#SOCS Jan2- In The Corner

When I saw Linda Hills Prompt for SOCS jan 2 “In The corner” I am thinking of the kitten we are bringing home today. My daughter is busy in planning for her comfort and creating a corner for her which we are calling “Sansa Corner”

Yes! we have named her after the famous Game of Throne Character Sansa. While I am writing this, my daughter has gone to pick up the kitten. We have bought the feeding bowls, a bed (which is yet to arrive) and as this is our first pet, my daughter is extremely excited.

Masala Crab @ Goa’s Martin Corner – You Can’t Miss This

I have visited Goa nine times in last twenty years. Goa is a family favourite destination. When we cant decide where to go, we end up in Goa. Each of my Goan sojourn has had one special memory and for the trip I took last week, the special memory was definitely eating the Masala Crab at Martin’s corner. 

Goa being a coastal region, the availability of good seafood is no surprise. Goa has some great restaurants too. Martin’s corner is one of the most popular eateries in Goa for its crab and is also hailed by the India’s cricket legend – Sachin Tendulkar. It is a celebrity favoured restaurant for sure. 

I tried to visit this place during my previous trips but couldn’t, as we didn’t get a reservation.  However, this visit I was  lucky and we managed to get a table. Generally, when a restaurant is hyped, the actual experience may turn out underwhelming as you have high expectations. I was about to find out. 

The restaurant is located in interiors and its quite a drive to reach there. The atmosphere is quite lively and for a famous restaurant like this, it is not at all intimidating. Its quite casual and friendly and full of tourist having fun. At the entrance you get to see array of fish organised in a glass cabinet. 

Once we were seated and ordered our drinks and were discussing what to order, my husband enquired about their famous crab. The steward attending advised us to go easy on appetisers if we were ordering crab and we went ahead with his suggestions. The restaurant  charges for the fish as per the size and weight and he brought the crab to show us and let us know it weighed almost 900 grams. We had to ok it and then only he would cook. He also suggested to go for a preparation in Goan sauce called- reacheado ( pronounced re-sha-d-oh) For the sides he said he will be serving Goan pao- their local bread. 

We were enjoying our drinks and chitchatting and the steward came back with 3 set of bibs and helped us to put on. Now that was new at least for me. My husband had visited this place before and he mentioned eating that crab is a very messy affair and you end up staining your clothes so everyone wears this. Then he set our table with crab cutter and the knife. Then he brought our cooked masala crab and oh what a site it was!!!!  It was beauty on the plate and we just dug in. 

It was a sensory experience. The sauce was sour, sweet and spicy. The crab sang with that sauce. It was served wth Goan pao and French fries, sautéed vegetables. It was just perfect! Eating a crab is tiring with all the cutting and getting the crab meat out but then because of it you are fully present while eating it. With our hands full of masala gravy, we couldn’t touch our phones and we were eating with all of our senses. It certainly was a lot of food for three of us and we were wise to order light appetisers. At the end of it frankly, I was exhausted. Eating that crab was a workout in itself. The picture of the crab mallet seems like it is tired too and needs rest!

Thats what made the entire experience memorable just not for me but even for the couple seating on our next table. The couple was on their honeymoon. On seeing the glorious looking crab served to us  and the way we were eating and enjoying, the young lady couldn’t stop herself from asking me about it. “How was it? I think I am regretting not ordering it”. I told her very sincerely if she still has some more time in Goa, she must come back and eat. She looked at me and said “ I am sure I am coming back and eating that” 

Incidentally we went back to the Martin’s corner after two days again!

21 Ideas For 2021 Resolution

 

Its that time of the year! We are looking forward to turn a page and embark on something new. What better way than setting up a new year resolution to do that! Weight loss, exercising 5 days a week, changing a job, almost everyone makes these new year resolution only to keep up with it for a week or may be for a month.  Very few really stick to it and achieve.  The reason is, we often set up things we know we wont be able to stick to. 

How about going for a resolution which is easier to stick to? I am listing out few resolution ideas which I am sure you will find it easier to stick to. Some of them will bring you positivity, some of them are pure joy and some of them will challenge your body, mind and patience. Take your pick. 

