. It was so filling that we feared we might not be able to eat more.

Dhabeli

Dhabeli

We went zigzag looking for the next stop. At a tiny outlet, we ordered Kurkure Masala, but we received Piknik Masala! Same spicy and crunchy rice crispies but in different shapes. Piknik crispies already have a good flavour, but with all the chaat masala and chopped tomato and onions, the little finger sized cowboys turned lip smacking delicious.

From there we went to have paddu. You might argue that paddu are easily available and can be made at home too. But let me tell you something. You need a different mould for paddu to be made at home, we don’t have them with us and they are not made at my home. So, you get my point. I had seen the paddu mould. I had even seen its batter. But I had never seen their making. It was a blissful moment to watch them being made, especially how they were turned upside down. Paddu look so cute! They are like chubby babies, but served with chickpea chutney.

Making of paddu: Stage 1

Making of paddu: Stage 1

Making of paddu: Stage 2

Making of paddu: Stage 2

Stage 3: Paddu

Stage 3: Paddu

Our last stop was at a juice and ice cream shop. Apparently, my friend had already tried something there long back, so he asked for one ice cream with gulkand. Gulkand is almost a paste of rose petals soaked in sugar syrup and stored for weeks. We ate a scoop of butterscotch ice cream with pieces of apple and banana, and of course gulkand. Dessert ends the day. Sorry, I forgot to take the pictures of Piknik Masala and ice cream. We were busy eating. Why don’t you go and check out the Food Street for yourself? It has food for everyone’s taste. You get varieties of street food to choose from. You eat from a shop at one end of the lane, walk to the other end, eat there again and walk back. Repeat. This way you shall move around with an idea of sweating it out and not feel guilty of eating more.

We Don’t Know At What We Should Laugh

We Don’t Know At What We Should Laugh

I won’t beat around the bush with this blog. What I am writing about now should have stopped beating around the bush a long time ago. Many people have spoken and written about this before me, but they all have been made fun of by calling them feminists. Sadly, being a feminist is not something to be laughed about unless that person has got it totally wrong. Some of you reading this blog will laugh at me. It is okay though it shouldn’t be. What I am writing here is for everybody but very few will understand it. Of those few who will understand, there will be those who ignore it.

Today, there were many posts shared of Facebook related to something Lemon Tree did. For those who don’t know, Lemon Tree is a hotel in Bengaluru. The posts they shared were about a joke pasted on the wall of this hotel. Here it is. This picture is taken from a related post.

Lemon Tree Joke

Lemon Tree Joke

Image source: The Ladies Finger

The posts were about how the joke is sexist and promotes rape culture, and the cool brigade asked the media to take a chill-pill. If you read the joke and laughed at it, then please don’t read further because you will be one of those who will not understand what I write here. If you insist on reading, then you will be offended.

If you laughed at this joke in the picture, then you failed to understand the dark and insensitive place from where it arises. What the man does at the end of the joke symbolises domestic violence and marital rape. That is exactly what the other posts have been talking about in case you still haven’t understood. Hoping that you are reading my blog right now to genuinely understand what this is all about, I shall try to break it down for you. Let’s start with how we are dealing with domestic violence and marital rape in India. We had Ghanti Bajao campaign to stop domestic violence. Ring the doorbell and stop domestic violence. That was the essence of it. Yay! Why not ring the doorbell to the brains of abusive men? And about marital rape? There are people asking what it is. Why do people ask such questions? Because once married, women are properties of men and they can be used as men want, mainly for housekeeping and sexual gratification. I agree there is a creed of men who have evolved beyond this for the betterment of our society, but there are also men who can’t register in their testosterone doped brains that women are not “properties.” Asking what marital rape is like congratulating a rape survivor on losing her virginity if she had not lost it already.

