Is it love or pain

It takes love to feel pain and it takes some pain to realize love. Quite a predicament. I’ll be traveling without my husband for the first time since our marriage and unbeknownst to me, I’m finding reasons to cut my trip as short as possible. It takes so long to find honesty and a home in a place other than family and I have found that in my husband. He’s my best friend and a beautiful human being. He’s everything I look to be and am I lucky to have him? I’d hope it’s destiny. Luck is fleeting while destiny seems somewhat stable.

Sometimes I wonder how our lives are that different from each other but set with the same character sketch and canvas. We all want happiness, health and wealth. We all want someone to love. We all need a family to go to and home to live in. Yet, we walk a road no one else has walked and etch a life no one else has lived. What can be more intriguing than life itself?

There are so many things I want in my life but when I think of my husband, it feels like there’s nothing left to want or need but only to live and cherish. I still want that watch though!

Seriously, it’s heartbreaking to hear of heartbreaks around you when your life is filled with an abundance of love and understanding. It’s not perfect and it’ll never be because perfect isn’t fluid. It’s isn’t spontaneous nor is it alive. We have our fights and arguments and quibbles but we move on. It might take a day or more but the picture is clear in my mind- to have him by my side until the end of time. Sometimes humor helps and sometimes silence but patience always helps. This isn’t advise but just a tiny bit of my everyday life that might help someone out there deliberating on marriage.

Why am I sharing this with the world? Maybe I want to be able to put this in words for my understanding. I’m awestruck by how indefinable and inexplicable life is. By how lucky or destined I am to find someone like my husband or maybe because I want everybody to have what I have and to find love in places you don’t expect to or in a stranger who would come to mean more than anything you’ve ever had. But then it can all go away leaving you with memories and an ocean of sadness.

So I ask you is it love or pain?

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Thank god! I am an atheist.

For a God with no religion…

Ha Long Bay. (Nat geographic pic) It's one of the most tranquil picture I've seen and first saw it in Mortal Kombat. Some irony huh.

Ha Long Bay. (Nat geographic pic) It's one of the most tranquil pictures I've seen and first saw it the movie Mortal Kombat. Some irony huh.

I don’t pray every day. I pray only in times of happiness or sadness and to buy the Burberry wool/cashmere winter coat from Bloomingdales. Needless to say I didn’t get that coat. But that didn’t make me pray harder or change my faith. I just continued what I was best at i.e. to sit back and become an atheist the rest of the time in between. I don’t fast, I don’t visit any temple nor do I believe in accepting God as we’ve come to know of him through history and mythology. In fact I’ve always considered God to be unlike the ‘God’ everyday news reports condemn or fundamentalists hail as propagated by ‘religion’. I just believe in being kind, and most importantly being honest. Yes, I do lie at times, and I am unkind (especially to pesky little kids) but I would rather grow into a kind human being this way than being pushed into a religion that is ‘supposed’ to show you the light. C’mon we know Santa Claus isn’t real then why believe in something any of us haven’t seen. I’m sure skeptics of this would bring in the logic of air and that we don’t see it but we feel it. How many of us would have ‘felt’ God if never heard of him? At least I wouldn’t.

I’ve been to temples and various other religious institutions out of sheer curiosity or mere coincidence. I noticed one thing, we all go there to want something for ourselves or others. It could be for peace or a BMW 328xi. Nevertheless, we do go in times of need and mostly in times of want. My life has been pretty dramatic but in an un-Bollywood way of course. I have had trying times and times when I refused to believe in any ‘God’ or even ‘the force’ from Star Wars. I wanted to be detached from this rigid formula of life. To be completely naked in my thinking and perception of this world. And by doing so I felt closer to humanity than I ever did before. That’s because in some minuscule way race, creed and religion works better as a barrier than an adhesive.

