Randomness Prevails Here…..

I came across an article saying that in some restaurants, chefs are discouraging customers from photographing their food. They have reasons like- the food gets cold by the time they are done clicking, and that it disturbs other diners who prefer to enjoy their meal quietly.

Eating good food at a good place is what makes MOST of the normal people on this planet happy. Food is, after all, one of the very primary reasons that the entire human race work their asses off for. Night shifts, 7 days-a-week shifts, work-at-home jobs, over-time, working in a different city away from family, thus missing out on numerous precious moments at home–we do it all! And when we do so much, and when we finally manage to take out time to go to a nice place to sit and eat, and when you pin up all your happiness on the moment when that perfectly made meal arrives at your table in ‘picture-perfect’ state, the last thing you need at that point is someone disapproving of your instant reaction to taking pictures of it! Believe me, it can be the biggest turn off!

How do you explain to that person that it is not just food to you at that point, it is something personal, your achievement, the result of your little sacrifices that you do in day-to-day routine. It is something you used to dream of doing when you were in college and had no job or money to afford eating out at a fancy place. Sometimes, it is the ‘only’ good thing happening to you after a rough day at work. And then, to put up with the snobbery of these people who go all cynical the moment you take out your smartphone to capture that beautiful piece of art on your table! My only advice to you in that situation-     I-G-N-O-R-E!!

For they don’t realize that food made like that, is actually a great piece of art in itself! Why do we like paintings? They appeal to your sense of vision. Why do we like perfumes? They appeal to your sense of smell. And why do we like food?? Because food appeals to your sense of vision, sense of smell, sense of taste, sense of touch. That is why, it is the greatest piece of art. And the makers of it are the artists. Why else do chefs take great pains in the ‘presentation’ of the dish? But that is exactly why it is confusing and unconvincing when we hear that certain chefs discourage customers to take pictures at the table. OK, say the food might get cold if we go overboard in clicking, but have you ever heard of an incident where the customer then complains about the meal gone cold because they were too busy clicking? Come on! People have that much common sense to take responsibility for it and eat nevertheless.

The other reason that food-clickers tend to get too loud, please! People are WAY more louder when they come in groups for a birthday party, or reunion with friends over drinks, in which case the noise grows only louder and louder! That can beat a few gasps and clicking noises any time! Not to forget our cute little noise-generators, the kids 🙂 woah! They are a warehouse of all kinds of noises you possibly can or want to hear. Haha!

Having said that, I am absolutely not in favor of clicking food pictures badly! Yes, now and then, I come across really badly-taken food pictures, where the place’s lights are not right, and so the flash is turned on, and the picture taken is so bad that you lose your appetite by looking at it. As I said earlier on, it is a piece of art. Give it the respect it deserves. (And get a better camera for God’s sake!)

And the obvious statement-in-defense needs to be made here. The clicking and sharing of food pictures on social media does an instant publicity for the restaurant, bringing in more business for them at no cost at all.

So please don’t judge, dear ‘haters-of-food-clicking-moments’! Let people enjoy their moments! The world has enough matters to disapprove of, already.

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Eat Right. Read Right.

Not everyone is a professional food critic, or a book critic (although, with media tools like Goodreads, where we are encouraged to write book reviews to our hearts’ content, it is difficult NOT to feel like we are!) so when we feel like going to a good place to eat or when we feel like settling down to read a good book, we get a little lost as to how and what to choose. We are also, at times, not aware what we are eating is worth the praise or the book we are reading is good enough? You must be thinking, what’s the big deal, if the food is finger-licking tasty, then that’s it! Of course, the greatest parameter of judging is always..whether YOU enjoy it or not. It’s not ‘what’s currently popular’ all the time, believe me! But then, you are not always sure that the seemingly tasty food you just had is not going to play any tricks on your stomach later on. It’s important to know which ingredients went into the dish to make it so tasty. It’s important to, thus, be familiar with the ‘know-how’ of things. Being a little more aware can not only help you save time and money but also take care of your health and mind.

