Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word- Here’s Why

I was recently reading a travel blog by an Indian woman who’s travelling abroad solo. From what I've read of her blog, I've gathered that this young lady is educated, has held a job and lives in the National Capital Region (I’m tying to be as vague as possible). She also happens to be married. The reason why this piece of information is important is because in her blog she talks about how she’s an independent woman, whose husband had no problem whatsoever with her decision to travel solo- which is really sweet and how a marriage should be like. But what caught my attention was one of her posts in which she says she doesn't identify as a feminist. This is when I got a bit annoyed. Okay, so I got very, very annoyed.

What I did next was look up the meaning of the word feminism in the dictionary and here’s what I found- “The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes.” Sounds good to me! So when someone (a man or a woman, because feminism isn't just a woman’s domain) says they’re not a feminist what they’re saying is that they do not believe in equal rights for women. That’s unfair isn't it!

I don’t see any reason why all of us should not be feminists. What’s not to like about feminism? What part of women’s liberation doesn't appeal to you? The right to open a bank account? The right to vote? The right to equal pay? The right to have a say in birth control? The right to wear what you like? The freedom of not being the property of the man you marry? 

I discovered I was a feminist when I was eighteen years old (which by my standards is pretty late). That is also when I realized that the word feminism comes with a lot of unnecessary baggage. It was a dirty word. Feminists were supposed to be angry women who didn't like to dress up and who hated men. Feminists were supposed to be unfeminine, women who burned their bras and had hairy armpits. Something I found rather odd because here I was, a young college girl who loved dressing up and wearing make up and who yet fiercely believed in equality of the sexes. 

I think it’s high time we stop making feminism the new F word. Let's destigmatize the word and reclaim it for what it truly is. There’s a lot of talk about what feminism is, but here’s what its not- Feminism is not about hating men, it’s about loving women and wanting equal rights for them. It’s not about wanting to be in control of everything, but certainly being in control of your own life and choices. It’s not about being angry and unhappy all the time, but about questioning patriarchy and gender stereotypes. And lastly, feminism is not a woman's excuse to not do housework, but about a man thinking nothing odd about cooking dinner, or washing the dishes. 

So, are you a feminist? 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

An English Autumn

This October I took a solo holiday to England. A long overdue holiday, might I add. It had been over a year since I had taken a proper holiday and I had begun to feel it. There were days I was so exhausted physically and mentally that all I wanted to do was just sit and cry.

Tiredness was clinging to every bone in my body and I was plain exhausted of waking up at 5:30 am everyday (I am a morning person, but still!). It had also been five years since I had visited England and given my long association with the country, this was a cue that a trip was due.

I visited Barnstaple, a town in North Devon which is roughly a five hour drive from London. A pretty little English town far enough from London and close enough to the sea.

London, let’s start with London. As it turns out London and I have had a falling out sorts. I’ve been visiting the city almost every year since I was a little girl and I would notice a stark difference each time I visited. This time since it had been five years since my last visit, the difference was far more pronounced. To begin with there seem to be far fewer English people in London anymore, the city is full of immigrants (I know, I know London is a “world city” and all that) and that’s not a problem. The problem is when these foreign workers are in customer facing jobs, with surprising little command over English. I mean I’m in England, I expect to be spoken to in English! Or is that too much to be asking for now? I’ll even deal with the broken English, but then they’re rude! All I was doing was asking for where the next train to Terminal 4 would come and before I know it I’m being commanded to “GO THERE, STAND, WAIT”. Well okay then! And don’t even get me started on how expensive everything is in London!

I guess I’m just mourning the loss of London the way I knew it as a little girl. London and I go way back. Even though I’ve never lived there, that’s where I spent all my summer holidays every year. I grew up playing in London’s neighbourhoods as much as I bruised my knees playing on the street outside my house in Delhi. So since I’ve been having this love-hate relationship with London for the past many years, I’ve been skipping the city on most of my visits to the UK. I land in London and in a few hours I’m on a bus out of the city.And this time, my only motivation to spending a few hours in London was to visit Platform 9 and 3/4.  London, you and I need to have a talk, but in English please and a little more politely!

