Today, I asked my friends whether they ever felt they did the college thing differently. A lot of my friends went on the advertising path and a majority of my people chose journalism. I wanted to write for newspapers so I (thought I) knew where I belonged. I am such a smart one like that. I loved my class. We were a small class and the men and women that taught us were hilarious. I feel bold enough to say that some of them didn’t do their jobs well, but at least we got to laugh a lot at their eccentricities. I think I can forget about asking for a recommendation letter now. Good bye imaginary fellowship. I wish I knew the difference between you and a scholarship. I’d rather be a fellow.
(Writer, come back to what you were saying)
If I look at where I am right now, I sometimes feel bad for my choice. Not because it was the wrong decision but because print journalism is somewhat of a dying art. It’s so bleak and dismal. Nobody trusts us and if they do, we’re probably out of a job.
I feel (sadistically) happy to report that my friends are just as confused as me. There’s always a lot of pressure to conform and have a working plan. YAY! They don’t have a plan either. One friend gladly embraced the fact that she only has short term goals. You go girlfrand. I think it’s amazing that she knows that. Having even the slightest knowledge of your expectations can make you feel at peace with yourself. I had such moments every now and then and they were blissful. But if you don’t know, what are you supposed to do? I’m rarely convinced of what the right path is.
In February, Minila was shopping for her bridesmaids’ jewellery at the mall in Malad. Her sister Neola, best friend Roanna and I went along. They were bridesmaids and I was a house guest/prisoner. After some 3 or 4 hours of a crazy game of process of elimination + looking at every piece of cute bling + she says, she says, we finally made it to the checkout line…with jewellery! I was standing with Roanna, who is an amazingly crafty, stylish, creative genius and we were talking some rubbish as usual. Incredibly awkward me and nervous giggling us, she said something very profound. I didn’t tell her how great what she said sounded because I have this horrible habit of reacting internally. I wish I could just scream sometimes. If I try to quote her, I would do a shitty job so I’ll paraphrase. Actually, I don’t even think I can paraphrase so I’ll tell you that it had something to do with her being content that she’s doing what she’s doing…that when it’s time for her to UNLEASH THE CREATIVE BEAST, she’ll know. I’ve known Roanna because of her best friend. She’s always so encouraging and supportive of creative ideas, not knowing that her words mean a lot when you’re screaming into an empty jar. She said magical words. “Listen here universe, I’m ready when you’re ready!”
About that college stuff, I’ve come to realise how little it really signifies. Nobody can point you in the right direction and stories like this only make it worse. Don’t you think it’s harder to believe the writer’s intentions when he has a job with The Economist?
I love my ability to create and I love knowing people with the same talent. Surrounding myself with them is enough for me. Sorry, money. Getting a degree in Journalism wasn’t a leap of faith. It was natural. We are a generation of hyper-informed/stimulated/i-don’t-know-what-else, but let’s not stop creating. Many, many years from now, these tangible things we made, will make us happy. They might be a stepping stone to something kind of cool, a wonderful memory or nothing at all. Don’t disappoint yourself by never trying. Create wonder.
That goes double for me.
I am actually doing well, thank you! I’m sure you were wondering. Me and the blawg go through life in sickness and in health. What a pain in the rear. This recipe is actually a bunch of teeny tiny recipes rolled into one. Some can be done a day ahead and some on the day. Cooking for myself usually consists of foraging in the refrigerator for things I can stuff in a bowl for lunch. Here is one not-so-unplanned outcome. I hope you find inspiration from it. Make me happy. Stuff yo face.
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 cup chickpeas/garbanzo beans (kabuli chana), soaked overnight or 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 300gm chicken breast
- 3 tbsp cilantro-mint chutney
- 2 carrots, grated
- Spinach leaves, chopped once, right in the middle
For the yogurt dressing
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 cloves roasted garlic
For the garnish
- A pinch of paprika
- Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
Now for the funnest part, making all of this. First you cook the rice*.
Next you cook the chickpeas, which you so diligently soaked all night. Rinse them out from the water they were soaking in. They will have doubled in size and quantity by now. Put them in a pot of water with the bay leaves and salt. The more water the better. I used 6 cups. Bring the water to a boil on medium high heat and then turn the heat down to a slow boil. Cover the pot with a lid but keep it slightly open on one end. The water should still be boiling with the lid on top so adjust the heat accordingly. The cooking process will take about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. Stir occasionally. I usually check to see how the chickpeas “sound” and “feel” when I’m stirring it to predict when it’s ready. If they still clank or clunk on the back of the spoon, they need some more time. A smoother stir means they’re ready. Alternatively, you could just taster about 3 of them from different parts of the pot. Once you’re satisfied with their readiness, rinse the chickpeas and put them in a bowl. Coat with olive oil and cumin powder and keep aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, which in this house takes so much time that I have managed to raise my own chicken family. They do not like to see me roast chicken breasts so I distract them with a special Indian dance. Just kidding. I WISH I HAD CHICKENS!
Marinate the chicken breast in the cilantro-mint chutney for a minimum of an hour. You can do this step a day ahead as well and marinate it overnight. Longer you marinate, the better the flavour. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the chicken on top, uncovered and cook the meat for 25-30 minutes. Let it cook for 10 minutes and then cut it into bite-sized-looks-pretty-in-a-bowl pieces.
Grate the carrots, chop up some spinach and prepare your cilantro for garnish.
To make the dressing, you will want to have roasted garlic on hand. It’s simple: Turn your oven temp down to 375 degrees F. Take a whole garlic bulb and cut the top. Place the garlic head side up in a cake or pie dish lined with aluminum foil. Put 1 tbsp of olive on top. Cover the garlic with the foil and let it roast for 35-40 minutes. Once you pull it out of the oven, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and then smash them with the back of a spoon. You will need just 2 large cloves for this dressing (approx 2 tbsp). Now you can make the dressing for an easy peasy kick by mixing the yogurt with the lime juice, tahini, roasted garlic and turmeric.
To assemble the bowl, start with the brown rice, then add the garbanzo/chickpeas/chana, pop in some chicken, grated carrot, chopped spinach and last top with the Greek yogurt dressing, cilantro and paprika. You can add and subtract whatever you like and you don’t even have to tell me.
Suggestion: If you don’t want the chicken, just marinate the chickpeas in the cilantro-mint chutney instead. You can use the same overnight principle of flavour notch-upping or you can put it in at the very end.
(*I’ve linked you to an almost perfect way to cook brown rice. If you have your own method, share it with me. I always feel really lucky while cooking rice. Not lucky in the “Oh! I’m blessed by the rain from the skies” way. Lucky in the “Did I just do that” way.)