Updates from the dark side

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

photo 1

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.

photo 3


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.

photo 4

– 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!

photo 11

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.

photo 31

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.

photo 1

– 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.

photo 2

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.

Goofing off on a self-timer shoot for the picture in the prototype above
Goofing off on a self-timer shoot for the picture in the prototype above

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.

87 thoughts on “Updates from the dark side

  1. Pingback: 365 done. Many more to go. | hAAthi

  2. Stumbled across your blog. So happy I did. Best wishes to you and your business and all your ventures! Life is wonderful, glad you are grabbing your slice of cake! Cheers from the U.S., Koko


  3. You have no idea how happy this post makes me!!! Congratulations on having the courage to do what makes your heart sing! (And on landing a great spouse, obviously :D)
    All the best for your venture!! I’m sure you’ll be a total rockstar at it!


    1. At the risk of overdoing it, im goig to say landing a vc has definitely made all this a lot easier. Iv been meaning to email you! I keep going back to tour jobses post when that hint of doubt creeps in. And it is always quick to quell it immediately. I dont think i ever told you this (or maybe i have) but that post played a big role in setting the wheels of quitting work in motion.

      How are youuu?! I miss you. Email me!


  4. anon

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and living your post-job journey vicariously. I’m really happy for you over this new development. Congrats!

    I love baking cakes with fruit too, and this one is in my top five. http://leitesculinaria.com/20321/recipes-portuguese-orange-olive-oil-cake.html

    I skip the glaze, and drizzle the cake with dark chocolate melted with a little cream. Orange chocolate heaven this cake is.

    The good thing about this cake is that it ships/stores well – it can’t even be eaten on the first day (olive oil flavor needs to mellow) and tastes best on day 3. But day three onwards, every bite is orgasmic.


  5. Ambica

    Congrats..Tried one of your ridge gourd recipes and loved it. All your recipes are awesome and want me to try out immediately, esp, those with curd. Easy and fun. Planning to buy a oven and tackle baking as well. Thats your power of writing and cooking. Congrats on both and dont stop. Recently moved to Blore and reading your blog has been pleasure.


  6. This is so awesome R!!! Wish you all the very best. If the pictures are anything to go by, I can see deliciousness in the offing! Would love to try out your stuff some day :)


  7. Very, very nice, hAAthi!! Your happiness and excitement are palpable! I hope you continue to find this kind of joy in what you’re doing. And do keep sharing these experiences – the happiness rubs off :)


  8. Cannot.Wait.

    For the site to finally go up and live! I’m so excited to see what a long way you’ve come – from the early oreo brownie shenanigans to finally giving in to your very own oven and now 3 items on the “pro” cake menu! Lots of love and hugs!


    1. Thanks da! And omg do you remember the number of times I made those brownies back in the day? Did I tell you, when I tried them out after I got my own oven last year they bombed so bad, I was scarred from making brownies altogether, for a few months?!


      1. No da! You didn’t tell me. That’s so crazy. I used to love that recipe – the one favourite one before Deb’s brownies came along. I’m actually thinking of making brownies this week. It’s been such a long while!


  9. Congratulations! I know how you feel seeing how both my sisters are doing the same thing you are (heart following and what not). You’re content. That’s such a great thing!


  10. Congratulations! firstly :)

    Have you read Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray? Look it up if you haven’t, I thought it was a really charming story.

    Good luck for what lies ahead, may there be tons of fun involved too!


  11. Congrats, this is fantastic news. I’ve been following your blog since a little before you quit your job and seeing this journey has been very interesting. And you sound so happy :-) We’ll be sitting by the sidelines, cheering loudly and drooling a little!


  12. Smita

    1st thing 1st, that fruit pie looks so yummylicious!!!

    2ndly A biiiig congrats & truck loads of luck for your venture!!! I am sure you are gonna rock it!!! I wish you supplied in Mumbai ;)


  13. Just when I was thinking why are you lying low, I see your notification. Awesome pics, great blog. And yay, Congratulations!! it’s a BIG step forward. You wil be really good, i am sure


  14. Excited for you and I think you are living the life of your (and may others, if I may add :)) dreams. Good luck! I wish I lived in India, at the least, to get a taste of the good stuff. God speed!


  15. arundati

    Congratulations! Good luck and bog hugs! also lovely pictures, esp the third one of you and vc… also totally rocking that dress yo!


    1. Oh yes you’ve seen the dress :) *shycoming*

      Thanks yo. Also for the whatsapp encouragement and email attachments and general nonsense chatter abt everything from zumba to rdj and y fantasies abt him :)


  16. Can we switch places? I want to live your life. There I said it.
    Congratulations on this new venture-wishing you all the success you deserve. Your cakes, pies, everything looks delish! Wish I lived in Goa.
    I admire folks who can launch a business, stoke that entrepreneurial fire in them. Have always wanted to become one, a consultant but honestly I am lazy, more so in the area of promotions and networking. I want people to come to me just because.
    Not sure if the “women owned” concept has taken flight in India but here in the US, you sell yourself as one, you get noticed and preference. Sounds rather sexist but it does wonders to the business.
    Anyway-good luck and here’s to new beginnings.