You might argue this content generating media company is of low grade and so are its followers. But aren’t these followers living amongst us. You might argue that I don’t have a sense of humour, but I ask you what do you laugh at? When you laugh at something it is because you take it lightly. This joke at which you laughed is what you have taken lightly and gradually becomes acceptable because nobody frowns at it and it should not cause any problem. Of course you don’t care where it comes from. You think no husband will literally throw his wife to a gorilla, but there are chances that he might beat her up instead because she excused herself from sex citing headache. In Hindi, this is called Khade Laude Pe Dhoka. If you need translation, it means cheating over a hard-on. Of course, when men objectify women for sexual satisfaction, her illness becomes an excuse she is using to avoid having sex with the man. If you think she is avoiding having sex with you, then think why? It isn’t like women don’t have libido. Women just want sex to be good. So, she might be avoiding sex with you because she doesn’t want to hurt the ego of a male chauvinist pig by saying you are not good at it. She might even have an affair to satisfy herself and she doesn’t want to rot the endorphins liberated by rolling over the bed with you. Then why don’t you just divorce her and get a sex doll from China (oh no, I am not talking about the Chinese girls who look like dolls) and satisfy yourself if sex is all you need from a marriage? That doll won’t say no. See, that’s where it comes from. This joke came from a man, a husband, who couldn’t take a no from his wife, a woman. When a man cannot take a no from a woman, he feels his manhood is at stake or is questioned because a woman, who is supposed to be his subordinate, rejected his advances and he tries to bring her down by violating her or insulting her. It is another discussion, as written in my previous blog, that there is no “authentic” reason to rape a female.

If this is too much about husbands, then let me tell you about a boyfriend I had. It was back in the year 2010 when I was in Chennai on training. I was waiting to return to Bengaluru. I was returning to my PG (not parental guidance, but paying guest) accommodation. It wasn’t very late at night and was around 8:30pm, a presumably acceptable time for girls to return to their nests and be good girls. It was through a residential area that I had to walk. This area is in the vicinity of Thiruvanmiyur, one of the posh areas in Chennai, located on the East Coast Road (ECR) that takes you to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. In that residential area, under a street light, in front of a house stood a man wearing helmet next to his motorbike. I was at a point where if I took a left I would run into him and if I took a right I would walk half a kilometre more to my place. I took a right turn. This man said “Excuse me” and I turned around. He pulled out his penis and asked “Do you want this?” I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. If I had screamed, this man would have escaped on his motorbike before any Samaritan turned up. If I had tried to get hold of him, I don’t know what he would have done when I neared him. I said “No, thank you” and walked away. That wasn’t the worse thing. The worse thing was in the morning when I told my then boyfriend, and now thankfully an ex, about what happened. He laughed at it and made fun of me by asking me to enact how that helmet man waved his penis at me. Yes, he made it a laughing stock. But there was also our common friend who understood the seriousness of the situation and told he would drop me to my place in the evening just to avoid such encounters again. Yes, there are good men too and I haven’t been generalising all this while in case you haven’t read properly since the beginning. So, yes, men don’t know what to laugh at when it comes to women.

People who commented on the posts regarding Lemon Tree today, including women, are a part of a herd that wants to laugh at everything and make it sound cool, make themselves sound cool. Or is it kewl? Laughing at something only brings down the seriousness of it. But there are also people who understood what is wrong with that “joke.” There are jokes and there are matters that are passed as jokes. Know the difference. Know what can be a laughing stock. I know there will be comments on my blog too saying how morose a creature I am, but then such comments will only prove my point.

Image source: The Conversation

The Reasons They Give

The Reasons They Give…

It was a hectic day except I could squeeze in time to edit a short story at work. A supervisor called to inform that he would be coming in late. I didn’t ask him for a reason. He came in post lunch. When I had to sign on a few invoices that he gave me, I asked him why he didn’t turn up at work in the morning. He narrated the whole drama.

“We have two tenant families. Both started living on rent almost at the same time, about three years ago. There was no problem between both the families. They both were friendly with each other and my family. They even paid us rent on time. We had no qualms with them and never asked them to pay more rent as they have been neatly maintaining their rented houses. Today morning, when I was midway to work, I got a call from one of the tenants asking me to come back home immediately. When I reached his home, I saw my wife, his wife, the other tenant and my neighbours already grouped in front of my home. I asked the tenant who called me what happened, but his wife told me the whole story. It so happened that when her husband and children went out of their home today morning, the other tenant knocked at their door after an hour. She was cooking at that time. Through the window she saw the familiar face and opened the door. The other tenant immediately rushed into their home, closed the door and tried to hug and kiss her. She thrashed him with the ladle in her hand and screamed for help. My wife and neighbours ran to her aid. After they dragged the other tenant out, she called her husband and told him what happened. When I asked him why he did such a hideous act after peacefully living next door for three years, the other tenant, now a criminal, asked me to follow him into his bedroom. There he showed me a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and told me that he tried to molest the next door lady because the UPS was sucking all the electricity from his body. Her kitchen is on the other side of the wall of this molester’s bedroom. I was baffled. I know you are also dumbstruck, but this is what he told me. The UPS in his room was to blame. I had two questions on my mind. One was about his sanity and other was how to console the other tenant family. I answered the second question first and asked the molester to vacate the house immediately. About the first question, I don’t care about it as long as he isn’t on my property. I left the business of lodging a police complaint to the lady and her husband. I have to go back home and check what has happened. So far, my wife hasn’t called up and that means all must be okay at home.”

