Sense makes food!

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The Varq Restaurant at Taj Mansingh Hotel, Delhi may be defined as my own personal epicurean epicenter, for I crave to visit it any and every chance I'd get. Of course, this is not the only place which brings that epic epiphany relating to the existence of the the mastery in culinary arts, but still, it just served as a good example to start off with this blog post.

We are all aware (I hope) of the nasal role played in our food tasting experience. So, talking about the five senses, we may cross off the olfactory and gustatory ones. 
The tactile one is also of prime importance as can be heard in the phrase "Maa ke haath ka khana" (the food prepared by the mother). The conclusion arrived at from a related cocktail discussion was that there is some sort of an energy that is transferred from your finger tips to your food when you eat with your hands (now, don't blame me for going against table manners).

But I wanted to go beyond the somewhat obvious inferences. 
How far can our visual and auditory senses affect our eating experience?

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We're all addicts...

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...and I'm not talking about smoking, drugs, alcohol, sex or porn. We're all addicts of a different substance.

Guess what I'm talking about?

100 points for correct guess below:


Read on to get what I mean, if you want that is. 😝
(Honestly, I did this drama to try out the google forms का quiz feature. Mea culpa )
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Journalism Ethics. Defamations and Fake News.

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2.5 minutes

That's all I ask for before you spend another 5 minutes glancing through the post. (Tried to make the post easier with headers this time 😁)



Interesting / contextual?
Read on.

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Diaries and Disneylands

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Casual talks at late night parties. Everyone loves talking about Elon. That's what leaders are. Topics of conversation. 

Here's a starter. Heard it at a similar party.
Walt Disney didn't live to see the Disney World.  He died 5 years before it opened. On the day the Florida park opened, someone commented to Mike, the creative director, "Isn't it too bad Walt Disney didn't live to see this?"
"He did see it" Vance replied, "That's why it's here".

text ref. What Leaders Do: A Leadership Primer (By Dave Browning)
Source: Pinterest; here
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DIY : Lost your Philips Trimmer Charger? Here's how you do a cool #Jugaad

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Ummm, chargers are a messy business (including those wireless ones, sigh!). Specially those which are specially made for special devices. 



Yes, I am looking at you, Philips trimmers (and shavers and all things similar). You know, I totally understand your business idea. Sell the whole set for some 1500 bucks and sell spare chargers for some 1000 ones. Fools like me would go for a new set, and fools unlike me would hand you over 1000 bucks anyway.
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What the Surya Namaskar means for my Quarter Life Crisis

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 As we welcome International Yoga Day into its third year, I would like to thank the Surya Namaskar for helping me get along with my quarter life crisis with relative ease.

When I was 6 odd years old, some astrologer dude told me to look at the Sun daily and say "Om Surya Namaha" 12 times. Somehow the habit stuck. But it wasn't until recently that I looked up the actual names of the sun, and the meanings and the yoga postures associated with it.

But am I glad I did that during my early 20s. Yes, I know how you, me and we all feel at this age.

Doubtful about what we want, what we just did, and what we're going to do. Where is the impact we were supposed to create? Weren't we supposed to make a difference? Either stuck in a job where the growth seems impossibly harder than we thought or still figuring out what do with our underrated lives.
But the stories we used to read, and our parents, teachers, didn't they always say that we were special? (Heck, my parents even named me विशेष). We can't even compare to our over achiever parents when they were 25, let alone friends of our age!
Should we go for a debt-inviting MBA? Can we just quit and travel the world, hitchhiking? Or should we just go to the Himalayas and settle down as an ascetic? Or let's just take our non-paying passion full time! And passion, where is passion in our ever failing relationships?  Constant questioning if we really want to be with this person long-term — and maybe even debating whether it's too late to find someone else. Failed searches for the right one, failed attempts to sustain the right one.

Being a twenty something is indeed scary. The Depression Alliance estimates that a third of twenty somethings feel depressed.

"If, as we're constantly told, the world is our oyster, it's definitely a dodgy one. Unlike the midlife crisis, the quarter life crisis is not widely recognized. There are no 'experts' to help us. We have no support apart from each other."
Damian Barr, author of the book Get it Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis

 So here's my attempt at supporting a troubled fellow.

