Stop chasing my demons just
Because they remind you that
Yours are normal, chase all of
Me, instead, chase my dreams
And ambitions and smiles and
Annoyances and idiosyncrasies
With me, and let me chase yours
With you, know me and accept
Me, not just at my worst, but at
My absolute best too, remember
Me not only in times when you
And I are broken, but in times when
We triumph beyond what we
Thought we could do, for I refuse
To only be a shelter to seek refuge
In, when the storms batter at you,
Because shelters are abandoned
and I don’t want you to be one
Either, no, for you’re meant to be
My home and safety, where I belong,
And I want to be that for you too.
Remember yourself as the
little girl who watered the
pots so much, that the
roots loosened, for you
never knew when to stop
giving if you had a way to.
Remember yourself as the
woman who loved so much
that she loved through, and
after, every heartbreak that
tore through her being like
an apocalypse at a time.
Remember yourself as the
force of nature whose eyes,
they shone, as she demanded
justice for those she never knew
but empathized with, woman
to woman, soul to soul.
Remember yourself as the
patchwork of memories,
made of kindness, and love,
and constant compassion,
because staying soft in a hard
world, is the hardest of all.
I’m a grumpy person. That’s common knowledge. I’m mean, get annoyed easily, and my patience levels are amazingly low. In order to combat this rather problematic issue, I try my hand at creating things. I write, cook, demand love from people. Try to, in general, erase negativity by replacing it with happiness and fattening treats.
One of my favourite recipes is this one.
They’re named Big Fat Cookies For Grumpy Days because these cookies are created for the sole purpose of making grumpy days slightly better. Making these is easy, eating them is even easier, and the sugar rush will make the world seem like a friendlier place.
The fact that they taste like approximately what hugs feel like helps.
Gathering your stuff: 15 minutes (if you’re clueless about your kitchen.)
Mixing and prep: 10 minutes. At max.
Baking time: 10-15 minutes.
Put your oven on preheat right at the start, yes?
Ingredients you need:
120gm unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Demerara sugar
1 Egg+1 yolk (the yolk is dispensable, but it’ll make your cookies REALLY luscious.)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (if you want to go whacky, try orange blossom. Cut with a splash of rum!)
1 1/2 cup maida (I suggest NOT sifting through a sieve. Gives your dough some body.)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I love Cadbury’s, but Hershey’s is lovely too.)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (LEVEL OFF YOUR MEASURING SPOONS, KIDS.)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (Don’t skip this. Please.)
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (I may have put 1.5. Shh.)
1/2 cup dried cranberries/almonds/ANY filler you feel like. (Chop them roughly, and make sure no stems remain.) 2 tablespoons flaked sea salt (Optional. But these cookies don’t have the same panache without it.)
Let’s get down to business:
1) Preheat oven to 195C degrees. 375F, approximately.
2) Line baking sheet with parchment. OR, if you don’t have any, oil it with vegetable oil. Both work, honestly.
3) In a bowl, gently whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Do this GENTLY, not like you’re beating up the person who annoyed you last night. If you’re harsh with it, the dough with come out very tough.
4) In another bowl, whisk together butter, sugar and demerara sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated. If you want a caramelly undertone to your cookies, take one tablespoon of the butter, and add the demerara to it, and cook over a low flame till the sugar’s melted into the butter, and it has browned just a tiny bit. THEN whisk the rest together. (This also makes your house smell like a bakery, and that’s ALWAYS a good thing.)
5) Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture. One tablespoon at a time. Again, make sure not to over mix or cookies will be tough.
6) When you reach approximately the last 3 tablespoons, add the chocolate chips and fillers, and fold to incorporate.
7) Put dough on sheets as you wish. I made gigantic cookies. About 2 tablespoons of dough to a cookie. Ideally, you should have 1.5 teaspoons to a serving. Also, shape them into a ball with your hands. Rub some vegetable oil onto your palms, and get in there. Make sure they’re nice and round, and of even thickness so that they bake throughout.
8) Sprinkle a generous pinch of sea salt flakes onto each cookie, if you plan to.
9) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the center of the cookies are just set. Another indicator would be the edges. If they’re golden-brown and crispy, you’re good to go. I do 13 minutes for that almost chewyness. You CAN do 15 minutes if you like a cakey cookie.
Just gobble them up and feel better about the world. That’s what I did, really!
Someone sent me an article
On Facebook once, and it was
One of those vapid listicles
That confuse me with their
Lack of journalistic integrity
But this one caught my eye
Because it was titled ‘Five Ways
To Compliment You Woman’
And the tagline said ‘Does your
Man say these to you everyday?’
