Grab a chair. We need to talk. This is the longest I have been MIA and I feel like I need to blurt it all out. So much has been going on, but I have had no time to stop and put the million floating thoughts down. It is possibly one of the worst things to happen to a compulsive writer. To have the unbearable itch to write, only to have that itch thwarted by temporary distractions and preoccupations. But such is life. But when some of you who wrote checking if everything was okay, and asked why I had gone silent, I realised I had to make some time to fill you in.
When you are the sort of blogger that beams out inane, but interesting details about your completely ordinary life week after week, there is a certain segment of readers who come to expect it of you. To them, silence means trouble. Something must be wrong, of course. But the truth is far from it. Things could not have been any better, as a matter of fact.
My eagerness to do many things all at once was putting me in a difficult place, setting me up for disappointment. At myself. At wanting to do many things, but not being able to achieve anything completely. Reminding myself to slow down and take one step at a time, and more importantly stay with one thing till it is done, has been a constant refrain in my life the last year. So once again, I decided that some things needed time. And focus. If I had to nudge them on to completion. And inevitably, focusing on one thing means several other things fall out of immediate line of vision. Like this blog, for example. C’est la vie.
So on Sunday morning, when I willingly woke up at the crack of dawn to get a head-start on the days to-dos, it dawned on me, I was choosing to wake up way earlier than normal. On a Sunday. To work. And I hadn’t spoken about it here.
I should tell you at this point, that the to-do list looked something like this:
– Bake banana cake
– Bake apple cake
– Bake chocolate cake
That should give you some indication of what has kept me busy. And after that long-winding premise, here are the updates.
– So, what’s keeping me so busy? Well, mostly cakes. I’ve baked and delivered 8 cakes in the last 14 days. Orders. This has been in the works for a while, and though I very informally took my first order in March, more because I was forced into it by the kind lady who told me she’d pay money to eat my cakes, we only began to put the wheels of this little business idea into motion more recently. It took me a good long while to actually accept that I can do this. Since then, thoughts have turned into plans, random chitter-chatter about “what we should do” has morphed into intense lunch and dinner meetings between the husband and I, words have been put down, pictures taken and ideas pinned into place. Hungry & Excited is going into business!
– I now know what they mean when they say its not easy being an “entrepreneur”. Of course I use that word very loosely, because I’m keeping the business simple and very much home-based. And even that has kept me on my toes. Endless lists of little things to be looked into, odds and ends to be accomplished and it has kept me off the grid weeknights, weekends, holidays, afternoons and everything in between. I know this, because I have the bestest Business Partner around. The husband, who somehow manages to unlock secret reserves of energy and enthusiasm even at the end of long days, and on weekends when he should really just be kicking back. If it weren’t for him I’d still be tossing the idea about in my head. Instead, we now have a facebook page, a spanking logo (Thanks again, Shyam!), a nearly-complete website wireframed out, the 3 cakes we’re beginning with shot and paparazzi’d and I’m on to thinking packaging and product innovation. It’s harder when you’re on your own and have nobody running after you with a deadline chasing not too far behind. And somehow, that is where the fun is too.
– And doing shit on your own means equal parts heated arguments, equal parts sudden overwhelming love for your partner who is probably the only reason you’re actually putting this idea to life. Like I love to say, and he hates to hear, I am the hands and he is the brain. Tell me to bake a cake and I’ll do it happily. Ask me what my vision is, tell me to write copy and invite me for a brainstorming session and all my creativity flies out of the window. So we’ve had to take ourselves to day long meeting places, adequately armed with cocktails and laptops in order to crack the website, we’ve turned my second bedroom into a photo-shoot zone by placing cutting boards on my laundry stand, and then gotten goofy with our ideas running wild.
On Sunday, I baked the three cakes I’m planning to launch the business with, and distributed them in little packages to some certified H&E Guinea Pigs. We spent a large part of the evening driving from one home to the other, handing out samples and explaining what we’re trying to do and inviting feedback. I have to say, I am more than touched and overwhelmed by out forthcoming people have been with the ideas and suggestions.