My perceptions and understandings about this wonderful meditative practice, called the Surya Namaskar; and why we should imbibe them.

And how it can save us.


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3 personal productivity hacks

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Yes, you've seen this, read that. Another one of the millions of productivity blog posts out there. But why should that be a problem? I love to read and experiment all productivity tips I can, because hey, it's a different kind of pleasure altogether to waste time for productivity.

Now ever since I've joined in capacity as a director at my family business, and trying to manage a not-for-profit part time, and multiple other things, I've been exhausted with e-mails, whatsapps and phone calls and going through my month without accomplishing a thing (or feeling so)

So that's that. Here are my 3 personal productivity hacks, which I hope you can incorporate in your corporate lives.
1. No No
2. Go Go
3. Re Re

Do comment with a tiny thanks if something helps you

Cheers!

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That redemption called learning.

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Last evening, while I was trying to learn how to raise my head upwards to breathe while continuing to thrust back my feet in that blue blue pool of a leisure time, I couldn't help but notice the purity of learning, as a process itself.



With my peer group, I too seem to have grown up. The 4 years 'hands-on' experience adorning my linkedIn profile pretends to say a lot; like most of of my peer group, I too have reduced learning in an alarming way.

Most of the times, we who are now done with our college and university days, and who are supposed to be contributing to the society through gainful employment are busy implementing things we already know.

Most of the times, we are busy showing to the world, we know.

Last evening when I was in the pool, i was facing a simple binary case - the world there was not bothered about me telling that I knew. Either I knew and continued swimming with intermittent breaths taken, or I didn't know.

I clearly didn't know.

Then came the learning part. I can not help myself but romanticize the whole process of learning. While the trainer tried his best giving me all the instructions, I again found myself alone, with water.

Assimilating is as important as being tutored.

It reminded of my pre- JEE days. Lots of things to study, lots of teachers - each claimed to know their fields, lots and lots of books, practice sets, notes, exam papers to be crammed.

And I now romanticize it all the way I used to, more than 10 years ago. Me studying in a corner of a room, with a dim table lamp illuminating my mind silently. The first phase of learning is accepting you don't know. Then you hunt for the right tools that make you know.

Then you learn. Sincerely, feeding in your thoughts the inputs that will give the desired output. 

You can fool the world that you know. But you can't fool yourself. The only way out is to learn. And nobody else can learn it for you. It's an amazing feeling. Knowing, practising things that make you a better version of yourself. Sessions when you talk to yourself, recount how many times you have gulped the swimming pool water before you have taken that one small breath before you go down again. Times when you question yourself why can you not do something. And go after it.

Learning redeems one. 

As I looked up beyond that blue sea of a swimming pool, the lone moon in the dark sky tended to tell me in a clairvoyant voice, "Maybe, we're all here to learn."

-
Alok
9 Apr 2017


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aS Shorts#2: A collection of s(h)orts!

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Ever heard of Creative Limitation? I came across this concept when I was designing a writer's haven for my architecture thesis (yeah, sounds all cool but it wasn't). So the idea, succinctly put, is
We need to first be limited, in order to be limitless
Think about it. A haiku restricts your syllable count. Acrostic poems limit the letter your sentence starts with. The last page of your school notebook has so little space yet produces such exquisite ink doodle masterpieces! To be totally contextual, I saw it with my writer's block. I couldn't get ideas for stories, didn't know where to begin, where to end. Until I came across a few questions in quora, which also lead to me experiment more with this creative limitation concept.

  1. Entire story in monosyllables
  2. Five line rhyming poem starting with 'Shoot me honey'
  3. Twenty word story with a twist in the last word
  4. Ten word heart wrenching story
  5. Five word intriguing story

Go on. Also, a challenge to the reader (yes, you) at the end of this post.

Edit 20/11/2016: Just came across this brilliant article on mental floss. It explores 8 extraordinary examples of 'constrained writing'. Quite intriguing I must say. My creative juices have already started flowing.
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An Ocean, A Bike and a Beach – What makes for a good road-trip!

