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The week so far

23 Oct

There’s a first time for everything. And it’s been a largely ordinary week. With a few firsts thrown in.

Monday was my first time at being hung up on by a client. Twice. Yes, you read that right. Hung. Up. On. And no, this isn’t high school. This is real-world client-writer relationship material. Astounded is an inadequate word to describe how I felt. It was more like a mixture of shock, awe, delirious anger, extreme frustration and also a huge rap on my writer ego. The only saving grace was that I was in the right, I stuck to my guns for a change, put my foot down and drew a line. And what I got in return was to be cut off mid-sentence with the telephone line gone silent, while I was still patiently explaining my side of the story. The unfortunate part is that, had we actually had a mature conversation I might have managed to put my ego aside and work things out. Working things out is always a nicer solution, in my opinion. It also saves me the horrid trouble of making a decision and saying no. But fortunately, my client turned out to be a child trapped in a full-grown man’s body. Which means I had to be the grown up, grow a pair and take a decision. And what happened next, is that I decided I would never work for said client again.

Then, I felt a wave of immense relief wash over me. My god, it was glorious. Four weeks of dealing with this client, in an obviously far-from-perfect arrangement was literally eating me up in more ways than one. And finally, I was able to say no, this is it. Sure, I got hung up on before I did that. But I also learned to say no, as a result. Another first.

Tuesday has become bust-your-ass-lifting-weights day in my life. I’m beginning to look forward to it a tad more than the sweat-your-ass-off cardio-heavy Zumba class. Something I didn’t think was possible. I am not sure if the difference is visible on the outside (it’s probably also way too soon to tell), but for the first I am beginning to feel leaner, in a stronger, bring-it-on kind of way. Such a wonderful change from my usual cycles of burning flab and feeling thin on the surface, and gaining it all back on the minute I let go. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can tell when the fat melts on my cardio days, and I can feel muscle mass gaining strength on my weights days. For the first time in my life, I feel strong.

The relief of ending a parasitic client-relationship has long-lasting effects. Because I spent the rest of the day in a haze of happiness. Suddenly the day seemed like it had so much time freed up. For the first time in days, I had pockets of time to just sit around and breathe. And do nothing, if I really chose to. But hello, time! I sat and caught up on my neglected reader updates. I did a massive batch of laundry. I sorted out my bills and reimbursement claims. And I cooked two meals. Chhole, dal, rotis and salad for lunch. And dal, rice, aloo sabji and salad for dinner. And I felt good.

There is something truly special about days like that. When time is sprawled out in front of you. When it’s yours to take, to do what you will with it. And when you choose to do something with it, as opposed to just go with it, and the outcome is wonderful even in all its simplicity, it feels good. It feels really, really good. For the first time in weeks, I felt simply joyful. The day and the way it unraveled, pretty much summed up my current definition of satisfaction: cook simple food, feed hungry peeps, and in the process feed my soul. Something about cooking the things you love, even if it means subjecting yourself to a sweltering kitchen, in the thick of October heat can sometimes be joyful. Or maybe that’s just me, on a good day.

I was pretty sure the husband wouldn’t be on board with me and my excessive outpourings of joy, seeing as how it all found its way into large pots of dal. For consecutive meals, no less. But for the first time in a long, long time, he ate it all, without a peep. Without the usual stifled request for a masala omelet (to make it all better) on the side!

Today, Wednesday began super early. With the husband leaving home at 6 am, to catch a flight to Mumbai. What that means is my early-morning sleep, the deepest phase of the night’s slumber, is broken. Because he shuffles around, turns lights and fans on, fishes around for his clothes, can never find his socks and I resort to answering him, in a jumble of mumbles, through palms arched over my face, and one eye poking through.  I fell back to sleep, only to have one of those early-morning nightmares that leaves you a little unsettled. I had a large-ish order for three cakes today. And that, is the maximum limit, my little Dona Paula kitchen is capable of facilitating. I usually make one cake the night before, or at least early in the morning before I hit the gym, so I can ease the rush later in the day. But I had chosen to laugh my guts out over an episode of Bigg Boss last night, and Plan B plan had failed on account of disturbed sleep, early-morning nightmares and dragging my groggy self out of bed a whole hour later than usual. For the first time since I have started taking orders, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. And I panicked. Just a little bit.

I decided to just proceed to the gym like my life depended on it, because 1) there’s nothing like shutting the world out for a whole hour and dancing my heart out. The endorphin rush will make everything seem less important, long enough for me to figure out a plan, I told myself. 2) I’m anal about being regular. And virtually nothing, is reason enough to skip a workout. (Yeah, it’s most definitely the latter.) But I figured it out. Swung by the supermarket, stocked up on essentials and came back home to bake. Somewhere in the midst of watching the batter swirl around in the mixer and dusting cake tins, I realised I was in perfect flow. I no longer refer to a recipe when I am baking for Hungry & Excited. It may be that the recipes have become habit, because actions unravel, in the sequence they’re meant to. I have made enough apple cakes to now make them in my sleep. It may also be that a little monotony has set in. But for the first time in a long time, I felt happy baking that same old cake all over again. It’s in moments sandwiched between the thoughtless actions that inspiration finds a seed. And I had a brainwave. I separated some batter, zested and juiced in a good number of lemons, threw in some plums and decided to make a new cake. For the first time in a long time, I indulged myself in some inspired baking.