Barnstaple on the other hand is smaller, prettier, laid back AND the locals are polite! It’s the kind of place where you can enjoy long, perfectly aimless walks without being run over, or have a nice and friendly conversation with a perfect stranger (about the weather in most cases) without the fear of being mugged, or raped. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I live in Delhi. Enough said. One of the many lovely things about Barnstaple is also how close it is to the sea and all you need to do is hop a bus to be at the nearest beach in twenty minutes.

I think I’ve said enough and so I’m leaving you with some pictures of my holiday to do the rest of the talking.

Ticking Platform 9 and 3/4 off my bucket list.

The weather was kind and luckily I had many a sunny, blue sky days

Straight out of a fairy tale

You cannot go to Devon and not have Cream Tea

And you cannot go to Barnstaple and not go to the Cream Tea Cafe

This little bakery is where I want to be a bakers intern

Fish and Chips and Sausages - Enough Said

A sunny day spent by Ilfracombe Beach is day well spent
Homesick for these lovely little cobbled lanes already

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


"You know how the time flies
Only yesterday was the time of our lives
We were born and raised in a summer haze
Bound by the surprise of our glory days."

Someone Like You (Adele)
“It’s high time you learned to drive Maryann, oh and also learn how to swim”, I mumble to myself time and again. The mumbling has become more frequent each time I’d look at the calendar slowly inching towards my 30th birthday. “These things become harder to learn as you get older Maryann, learn them now, or you’ll never get down to either”, the mumbling has recently become furious and urgent.

“Older”- a word I’d laugh at ten year ago.

Ten years ago I thought I had it all figured out. I had planned everything, right down to their smallest details. I knew which college I wanted to study in, I had my eye on a “Dream Job” I was sure to land (and I did, and which I left not long after), I had an idea for a book I was keen to write (I mean, how hard can that be) and I wanted to travel. Marriage never loomed on the horizon then- I had trashed that idea completely, but I had named the babies (I wanted triplets-girls) I was sure I would have before thirty. 

I was having a late rebellion of sorts and decided that I knew best. I knew what I wanted from my life and I would go ahead and get it- nothing would stop me. I was itching to throw myself into the world headlong. I would live and learn right? Right! 

I chuckle as I think of myself as a twenty something; how na├»ve, how trusting, how confident. 

My twenties were an eventful decade and for that I am glad. I changed a string of jobs, I gave up my job with a leading international airline and decided I wanted to write for a living. I also fell in love, got married, moved continents and moved back again. I’m still writing to make rent and pay my bills, but somehow the need of having those babies I had named hasn't surfaced yet. 

Many times I find myself thinking would I have done things differently then if I knew then what I know now? I would be lying if I said no. But that’s the whole idea of “live and learn” I guess. It isn't fun to make mistakes, but I've realised it’s important to learn from them. 

I've learned to let go of relationships which weren't going anywhere and which weren't helping me evolve. I've learned to say “No”, a firm no (life is short and my time is precious). I've learned that the best therapy is a chat with a friend and a good cry. I've learned to prioritize things in my life (the phrase time is money has never made more sense). I've learned that “later” usually means never. So don’t keep that pair of heels for later, for a special occasion, because chances are you’ll forget all about them (or worse, you’ll have rats gnawing into them) - the same also applies to you passion, don’t wait for later do it now! I've learned that throwing money at some problems does help.  I've learned that writing and baking make me happy and I want to spend more time doing that. I've learned exercise is important. Work out at least four times a week, your body will thank you for it later. I have learned to eat that bar of chocolate if I really, really want to. The rest, I’m still learning. 

Today on the eve of my birthday, I truly am looking forward to turning thirty. I’ll be done with all the waiting of the previous year, perched on the edge on my twenties. And as I tumble onto the other side, who knows, maybe I wake up all calm and zen like with all the answers of life on my thirtieth birthday!   

And the best thing about turning thirty? Now I can shake my head with disapproval and grumble “Oh you know these twenty somethings!” 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Baking Diaries - Notes From a Weekend Workshop

If you've been reading this blog, you’d know that I've recently started baking again with a vengeance. And so when I found out that Little Black Book Delhi (LBBD) were organising a Make and Bake Grub Club workshop at the JW Marriott I could not resist but sign up. Though I must mention that the folks at LBBD were kind enough to squeeze me in right at the last minute (bless them).