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“What makes for a good road-trip?” asked she, sitting on the pillion as we cruised ahead towards Alibaug. I wondered. Was it the bike, the road, the pillion, the rider or the emotion?

“Emotion. Road-trip is an emotion”, said I. “It is liberating. It makes you forget that you have a home, a job, and your mundane routine. I think that is what makes for a good road trip.” She nodded her head in agreement – I saw that in the rear view mirror. I also saw her clicking this pic.


Wait a minute, I think his travelogue needs a better narration. Let me attempt! 

It was my birthday week, and she wanted us to go to some remote place, away from the ever bubbling maximum city. We chose to go to Kashid via Nagaon and Alibaug. And boy what a decision it was!
The trip started with us packing all our stuff in small bags and tying it all up onto Faisalwa (my Avenger 220 cruiser). We reached ‘Bhau-cha dhakka’ – a small time port in south Bombay. The name is funny but it is actually well-christened. For 150 bucks, some 3-4 ‘Bhaus’ (Bhau = Brother in Marathi) pushed my Avenger up on a small ferry.

A bike on an ocean. Ain’t that amazing!?

A couple of hours later, we got down on Rewas fort. From there started a rather refreshing bike trip to Alibaug. The road is single lane, and pretty empty on weekdays. On one hand you have hills, and on the other, the ocean. Tall grasses lined up the road shoulders and we cruised ahead humming songs of Lucky Ali.
(aS Note: The helmet was taken out momentarily only for the photograph. Pl. wear helmets while driving and ride safe!)  

A bit about the tarmac and road safety here. At places the road was super smooth, but intermittent were stretches full of gravel. It was becoming even trickier at the turns. I was noticing a fellow biker who was ahead me for some time. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and calling his style of driving rash would not be an exaggeration, judging by the way he was swinging his fazer side-ways. Suddenly a tractor came out from the left and I did see this biker almost hitting the mega-vehicle. Thank God for his brakes and well threaded tyres. I also applied the brakes and thanked God, for I was maintaining a comfortable distance from the biker. I bent forward and looked at my front CEAT tyre and felt a re-assurance. I always make it a point to check my bike’s tyres before cruising out. Maintaining safe distance from heavy vehicles ahead is a deliberate choice, and maintaining comfortable speeds of around 60-70 kmph with a Helmet on never killed anyone! (Bad pun, I know!) A quick and timely disclosure here. I’m chronicling my road trip adventure for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda. And you thought product placements were only a thing in the movies! ;)



Anyway, this small incident did not dampen our spirits and we went ahead with the road trip, stopping for lunch in Alibaug. And then we skipped its beaches for better places ahead. At night we stayed at a small private homestay at Nagaon – a place almost mid-way between Alibaug and Kashid.
I just cannot further this travelogue without talking about the sereneness of Nagaon beach. Imagine this. A beautiful sunset with ocean till the horizon and a glossy thin layer of the water extending on the beach, touching our feet in waves.
It was mesmerizing. I took my Faisalwa for a ride on the beach while she clicked pics. Have a look.

(aS Note: The helmet was taken out momentarily only for the photograph. Pl. wear helmets while driving and ride safe!) 

The Babe, the Bike and the Beach.

The next day we biked ahead and reached Kashid. A secluded place with another beautiful beach and waves. We came across a wonderful resort adjoining the hills which bracketed the small beach town. Amazingly well designed resort with rooms having private balconies overlooking the hills and the ocean. The night went on a high. Quite literally. It was an amazing experience, lying on the grass on a random balcony on the side of a random hill, overlooking an ocean as random.

Cheers to the places life takes one to!

With a couple of content hearts and travel-worn souls, we headed back the next morning. 

(aS Note: The helmet was taken out momentarily only for the photograph. Pl. wear helmets while driving and ride safe!) 

The Alibaug-Nagaon- Kashid trip definitely raised the bar for our future road travels. And some months later, we went to Goa. But that’s another story for another time! Keep visiting arbitSpeculations.com/travel for the next update! :)

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