When the last cake was baking away, J and I whipped up a frittata, loaded with veggies and cheese. Because what better way to get a good healthy lunch in, when you’re short on time, than to pile it all on to an omelette and have it with bread and salad on the side? And these unplanned, throw-in-whatever-you-can-get-your-hands-on recipes turn out to be super. J piled on a handful of cornflakes on the frittata. And it was awesome!

By 2, a whole two hours ahead of estimated time of completion, all three cakes were done. For the first time in a while, I was chuffed. And I had a really good feeling about the lime and plum cake. I just knew it, I could feel it in my bones. In the five minutes it took me to drive back home, I received messages from three people who ate the cake, telling me how much they enjoyed it. My ex- boss who also ate the cakes was heard telling my ex team that the next time someone plans to quit, they better have as good a reason as I did, to take the plunge. For the first time since I quit, I felt like I had received affirmation from someone out there.

I had a good gut feeling about my cakes, after a long, long time today. I tried something new, it worked and it was loved. That something was a part of a friends happy day, and will be a part of the memory everybody in the room will take back. And that makes me immensely happy. Satisfaction is in a cake made, delivered and enjoyed, I think. For the first time in a while I felt all baked out, but oh so tremendously pleased.

For the first time, I realised this is what makes me happiest: putting my heart into the food I make, (whether it is a pot of dal, an unplanned frittata or a new cake) and sharing it with the people I love. And I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to do it so often.

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30 Responses to “The week so far”

  1. Sig @ Melbourne Maharani October 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Sounds like a full on week so far! You know, you did the right thing with the client. It’s amazing how much less burdened we feel when we let go of things that are toxic in our lives. Life is way too short to tie ourselves down to things that don’t make us happy. Can you tell I’ve become all wise and philosophical in my now endless time?

    Also, agree with you on the weight training. I’ve joined the local gym here (it has a crèche!) and started one my all time fave classes – body pump. I’m rubbish withy new weights at the omens but it’s amazing to see even just after a few classes, how much of a difference it makes – both physically and mentally.

    Also wanted to say – keeping Working and living with heart. Everything you do will be awesome.

    • hAAthi October 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Dude! My weights class is a body pump class too. And i love it :)

    • Meera Parameswaran October 24, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      ” It’s amazing how much less burdened we feel when we let go of things that are toxic in our lives. Life is way too short to tie ourselves down to things that don’t make us happy. ” Thanks for this. It came in at the right time for me!

      • Sig October 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

        You are welcome. :)

  2. ZinalBhadra October 24, 2013 at 3:39 am #

    So happy for you? Keep up. BTW, when did you stop your Jillian Michael workouts? :P

    • hAAthi October 24, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      I stopped JM when i discovered this kickass zumba class at a fitness studio close to home :D i change my routine every 6 months or so. And this has been a really good change. I was always looking for a good class to join because I work so much better when I have a regimen to motivate me. Much harder to keep goig all on my own. So when i found this place in June and took a trial class and enjoyed it, i signed up immediately.

  3. R's Mom October 24, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    What a lovely read…you sure have a way with words..I wish, I could bake gorgeous cakes without using recipe books…I cant even bake a good one reading from a recipe book!

    • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      I cant do it with all cakes or everything i cook. Its just the apple cake. Because iv made so many of them since we started selling. The next time youre in goa call me, il make you one :)

  4. Meera Parameswaran October 24, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    You life is so happening! I envy you! So much in just 3 days and that too different things! Great going :)

    “I’m anal about being regular. ” – Gimme some of this, please?

    • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Please dont be envious of the part where i struggle with heartless clients. I assure you that it is no fun :(

      As for being regular, i think its a by product of being obsessed with exercise for a whole year. Just start, prioritise it and make time, come what may and you will get obsessive too :D

      • Sig October 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

        Is it funny (or sad) that we when I read that about being “regular”, I thought of bowel movements?

        Hmmm, not sure what that says about me :P

        • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

          Possibly because i said im errr anal about it :)

  5. shub (@shubhere) October 24, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    This is such a feel-good post. And you articulate that sense of all’s well with the world feeling so well too. Onward and upward, with the cake business!

  6. ash October 25, 2013 at 4:31 am #

    You do not have a tiny human to nurture ,care for ,lead by example , suffer their disappointments or a 9-5 job to suck your energy .
    You are 30 something , do not have a regular job ,claim to do some baking stuff ,in that case you have to give the customer what he/she wants ,don’t you know the customer is always right ?
    That is the motto here in the US …its awesome people are always obliging to the customer ,trying to make it right , getting the business up on its 2 feet.
    You are still trying to establish and really have no kids/job to occupy your energy & time and already you are having an attitude a bad one !!!
    SO give the customer all the energy and patience

    Business needs patience LOTS of it and remember the customer is ALWAYS right .

    • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      First off, you have several facts wrong.
      Im not 30 something.
      I dont have a job but i do have a lot of work. Work that pays me so i can have the luxury of indulging myself in that “baking stuff”.

      Secondly, its sad that there are still enough people who think that as we are inching closer in on our 30s, having a 9-5 job that “sucks your energy” and having a “tiny human being to nurture” are the only ways to “occupy your energy and time”. Id love to elaborate on how occupied my time is and how productive I am even without having a life sucking job or a baby. But i dont think its worth it here. Also we have enough differences as it is so its probably not going to make a difference to you.

      There have been enough people who read/comment here and have different opinions. We share and discuss them in a pleasant/civil manner. Without shooting our mouths and taking off on tangents based on insubstantial presumptions. The client was not a customer who came for cake, Just FYI. So no he is not always right.

      Its apparent that the freedom I write about and lack of “structured” life and thought process in my posts irritates you. But I assure you, not as much as your uneducated comments annoy me. Why dont you save yourself the trouble of reading my rambles and do me a BIG favour by NOT coming here to read? Its easy. Click unfollow. Unsubscribe. Dont come back. That way you can also save me the irritation of junking your comments time and again? Pretty please??

      • Meera Parameswaran October 25, 2013 at 8:57 am #

        Lolmax, NOW I don’t envy you so much :P ;)

        • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 8:58 am #

          Haha im glad this is at least providing entertainment to the lot of you!

    • chronicworrier October 25, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Green-eyed monster burning bright! ;)

      • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 8:35 am #

        You think so too?! Good. So its not jut me being touchy then :)

        • chronicworrier October 25, 2013 at 8:42 am #

          Of course! I’m pretty sure it’s obvious to everyone here except her!

          • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 8:47 am #

            Hahaha. I have a friend telling me bein trolled is a sign of having arrived. And i just said there is nothing flattering about waking up to distasteful, jealousy ridden comments. Makes me wonder why people take the trouble to comment at all. I mean, its the internet. Just click that X in the corner if you dont like what you read, and move on, men!

            • chronicworrier October 25, 2013 at 9:06 am #

              C’mon, then where will anonymous strangers get to offload their angst and advice?! Have some sympathy :D

              • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 9:20 am #

                Yes and us unemployed, wayward, childless women leading pointless lives are so in need of that advice no!

    • Sig October 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      You know, what I am finding that more and more people of our generation (kids/FT jobs nothwithstanding) are taking the plunge and getting out of the 9-5 rut.

      While you might see what is an “unstructured” life is actually proof of one thing, actually two – Haathi has a lot more courage than it seems you ever will AND by living the life she is, she is definitely leading by example for those who don’t. And I’m sorry for that. Because I know it’s hard to fight the fear and follow your dreams.

      Think about one thing – if someone was to rate YOU as a customer – what would that be? Do you think you would get better experience if you were a Pain in the Ass compared to someone who was respectful of the service they were PAYING for? The world today and in the future, means we don’t necessarily have to put up with the bullshit anymore. It’s not worth the time, the effort and the energy to maintain a customer relationship if it doesn’t serve you both satisfactorily. There are many, many people out there that will.

      Value is seen in something more than having children or a stable job. That’s the thinking of previous generations. Value is seen in self-respect. And that’s the truth. :)

      • hAAthi October 26, 2013 at 12:16 am #

        Value is seen in self-respect. And that’s the truth. :) — well said. Its also very subjective.

        Thanks for the affirmation, Sig!

  7. Summer Rain October 25, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I miust admit, I have been reading your blog for a while now and I truly love what I read. I have been married for six years without a tiny human to care for (not by choice though so it hurts a lot more when people assume I have all the time in the world just because I do not have kids… it is quite oblivious to them that I have three dogs who are as good as children when it comes to needing care !) and every time I feel low, I hop over to your blog to find solace that lives can be productive even without children/ without a 9- 5 job ( I work at the Alliance Française, so my hours are quite erratic and NEVER to a routine .)Thank you for my blog which brings me comfort ALWAYS.

    P.S : I also tried out the Potato bajji from your food blog and my husband and I loved it! I am going to try out the tarts you’d mentioned as gifts for Deepavali. Thanks once again!

    • hAAthi October 25, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      And I always find solace in the fact that the trolls will forever be outnumbered by well meaning people like you.

      You’re too kind with your words, but thanks for dropping this note. Nothing nicer than knowing my endless self-centres rambles about my unproductive, childless, jobless, pointless life can make a difference to someone. I can’t imagine the pain of wanting children and being unable to have them, but I always admire those who can stand their ground and not measure their self-worth by things that arent always in our control. If pisses me off when people equate success in life to such frivolous things as a 9-5 job and a steady income and worst of all having children. There is nothing mroe annoying than have someone tell you to have a child to “fill your time” — its a LIFE for god sake! Not some pass time to occupy yourself with..

      HOpe to see you around here more often :)

  8. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health November 1, 2013 at 1:31 am #

    dear, I am so proud of how your life is shaping into. Keep writing and doing what makes you happy..I agree with Sigs comment XOXO

    • hAAthi November 1, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      Doing what makes me happy is the only way I think I can survive :)

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