I had finished signing on all the invoices he had handed over to me. He laughed at himself and his day, and went back to his cubicle. I was left wondering what more reasons can one come up to molest a woman.

Image courtesy: WorldArtsMe

Literal and Musical

Literal and Musical

I don’t believe in the Monday morning blues, but BMTC buses don’t give me a chance to have faith in their timings. All the buses of the same route go one after another and none will be found for a long time. This foolhardy public transportation disrupts the schedule of people like me who have to get into another bus later to complete the one side commute. This happens especially on Monday mornings. This is irksome. Due to this, I miss the other bus I have to board at another point. Today morning, I managed to get the first bus on-time and even a seat in the second bus. As soon as sat, I voluntarily showed my bus-pass to the BMTC conductor so that he doesn’t pester me later, plugged in my earphones, started the playlist and opened the book I have been reading. It is 1984 by George Orwell.

O’Brien had turned himself a little in his chair so that he was facing Winston. He almost ignored Julia, seeming to take it for granted that Winston could speak for her. For a moment the lids flitted down over his eyes. He began asking his questions in a low, expressionless voice, as though this were a routine, a sort of catechism, most of whose answers were known to him already.
“You are prepared to give your lives?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared to commit murder?”
“Yes.”
“To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?”
“Yes.”
“To betray your country to foreign powers?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases – to do anything which is likely to cause demoralisation and weaken the power of the Party?”
“Yes.”
“If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face – are you prepared to do that?”
“Yes.”
You are prepared to lose your identity and live out the rest of your lives as a waiter or a dock worker?”
“Yes.”
‘You are prepared to commit suicide, if and when we order you to do so?”
“Yes.”
“You are prepared, the two of you, to separate and never see one another again?”
“No!” broke in Julia.
It appeared to Winston that a long time passed before he answered. For a moment he seemed even to have been deprived of the power of speech. His tongue worked soundlessly, forming the opening syllables first of one word, then of the other, over and over again. Until he had said it, he did not know which word he was going to say. “No,” he said finally.

If you have read 1984 by George Orwell, have the least amount of imagination required while reading a book, have ever been in love or just have enough capability to empathise, then you will get the emotions in the excerpt given above. Just as Winston too said no, my music player churned out Down by Jason Walker. Music and words, whether in the form of lyrics or narration, make a good combination. This song doesn’t suit the situation, but it felt just right for them. I imagined Winston and Julia sing the song to each other completely ignorant of O’Brien’s presence in the same room. Though they are not of this era, they sang like they could relate to it. But thankfully they didn’t run around the trees or dance hand in hand. I was in a trance with the coincidence of the scene in the book and song on my playlist. The bus stopped. Winston flung the table at which they were sitting. Julia was in his arms the next moment. I don’t know what happens next as I am still reading 1984. Bookmark placed between the pages, I got down from the bus. The song ended. I have absolutely no idea why O’Brien sat through the show in my imagination.

Wallet

Wallet

“Watch?”
“Check.”
“Handkerchief?”
“Check.”
“Car keys?”
“Check.”
“Mobile phone?”
“Wallet?”
“Check.”
This is my mother’s checklist and my father’s response every time he steps out of the house. Though my logic says she can ask only for the wallet and he can buy rest of the things using the money in his wallet, she repeats her list. Of course, he cannot buy a car every time he feels like driving one when leaves his at home. It’s good to watch them go about this daily ritual. Sometimes my father doesn’t even say “check.” He simply grunts and my mother still goes on. It is not like my father will forget any of those things if my mother doesn’t remind him. It is just the display of concoction brewed with love, care, and intimacy that sometimes appears to be cute.