The event took place on June 28th at the JW Marriott Aerocity property at their patisserie and coffee shop, The Delhi Baking Company. Led by Head Chef Girish Krishnan and Chef Narendra Lendave we baked Focaccia Bread and Pistachio Macarons. Now to be honest it was the Macarons that I was truly there for. I have been hugely fascinated by Macarons ever since I ate my first one. To me a Macaron is more than just a piece of confectionary-it is a perfect balance of flavour, texture, size and colour. You've got to give it to the French, they know their food all right!

I’ve done a fair bit of research on Macarons over time and I was itching to bake my first batch and the Make and Bake Workshop was the perfect opportunity for me to get my hands dirty. The only two parts of the Macaron baking process I was nervous about was the folding in of the almond powder in the egg white and sugar mix and then piping the batter on the baking mat- but I surprised myself! My batter was the exact consistency it should’ve been, and for a first timer my Macarons were perfectly circular. Chef Girsh seemed impressed and asked me if I had baked Macarons previously. That in itself was immensely encouraging.

We then let our Macarons air for about thirty minutes before we popped them into the oven.

Later we filled our Macarons with a Buttercream filling and though I’m partial to Ganache, the buttercream was pretty good too.

Baking Focaccia Bread was a fun experience as well and took for more kneading than I imagined. But nothing beats the aroma of a fresh loaf of bread hot out of the oven.

That was not all; the folks at the Delhi Baking Company had a surprise for us. There was going to be a giveaway for the best baked Macarons and Focaccia Bread. And guess who won a hamper for the best Macarons (ahem)! And as if that was not enough, at the end of the workshop we were all given a goody bag, full of Macarons so colourful and pretty that I didn't have the heart to eat them. But then eat them I did.

So here’s to more baking, more blogging and of course, more eating!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Miss. McBakey Bakerson

It has been a long and hot and slow summer and I have obviously been neglecting my blog. With no summer vacation looming remotely close to my dusty horizon, the past few months had been rather uneventful- that is until I got myself an oven! My spanking new Morphy Richards 18 litre oven is my new best friend and I have turned into a baking machine of sorts.

Ever since I can remember, I have always been enormously fascinated by baking. I baked my first cake when I was eleven years old and was amazed by what a simple combination of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and a dash of food colouring could create. My mother has been an enthusiastic baker herself and we have always baked our Christmas cakes from scratch. I guess it was this warm smell of baking in our kitchen which nudged me towards the oven to start baking myself. As a child I began experimenting with simple Marble Cakes, Sponge Cakes and I as I gained more experience, I ambitiously moved onto Black Forest Cakes, Brownies, Bread Puddings, Jalebi Puddings (a unique family recipe) and Cookies. Having said that, I am in no way an expert baker, at least not yet. With each cake I bake I learn something new- I realize I could have added a little more, or a little less or something, or maybe I could have turned down the heat of the oven, or maybe increased it. Each recipe teaches me something new and that's one of the many things I love about baking. 

Apart from writing, the other thing which gives me immense joy is baking. I am a terrible cook and even if I follow a recipe step by step, measuring out ingredients in exact amounts, I inevitably make a mess of what I’m cooking- but not when I bake. Baking speaks to me and I find it almost therapeutic to line a baking tin with butter paper, mix batter and watch a cake rise in the oven  The other day a colleague asked me what would I have been doing if I weren't a writer, it didn't take me long to say, I’d have been a baker. People who know me know I hate sharing my food, but when I bake I want to share it with everyone I can, only tasting a slice to see if I've got it right.

Before I forget I should mention that most of my baking (except the chocolate cake) is thanks to a book called The Big Book of Treats by Pooja Dhingra, the founder and owner of Le 15Patisserie, a French style patisserie in Bombay. These recipes are hers and her book is turning into a baking Bible of sorts for me. But moving on, I wish to experiment with new ingredients, try out unique combinations and come up with my own recipes. Ever since I've tasted them, I have always wanted to bake a perfect Red Velvet Cake and Macarons and I know I'm getting there. Till then, here are glimpses of what’s been baking in my kitchen so far.  
When life hands you lemons, bake a Lemon Cake. Just perfect for a hot summer day. 

Warm Banana Walnut Loaf. Goes perfectly with a late afternoon cup of tea. 

My version of a busy day chocolate cake. It's quick and can be made in a jiffy even on a weekday evening.

