Monday, September 26, 2011


Because sometimes, nothing helps. Not a hug. Not a hot cup of tea. Not a warm orange-crimson sunset.

Because sometimes, you simply need to let yourself go. To drop every little squirming bit of regret. Every baser desire. Every lonely thought. Every social gaffe.

Because sometimes, it's all you can do to keep from laughing so hard, the old man in the crisp suit at the other end of the train station can hear you as clearly as if the laughter were his own.

Because sometimes, like a waiter at a fancy restaurant who knows you'll tip him well, life will bow down to you and ask you what it is that you want. 
It is then that you will err. It is then that the sunny laughter will mellow.
It is also when you will really start to see life for the cruel joy it is.

Until then, my friend, be very still;
for Life is watching you with its sly, slanted eye.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

'Pure' vegetarians, steer clear of this one





 [Pictures via Google Image Search]




1.devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
2.entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
3.pertaining to or connected with religion ( opposed to secular  or profane): sacred music; sacred books.
4.reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object: a morning hour sacred to study.
5.regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.
Why this sudden slap of religion, you ask? No, it has nothing to do with the Pope visiting Berlin today (he really is. Go Google it if you want.). It has nothing to do with religion. Devotion? Reverence? Ah, the lines begin to blur a little there.

It started with an egg. It started shortly after I was conceived, with my mother eating an egg every day 'for the baby's sake'. I wish I could tell you that I remember the food I ingested as a foetus, but I'd like to think that my crystallizing, still-forming brain loved it like a dog loves a belly rub. I'd like to believe I relished it and let it stay on my tongue (well, after I had one) and smiled a satisfied smile before I swallowed and went back to floating in the warm cocoon of my mother's womb. (I'm pretty sure that the foetus doesn't eat any of the food by itself, but this is the bit where I play my poetic license card). 

For as long as I can remember, eggs have occupied a special place in my heart (figuratively, although it may hold in its literal meaning some years down the middle-aged road, cholestrologically speaking). I ate them at breakfast, I had them as a snack in the evening or simply because I wasn't too hungry at dinner. When I was still a kid, I loved hard boiled eggs. Hard boiled and fried. I detested the flaky, smelly yolk of the boiled eggs for several years, only to discover years later that the same yolk tasted like heaven sprinkled with sunshine and angels' smiles if you boiled it for a lesser amount of time. I also learnt what divine pleasure fried eggs, the sunny-side-up kind, can give someone. And except for a brief affair with bread and butter in my school years, eggs have been my breakfast staple. Imagining ife without eggs was (is) very very difficult.

Having been a fussy eater through my growing years, with an almost spiritual connection to junk food and sweets and all things unhealthy, eating eggs seemed to take away some of the guilt (just to be clear, I wasn't an unhealthy or overweight kid. The weight issues started very mysteriously, much after I adopted a healthier lifestyle, but that story's for another day. Like the day after the apocalypse).

Eating eggs, with all their folic acid and protein and minerals and calcium and potassium and iron and vitamins (PACKED top to bottom and side to side with nutrition. Go Google it if you want), made me feel like a nutritional angel despite my loathing of certain other healthy food. The NECC (National Egg Co-ordination Comittee) would have been proud - speaking of which, I dug around youtube and found these. Too bad if you don't understand hindi:

And the one I think is slightly lame in terms of over the top acting and bad quality , but also rocks in its listing of why eggs are awesome *drumroll*

How eggs could possibly, conceivably be vegetarian is beyond me, but whatever.

So anyway, things were fine, I was happy and eggs were delicious. Then came research, like it always does to ruin a good thing. 
Eggs are evil, it said. The egg yolk has fat. And cholesterol. Terrible things will happen if you so much as smack your lips in the presence of an egg ( how I saw it then). This happened when I was a teen, and for a while, I ate my boiled eggs without the yolk, and our cats fought over who got to eat them. Then came more research which said hold on a minute, may be we were wrong. Really? I thought, and continued eating eggs - with the yolk, minus the guilt. And like the boy who cried hen (I know, I know. But, poetic license.), research stuck out its 'objective', 'methodological' head and shuffling its feet on the ground and biting its indecisive lips, whimpered something else about the health benefits of eggs. More recently, someone brought to my notice that eating eggs every day may not be good for me and I should try cutting down.