    1. You know I dont think Im too much of an entrepreneur, but I do have the uncontrollable urge to bake and feed happy food to people. Im hoping that will get me by, Im leaving all the business mumbo jumbo to the hugsband :P
      The woman-owned business funda does have a certain enigma to it here..especially such home-grown businesses. Im not sure about Goa as yet.. I guess time will tell :) Thanks for the wishes!


      1. The important thing is you are making a profession (be it part time-full time) out of something you love to do. Not many are successful in doing so. In short, it sounds like you are living your dream. Best to you!


  17. I’m really happy for you girl! All the best and full throttle ahead!
    I’ve been trying to catch up on all your posts, but lfie’s been weird lately.

    Will whatsapp!


  18. All the best with the new business!! :) You look so familiar in those last few pictures – I’ve been racking my brains as to where I might have seen you :) Love your recipes on the blog and I’m sure the business will be a massive hit :) Its fantastic that you’re lucky to do something you love! :)


  19. ritz

    yippety yay! this is brilliant…you’ve now inspired me to get off my butt and do something myself- are you even delivering cakes to Delhi now? :p cant wait to bite into these…and all the best- you shall rock!


  20. Ammu

    Really excited for you! I am sure you will do great in this new venture.

    Do you use an OTG for baking? What is the brand and how many litres?


  21. I so want to be in goa and be your guinea pig….and did I tell you this was so good to read. Thanks to the kind lady who insisted on paying and put you in the business. You, ur household, biz-life partner, website fb page…all bustling with activities and sounds so good.

    I am waiting for the website, I loved the logo. And I loved the pic of you two….u two together do look hungry and excited both :) an pd promise me I am invited to your place when I visit goa. Plzzzzzzz.


    1. Well if youre ever visiting Goa, you can be a visiting guinea pig :) The idea for hungry and excited (the name and logo) was exactly that..a hungry husband and an excited (to cook) wife, so youre not far off haha.


  22. WOW! you are an inspiration arent you? Next time I visit my parents in Goa, I will definitely come over to get some home made yummy stuff okay? :):) Congrats to you and I am sure H&E will go places :)


  23. Pingback: What’s up | Hungry and Excited!

    1. I still do it. 3 times a week. I didnt do it with the intention of having a 6 pack. The workout itself is very vigorous and really good, but it comes with a crazy diet and one needs to do the diet and workout 7 days a week for it to have some real results like she claims. I did thw workout 5 times a week and ate my normal diet. What it did do for me is shred excess inches rapidly, and the good thing is it just takes 35 mins in a day..

      If youre keen to start on Jillian Michael, I would recommend starting with the 30-day shred, it is easier for someone new to JM. The 6week6pack is rather intense and used to make me weak-kneed many times.


      1. Meera Parameswaran

        Thanks for that advice! I might buy the DVD today itself!

        And forgot to mention, do update about how your zumba classes are going in the coming weeks. I heard about it a few months back and found it very interesting. Being a trained dancer, I think I can do it more easily than the workouts!


  24. Meera Parameswaran

    First of all, a big congratulations! :) :) :) I am so happy for you! I wished you lived in my city or I lived in Goa :D

    About the hiatus, believe it or not, I was starting to wonder what happened! Also, I missed your writing a lot! Its always so inspiring to me, you have got no idea, really!!

    Not everybody gets the chance to do what they want and then people very rarely get the chance to turn it into business! I want to wish you all the good luck! :)

    Looking forward for more news from your side – thanks for writing this and getting me all excited! :D


    1. Thank you, Meera :) Im going to need all the luck and encouragement.

      YOu are linked to the fb page, right? You should get all the news there itself, in case it comes to me having to take the site down while it is being worked on.


      1. Meera Parameswaran

        I am not on fb, but thankfully your page is public, so I don’t need to login to view and yes, I drop-in time to time!


  25. R

    Aww. That third pic in the self- timer series is so aww- inducing. And yay to being in business! I can’t wait to see the new site up and running. We are cheering you on from the sidelines :)


    1. I am now also very excited about the website. I went from not being sure to being excited to being scared and intimidated now back to being excited, now that most of it is done. I have a few pages left to write, and then we find a coder to do it up!


  26. Had I been in Goa, I would have happily turned into guinea pig, lab rat, and what not if it meant getting to eat all those wonderful things that you make.

    All the best for the venture ahead. You HAVE to ship things to Gujarat.

    Will you be delinking the hungryandexcited.com domain from WP to make it a standalone business site?


    1. I actually looked up couriering food, after you mentioned it on fb :P so maybe I can, if it works out. Maybe not all things, but some drier stuff. Lets see..
      Im actually planning to merge the blog into the biz site, for which I will have to temporarily take the blog down until it is all coded and done up. Still to figure out the nittygritties.. But as long as you’re on the FB page you should be updated about things as and when they move.


Pour your thoughts over mine

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.