Saturday, April 18, 2015

Waiting for Godot

I had the strangest conversation with someone I was mentoring last month. Here is how it went -
Friend: So, I have been in this role for 4 years and I am bored - there has been no promotion, interesting stretches in the job or monetary uplift
Working Mom : So what did you do about it?
Friend (surprised look) : Whaaaat? I am waiting for my manager to offer me the position of  Lead ?
Working Mom : Have you had a conversation with him letting him know of your interest?
Friend : Well I am working so hard , my work should speak for itself
Working Mom : So the reality is ...managers are not mind readers. You need to have a candid conversation with them around your career aspirations and interests. If  (a) the conversation does not yield a milestone map with them on your progress (b) status is your cue to stretch yourself and explore other opportunities. Yes it's hard and in situations inconceivable given the comfort level and security in your current job but the decision is yours to make.

How many times have you followed your dream....said damn the consequences this is what I want to do and I bloody well will do it come hell or high water

I was watching Shark Tank yesterday and one of things the Shark Robert Herjavec said was - the worst thing you can do is nothing. It resonated with me because ...It is very easy for  a person to get into a state of “Anomie”…a mindless state of just being …reminds me of a play I had read ages back in a literature class. The play was titled Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. It was about two sad men – Estragon and Vladimir and it follows two days in their lives while they wait expectantly and unsuccessfully for someone named Godot to arrive. They claim him as an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting that they would not recognize him were they to see him. To occupy themselves, they eat, sleep, converse, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide — yet they are afraid to even take that final step of suicide…what if the belt or the rope broke…they were plain afraid…still waiting for Godot. It was a simple play which our English teacher had us enact and dissect and yet what remained twenty five years later were memories of those two sad men…waiting, afraid and in limbo…

Action is better than inaction any have to try, fail, learn and do it over in order to grow. By failing you are setting yourself up to savor the successes that come by small or big. The best advise I have ever received was from my father who is no longer with me - He definitely lived it...he transformed himself from a child who lived in an orphanage all through middle school and high school to a full scholarship student (oh!so hard) to passing the IAS Exams at age 22 and he ended up the Head of a State.

He said Get out there and do something, Take Action. Don't take action because your neighbor did it ....but take it because there is this fire in your belly (I read that as Passion) that is forcing you to take action. You have one life -- Live it -- GET OUT THERE & DO SOMETHING

Friday, April 17, 2015

Healthy Recipes : "Pain Be Gone" Chocolate Cake

Cooking and Exercise are my panacea to all kinds of stress and unhappiness -- I found out that one of my first cousins is no more this week and it filled me with an intense sadness - he and I had been very close when we were in school -- he understood my penchant for books and melancholy better than most and we spoke about his dreams and aspirations to become a doctor who changed the world. We drifted apart growing up and I haven't seen him in over two decades - yet the pain felt when I heard that he had a heart attack was intense....he was only 42. I sat in the parking lot of the gym for 20 minutes contemplating going in and dancing away the pain...the body wasn't up to it. So I went back home and I grabbed my blender and whipped up a chocolate cake to ward away the cobwebs of melancholy and pain. 

Serves: 12 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Wheat Bran
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds)
  • 3 tbspoon Chia Seeds
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Cup Kefir 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar (I used Stevia)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • Pinch of Salt to Taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  I stick all the ingredients in my Food Processor and blend to cake consistency. Pour into a round well greased cake pan. Bake 30-35 minutes till  toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Nutritional Insights : Calories per Serving - 120, Carbs - 10 g, Fat - 5 g, Protein - 8 g, Fiber - 6 g 

The secret to my moist cake is the Kefir which is a close cousin to our Lassi/Buttermilk but embodied with healthy good for you probiotics. This cake is high in fiber, has healthy omega fats (from the Chia Seeds and Walnuts) and zero butter/vegetable oil. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Healthy Recipes : Coconut & Chickpeas Ishtew

Things were lazy and relaxed over the weekend. We had a wonderful trip to the Santa Cruz Natural Museum. I have been cooking a lot more at home the past month and have been experimenting with a lot of easy recipes. Sunday saw me heading out to the Farmer's Market where I picked up  the week's organic produce : 2 heads of cauliflower, sweet potatoes, cabbage, pink beets (so pretty!), mandarins, colored carrots. I have been obsessed with making a cauliflower and chickpeas curry, so looked at multiple sites before I settled on a merger of sorts between an Eating Well and Epicurious Recipe (what can I say - my recipe is one of it's kind)