  1. Think of three things that you are grateful for the day, lying in your bed every night.
  2. Try a new recipe every 15 days
  3. Order a pizza on every 10th of the month  
  4. Read 5 best selling  books or decide a number of books that you will read for the year 
  5. Go meatless for a day once a week, if you are vegetarian go dairy free once a week 
  6. Call up someone, not necessarily same person, from your in-laws side every month. (this is challenging but benefits far outweighs the efforts)
  7. Agree with everything your spouse and children have to say once a week. Do not disclose the day you plan to do this. It needs to shock them. Am I being aggressive with once a week target? Then make it 15 days. 
  8. Write at least 5 lines every day about your day. Handwritten diaries are more fun but an app on your phone will do equally good. They are fun to read. 
  9. Stay away from youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat once a week.  (This one is for people who really like challenges) 
  10. Do not share , react or comment on any political issue mail, forward. 
  11. Visit historical or famous places in you city or nearby places. Be a tourist in your own city. 
  12. On the occasion of every family member’s birthday, donate money or food
  13. Give up white flour 
  14. Walk  6000 steps every day 
  15. Don’t use lift till 5th floor of a building or use stairs at least once a day 
  16. Work on running for 5 km. It need not be a race. Do it for pure joy. 
  17. Start your Youtube channel , blog or Instagram handle. Showcase your best skills, hobby.
  18. Plan for a certain amount to save for the year and work on it 
  19. When you buy a new outfit give away one old outfit from your wardrobe 
  20. Make a list of 12 things that make you happy and do one every month for the year 
  21. Make a list of people whom you really appreciate and look up to and send a note to them mentioning why you admire them on their birthdays. 

I hope you agree these ideas are not very difficult and easy to stick to. Some of them will become a habit, some will become a tradition, some will improve your relationships and some will give you joy. 

Let 2021 be the year of positivity and resolutions that you can stick to.  Happy new year!

20 Things You Did Differently In 2020

We are in the last leg of the strangest year we have experienced. 

It was a tough year for most of us and there is at least one setback each of us has  experienced.  We have seen and done things which we never thought we would. However, this blog is not at all for ranting about how hard this year has been but about 20 things that you did differently, and that too positive in 2020. 

20 is an ambitious number but I am going to try. 

  1. You learnt to appreciate your home. We spent most of this year being locked down in home. There are many who are homeless and we should feel lucky that we had a roof over our head.
  1. Your mental health is of paramount importance for you now. Far too many times we focus on our body and not on mind.  2020 taught you to focus on your mind. Some of you meditated, some you took up writing, helped needy people. You are inclined towards things that bring you peace and happiness. 
  1. You got to spend  a lot of time with family.  In the humdrum of life, we had forgotten family bonding and 2020 gave us a chance to be with the family. Many were able to develop even deeper bond and some have realised they need to leave and move on. 
  1. Social distancing and isolation proved you can survive without socialising 
  1. You were resilient this year.  There were many restrictions and every one found their way to overcome and move forward. 
  1. You  work differently. Lot of us are working from home now and many found an opportunity to work for themselves and fulfil long cherished dream. 
  2. You became a master chef. Almost everyone has tried a banana bread, dalgona coffee or cooked something fancy which normally you wouldn’t have.  
  1. You have developed social awareness.  Being in India, I see a refreshing new development where people are going out of their way to help people in need. Much needed for a country like India. 
  1. Youtube is the new gym.You are more conscious of your health. We no longer need to go to gym to be fit. Maintaining hygiene, boosting immunity and physical well being is a priority now. 
  1. Life is more important than success and wealth. I read an article about Steve Job’s last days where he said “At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realise that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.”    We are lucky 2020 has helped us to understand that from close quarters.
  1. You developed a new found hobby or interest. My husband makes an effort to look at our house plants and see if they are in good health.  Thats what they call smell the roses. 

12) You are conscious of wasteful expenditure now.  With limited resources, job losses, pay cut you are more conscious of how we spend money and use available resources 

13) You learnt to “Adapt” 

14) You  replaced “My internet is not working” with “I am not feeling well” to bunk work 

15) You didn’t have to think of a good excuse to skip a party or a family event 

16) If you are an Indian women, you no longer are needy for the maids as you are accustomed to doing our own chores now.  The equation has changed considerably. Previously you begged them to come to work now they beg to you to take them back to work. 

17) Everyone was lucky when it came to weight. Some managed to lose weight by eating home cooked food. I also consider people who put on weight lucky too, as they ate what they enjoyed. It was a blessing to have access to good food especially in the backdrop of migrant workers dying of hunger. 