This is what sin looks like. Chocolate Walnut Brownies, rich with butter and two kinds of chocolate. 

Chocolate Walnut Brownies in the making. Baking with chocolate is always such a joy.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

In Which I Talk About Marriage and Name Change

I have been married for four years and I have chosen not to change my last name, nor have I hyphenated it with my husband’s last name. I am happy and fortunate to be married to a man who respects my choice and keeping my name was not something I needed to seek his permission for.

My reason for not changing my name is simple, I don’t agree with it. I don’t see why a woman must change her name after getting married, when there is no similar expectation from a man. I was raised to believe that men and women are equal and if that it truly the case then I get to keep my name after getting married, right? I understand that many women who do change their names do it out of choice and I am in no way critical of women who make this choice.

Women have been changing their last names for years. It is a done thing, you get married and you take on your husband’s last name, simple. In all this taking on of the husband’s name I see years of patriarchy. Something that’s been happening for centuries and something not many seemed to have questioned. I on the other hand had my share of questions. Why is it always a man who gets to pass on his name? Why this unfair privilege? Why is a woman expected to change a name she’s had since birth? Why doesn’t a woman get to pass on her name?

I understand that even keeping my maiden name means I’m keeping my father’s name, who is obviously a man and hence it’s still patriarchal etc, etc, but since it was my father who gave me life and who I unfortunately lost very early, I have decided that my Daddy is the only man whose last name I will carry. Also, since I’m an only child my last name is a legacy of sorts which is something I not only want to retain, but pass on to our future children as well.

My name is my identity, something which I’ve had since birth and something which has made a place for itself in my life and in the memories of people I have known. I experience that disconnect each time I log into Facebook and see a girlfriends name I don’t instantly recognise and then realisation dawns “Ahh, she's a missus now!” Changing my name would mean changing a very large and important part of who I am, it would mean changing years and years of filling up “Maryann Theresa Taylor on forms. It would feel as if someone’s taken my nose off my face and stuck it to my forehead. It would feel very uncomfortable.

Then there are people who say “But now you’re part of your husband’s family and so you should take on their last name”. I don’t understand this argument. Don’t you have cousins and other relatives with different last names, aren’t they still part of your family? Why must it all be so superficial? Will I not be considered part of my husband’s family just because I chose to keep a separate identity?

I’ll be frank; I’ve had my moments of doubt about not having changed my name. Was I being rebellious? Was I trying too hard to prove something? But then as a married friend (who has also decided to retain her maiden name) rightly pointed out that the reason why I’m even having these doubts is because I’m deviating from a long standing, patriarchal norm. I wasn’t doing anything improper, so why should there be room for doubt?

I once read that in the Middle East there is no expectation from a woman to change her last name after marriage. This is because it is believed that a woman, irrespective of her being married still remains a daughter to her family and gets her share of the inheritance. They also believe that by taking away a women’s last name you are taking away her identity, which eventually makes her a nobody.

Closer home in states like Meghalaya and Kerala where societies are primarily matrilineal, women are not expected to change their names after marriage. Daughters pass on their last names to their children and get their share of their parents’ inheritance. This was a pleasant discovery, as compared to how in some Indian communities back in the day even a woman’s first name was changed after they married.

I have married friends, many of whom have changed their names after getting married. Some have hyphenated their last names with their husbands’ last names and some of them have let go of their maiden names entirely. So then why do women change their names? I decided to chat with a few married friends and find out.

When I began asking I got a mixed bag of responses. For one married friend letting go of her maiden name wasn’t a big deal, it was just a name after all and dropping her maiden name and taking on her husbands’ last name didn’t affect her sense of identity. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. Other friends I spoke to said taking on their husband’s last name wasn’t an obvious choice and a lot of thought went into it. The reason they added their husband’s last name to their maiden name was because they were planning children and wanted the children to have their father’s last name. A common family name made sense to them. Had they not been planning children they would have kept their maiden names.

Another friend who has hyphenated her maiden name with her husbands has done so because hers is an inter-community marriage and the combination of her maiden name and married name has turned out to be a great conversation starter! I spoke to another friend who has hyphenated her name and who is of the opinion that sharing a last name with their husbands led to a feeling of completeness, a deeper connect with her partner and made her feel part of the new family she’s married into. She also adds that her decision to share her last name with her husband has been considerably influenced by women in her family who changed their names after marriage. 

