Sunday, November 19, 2017

Five food-related poems I wrote in the past month

I STILL don’t know its name
A Chinese friend had taken us there, when my best friend was in town,
Liked the veggies, loved the noodles, but the meat bun takes the crown,
Soon it became a weekly affair, sometimes three times in a week,
I tried almost everything from pig ears to quail eggs, I was on a streak,
Once I only had 4$ with me, I wondered what to do with it,
Bought my lovely meat bun of course, shoved in however much would fit,
One day I went there for a date, the guy still owes me nine,
He couldn’t use chopsticks for noodles, so he gobbled up his bun and then mine,
I felt so deprived that on the next day I took the train till there,
Ordered what was rightfully my own, with no one around to share,
I even drew a map for this intern to access the well-hidden “Chinese place”,
When I mentioned it to a local from that neighborhood, there was surprise on his face,
Solo, with friends or with colleagues, it was my favorite place to eat,
Until I took this guy I admire there and he didn’t think it was a treat,
He didn’t hate the restaurant but he called it “nothing great”,
I couldn’t enjoy the bun as I told him “you make me question my palette.”
It’s been three months since that happened, I still don’t know the place’s name,
Although I like the eatery, I have no idea why the buns don’t taste the same.
 A page out of an introvert’s life who’s mistaken as an extrovert
“Grocery shopping? Come on, that’s not really a plan!” she said
“You think drinking till you’re senseless is better than finding the perfect chickpea can?” I said.
How exciting it is: the revelation that nachos come with a cheese dip in a pre-packed form,
And life is simpler with powdered ginger and garlic, although buying fresh ones is the norm,
How liberating it is: to scan through aisles for the perfect apples, whose definition change with mood,
And how my brain functions while choosing the type of bread and eggs can never be understood,
How satiating it is: to get hold of your favorite flavor of chocolate, mint and candy,
And experimenting with tens of different leafy greens, always makes me feel dandy,
When my friends hover over me, I tell them to get lost and see me outside in twenty,
You see, I need so much space as decision-making is hard, but then the friends get “senti”,
So I cancel my delightful grocery shopping plans and walk away with my friends,
As dear grocery shop, I will see you soon enough, I hope then our tryst never ends.

Papa Crush
He thought he was born to be a footballer, but then he hurt his knee,
Nursing that ache wasn’t easy and he contemplated on what he could be,
As foot couldn’t have supported him, food got him thinking hard,
He focused on his culinary skills, as with football he didn’t want to play the victim card,
He trained and worked in a series of restaurants, for that he toiled day and night,
Until one day, a notable man noticed him, a man named Chef Marco Pierre White,
By now you know it’s Gordon Ramsay I talk about, full time dad and part time chef,
I know that he’s kind-hearted, although in Hell’s Kitchen, he shouts till one is deaf,
He’s British after all, I do not like him for his cooking;
And with gazillion frown-lines, he is not even good-looking,
But with every failed dish I make, I imagine him telling me something sarcastic,
Like “my dead grandma makes it better than you” or something even more drastic,
He’s not just a TV personality and chef, he’s funny, witty and an adventurer,
He has shot his own wild boars for meat and gone hand-diving for scallops’ murder,
But the day I knew that he’s my “Papa Crush” was the day I started watching MasterChef Junior,
He’s the sweetest guy while interacting with kids, although with adult contestants he acts peculiar.
The amount of cuss words he uses in a day is equal to what I have used in my entire life,
Despite that I adore him, I can watch him all day make scrambled eggs and handle the knife.

Blender’s pride
I am the sort of cook your mother will be ashamed of, even if I’m not her child,
But if I have my hand-held electrical blender with me, I can spice things up and go wild,
I can mix alcohol and blended watermelon, and name it like they name fancy cocktails,
I can lend the tool to a colleague to make her potato soup, so that her party’s not a fail,
She’s making chicken dumplings again, which need to be accompanied by the tomato sauce,
And if you love Paalak Paneer and only have tofu, it’s fine, but without a blender you’re at a loss,
You’ve heard of chickpea falafels, but have you heard of falafels made from green peas?
When my blender is here, have no fear, these mean cutlets will make you go weak on your knees,
When I plan to lead a healthy lifestyle, the plan usually lasts for little more than 2 days,
Juicing, shaking, souping and smoothie-ing on loop, the blender comes handy during that phase,
Egg beaters need too much muscle, the blender comes to the rescue to make the tiramisu cream,
I am the proud blender, and the proud owner of one too, I’m living every amateur chef’s dream.

How to make Tiramisu
Make some espresso coffee and dip the Savoiardi briefly in the coffee mix,
But not for too long as they may get soggy, which is pretty hard to fix,
Add a layer of soaked Savoiardi in a box and leave no gap in that layer,
This will taste like a piece of coffee cake, if you have made it with care,
Create a concoction of whipping cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla essence,
You can add a bit of espresso to give that coffee kick, I’ve learned this from the lessons,
Beat the hell out of this mixture either with a hand-held blender or electric egg beater,
Make this as thick as possible so that it gives a cheesecakey texture for the eater,
Add this as a layer over the coffee cake formed from the Savoiardi biscuits,
Repeat the coffee cake layer and cream layer one more time, and that’s about it,
Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, garnish it with powered coffee, cocoa and chocolate shaving,
Cut a piece and pop it into your mouth, and you’ll have fulfilled your dessert craving.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ten Terribly Tiny Tales - Part 7

Three pairs of clothes, a fiddle and a book on chords,
is all he possessed,
Five years later, he's stuck in traffic after his own concert,
With his voice as people's ringtones!

"Ah, respite at last", she exclaimed,
Tasting the snow flakes with her tongue,
"You must be from a tropical country!
Because respite to us is when the sun turns ice to water
and the fields are full of food again."