My mother sometimes forgets reminding one or two of the list, but never the wallet. Theirs being the earlier generation that wasn’t dependent on the mobile phone, it was never a priority but has slowly crept in. The wallet is always reminded because it has money. Money can allow you to make calls from the nearby PCO telephone, which became extinct and my mother ignores that fact. Money can get you from one place to other thanks to public transport and my mother loves them. To my parents, the wallet is a something that can hold money from which we can pull out a few bank notes or clink few coins to pay for anything. This leaves me wondering what would happen to this intimacy when we replace our wallets with apps like Paytm. This app and likes of it are closing in on all possible kinds of services for which money can pay. I recently saw a grocery store that accepts payment through Paytm. Such apps make it easy to carry out transactions without withdrawing cash and fewer chances of a pickpocket. But the lack of physical touch gives a sense of insecurity. The apps cannot replace the different colours of bank notes, the cold mint coins, the leather or a cloth and the worn-out folds and corners of the wallets, even if they assure the safety of our money.

Technology though is trying to help bring people closer, is driving them far from each other. People talk to each other for hours together at their convenience from the comforts of their homes, but don’t know how to even say hi when they meet. I never knew meeting in person had such allergic reactions. If the advent of apps had happened long back, I guess my mother would have asked my father “Installed all necessary apps?” instead of her list. This way, it would have been more than enough if he carried a mobile phone loaded with a variety of apps and she doesn’t have to worry as they won’t uninstall themselves. The intimacy of the wallet which my father used to buy ice creams for my mother on their trip to Manali three decades ago that they still reminisce, would have never happened. She would have even helped my grandfather book a priest for the wedding through an app. The wallet would have become a Dodo.

Image source: The Brooks Review

Image source: www.complianceandethics.org

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Every morning, whether I go to work or not, I look at myself in the mirror. I make sure nobody makes fun of me unless ink, dung or something else smears across my face. I tell myself to have a good day. That is the small talk I have with myself. For the rest of the day, I slog, churn stories out of thin air by twirling my fingers and daydream to slay mean bosses. Sometimes I converse instead of small talk when I look into the mirror. But looking at myself for too long brings out the memories buried deep in my mind. They are responsible for the dark circles under my eyes. I am healthy, but need to get more rest and sleep.

Psychology says our dreams include things registered in our subconscious mind. That explains why I can’t sleep unperturbed. I stopped trying to make sense of my nightmares long ago. What am I to think of the fly buzz towards me out of nowhere and sting me on my left upper arm? I might just brush it away thinking I saw a close-up of a fly or a mosquito that day. But what about the bugs that ooze out of the swell gifted by the fly? I never knew bugs replaced my blood. In the mirror, I stare at the spot where the fly bit me in my nightmare. There is nothing now. But I remember what my subconscious mind showed me. No, I am not losing my mind. I don’t know how to interpret my dreams. It may mean I am still unable to forget The Mummy movie, especially Brendan Fraser on whom I had a major crush. Never mind Rachael Weisz. Or the nightmare means I will die, irrespective of what I do with my mind and my body. Bugs eat my body inside out and my mind abandons my body when of no use. For what joy should I worry beyond the threshold level? Dark circles appearing under my eyes are the signs of the threshold level.

Such conversations with self through the mirror are rhetorical. I turn away from the mirror but my mind shows me what I see. I can’t turn away from my mirror.

Image source: The Compliance and Ethics Blog

Just before reaching my destination

Funny Story of a Directionally Challenged Non-Quitter

I always wanted to buy a bicycle. Watching people who go cycling to far away places with a smile on their faces, I too wanted to do the same. Recently when I took someone to show an outsourced unit located at an interior part of rural North Bangalore, I found the route to be very picturesque. The desire to buy a bicycle was enhanced and I indeed bought one. Today, I happened to visit that outsourced unit again and decided to take my bicycle to show the same route which made me buy it.

I will be telling you less about the route and showing you more of it through pictures this time, unlike my other blogs where I show you more of my imagination through words. To start with, I shall share my playlist that I listened to while riding Vidyaranyapura to Kanaswadi in the morning today for 31km so that you can get an idea of how much time I took to reach my destination. I am one of those people who measures time in terms of songs. I don’t shuffle, mind you.

