It is that time of the year again, when I feel like taking stock, recounting the sweet memories and the not-so-sweet ones. Deliberating and understanding, prodding and ignoring, reasoning and retracing and finally packing them like the clothes I am never going to wear again. In this case, I can’t even give them off. I have to pack and arrange them in a way that when I want to call on them, I can. Well, in most cases the memories come rushing in without a prior warning; quite similar to when I am feeling nostalgic and I just feel like looking at my old clothes and attempt to slip into my old jeans. Ofcourse all attempts result in utter disappointment. Old clothes are a definite reminder of what was right and what was utterly wrong in the past.
So I decided to compile a list of few things in the last one year that I would have differently if I had a chance. Just wishful thinking yet I thought penning it down would be fun.
1. My ensemble for my brother’s wedding (Feb 2012) : It was short notice and I was far away from the Mecca of traditional apparel – Ahmedabad/Delhi. I had to do with whatever my mum bought for me which was gorgeous; 2 kanjeevaram sarees. No complaints on that front. But I still imagined that for my brother’s wedding, I wanted to take that extra effort to make each outfit look special. Sitting in Bahrain, there was little I could do in terms of preparation. I am most thankful to my parents, to have managed 2 gorgeous sarees for me. If I had another chance, which means, not that my brother would have to get married again, but if I could go back in time, I would love to plan my outfits for each ceremony/event for my brother’s wedding. But for now all I can do is to feel content about the fact that I was able to attend it and it was such a memorable event.
2. Sangeeta Khanna’s diet plans ( March 2012) : I sought Sangeeta Khanna’s help to guide me into better eating habits. Sangeeta is one of the most inspiring people I have met in my real and virtual life. There are no dearth of examples that I can quote, where I have learnt a life lesson from this incredible lady. Ever hopeful, encouraging and infinitely patient, Sangeeta accepted my request to help me lose my post pregnancy weight. She veered me slowly and steadily from my random food habits to more systematic, wholesome food options. Her recipes are healthy and tasty which to everybody’s mind is as good as an oxymoron. It was the best opportunity for me to lose weight, had I focused on the exercise part more seriously. I just got lazy thinking, that by managing the right sort of food would produce miracles. Far from it. The weight didn’t budge and it depresses me that I didn’t capitalize on the wonderful diet plan that Sangeeta shared with me week on week. Also, I didn’t make the most of the encouragement she showered on me to go and exercise and in effect lose weight. If I had a chance, I would go back to March this year to begin her diet plans and exercise hard to lose weight, so that when I type this post, I wouldn’t feel the need to include this point in this ‘if -could-do-this – again’ list. But all said and done, I would recommended anybody who wants to follow any kind of special diet to seek Sangeeta’s help because this amazing lady knows her food well and would guide you in the right direction.
3. Book launch speech (May 2012): In May, I had the opportunity to be a part of Book Launch – My Beautiful Bahrain. I was one of the co-contributors and was given the honour of making a small speech at the launch. I thought a speech would be like the easiest thing to do. I would just say a few lines on what my article was all about and then my customary thank yous to people who made it happen. Tada. But when we reached the venue, we found the place was abuzz with photographers and media people. It was nerve wrecking. I went dry in my mouth and words starting flying all around my head. I realized I made a fundamental mistake in public speaking; I didn’t prepare well to deliver my speech. I stuttered and forgot my lines. I was sweating profusely and it was embarrassing when I got stuck at one word which I cannot still recall. It was one of the biggest events of my life but I took it for granted and went unprepared. If I had the chance, I would prepare a small and an effective speech that I would have the confidence of delivering without any confusion
4. The fasting challenge for Ramadan (July 2012) - I even did a post about this and felt like a fool all the same. In my desperate attempts to lose weight, I went on a fasting spree for 3 weeks straight during Ramadan. It backfired and I actually ended up putting on more weight which I am still lugging around. CRASH DIETS DON”T WORK. My metabolism slowed down and I wasn’t burning anything. On the contrary, my body stored everything that came its way. If I could go back in time to convince myself about what a dimwit I was being by fasting and starving, I could have kept that weight off.
5. Corporate diplomacy (September 2012) – I thought I had seen it all in my 5 years of being in the Corporate. The senseless politics and the unnecessary stress was all experienced and well rehearsed. Yet the magnitude of this level of politics took me by surprise. . September and October were the toughest two months of my life. Work wise I felt I had given my best but it was all swept away in a single stroke into nothingness by the machiavellian ways of the Corporate. It was a tough lesson learnt well. But in hindsight I feel, I took everything on face value and was very trusting. Given a chance, I would have changed a few responses and hence the outcomes thus changing how I feel today about the months of September and October, and the people who ruined those beautiful months for me.
6. A hot chocolate pudding (December 2012) - It is common knowledge at my work place and with my friends that I really love entertaining people at home. Cooking for them and ensuring that everybody is having a good time while they are at my place gives me a big high. So a few days back we asked one of our colleagues to come home for dinner over the weekend. I was excited and wanted to plan a good menu since the person who was coming over was a big foodie!! But at the last moment I had some urgent work to finish over the weekend and I couldn’t cook as I had planned. So I compromised and decided to order some food from outside. Having done that I needed to atleast serve my food loving friend, a good dessert that he would enjoy.
I decided to go ahead and make this delicious looking, easy to put together pudding from David Lebovitz’s blog. It seemed like a no brainer and looked absolutely stunning in pictures. In the past, I have tried a few of his recipes and with due respect to him and his culinary expertise, they did not come out well for me. Whether they were cheesecake brownies or cookies or anything, they didn’t just cut the mark for me. And I would never even imagine that the recipe that David would put out that everybody loved so much was the issue. I always assumed that the problem was in the way I made it. My amateurish baking skills were the key problem area. Anyhow, I gave this pudding a go and I thought how wrong could this go? Well it didn’t!! It took very little time to prep and bake and when serve with toasted almonds and ice cream it looked like it was a shot out of a gourmet magazine. It cheered me instantly because I was in the mood to compensate for not being able to cook for my guest.
But, but, but the pudding (in my opinion) did not taste good at all. It was just meh! I was shocked. It looked great, I followed the recipe to the tee and then this!! It was really shocking. I was very sure my poor guest did his best to not hurt my feelings and swallowed the bitter, tasteless pudding. But he swore that he loved it. So did my hubby. I am sure they were just being very kind to me. I guess again it wasn’t David’s recipe that was the problem and for that very reason I am giving it out here for everybody’s benefit. I would earnestly urge that anyone who reads this blog should try this recipe and tell me if the pudding is really good or am I just very fussy?
I love David’s blog, his written work, his book ( Sweet life in Paris) and his incredible insights about the City that I would love to visit one day. But I guess his recipes are just not for me for some strange reason. I read his blog regularly and wonder why his recipes don’t work for me. Just chance I suppose. But for the sake of this list, I wanted this pudding to be here because given a choice, I would have made my dessert loving guest a raspberry brownie with an icecream so that he could have gone satiated and with wonderful dessert memories.
There are many more such bloopers that I would like to go back in time and correct, but then I wonder, if I did have a choice to do so, how will I have the chance to sit back and muse about it. It was a good thing to write this post and get it out. There is much more that I want to but for the sake of the people reading this blog, I would stop here and spend time contemplating some more.