– When I haven’t been testing recipes, baking endless cakes, delivering a few, writing copy, maintaining that damn fb page and thinking of allied ideas for the site, I’ve been indulging in all things related to baking of course. I’ve been lucky to find likeminded friends, who share the same wild obsession with baking goodies, for learning new tricks, and losing track of time with oven mitts on. So it was a happy afternoon when G came over and we laboriously whipped up this fruit tart. A rainy day spent indoors could not have been more fun!
I made these mini pies stuffed with peaches and cherries, with leftover pastry dough from the pie above, and they were perfect for rainy evening dinner with friends.
And then I made these sausage tarts for our annual monsoon Coke Studio Sessions. Suffice to say I ate half a slice, and the rest was finished by the others.
– There is also the minute detail about how my life is suddenly filled with people. Somewhere in the drafts I have an unfinished story about how I feel about the changing face of friendship, in adulthood. Kinship and a sense of belonging has always been close to my heart, and I’ve recently realised that for the introvert that I always was, avoiding big gatherings and sticking to the back of the room at parties waiting to be spoken to, I am now the person who is seeking out various relationships and friendships with all sorts of people. In Panjim alone (which is to say I’m not even counting the bloggie buddies, and friends from out of town here) I have a set of old friends from work, I have friends from the blog, I have a friend from school with whom I rediscovered a past relationship, I have baking buddies, I also have a group of girls with whom I meet once every week, and minus the exchange of money in the form of a kitty (as in kitty party, of course), we do it all. Eat, drink, giggle, gossip, cook and generally have a good time for a few hours every week. Most recently added to the mix is a senior citizen couple, with whom the husband and I enjoyed drinks and dinner a few times. This is not how I used to be. And if I had the time and mindspace, I’d write that post, finish it and hit publish. But it must be said that there has been a fair bit of socialising of all kinds.
Not so long ago I was basking in the glory of being alone, and having all the time in the world to myself. It’s funny how things change. So quickly.
– As much as the mind has been stretched beyond its limits, my body has had to keep up. In an attempt to shake things up, as I do every 3-4 months, I have now joined a Zumba class. I went in without expectations, as I have had previous bad experiences with hopelessly anaerobic Bollywood moves being passed off as Zumba. But this class has hit the spot for me. It is just the right kind of vigorous sweat-it-out kind of workout I need, but it keeps the interest going by mixing in peppy music, and twice a week I have been treating this time as my time to kick back and dance like nobody is watching. Of course it helps that nobody is actually watching!
Life’s neverending to-do list grows on, but I’m happy to report has been tackled, tamed and pinned down. Temporarily. I’m far from done, and isn’t that always the case? I’ve learned to make peace with a satisfactory level of accomplishment and give up that compulsive need to be on top of everything all the time. I’m not multitasking supermom, and I think I’m okay with that.
The going has been good. My head has been filled with ideas, my hands have been busy, my mind and body feels stretched beyond belief and most importantly, my oven has been mostly warm and overused through it all. For now, that is enough. Because it has all left me immensely happy. In a content, peaceful sort of way, rather than the hyperactive frenetic happiness that I am used to feeling.
You realise your life has taken a turn for the better, in moments when sleep eludes you, and you lie awake because you are bursting with excitement, and yet all you feel is an immense calm sweep over you. You silently watch the fan above you whirr on endlessly, listen to the snoring person next to you, all the while wishing you could just fall sleep (because God knows you need the rest); but no, a weird sort of thankfulness for how things have turned out keeps you up at night. Things have turned out simple. But just right.
I think they call that feeling gratitude. And as is always the case, simple truths don’t dawn on me subtly. They don’t silently slip in like the guest who arrives at the party late, who lurks around at the back before melting into the crowd. They tend to crash-land, face-first, right before me. Making me stumble and stare, completely agog. Like when the attention-whore of a guest, who has a serious knack of making his presence felt, no matter how late he arrives shows up and does something outlandish.
So on Sunday morning, when I chose to wake up way earlier than normal, to work, I realised things have changed.
I’ve crossed over on to the dark side. I’m going into business.