Similarly, in order to read, apart from the selection of genre, there is this dilemma of whether what I am reading is going to broaden my horizon in any way? Am I reading something ground-breaking or just mediocre? There are times we need certain pointers that could help us in determining whether or not what we eat or what we read is actually good and worth appreciation. I’ve tried to come up with such pointers here- they are handy, and you do not need to be a pro in the department of gastronomy or a literary genius to grasp these:

  • You know when you are reading a good book-
  1. When the writing is effortless. When you are at your 4th or 5th page and it seems the words have risen out of
    the book and transformed into a motion picture’s scene right in front of your eyes smoothly and effortlessly. It should be the most natural thing to happen when you read. Its like you are going around with a visionary balloon that is two-ended; one is hitched to the book and the other one to your head. The balloon goes around wherever the book goes, and wherever you go. If there is any disruption in the scene, that means, there is something wrong with the writing. Either that, or you are unable to comprehend the meaning! 😛 In that case, Hello  Miss. Dictionary!
  2. Some people think it’s the fact that we are able to relate to any of the characters or to the story itself, but that comes second. If that does happen, then guess who shows up? EMOTIONS! Yup, be it any kind, not always joy, no no, in fact, quite many times, it is our childhood memories (nostalgia), or the struggle in our lives (physical or emotional), pain, achievements, disappointments, or our fantasies!  That is when we CONNECT to the book. We feel we have a part of ourselves in that book. In order to make all of this happen, the plot and narration should be spot-on.
  3. If you are beginning to gain interest in the book, look up the author’s name on the internet. It always helps to build a bridge between you and the author by knowing more about him/her. Go through the life history of the author in brief, and you’ll know if the plot is (fully or in parts) autobiographical. Also check whether there are other books/poetry/short stories written by the same author, then you practically have your ‘to-read’ list ready!

You know when you are eating good food at a good place:

  1. OK, these pointers are not for the time when you are going out simply to meet your huge, loud gang of friends for boozing and partying and being content with (or too drunk to care! :P) gorging down your share of paneer tikkas and chicken lollipops! 😛 These tips are for ‘enjoying the whole experience’ of tasteful eating. When you go to these places, as you wait to be seated, its the waiters of that place that make or break the experience. It is very important for the waiters to be well-informed about the food and the menu. In fact, they should know the menu like the back of their hands.  When asked to suggest a good so-and-so dish, they should do it in a friendly, warm, non-intimidating way. Sadly, many restaurants suffer from the problem of having great food but bad waiters. Their body language suggests lack of interest either in the food or in the people they are waiting upon. In the long-run, it won’t get the restaurant much success.
  2. Once your food is on the table, you know its absolutely heavenly, when you can literally taste the various ingredients of that dish. All of the flavors complement each other to bring out the exquisite complete taste of that dish. It’s like, in one, bite, you can practically see each and every ingredient’s role if the dish is cooked properly. On the other hand, you know when a dish is bad; like a badly made red-sauce pasta. Most of the time I have tasted a red-sauce pasta with the sauce’s flavor being too strong, and all I could taste was TOMATO TOMATO- one single ingredient overpowering and ruining the whole dish. Sadness!
  3. Lastly, you can, with practice, know when the food is freshly made, its when it is not soggy when it should actually be crispy, and when it does not leave an after-taste of oil, ghee, or rotten cheese on your tongue. Because stale food is usually the food that was fully-made and then re-fried or re-heated. Freshly made food, however big in calories, will settle in your stomach with ease and you won’t feel like you have swallowed logs!

Hope these simple tips are useful to you.

Book lovers- Happy reading!

Food lovers- Happy eating!

Go get it. Period.

stock-photo-39342142-child-with-plantWill Smith, the famous Hollywood actor, said in the 2006 American movie- The Pursuit of Happyness– “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they’re gonna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” When you hear such powerful words said in that kind of straightforward and simple manner, they hit you the hardest. Somewhere down in your heart, you already know all this, but getting it to hear, or rather being shoved right in front of your face with this kind of openness and sincerity catches you by surprise. You are bound to feel the adrenaline rushing, the heartbeat quickening, and your mind reminding you of that goal- that one single goal- that one seemingly difficult goal- that you have had set for yourself..and yet to attain.

In that particular nano of a second, you realize that it does not ever really help if you just sit and wait for things to happen. You cannot wait for someone to make things happen for you. You want something, go out there on your own and fight for it. Go out there with such desperation as if your life depends on it. As if what you are asking for is the air for your lungs.

Gary Keller says in his book, “The One Thing” that everyone wants that one thing or the other very badly in one’s life. To attain that goal, the most important thing you need to do is to focus on it with 100% concentration. It’s like the great warrior Arjun and his target- the fish’s eye. You do not see anything else. The whole world becomes a blur, just your goal in front of you. Every step, every move you make should be for that one thing you really want. No iffs, no butts. It is only then that you see the magic of the Great Cosmic power unfold in front of you.

