BLEND IN IS WHAT THEY SAY …

I cannot stand snakes. I hate them so much that even a picture of them makes me sick in the stomach. Lizards are very close in resemblance to snakes, but I somehow developed an interest in them. I might have been very young when I started reading articles and watching national geography documentaries. They can stick to any surface and crawl. Lizards are very interesting to me 🙂 

Lizards are the most common species on earth, found at every possible place including our houses. Antartica is an exception. They live in rain-forests, deserts, ponds, rivers, and even on trees and shrubs. There are more than 6000 varieties of lizards. Of all these, I am very fascinated by Chameleons. Chameleons are the variety that changes color in a jiffy. pink, red, orange, green, blue, black, brown, light blue, yellow, turquoise, and purple. If you won’t get scared of watching lizards, then please watch this.  

There are certain interesting facts about lizards. Broadly, lizards are characterized into three color groups. I believe they are yellow, blue and brown/black. Each of these colors means compassionate, playboy, loyal. Interestingly the females mate with the species that are low in number in their vegetation to prevent extinction. By doing this, they preserved all three species successfully for the last 200 years. 

Lizard is the species which has the highest tensile muscle among all living species. It’s their tongue. Like snakes, lizards also smell with their tongue and do not have ears. To catch the prey, lizard lets out a small portion of its tongue to smell the surroundings. Once it finds the prey, it releases its tongue at a speed of 225mph. I would recommend watching that in slow motion 🙂 Lizards come in various sizes. The ones that are larger in size are the ones considered to be harmful to humans otherwise lizards are harmless. 

I can go on and on writing about them, but, let me tell you a funny encounter with lizards. I am not sure if it’s funny because it is going to have a sad ending. End of last year I went on a holiday for two weeks. By the time I returned home, there were not one, not two but three lizards in my kitchen. I was not scared when I saw them, somehow it felt very weird to be cooking in the kitchen where lizards are moving freely. How many days can I go without cooking? I had to find a way to get rid of them. I have no idea how to get rid of them. What’s the one thing that usually saves us? Google. Yes, I started googling to find out how to get rid of lizards. There were several remedies like peacock feathers, camphor etc. After failed trials for two weeks, I had no option but the forcefully send them out. I cleaned up the entire kitchen counter, placed back all jars into the cabinets. I tried using the broomstick and duster, but it was another failure.. 

Unable to find out any remedy, I contemplated if I should kill them. This fight went on for two days. I had no clue how to kill them either. Trust me, I tried various cleaning solutions, sprays possible. At last, what worked was cockroach spray. It worked but I had to see the lizard suffer. The tail portion of the lizard separated from its body and just like octopus tentacles it was moving even after it was separated for more than a minute. Trust me, it wasn’t easy killing those. I couldn’t sleep for a few days but I had no other option. 

If any of you are petting a lizard, please excuse me for killing them. I feel sorry for them as well. As much as possible I am not going to do this again. From next time I would be careful to not let lizards than having to get rid of them later. Any ideas for this would be appreciated. I like lizards but I don’t think I would ever pet one. Though what I could learn from them is to adapt to situations around. It makes a lot of sense considering how bad the world around is now-a-days . Either we should stand out or blend in. By this, I do not mean that we have to do bad things to fit in. Lizards only do that to not get noticed and become prey to their predators. 

“The trick to not being discovered until it is too late is to become part of the expected surroundings. Stealth is more the art of blending in with the background than sneaking through dark shadows.” 
― Raymond E. Feist

“I AM NOT HUNGRY IF YOU ARE GOING TO COOK”

I am from that population of Indian middle class women/ girls, who were/are never allowed/forced/asked/ had to enter kitchen before their alliance was fixed.  Studies were of paramount importance in my life then.  So distanced I was from kitchen even in a single room house that I was capable of burning even water if I was asked to boil it (I request you to not to take it too literally 😁).

The crux is I was miserable when it was about cooking. From choosing the wrong ingredient to choosing wrong technique, from overcooking to undercooking, I have been there done that all. If a person can overload something as simple and basic as instant noodles with salt you can imagine her expertise in spoiling the food and taste. Yes, that was me.

One instance from my “cookbook” (since it’s mine I can serve only incidents which are luckily not accidents and not recipes)  that I would remember till my memory power is intact and would like to share with you all on this page.