Intrigued, I opened it, and read
Through the points, and each
Left me more indignant than
The first because really, if someone
Bothered saying those hollow
Words would annoy me, and
Would leave me doubting all that
I’ve created, and made of
Myself through years of creation
And destruction, and repair.
The first point read ‘Tell her that
Her lipstick looks good before
You kiss it off her.’ No, I’d rather
You tell me how the words my
Lips enunciate make you want to
Know more, and to hear more, and
That you’d not want to kiss me
In forms of aggression, but of
Respect, because you want to
Trace the shadows of what I said.
The second point asked if you
Complimented me on ‘how her
Dress looks good on her.’ No, I’m
Not my appearance, I’m a sum of
Everything that constitutes of
My presence, I’d rather have you
Tell me that you’d know when I
Enter a room because you felt the
Power I exude, and would, irrespective
Of what cloth I adorn myself with.
The third claimed that every woman
Wants to be told how she’s ‘Not
Like every other woman you’ve
Been with’, and this angered me,
Because the women before me,
And those after, are all women in
Their own rights, and to demarcate
Me from my own would be a
Disservice to me, and every single
Woman who made me who I am.
The fourth questioned if I had been
Told how ‘She makes you feel like
You’re the strongest man on earth’
By letting you do little things that
I could, but would rather have you
Do, and this scared me because
My weakness is not your strength,
And my inability is not space for
You to take over my very being, no
Your power does not stem from
The lack of mine, but through it.
The final point preached how all
I want to be told is that ‘She is the
Prettiest woman you know’, because
Apparently all my worth is tied to
How you perceive my hair, and
My body, and my face, no, I’d rather
Be told how I’m the woman you
Respect and adore enough to
Want to stay with her because she
Intrigues you, and makes you
Question all that you held in faith.
I want you to take me for granted.
I want you to be able to pick up your phone and call me whenever you please, even if it ends at me telling you I can’t talk. I want you to be comfortable with texting me at any hour of the day, and be comfortable in the knowledge that I’ll reply, as soon as I can. I want you to send me music you think is good (and I probably hate) and have faith that I’ll listen to it irrespective of my complete dislike for your taste. I want you to know that I’ll put on a brave smile and take another bite of what you order when we go out, just because you like it. I want you to know that I’d drink vodka for you, even though I’m a whiskey and rum girl, just because you want to do shots and get sloshed (something I’m inherently against). I want to be your first preference. The first person you think of when you have news, good or bad, to share. The first person you text on a late, sleepless night. The last person you say goodnight to. Hell, I don’t want our conversations to have an end. I don’t want something as mundane as conditioning to force us to use bland platitudes like ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ when we could just have a long, never ending conversation.
I want you to know that you can be utterly selfish around me. You can rant on and on about your problems, and I’ll be there to nod sympathetically and call your boss/colleague/boyfriend/girlfriend the choicest swears even though in reality, I’m disinterested. You should be able to be talk endlessly about what fascinates you, even if it doesn’t engross me. Whatever it is, and however embarrassed you are of it. I want to know. I want to know all of you. Your quirks, your sadnesses, your triggers, your subway sandwich order. I want to know of how wonderfully awkward your first kiss was, and of how you didn’t know how to react when a guy hit on you. I demand all of you. I don’t necessarily need any of what you are. But I want it because I want to invest in the person you are, and make you my person.
In return, all I want from you is to want all that from me. We should be able to consider each other as existing blessings which don’t waver. Of course, that doesn’t mean our bond won’t require nurturing. It will, maybe more than other bonds that we’ve created. But it shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be a ‘work’. Every day should be another success. Fights, doubts, anger. They’ll exist. But so should, and hopefully will, unwavering faith in the mutual understanding of the fact that the other person won’t leave. At least not now.
I know it’s a lot to ask for. And that it’s going to be a lot to give. But that’s what the point is. I’ve had too many one side relationships and I’ve seen too many of my investments fail to give any returns. It’s selfish. But I want to have some security with you. I want to take you for granted. And I want you to do that too.
People sent in words to me, and I tried elaborating on the first memory that word brought forth.
An exercise in reconciliations.
My first exposure to the kind of love I wanted was Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
See why I don’t do well in relationships?
I have crippling self-esteem issues coupled with an inordinately large ego.
Mostly, I’m shit.
Sometimes, I’m the shit.
I always wished for magical powers, so that I could make myself disappear and hear what people said of me.
Then I took the wish back.
I was so afraid of no one ever mentioning me.