This is how I see it:
  1. The good in the egg seems to outweigh the bad, with more health benefits for women.
  2. To roughly quote my mother, anything eaten in excess is a bad thing. Which is why my mom put an, ahem, limit to how many eggs I could eat in a day (Two. Except when there was egg curry or bhurji. That was like a bonus). And I still stick to it.
  3. Very few things rival what eggs mean to me. I know it sounds silly, but it's true.
  4. One more fact - If it really came down to it, I think I could give eggs up. But only for the people I love (Except that the people I love, if they really love me, wouldn't take eggs away from me, would they?).
And finally, it doesn't matter, okay? I don't stuff myself with eggs till I can't eat anymore. I simply treasure every bite of egg as if it were my last (even on days when I was running late, when the boiled eggs were eaten almost whole). When I bite the soft, boiled egg white and it hits my tongue, for the slightest second, my world stops. It does.

So scrambled or fried, boiled or baked or poached or cooked, this is it. My biggest romance with food. I want to grow old with it and never let go.

Mock me if you will -- all I'll do is swish my healthy hair at you and walk away, with a smile on my face and an egg on my mind.

Yours sincerely,

The Cyniqueen

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Big City Life

Almost 3 weeks in Berlin and I'm still in the first flush of love. Since having been here, I have gone to Brandenburger Tor twice, travelled a bit within the city on my own, and oh, did I mention - I also got the spot at the university of my choice. Not a bad few weeks, eh?

I have also made 2 trips to Hakescher Mart (about which I've told you a few times) which is a weekly market with stalls selling spectacularly assorted things from shiny necklaces, curious hats, fresh coriander (that was one joyful discovery), agarbattis, antipasti, falafel, crepes, photo frames and paintings to second hand books.I went there last week in the afternoon when I had been having a day best described as a string of clumsy accidents (dropping my things, missing the train and so on) and all I needed was some Hakescher Markt. I had a big cup of hot chocolate at the stall with the warm, smiling italian man who's always humming to italian songs playing in the background as he makes your drink. Now wouldn't that turn your day around?

On my list of things to do in the two years (at least) that I'll be here (with regard to food) is try as many varieties of cheese, tea and bread. So the tea here is very different from good ol' Indian chai, but there's a mind boggling range and I'd be a fool not to make the best of it.
Ooh, and I haven't had any beer or bratwurst (sausages, which Germany is famous for) since I got here. Unbelievable. Also, calories. But still, Curry 36 will happen soon, I hope.

This time around in Berlin, things are different. There's no hurried rush to take it all in. It's not a quick snack, you know? It's a sumptuous dinner, cooking luxuriously over a low flame, bubbling with anticipation, drinking in flavours and just simmering. Mmm...who's hungry?

More later

The Cyniqueen.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Short update and a little dance

It's been so long since I posted (3 and a half weeks), but it seems like longer. My world has changed in that time, hard tests (the test of mettle kind, not the grading kind) have been passed and I write to you from Berlin, where the breeze outside is just right and the sun, in a spurt of end-of-season generosity, has decided to shine and smile at the Berliners.

Oh wait, I never celebrated my coming here with you properly
Okay, I got bored of searching for more. But I'm here, you guys! Finally, after all that longing and craving and dreaming.
It hasn't even been a week yet and I feel like I've never been away. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family like hell and try not to think about home too much. It's different from the last time I was here, because at that time I knew I was going back, that this was a holiday. Now, I'm going to have to call Germany home, and that's something that hasn't sunk in yet.

Feels so good to be blogging again :D

Yours sunnily,

The Cyniqueen