                                                                                                                      Photo Credit : Epicurious
Serves: 4 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes


  • 1 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped Tomatoes
  • Finely chopped finger of ginger and 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder - I used Shaan's Chana Masala Powder
  • 4 cups largish  Organic cauliflower florets
  • 1 15 Oz can Organic  cooked garbanzo beans, drained & well washed
  • 1/2 cup of frozen green peas
  • 2-4 tablespoons Organic Coconut Milk (Whole Foods Brand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


 Heat oil in large pressure cooker over medium heat. Add  onions, garlic and ginger and sauté until golden brown. Now add the tomatoes and sauté till it's all mushy . Add cauliflower and garbanzo beans;  stir 1 minute. Add the Shaan Chana Masala  and  stir till it all melds together. Pressure Cook for 1 whistle and turn the heat off. When you can open the pressure cooker, turn your range to low and add in the frozen peas and the coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro. Enjoy with a helping of cooked Quinoa.
Nutritional Insights : Calories per Serving - 200, Carbs - 26 g, Fat - 10 g, Protein - 10 g, Sodium - 200 mg, Fiber - 10 g

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tentative Parenting : 7 Habits for Healthy Living

All my life, I had eaten like there was no tomorrow - not thinking of consequences, just focused on the taste, textures and the feelings that eating brought me. Food was my refuge as a shy, overweight teenager and it was always with me even when I felt lonely and lost.I never did have a AHA! moment about healthy eating and yes! I still obsess about food, the inner critic is especially loud about my unseemly bulges and yet I have managed to bring some amount of balance into my life - I have managed to maintain a healthy weight without dieting and have developed a healthy appreciation for whole foods & exercise

My weight loss journey hasn't been a very dramatic one. It has been a slow, gradual progress of adding foods that fit into our life style easily. It was about tweaking my exercise regimen from being focused solely on Yoga for 10 years to gradually progressing to Zumba - 5 times a week for the past 2 years and now I am attempting to add in some resistance training too. 

My son  on the other hand has been exposed to real foods from Day 1 of his existence - homemade Quinoa and Sweet Potato Porridge, Khichari made with seasonal organic vegetables, Kale, Kefir, Chia fact this 8 year old kid averages 25,000 Steps on his Fitbit -- motivating me to stretch beyond my meagre 10K to the 15K range. The words of advice that I offer to my son are the following ( though on second thoughts I should be the one taking the advise from him)  - 

#1 Sleep will not solve all of your problems, but not sleeping will create new ones
#2 Playing Sports will keep you happy and healthy. Keep Moving!
#3 Working Out signals to others that you are hard-working, focused and disciplined. Don't overdo it though -- you don't want to come across as swaggering, narcissistic and self-absorbed
#4 Nature Rocks - make nature a part of your fitness routine - be it long walks or hikes. Your mind, body & spirit will thank you for it one day
#5 Food is fuel - think about what you are putting into your body. If you eat crap you will feel like crap...if you eat well you will feel GREAT
#6 Strong = Self Sufficient - When you get stronger you don't have to ask me to open bottles for you - you will be opening bottles for me...ain't that an uplifting thought
#7 Endorphins help you cope - Remember your Ma and how she was sad two years back and every time she felt like crying -- you said Ma - go to your Zumba class you will feel better! At 6 years you were wise beyond words K2 -- now I offer you the same advice for life. When you are angry or sad- go run around the block, go for a walk and just breath, or go shoot the ball in the hoop for an hour...I guarantee it you will feel better.

And today for dinner just because I was obsessing over it - I have made K2 Dark Chocolate Dessert Waffles ( I couldn't make him waffles for Breakfast in the AM today)

You Need

  •  Blend all the items on Pulse in your blender ( I use my Blendtec)
  •  In the meantime heat up your Waffle Griddle
  • Start making your Waffles – serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream
  • Serve for an extra decadent, guiltless dessert - my son asked for seconds and thirds and I had no issues giving it to him

Photo & Recipe Credit - Ellie Krieger
At the end of the day Food for the body is not quite enough, you need food for the soul to sustain yourself.