And then I have friends who have decided to keep their maiden names. These women are of the opinion that their name is an important part of their identity and changing their names after marriage wasn’t something that came naturally to them, or wasn’t something they agreed with. One of them has seen her mother retain her maiden name with her married name, which in turn influenced her decision. She also believes that by taking on one’s husband’s name doesn’t mean you’ll love him any more as compared to if you didn’t. Another friend I spoke to decided to keep her maiden name because she wants to identify with her fathers lineage and is of the opinion that her surname is an integral part of who she is.

Researching for and writing this post was important for me to tie up some loose ends and has helped me understand why I chose to keep my name and why some women choose to change theirs.

Apart from having gained wonderful perspective from all the women I spoke to what made me incredibly happy was that their decision to change, hyphenate, or retain their names was not forced upon them, or was not something they sought permission for. It was their decision alone.

The times they are a changin'. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Like to Move it Move it

I have been doing yoga for three weeks now and I love it. Over the years I've tried many different forms of exercise, from walking, to gymming, to aerobics, to a combination of all three and as much as these induced a sense of well-being and helped me lose weight, none of them calmed me as much as yoga has.

Yoga, like most good things, came to me later in life and I wonder why I didn't turn to this wonderful form of exercise before. Better late than never I guess. I have been doing yoga three times a week for now and I love how calm and relaxed it makes me feel. After every yoga class I’m all composed and zen like and it makes me wonder is this is how it feels like to be Buddha (long shot I know, but still!)

It may have something to do with getting older, but after years of being unhappy with my body I have finally come to accept that I have a certain body type and no matter how hard I exercise I’m won’t be able to change that. I may lose weight, but I’ll always have broad shoulders. Doing yoga has put certain things in perspective for me, like the fact that I may never be slim hipped, but I can be fit and flexible, which I believe is more important. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Reading List for 2014

The New Year is usually a time to make lists; lists of resolutions, lists of things to do, places to go to and the like. And so inspired by a colleague who has a neat list of books she wishes to read in 2014 pinned up at her desk, I too have come up with my reading list for this year.

Here goes my list in complete random order:

1.    The Lowland: Jhumpa Lahiri
2.    Tiny Beautiful Things: Cheryl Strayed
3.    Norwegian Wood: Haruki Murakami
4.    Open City: Teju Cole
5.    Sex and the Citadel: Shereen El Feki
6.    Those Pricey Thakur Girls: Anuja Chauhan
7.    Such a Long Journey: Rohinton Mistry
8.    The Bastard of Istanbul: Elif Shafak
9.    Homesick (short stories): Roshi Fernando
10.  Nobody Can Love You More: Mayank Austen Soofi
11.  NW: Zadie Smith
12.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
13.  A Fine Balance: Rohinton Mistry
14.  Matilda: Roald Dahl
15.   Delhi Noir: Hirsh Sawhney
16.  The Good Muslim: Tahmima Anam
17.  I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman: Nora Ephron
18.  Where'd You Go Bernadette: Maria Semple
19.  Attachments: Rainbow Rowell
20.  Chasing the Monsoon: Alexander Frater
21.  Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Katherine Boo
22.  The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt
23.  Anastasia Krupnik: Lois Lowry
24.  Short Stories by Marquez: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
25.  Moranthology: Caitlin Moran

That was my list for this year. Probably I’m being a little too ambitious, but is there anything else you’d recommend? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Instagram-ing Gurgaon

I've made a promise to myself to start blogging like I used to, by which I mean I’m going to be trying to blog every weekend.

It’s been a few months since I've discovered Instagram and I absolutely love it. I also love how the word Instagram has become a verb, at least in my vocabulary (Eg: Can you please Instagram that picture for me?). I’m sure you could've done without the example, but still!

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I shall save myself all the typing and put up few pictures taken in Gurgaon (where I now live, in case you haven’t read my last post). 

This picture was taken from the washroom window of a mall. The focus of the picture is supposed to be these birds (which you can't see very clearly here) who were sitting so still that you'd think they were dead. But what I especially liked about this picture is the visible contrast in the skyline. 

The shiny, light-emitting building next door. This is what this building looks like every morning when the sun rises, which I found rather fascinating. 

It's nice to see what's holding up the traffic. 

This one pretty much speaks for itself. 