Classic example of "you can even be lonely in a crowd."
When the boss eats lunch, he's solitary,
When he drinks coffee in the pantry, he's solitary,
45 hours a week, he feels isolated,
Workplace loneliness is a real problem.

"Remember in junior high,
You used to embarrass the teacher by comparing him to this lousy singer?"
Secretly delighted, recalling all her shenanigans in school, she says,
"Nope! You only remember what you want to remember."

"I love to travel", he said in his interview.
Twelve countries in a year was a new record,
A traveling job is all he had ever wanted,
While one less candle burnt on Diwali back home.

Eight year old, but he already knew what crushes are,
He was one of the nerdy-birdies, she the most popular girl in class,
When she bid goodbye with a kiss on his hands, he felt popular too.
Twenty years later when they met, nothing had changed.

Marinated, grilled, devoured!
"Nah, this doesn't taste great", his friend said.
Marinated, slow-cooked, consumed the next day!
All the flavors and aromas infused, leftovers are better.

When Sarah called him up and asked,
"What's up?", he said, "Nothing."
Half an hour later she received a text,
expressing his eternal love for her!
These days, words unsaid are not necessarily words unexpressed.

The spectrum of your worth to others,
lies in the minds of the beholder.
Don't sweat it!
It can be anything from "you're ordinary"
to "You're a wizard, Harry!"

"Drink and drive, you won't survive",
said the highway signs!
"Drink and express your feelings,
and that's pretty much the same thing",
she thought to herself.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ten terribly tiny tales - with these I'll have written 60

As usual, I got these words from the "Terribly Tiny Tales" Facebook page. Here we go:

Stranded in an island,
He found a basketball and a pen,
Few squiggles later, the doll was his only friend,
Till they found him after four years.

While we were growing up,
We used to cry when we skinned our knees,
Little did we know, that 20 years on,
Physical pain is not going to be our biggest fear.

A baby who talks with a British accent?
A dog who has a human son?
A dad who keeps coming back from the dead?
"It's the perfect combination for a perfect show!"
They said in unison, as they bonded over Family Guy.

We really live in a planet of the apes,
Apes staring at their phones sitting on Senior Citizens' seats while old men gape at them,
Apes staring at their phones when a young girl has fainted in front of them,
Apes staring at their phones while their children talk to themselves.
Apes aping each other.

"Lights will guide you home." - Coldplay.
Alas, this line doesn't work for the blind trying to cross the road,
Nor does it work on the refugees who have forgotten their nationality,
Nor on an Alzheimer's patient who is on the streets searching for something even he doesn't know.

Never had she realized in 30 years of her colorful life,
That the same thing that may drown you,
May also set you free,
Until the swimming instructor pushed her into the pool.

Some brothers are by blood,
Some by friendship,
And there some special ones, whom you see in movies,
Who you would love to hang out with,
But never meet.

"Have you seen him groom his eyebrows?"
"Yes, I've seen you do the same."
"He even uses fairness creams."
"So do you!"
"But he's a guy!"
"Where's your 'Gender Equality' now?"

'I'll build you a castle', he told her.
Married another soon, and then another.
Having built an empire and a tower with his name,
All he now wants to build is a wall.

Once, when she was a child,
She decided to page her mother,
"We're out of sugar."
The reply was: "I'm the bread-winner of the family. Win the sugar for us, darling!"
That day saw the making of an independent young lady.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dark side of funny

Source: Pinterest
You know what the worst part of being funny is? The 80-20 bias people have towards you! 80% think you're "hill areas"(now that was just sloppy). And 20 just blink when you crack a funny one. It especially hurts when someone says it to your face, "You're not funny, you're ridiculous." I've encountered that a couple of times BTW and it's more depressing than unrequited love. It's as hurtful as telling an artist that their art is mediocre or an expert scientist that their research of 20 years is going to amount to nothing (Note that these comparisons are highly exaggerated, but it's a blow to one's confidence nonetheless.)

Humor, just like abstract art, is open to interpretation. People's reactions to both have a large spectrum. The same jokes which make people writhe in pain with laughter may seem nonintellectual, senseless or immature to others. I personally find myself sniggering for parts of a TV show no one else finds funny and often can't even bring myself to smile when the laughter track in the show goes off. When among friends, they ask me "why that smirk?" but internal jokes with oneself can rarely be explained.

The other thing which is provoking is how people psychoanalyze you for posting funny things about your life on social media. I've never really been a person who posts about how awesome my life is or how perfect I am. Epic fails, shoddy jobs, breaking resolutions, cheesy jokes, these are what I and some of my friends like to see on social media. It's all peaches and cream until I see this video on "what people actually mean when they post stuff on social media". It doesn't even declare, "Stop posting funny things on Facebook, it seems you're avoiding bigger things in life and focusing on being funny." It asks you, "Are you trying to hide from your problems by being funny?" To summarize, it creates self-doubt and questions your belief in yourself.

I've also heard people say, "Oh so you think they find you funny? They're not laughing with you, they're laughing AT you." Next time someone tells you that, educate them about self-deprecating humor. Its sole motive is to make people laugh at you. If they're doing that, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! But before you give a chance to people to laugh at you, laugh at yourself first. It means at least some people will find it funny, although others may find it sad.

Some famous names in comedy found their gift of making people laugh when they were themselves in a dark place. One great name, Robin Williams, even let the darkness consume him. Reasons like these make the world believe that funny people are often the saddest. But it's not always true. Sometimes being funny helps you fit in, de-stress, make more friends, woo a romantic interest or gain attention. It's not always an after-effect of trauma. It's a gift you inherit from your parents, it's a medium of spreading the joy among others, it's a way of life not everyone will understand but most will appreciate.