So much has already been said about how to concentrate, or how to increase your focusing skills. The useful tips are all just a click away. But there are times when the otherwise re-assuring “STOP and turn your thoughts around back” technique, in which you stop your mind the moment you realize that it has been day-dreaming or wandering away, or even meditation does not seem to be helping you. Sometimes, all the positivity in the world does not seem enough to motivate you. Sometimes, hearing relentless cheer of positive thinking tend to annoy you more than inspire you. That is when a little negativity helps. Sometimes, there is a need to balance the positive with the negative, optimism with the pessimism. Sometimes, keeping your eyes open for the “worst-case scenario” makes all the difference.

I have invented in my head my own technique. It requires you to trick your heart or emotions for a minute for your benefit. It is inspired by a popular theory of motivation, known as “Drive theory of motivation.” According to this theory, people are motivated to perform in order to reduce the internal dilemma or tension that is caused by unmet needs (Theories of Motivation by Kendra Cherry). Caution- Its not for the faint-hearted..

Remind yourself of the time when you felt WORST in your life. Yes, I am talking about the most humiliating, or the most heartrending moment of your life. It could be failing in exam, failing in job interview, breaking up with your lover, being stuck in some sort of financial crisis, the time when you saw disappointment in your parents’ faces, or the time when you helplessly witnessed suffering of a loved one. It could be anything. Now try and remember the fear, the pain, the anxiety, the impotent rage, the frustration you had felt then. Let yourself be enveloped by that horrible memory like a wet blanket- just for a minute. Your heart shivers. Anything is better than feeling like that again. Right? Tell yourself that attaining this goal would somehow nullify the pain you felt at that time.  That there is no way you are failing in your efforts again and go through that terrible whirlpool of emotions all over again. That by achieving this goal, you would fill that empty void you have had in you all this time. That you would prove to yourself that you are worth going after your dreams. That you are worth the world.

Again, you are bound to feel the adrenaline rushing, the heartbeat quickening…but… your vision getting cleared of all obstructions and your goal visible again. Go get it. Period.

Be Yourself

be-yourself-source

I believe I am the sort of person who rebels furiously when cornered, pressurized, underestimated, unacknowledged. I am not among those who succumb well. I did succumb at one point of my life. That was when I stopped being myself and tried so hard, so damn hard to be what everyone around me wanted me to be. And let me tell you – it is very disheartening. How can I be not ME? How is that done? What worth is it- not being ME? I am sure we are born to be ourselves and not exactly like each other?! Isn’t it natural that we be different, unique in our own ways? That’s what makes life on this planet so interesting- because everyone is different. Of course, we are from same species, we are all children of Mother Nature, but yet so wonderfully different! That is a good thing!! It’s good!! Then why sometimes, you feel that people around you are hell bent on seeing a “supposedly better version” of YOU? Why do they want to mold you , break you down, tear you apart until they have a little piece of YOU designed to suit their needs? They do not care about the whole YOU. You, as a unique, wonderful human being can go to hell, just mend the part they need from you. YIKES!! Can you imagine what it would be like to physically give away your body parts for their convenience! It is impossible! So why do it mentally?

OK, you’ll say life would be doubly hard if we do not do that at all. To some level, everyone does that, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Like, you are supposed to give your brains and skills to the company you work for. You can’t cheat there. But hey, they at least pay you for sucking out your blood! haha! Its like a necessary evil. (And those who absolutely love their jobs…count your blessings!) And its a completely different topic which I am not going to go into. I am talking about things at personal level- like in relationships.

Research shows that social relationships- both quality and quantity- affect mental health, health behavior, physical health and mortality risk (Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy, written by Umberson and Montez, 2010). Undoubtedly, relationships are hard. Sometimes you feel blessed and lucky to have all your loved ones around you. Yet there are times when you feel you have hit rock bottom and just can’t wait to get away from them as far as possible.

What I am stressing here is definitely not that you should shrug all responsibilities out of sheer laziness and falsely term it as ‘being independent’ or ‘living life my style..rest all can go to hell.’ NO. Being an adult also constitutes being able to handle things, to take charge, to learn what life teaches you and evolve as human beings. But what often happens is, you get too engrossed or too eager or even too pressurized in managing the responsibility part that you tend to forget to hold on to your own distinct identity.  Situations do not arise in our lives so that we completely forget who we are and become someone else. This is life, after all. There is no set formula that we can use to solve the problem. We all have our own unique formulas in our heads to help solve all kinds of situations.