18) You  had time to fight for justice for Sushant Singh Rajput.

19) Zoom, Google meet are your new hangout place.

20)“YOU” have survived.  

If you are reading this then it means you survived one of the most difficult years and going forward you are going to be just fine. 

Wishing you a very happy 2021! 

Whats In Your “Dabba” ?

While cleaning my kitchen cabinets I found my lunch box right at the end in a corner. I took it in my hand and suddenly it was all nostalgia. Holding it in my hand, I had so many memories flooding to me and I realized these boxes play a much bigger role in our lives than just carrying food.  They build memories, everlasting memories. They help you to learn, care, evolve and most importantly, share! 

“Dabba” as I call my lunchbox and I think most of the Indians do too. Dabba has a much more homely and affectionate feel to it than lunch box.

When I was a school going girl, we looked forward to our break. We wanted to finish our dabbas as early as possible and go out and play so it had to be something quick to finish. In my days, it was not compulsory to carry roti-sabzi or snacks prescribed by school, so it used to be chips, biscuits or sandwiches. We used to finish it and run to play. Dabbas would also help us to learn something about our friends. My mom would pack me chips whenever she was unwell, and everyone knew that my mom was unwell if there were chips in the dabba. My friend’s mom would fast on Mondays and her dabba would have sabudana wadas or khichadi and we all looked forward to Mondays. That’s the first important value that a dabba teaches – “sharing.”

Now I pack my daughter a nutritious snack, which comes back unfinished, but if I send her something interesting (junk, usually), it comes back really clean with a complaint – “my friends eat my food too, you should have packed more!” My niece was telling me recently that her grandma makes excellent shrikhand, and whenever she takes it in her dabba, nothing remains for her to eat so she has to eat her friend’s food. Finally, she started taking two, one for herself and another for her friends. 

I worked with a big IT company and had a good fortune of having that lunch hour with my colleagues. It was certainly a special time. We all would gather together at 1 PM and would be curious about what’s in everyone’s “dabba.” The lunch hour used to be about enjoying each other’s food with great conversations. Conversations are quintessential to make the experience of sharing a dabba great. A wide range of topics from in-law troubles, bitching about bosses or colleagues who aren’t at the table, a client or a customer who is giving trouble, pulling someone’s leg, office romances and gossips were discussed. Exchanging recipes and views happens over lunch time.  We used to have potlucks in office, and it would unite the team whereby everyone would chip in and take responsibility of bringing their best cooked recipes. Dabbas have better team building impact than team building exercises.  

Now that I am writing about it, I realize that the dabba plays such an important role in learning and appreciating other cultures and to an extent, incorporating those cultures in our lives from a food perspective. You invariably have a vegetarian whose religion doesn’t allow meat or onions or garlic to be consumed and everyone ensures not to cross those lines. They also broaden your food palette. You eat something new that you like and try making it at home and do your part in spreading the taste of the culture. 

I have also used dabba as a lie detector test on my daughter. I religiously pack her roti sabzi and she would bring it back saying either it was very spicy or oily. Most of the time it looked untouched. One day I packed her favourite pasta and reminded her to eat her lunch before she left for the school. After she came back from school I asked her if she finished her lunch. She responded with “you always make sabzi so spicy I couldn’t eat”. Make sure you finish what your mom pack or you will find yourself in mom’s dabba trap.

Another unique and unexplored aspect of the dabba is carrying out romantic gestures. A friend of mine would pack a dessert or some interesting snack in her husband’s lunch box and would slip a love note like “I love you” or “I miss you.” I think that is more romantic then typing up a WhatsApp message. It shows the effort that she took to bring a smile on her husband’s face when he might have least expected it. 

Before I sign off, I am sharing one more dabba memory that my daughter doesn’t allow me to forget. On Janmashtami, her school was having a small function and they were going to make dahi kala (a mix of curd and puffed rice to be offered to Lord Krishna) in school and sent a note to send an empty tiffin. I assumed the kids will get to eat there and some will be sent back home, and I sent an empty box. It turned out that all kids were supposed to get their normal dabba and an empty one. My daughter was the only one who didn’t have anything, and her teachers managed to give her some food in the break. Normally she doesn’t remember anything I tell her even if it’s 4 minutes ago, but this happened when she was in nursery and she still reminds me of that incident. 

Do you have any memorable dabba memory? Do share it in comments!