I read an interesting book by Neale Donald Walsch- ‘What God wants’. At the risk of being a book story pooper, the answer to that question in the book is ‘nothing’. At the time I was happy with the answer for I could now show my family that I’m not the only one who believes in a God with no religion. Of course that didn’t work the way I planned. In time as I grew older I realized I din’t have to please anyone. And least of all not God. When people who preach can’t respect a different perspective on faith, how can they talk to us about God and what he wants? He sure as hell doesn’t want bloodshed, hate or sacrifice. I guess ‘love’ is too humble a gift for religious fanatics to offer to God huh.

Yes, I am inquisitive about the myriad religions and like my mom, I am pretty fascinated with the teachings of Buddha and even bought a note pad with his picture on it (from B&N, I do all my recipe writing in it so that it comes out well when I cook. Can’t say it works all the time). Now I’m forcing my not-so-religious husband into taking me to Cambodia to visit the Angkor-Wat temple. Not out of some divine calling but just to travel to a place not many people travel to… for history and not to find answers to my life. ‘I’ am my biggest and most profound answer. So does this make me an atheist? How about an agnostic? I had to read up the dictionary several times to remember the difference between the two (and I still can’t). However I’m neither. Not an atheist, an agnostic nor a religious person. I am just someone who has a very simple relationship with God. To me, I am an example of evolution or creation as some call it. I am an example of love and friendship, survival and peace yet on the flip side I exemplify being irrational, restless and vain, angry and dissatisfied, making mistakes and falling on my knee more often than not, for I am human. I am my own religion and I seek nothing from a world that gives you so much and asks for just one thing- love.

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My chubby nose

No, I can’t smell any better than my husband who has a small nose. Though I did notice an absence from catching a cold this year.

Apart from that it’s the butt of a lot of jokes, girl convos, boy convos, plastic surgeon’s observation, nick names and also the reason why the only guy I liked in my teens couldn’t be anything more is my nose. It’s there like this elephant sitting in a room filled with Lladro porcelain while hoping to go unnoticed. Yes, it’s lovely isn’t it. At least that’s what my dad said and still says when my twin brother asks him about my nose. He says, “what’s wrong with it? It’s lovely.” Obviously that goes to prove that he’s my proud father and but of course whom else could I have gotten the nose from? No prices for guessing.

If that’s not enough the first guy I liked couldn’t be my boyfriend cuz my big nose was blocking his view from seeing me as more than a friend. That really sounds tragic doesn’t it? I have a pretty decent face and really it’s not that I hate my nose but for some reason eluding me for the last 22 yrs and counting, my nose seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Though in a few elusive angles it looks passable as an average nose, in all other angles it looks rather chubby. Right at the end of the nose bridge (which also surprise surprise is kinda crooked) it begins it’s descent into a fat rounded tip. Luckily I haven’t been a victim of malicious nose attacks and instead been showered with ‘cute nose’ jokes. If there’s any such thing.

Except for family and friends I’m not too sure I’d take nose-slings too well. On occasion I try to get away with the ‘septum deviation’ excuse. Jeniffer Aniston used it? And it worked too. In fact I do think there is one or how else would you explain a child with a straight proportional nose becoming a woman with a somewhat fat Pinocchio nose? I didn’t want to say it but now it’s out there. I hope everybody with a thin slender nose is happy.

It’s just a nose. And yes I did think of plastic surgery but somehow felt that there’s more to my nose than meets the eye. I shouldn’t give up on it nor change it. My husband doesn’t care and my family too loves it. As for my poor nose it’s always been a subject of oddity. What do I think of it? It isn’t ugly, it’s just a chubby nose. Let it be.

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Succulent lamb chops without grilling

In my first ever attempt at making anything other than chicken and fish (which F.Y.I I’m not too amazing at), I shocked not just myself but my husband who was keeping a tense smile on his face before I brought him to taste them. They were so tender and succulent, I couldn’t believe myself. Dammit I’m not as bad a cook as, let’s face it, I don’t cook much but here I was with some of the most tender lamb chops I’ve eaten. I haven’t eaten that many though cuz of my dog reminding me of lamb/sheep (sorry, I just had to add that).