“Haminastu” from the movie Fitoor
“Hawaa Hawaa” from the movie Rockstar
“Heart Attach” by Demi Lovato
“Help I’m Alive” by Metric
“Here We Go” by Mat Kearney
“Here’s to Never Growing Up” by Avril Lavigne
“Hey Porsche” by Nelly
“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train
“The Hollow (Acoustic)” by A Perfect Circle
“Honedo Batiya” from the movie Fitoor
“Hot n Cold” by Katy Perry
“I Cry” by Flo Rida
“I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift
“I’m An Animal” by Neko Case
“Ibn-e-Batuta” from the movie Ishqiya
“Ilahi” from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
“Imagine” by A Perfect Circle (This is a different version John Lennon’s Imagine, as a tribute to him)
“In Between” by Linkin Park
“In Pieces” by Linkin Park
“In the End” by Linkin Park
“Irreplacable” by Beyonce
“Irresistible” by One Direction
“Ishaqzaade” from the movie Ishaqzaade
“Ishq Bina” from the movie Taal
“Ishq Shava” from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan
“It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy
“It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars
“It’s a Beautiful Day” by Michael Buble
“Jab Mila Tu” from the movie I Hate Luv Storys
“Jannatein Kahan (Powerball version)” from the movie Jannat 2
“Jeene Ke Ishaare” from the movie Phir Milenge
“Jhak Maar Ke” from the movie Desi Boyz
“Jiya Lage Na” from the movie Talaash

I started from Vidyaranyapura and reached Rajanukunte entrance on Doddaballapur road. Pictures will show you the route further from there.

Rajanukunte entrance from Doddaballapur road

Rajanukunte entrance from Doddaballapur road

Rajanukunte interior

Rajanukunte interior

Empty roads

Empty roads

Do you know what to see in this picture?

Do you know what to see in this picture?

A chameleon! Now you see it!

A chameleon! Now you see it!

Cattle farm

Cattle farm

Kakolu Circle

Kakolu Circle

Wait for the view after this

Wait for the view after this

One of the few lakes that have survived in Bangalore

One of the few lakes that have survived in Bangalore

Appreciating greenery

Appreciating greenery

Just before reaching my destination

Just before reaching my destination

After completion of my work at Kanaswadi, I started homewards by 6pm.

“Jiyein Kyun” from the movie Dum Maaro Dum
“Jo Bhi Main” from the movie Rockstar
“Jugni” from the movie Cocktail
“Jump” by Rihanna
“Jump Then Fall” by Taylor Swift
“Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk
“Kabhi Neem Neem” from the movie Yuva
“Kabira” from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
“Kahin Aag Lage” from the movie Taal
“Kamli” from the movie Dhoom 3
“Kariye Na” from the movie Taal
“Karma is a Bitch” from the movie Shor in the City
“Katiya Karun” from the movie Rockstar
“Kemosabe” by Everything Everything
“Khalifa” from the movie Lekar Hum Deewana Dil
“Khuda Hafiz” from the movie Yuva
“Kids” by MGMT
“Kiklikalerdi” from the movie Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana
“Kun Faya Kun” from the movie Rockstar
“Kya Dekh Rahe Ho Tum” from the movie Taal
“Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai” from the movie Woh Lamhe
“Lag Gayi Lottery” from the movie Fukrey
“Lat Lag Gayi” from the movie Race 2
“Laying Me Low” by David Cook
“Leave Out All the Rest” by Linkin Park
“Lego House” by Ed Sheeran
“Leja Leja” by Shreya Ghoshal and Ustad Sultan Khan

Didn’t you notice something strange? My return journey has six songs less in the list. How did that happen? You might say maybe the length of the songs vary. But it was because one of my best friends called up on my return commute. If she hadn’t called, then the count would have reached fifty. So, what’s the big deal? Well, I got lost while returning.

Thinking about an email that some obnoxious female at my workplace sent, I took a wrong turn and didn’t even notice. Instead of reaching the entrance of Rajanukunte again, I reached the entrance of Doddaballapur. From Kanaswadi to Doddaballapur entrance the distance is 17km. From Doddaballapur entrance to Vidyaranyapura the distance is 27km. Instead of Kanaswadi -> Rajanukunte -> Vidyaranyapura which was only 31km, I pedalled for 44km. I was like “Oh, crap!” when I saw Doddaballapur board. At the same time, one of my best friends called me to catch up. She had her hearty laughter before asking me to load my cycle into an auto and go home. But I refused to do so. After the call, I realised that I am definitely directionally challenged, but that has been compensated with my nature of not quitting. It was another thing that I had to cycle all the 44km without proper light on that accident-prone highway, but it was all worth it as I came back home safe.