Feb 3, 2014

Keepin' it real.

Blog stats
Signed into my blog account and got a thrill to see the following stats on a 1 day old post:

They're reading me in Brazil! 

73 people in just 1 day!

As I furiously patted myself on the back and let the gentle shower of validation wash away my writer's insecurities, these sobering thoughts washed up.
1. "They" are not reading me in Brazil. Precisely 1 person - a freind on a work trip with nothing else to do - is. (Thanks Saikat!)
2. The 'Don't track my own pageviews' option in my account was not turned on. Undoubtedly, I'm reading my blog.
3. Technical difficulties made me delete then re-post the link on my FB wall, which is where I trap my unsuspecting victims readers. Some followed the second link to the same post  (from a combo of loyalty, coercion and boredom) and were double-counted.
4. The tally counts the people who landed on the page but not what they did next, which was hopefully not surf immediately away.

The water in that comforting shower ran out. I'm now trying to pretend that it never even happened. While re-checking my Traffic stats.

Culinary coup d'etat
Last minute revision of dinner plans this Thursday made me ping my freind Nan who is gifted in all matters food and also generous in shepherding hapless souls such as myself who are frequently lost and wandering in the wastelands of the kitchen. I was attempting a creative detour from the scheduled Chicken Ravioli (packaged) with Alfredo Sauce (jarred) and side of sauted Kale. The option I was pondering would use up the half-carton of Chicken broth in the fridge while only dirtying one pot. It would also take care of the frozen ziplock bag of Cannelini beans that one of Nan's mouth watering recipe pictures inspired me to buy, then quickly retire. It's freezer exile was a disheartened reflex courtesy plain-spoken Oyon (7 years old) who laughed me out of the room when I served him said beans.
It had gone something like this:
  Me (peevishly): Well, Aunty Nandita cooked it for your friend Milan (8) and he liked it just fine!
  Oyon (patiently): Well, maybe she should come cook it for me then.

I should'nt have been surprised given this past exchange when I served him Bengali 'khichuri' after a long gap:
   Me (puzzled): But you used to simply love this when you were younger!
  Oyon (compassionately): Things change, Mamma.

He's a good boy with an open palate and minimal fuss over food so I remain undeterred in my efforts. Hubby recklessly enables me too by loyally scarfing up the lamest of my creations, the ones even I push-away and make toast instead. Anyway, I thought it in all our best interests to get a second opinion on my well-intentioned plans. Enter, stage left, Nan all the way over in sunny California. After snorting coffee out of her nose over my harried, hurried, typo-riddled FB message wherein I told her I was plannning to cook 'Church' (chicken) Ravioli in 'tarty' (tasty) broth with kale sauteed in 'evil' (olive) oil, she came to the rescue. My recipe for a one-pot Ravioli-kale soup, she approved, with the suggestion that I add Canneloni beans, mushroom and Truffle oil but only if I had them on hand. We were all out of Truffle oil that day (must re-order when I'm placing my monthly order for Caviar) but emboldened by her approval, I forged ahead.

The soup had a lingering aftertaste of dishwater, the ravioli exploded into teeny-tiny fragments and the beans added an unexpected and unplanned 'mush' to the dish. Better off in 'Goodnight Moon' for babies who do'tn know any better.

I showered grated Parmesan over it all and added the salt I had inadvertently skipped, to inch the concoction a tiny bit closer to 'edible'.

The trickiest part of salvaging culinary experiments teetering on the brink of failure, is knowing when to stop. Yet the more fixes you try, the more invested you get and the harder it is to admit defeat. The resultant gloop is my signature dish. I just about avoided it this time by stopping after a taste test proved that, though I was lacking the delicate hint of garlic and the fresh burst of flavor from the beans that Nan would've undoubtedly conjured, my soup at least tasted like food now, not used bathwater. I could fix up my bowl with a generous spoon of Chinese roast chilli oil, hubby was out for dinner (so would be spared) and Oyon....well, that's why God made TV. Dirty socks taste fine when you get to eat and watch a show at the same time.

Inadvertent age-fudging
Ladies, be honest. If you haven't actually lied about your age, you've been tempted to. At the least you've resorted to disingenuous references like "I'm in my early 40s", meaning you're 47 but figure "early 40s" can mean "anytime before 50" because what is "early" anyway? I'll admit I spent my 40th year revelling in telling folks that I "just" turned 40, milking the feeling of relative-youth for all its worth. I joked that at 42, I'd still have "just turned 40" with the "....2 yrs ago" suffix muttered under my breath. What I didn't predict was that sometime in that 41st year of relative-youth, I'd exhibit disturbing signs of senility and advance myself a year.

The night before my birthday, I proudly posted a pic of myself on FB showing off my head of gray, undyed hair with the caption "Almost 43!" to which friends my age or older immediately zipped off alarmed emails. I couldn't have overtaken them in age (and if I had somehow found a portal for time travel would I please message them coordinates so they could head back like most sane folks?) 

I, in turn, was left reeling that this whole past year that I was bravely embracing my 42nd  year of dotage, was really the 41st.

Only I would get the math wrong on my age... in the wrong direction! But here's the beauty of it: now I'm a year ahead on my mid-life crisis, which'll be over when my  friends (with their impeccable subtraction skills) are still mid-life crisissing (technical term)

So take that, all you smarty pants!

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