So what did I do that I normally don’t and how did I get it right in the first attempt?

I didn’t grill it, I didn’t broil it and no I didn’t deep fry it.

Here’s what I did:

After marinating the lamb chops (roughly around 10 of them) for 36 hrs I removed them and left them on the table before I got down to cooking them. Like me if you’ve searched Google for the “best lamb chop recipe” or “best method of cooking tender lamb chops” you’ll notice one thing, “GRILL THEM OR BROIL THEM”.

a) I don’t have a indoor grill and I wasn’t in a mood to start the outdoor one.

b) Shame on me but what the fuck is broiling and how do I use it on my oven? (I told you I wasn’t much of a cook).

So there I knew it, I was low on ammunition and yet I was motivated to hit the bullet on the target.I decided to make them in two separate batches cuz that way I’ll know which method works best without doing it two times over.

After I got really restless, I decided to start off with my lamb chops before the required 30m-60m “getting them to room temperature” ritual.

With the help of my trusty(I don’t like using this word but I can’t find a synonym for it now) tongs and one whole white onion, 1 lemon, sea salt), I set forth what would become my best lamb chops to date.

  • You’ll need two separate pans. One a shallow sauteing pan and the other a deeper (2-3inch high side) pan. I didn’t have the cast iron one. So I used a non stick pan and the other a stainless steel cuisine art pan.
  • I first heated the non stick pan on a medium-high flame, you don’t want to make it too damn hot. Just enough to hear the lamb chop sizzle. I used olive oil and drizzled that on the non stick pan (NSP).
  • Once that heated up, which I knew by testing it with an small onion piece. I put in each chop one by one (In my pan 4 fit) and heard them go “szzzzszzzz” (sizzle). Make sure to space them out evenly cuz that really does work. Over crowding the pan will surely affect the outcome and I was going to make that mistake again.
  • I left it in there fat side down or which ever was the chunkier side for about 3-5m and turned them around. Keeping checking the pan for any burnt up residue cuz that way you can lower the temperature a bit.
  • After this batch was done I put them back along with the rest undone lamb chops sitting in the marinade bowl. And the seared the rest the same way.

Baking:

  • While I was searing them I preheated the oven to 350F. I got a brownie dish and lined it with foil and sprayed it with cooking spray (I used the canola oil one) and crushed in some pepper and salt (cuz I felt the marinate lacked some salt).
  • Then I placed 4 seared lamb chops on it with the more seared side facing up. I again sprinkled little salt on them and covered them with another foil and put them inside the over for about 15m.
  • After 15m I reduced the oven temp to 300F for the next 5m or so. Then I just turned off the oven and let them sit there while I was doing the next method of lamb chops.
  • Mind you, I was doing them simultaneously so roughly they sat in the over for maybe 40m.

Stove top- Simmer

  • As the last batch was beginning to sear I heated the other stainless steel pan on a medium flame and put in some olive oil followed with the whole onion I cut. Close the lid and let the onions become glossy.
  • After about 8m I removed the lid and added the lamb chops I seared  keeping the flame on medium.
  • Then I added roughly around a 1/2 cup water or just enough to cover them (but not too much) and let it come to a boil.
  • Once it did I reduced the flame to one notch below medium or two depending on your stove top. I let it simmer for as long as I could and yesterday I had a lot of time on hand so it simmered for maybe an 40min.
  • But that’s the other way of getting succulent lamb chops and in this case you’ll have gravy left from the simmering. So have it with Italian stone bread or rice. They’re just delicious. I’ll put up the pics soon.

Honestly the method I preferred was baking in this case but if you want gravy then simmering it will be a good idea. Apply this and tweak it to what you prefer. I don’t know about rear or medium but I like my lamb chops tender and succulent with no lamb odor coming off it.

Magic method: Cooking it on a slow flame is a fool proof method. Let me know of any good recipe cuz even though I have the method I still am looking for a better marinade.

Bon appetit!

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