That is why I strongly recommend a commonly used phrase- BE YOURSELF. It can be incredibly tricky to be yourself, but it is ALWAYS worth fighting for. Take out time to do things you love- read a book, listen to music, dance, go out with friends, pursue a hobby- just anything that helps you unwind. When confronted in a situation, stand up for yourself if you know you haven’t done anything wrong. Establish a meaningful communication to eliminate misunderstandings. Get help in managing your time better. Make a schedule. Stop killing yourself by trying to be what others want you to be.

Chances are..you may live longer by BEING YOURSELF.

 

The Love Addiction

Most of us are not even aware of the fact that we are suffering from an addiction. The LOVE addiction. The feeling of being in love, the thrill and excitement we feel at the very beginning of a relationship; when everything seems new, the world appears rosier and the way our hearts skip a beat at the mere thought of our special someone. Ah…young love!

It is a scientific fact that people unknowingly get addicted to dopamine, morepinephrine and serotomin, most common chemicals that are released by the brain during the initial attraction phase of a relationship. This initial stage, with time, often progresses to a further level, that of maturity, mutual understanding, compassion and friendship. This is, of course, the ideal situation. But often, it fades away and decomposes into break-ups or that stagnant stage where one or both persons long to be free but are forced to stay, owing to societal pressures or various weaknesses of their own. When stuck in situations like these, people most likely suffer from depression, anxiety, boredom and low self-esteem. The magnitude of it depends upon how intensely and deeply the person had fallen in love. The more intense the love, more chemicals triggered from the brain.

But this theory seems so cold and ruthless. Yes, our bodies are designed to work with chemicals. Its just the way the physical realms work. Everything we do is acted out through various chemical processes, but that does not make it any less interesting, or any less special, or any less real!!! The attraction love or lust part is of course the chemicals talking, that is why it fades with time, does not mean the “love” has faded away, just the intensity of the attraction. But the compassion and friendship part that slowly settles in is probably what’s most important. Just going out for a walk together, or even sitting together on the bed and being comfortable in doing your own different things- one reading a book and another fiddling with a laptop- believe it or not, it can be very cozy!

Science cannot solve everything. I’d say you go with what you feel. Do your heart a favor. Listen to it.

I know that if every single wish of every single person is fulfilled every single time, the world would collapse. The system, supposedly, just does not work that way. How do I know this? Can’t recall how! But I am sure you would agree with me on this. Nevertheless, its incredibly heart-breaking whenever our wishes and prayers (most sincere ones, from most innocent hearts and with great intensity!!) remain unfulfilled. Its almost enough for one to stop believing in God and prayers altogether. ALMOST. Then what is there that our minds and hearts still hold on to, that does not deter us from having faith in God, the Superior One, the Great Cosmic Power – whatever you call it? In some cases, the faith in Him, in fact, deepens!

Funnily enough, it came as a surprise to me the first time I realized that maybe God really does not listen to my prayers all the time! hehe.. I mean, of course, God is really busy. And to think that He would be available just to listen to me every single time is quite preposterous. Even if wishes do get fulfilled, what then? You will live happily ever after? NO SIR. It brings with it its own set of problems. There starts a new chain of events, mistakes, penance, and more wishes stem from them, and on and on it goes. Endlessly.

But even this vicious circle is important in order to keep the life on this planet moving. I understand the reason behind this process..but it just gets really exhausting and frustrating at times. A strange, menacing feeling of heaviness sets in. The only solution, as I see it, is meditation. Losing your ego in order to unite with The Ultimate, The Absolute. And it’s beautiful!! Having been felt it for over a month, I know its the only solution. But the path is not smooth. And you cannot take shortcuts either! At times it gets pretty intense. After a while, you feel like taking a break, getting back to your old ways and thought patterns. But there is one thing that I realized that was totally AWESOME was how exactly the feeling of loosening up and surrendering yourself to God and just being lost in His thoughts is similar to getting drunk!! I mean bottoms up vodka and 4-5 glasses of neat whiskey like drunk! Amazing!

 

 

First ever attempt

Joining the bloggers’ world with the hope that writing here would lighten up my restless mind. All kinds of thoughts will be posted – light-hearted, funny, entertaining, to dark, unhappy, to even just plain twisted ones – depends on my mood.

Here we go…