Sunday, October 27, 2013


It is when I listen to George Benson while cutting tomatoes, frying onions and learning how to fold tortillas from a YouTube video in an empty house that I feel like I am in a space where nobody can touch me.

After three days of PMSing and feeling hopeful, sad, relieved and heartbroken all at the same time I spent a blissful Sunday evening cooking. 

I usually have three ways of dealing with stress - taking a shower, walking and cleaning. Showering works particularly when I'm angry - I feel the water running down from my hair to my toes takes away stored thoughts and emotions and preps me to start afresh. Toss in a strong, violent shower gel and that'll keep me going for weeks. 

Walking, of course, is a form of meditation in itself. There are few things I like more than the mindless movement of my legs, one after another, in a continuous, lulling motion. In Vellore, my walks were my manna - my secret escapades into paddy fields and places undiscovered. I walked in rubber chappals and old clothes that had were torn and dotted with holes from thorn bushes I'd inadvertently walk into. In a city, I do the city thing - walk briskly in big shoes with my ipod plugged into my ears with the volume on ridiculous levels. Inside the joggers' park, there are usually too many people walking in a limited space -- too  many calves in a blur in front of me -- some salwar-clad, some plump, some hairy, some toned and muscular. Too many ambling groups of people blocking the path, so I have to clear my throat loudly so that they move and give me space to proceed. So I find it easier to walk outside the park, where I encounter the daily dogs and uncles and aunties, with an exchange of friendly waves and nods spreading the much-needed morning warmth. 

And then sometimes I clean. Re-arranging books, scrubbing the carpet, washing clothes, all with loud music on makes me feel like I'm ridding the world of some of its sins. I clean with a vengeance. I clean like the PM's coming to visit. I iron my shirts keeping symmetry in mind. Oh cleaning is something I do rarely, but when I do it, I go all out.  And so at least once in ten days I put my mind, body and soul into bringing law and order into my otherwise chaotic universe. What a joy it can be.

Cooking is the new activity I've taken to recently. Today, after a particularly irritating day and a terrible backache, I walked to Ratnadeep (a store where I can spend hours and hours picking veggies and breads). After spending a considerable amount of time looking celery sticks, different brands of canned corn, hunting for extra black kohl (so I can step into my goth look next week), and wondering what Jockey undies are doing next to the utensils section, I walked out in a daze. At home, I arranged my ingredients in the kitchen with a sort of reverence, plugged in George Benson with the volume on neighbours-are-gonna-call levels, and set about spraying my pan with olive oil and sauteing my veggies. I dumped - no, I placed the tortillas on a microwave plate and meanwhile, looked at a hundred videos of how to fold tortillas. Having got it right the first time, I took photos of the second time and sent it to various people expectantly. Maybe I overdid it and sent too many pics because nobody replied. 

But who cares? I cooked. I de-stressed. I Grooved to Georgie. It was an evening bloody well spent. And now to tuck into the tortilla-frankie-burrito-creations with mother and watch Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani on TV.

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