On New Year morning I made pancakes which we ate topped with Nutella and bananas and it was good! 

Psst, if you'd like you can follow me on Instagram here 

Photo Credit: Aashish and his iPhone 4S 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

From The Garden to the Gaon

For anyone who has bothered to read or subscribe to this blog will realise that I have been away for quite a few months. I have been lazy I’ll agree, but I've also had reasons for this long-ish absence.

A lot has happened in these four months that I’m happy about; I've changed jobs and have moved houses (twice in six months actually). After having lived with the in-laws for three years, the husband and I decided that it was time for us to stretch our wings and move out. It worried us that as adults we had no idea how to run a home.

But more than anything else, I was desperately in need of my own space and my own independence. As an only child I crave solitude and silence and love being left alone. This is something the husband has come to understand and respect, but this silence and solitude I longed for was hard to find in a house constantly buzzing with people.

A lot of married people I know talk about how convenient and comfortable it is to live with ones in-laws. Everything’s taken care of and you don’t really need to bother with the actual running of the household. There’s nothing wrong with living with your in-laws if that’s a choice you've made and are comfortable with, but personally, I love my independence and would never compromise on that for a bit of extra comfort. The control freak that I am I constantly need to be in charge of how my house is run; from the groceries that are bought, to what’s cooked for dinner, to the way I like having my house cleaned. Comfort in the form of cooks and cleaners can be hired, so that’s not really an excuse of still living with one’s parents (unless you really, really want to). The fact that I can wake up in the morning and decide that I’m having eggs for breakfast is so liberating that I’m taking my time to savour my new found independence. 

From Rajouri Garden to Gurgaon and I can feel the difference already (the difference between the two is a story for another day). I was skeptical about moving out of “Delhi”, but it was for good reason I told myself, I’ll be much closer to work and I could hop across to Delhi any time I liked, I mean it’s only an hours drive away really.

Gurgaon has it’s problems I agree, the city has it’s share of crime, there’s limited electricity (the entire city is running on generators) and water is scarce, but what I love about Gurgaon is that it’s an ambitious city, it’s a growing city (most of the city’s growing vertically, but still) and it’s a city I can work in, meet friends in, go shopping in and feel comfortable in.

Now coming to the house- it’s a small-ish two bedroom flat, with a tiny balcony (where we hope to do barbecues soon), large windows and lots of natural light (at least until we get curtains). It’s lovely, my little flat is and I absolutely love it. We moved in here a few days before Christmas and the first thing I did was put up my Christmas tree and string it with lights and only then did I truly feel like I was home.

Being on the sixth floor of a secure, gated community means that it’s really, really quiet (this is something I love, though the husband doesn't quite) and you don’t have to deal with random strangers ringing your door bell. When we decided we wanted to live in a flat, the husband and I made sure we wanted to live in a community which feels cheerful, positive and safe and is well lit after dark and I can now safely say that with this flat in this particular society we got exactly what we wanted.

Since this is the first time we've moved out by ourselves in India, we didn't have any furniture and so for now it’s just beanbags and a few random chairs strewn around the living room, a makeshift bed on the bedroom floor and a few mismatched cups. But this lack of possessions is liberating in many ways. Having decided not to hoard, we’re careful about what we buy. Each time we pick something off a store shelf, we ask ourselves, do we really need this, or do we just like the look of it? Making a home out of a house takes time and I’m looking forward to it. It’s like a little project the husband and I are working on together, something we enjoy and something we look forward to.

It's been two weeks in our new house and I feel at home already. It's peaceful here and I can read, write, potter round the house and just be myself. I've discovered little corners of the house where I hole up when I want alone time. A few lone moments to think, to reflect, or to just sit all by myself without the pressure of having to make conversation with anyone. I am a solitary person and this house let's me be who I am and I like that.

I've also managed to get myself a rather cheerful Bengali cook *touch wood, touch wood* who makes some of the most divine fish curry I've eaten in the longest time that I'm in food coma most days after dinner. I've also stocked my fridge with lots of fresh veggies, but for now it's the fish which is winning! 

When I look out of my window I see concrete towers looming out in the distance, but for some reason this doesn't disturb me as much as I imagined it would. A concrete jungle some may call it, I on the other hand see an ambitious and flamboyant city, a city I may never call home, but then again never say never right?