That was in the year 2004, I went to my friend’s place and was very hungry. I told her the same.  Within no time she rolled out flat bread (roti) for me and served along with a curry (a combination of a lentil and bottle-guard, a kind of vegetable). It was very delicious and pacified my hunger.  I was in awe of her culinary skills. So inspired she left me that I have decided to wear an apron and enter the kitchen.  Requested recipe and with head full of imaginations that I would dish out something sumptuous and receive praises from my family I reached my house.

It was Sunday, I announced that a delicious meal is on its way, I am going to cook today. Mom gave her consent and I debuted in kitchen.  Got the spices right, chopping done and everything gone into the process.  And I started off with flat breads. Aroma of spices soon engulfed the house.  I was so happy that I am on right track.

Before I could submerge myself into that feeling my flat breads started turning out to be burnt (not every single piece, but only a majority of them😂). I said to myself “it happens in trials” and turned to my curry and opened the lid. Appearance seemed so-so, not very pleasing. “Okay let everyone taste it first, sometimes appearance may be misleading” this is how I assured myself that everything will be fine.

As everyone was hungry I had to hurry up serving them. And my eyes were fixed on their faces to catch their unadulterated reaction to what went through their tongues to stomach. 😥😫 These emojis might explain you their plight then. The lentil was undercooked and spices almost left them with upset stomachs. Horrible is the word to be precise.

My brother, typical he is started pulling my leg. In fact he was right when he said “In which part of the world is this called FOOD? Thanks for making us fast dear” and left my parents in splits and made me frown. My father was more encouraging and said “Keep on trying, it’s just the beginning”.

That surely lifted my spirit and I requested for one more chance and wanted to try a new dish in the evening. Everyone, especially my brother was taken aback and turned to my father and said “Please save us from going to bed in hunger, please cook something that has your signature (my father was a great cook)”.

When I insisted on being given a chance my brother declared “I am not hungry if you are going to cook”😔.

That day gave me a lesson for life “Don’t try to sprint before learning to walk or else be ready to fall flat on face”

I could have started with little help in kitchen rather than taking a huge leap of cooking an entire meal that day😀.

Do share your kitchen experiences/nightmares, whatever they are. I am all ears 😀.

A TALE OF A FOODIE

A kitchen always fascinated and attracted me. Nevertheless, My early days of being in the kitchen were to just eat and relish the taste of yummy food that my mom prepared for me. It was a routine for me to wake up to the aromatic realm of food prepared from the kitchen. I actually recollect the good old days when my mom woke me up with just the smell of a morning tea.

Being born in a traditional south Indian family – my home always smelled of South India delicacies like Sambar, Rasam etc. My holidays morning were awakened by the fresh smell of coriander leaves which my mom put in the Sambar which is bubbling on the stove. I always adored the way she cooked, imagined that one day I would be a fine cook like her.

I was mocked many times being a foodie. I ignored many and actually crushed many of the faces in my dreams when they tease me being a foodie. A good appetite is for the blessed ones – And I consider myself blessed for the same.

Even though I had small and fine encounters at cooking at home even before I got married. The real encounter scared the hell out of me like every other newlywed. Still, I just walked into the battle room like an unmatched warrior with the hope to accomplish my reign in the Kitchen.

It was a long struggle for perfection and imperfection for a while. Thanks to those who were patiently waiting for me to deliver perfect un-burned and well-balanced food on the table. Like all, I never enjoyed cooking then, as it was just a burden on my shoulder.

Things changed when I actually got to get good appreciation, a kind gesture that actually motivated me to cook better. My journey as a foodie propelled to become a more like a chef now. I enjoyed the aroma that actually filled in my kitchen while I cooked. Bringing the fresh memories of my mom’s kitchen.

I knew cooking was truly an art- I wanted to be an Artist then.

I took the baby steps in learning new methods and even started baking for my kids. Repetitive failure attempts and lots of wastage and finally I enjoyed the “true joy of cooking“.

Being a foodie, I luxuriate in relishing every taste my tongue could find. I loved experimenting all kind of cuisines. Fresh and new tastes always excited me. Even though I am scared of eating different varieties because of few uncanny incidents, I enjoyed watching all kind of cookery shows.

I recollect my days when actually I ended up cooking things I see on TV but yet landed up in totally unmatched dishes on a table which looked not even close to what it looks in magazines and online portals. I finally convinced myself that food colors are not my cup of tea- it is just Photography skills ;P.

Serving is my joy when it comes to food. I cannot see anyone starving or go empty stomach, hence cooking turned me completely into a mom. I actually transformed into someone who can actually eat half or even sleep empty stomach by letting others fill in well.

Being a foodie completely changed my life aspects.