The first poem by Emily Dickinson I read was Hope Is a Thing with Feathers.
There’s a picture of Madhubala I put up on my wall quite some time ago.
It was a still from Mughal-e-Azam, with the lines “Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya?” written under her picture.
My mother stared at the wall.
“Did you know your father had that exact poster on his wall when we got married? You’ve never seen it.”
Like every other Indian kid, tea was the first thing I could make on a gas.
But the thing I was taught right after was coffee. The way dad likes it.
Even now, when I go home, the first thing my dad says it “Make me a cup of coffee. Only you know how to make it.”
Sometimes, I know when someone is lying.
I know extremely well.
It takes a liar to know one.
When you’re always told you’re not beautiful, it gets hard to believe someone actually wants to look at you.
That’s all I’ll say.
Ganpati visarjan is the biggest day in Pune.
It’s crazy, and truly, truly awe-inspiring. My favourite memory of one involves the Deccan bridge. We sat up there and saw the sea of humanity swarm by, with unnaturally large idols seemingly gliding through the crowd. Cries of “ganpati bappa morya, pudcha varshi laukar ya!” piercing through the loud Nashik dhols. The sights, the sounds, the smell of camphor in the air.
We sat up there and had the freshest vada paav I had ever tasted.
It was beautiful, that day.
I wept to my father once.
“I can’t read anymore, papa. The words don’t make pictures in my head.”
He said something I wish I could go back to.
“Maybe you don’t need fiction to save you anymore.”
I call things ‘mine’.
People, objects, memories.
Because I’m afraid I’ll lose them if I don’t lay claim.
I said ‘mine.’ to a boy once.
He replied, ‘Yours.’
Everyone called crows ugly.
But there was certain elegance to them that my 12 year old self saw. The feathers angled so sleekly. The beak gleamed. The crow was beautiful, despite everything people said.
‘Sometimes people find beauty in the most uninspiring things’, I thought to myself, as I stared into the mirror. ‘I know I did.’
‘Black is slimming! Wear that! Dark colours, ma’am!’
I heard this every time I went out shopping.
My mother smiled, encouragingly. But didn’t say a word.
Shopping for an ugly daughter can be difficult, you see. No other way around.
I agreed. For a large chunk of my life, my wardrobe had only black, dark blue, and brown.
Then, I got angry. I got tired. Went out, and bought a kurta in neon pink, despite everyone telling me it was a waste.
I never wore it. But at least I had something I liked.
I stole a book from my school library once.
(Well, I stole many. But this one is special.)
It was an anthology of stories based on dance.
Ballet. Tap dancing. Street dance. Birds dancing. The princesses who stole off at night to dance.
I was in 4th, maybe.
And that’s when I realised that romance isn’t only about love. It’s about so much more.
“You’re like family to me.”
I’ve always believed in the concept of La Familia.
Blood family exists. But so does the family you choose. The family you’re not obligated to protect, but you will, simply because.
The first person I said this to is now someone who can waltz into my house and make a cup of coffee in the kitchen with my mom asking her to make one more.
Yes, you can choose family. J
One thing that defined my childhood was coming to Delhi one summer.
One thing that stuck with me, and still impacts me, is how India Gate looks at night.
Lit up. Majestic. The Amar Jawan Jyoti flickering in the foreground. The hawkers. The ice cream wallahs. The golas. The peanuts. The kadak chai.
Sitting on the grass and staring out at Lutyens.
Marvelling at what power wroughts, and coming back to earth as we giggled over the stains dew left on our bottoms.
My father always has answers.
Even now, if I ask him something, he’ll Google and read up extensively before giving me an answer about something.
I asked him if God exists.
He looked at me, and hesitated.
“I’d say he’s unfathomable.”
That’s when I knew, for sure, that he didn’t. Dad didn’t have an answer.
I gifted my mother a poem I wrote for her, on her 46th birthday.
She sent in critique, and admonishment for being up at 3am.
Funnily, my upbringing has always been about this word.
“Tere se nai ho payega beta, chodd de.”
“Child, you’re incapable of this. Leave it.”
The funniest memory I have is of making tea.
I’m not a dexterous person. There’s no delicacy to how I physically handle things. So when I picked up a vessel to make tea and fumbled, my father looked at me and laughed.
“Tere se nai ho payega beta, chodd de.”
It became a cause. I don’t know why, but I necessarily had to prove him wrong.
So I practiced. I made tea 5 times a day.
We were all at home that day. I picked up the vessel and served my dad the most awesome tea.
“Ho gaya, Papa.”