This afternoon, I got back from a short trip to Panchgani. It was nice, sort of.
I don't get the deal with short getaways and brief stints anyway. I had planned this one because I was really eroded by work and some other goings-on at home and hearth. So when A visited, I thought it would be nice to venture somewhere briefly. Frankly, I like long holidays. In fact, more than holidays, I like sabbaticals. Smaller holidays seem like such a dash of desperate escapism. What can you sort out in 2 days away from routine that you can't by switching off your phone for 4 hours on a Monday evening? In fact, with this trip I realized that when I am frazzled, I need to be in my familiar surroundings to be soothed. Being agitated and taking short trips just really wears me out. Because here's the thing. I like being treated with tenderness when I am stressed. More than compassion or kindness, I need tenderness. Soft voices, soft footfalls that are mindful that I am trying to sleep, soft words (not harsh advice). Lately, though, it doesn't seem to be happening. I find myself going hoarse explaining what I want, why such and such is hurtful...but it doesn't seem to make any difference. It's easier to handle such apathy in my own zone. In a new place, it's just too awkward and messy and I will undoubtedly be really hurt about something but then I don't want to ruin the mood so I will crib about unclean napkins instead. (Which, by the way, you must be careful about if you are headed to Panchgani.)
This is exactly why I prefer sabbaticals. Take 6 months off, Take a year off. I would rather do that, replenish myself in a more wholesome manner and then return to regular programming, so to speak. Short trips only come in the way of any real progress and wind me up even more. When you need change, why settle for distraction?
Anyway, that was a rather large prelude to what I am coming to.
I got home today, somewhat pleased but also a little miffed and bruised at certain things. In fact, I was so upset that I willingly took a nap. (Apparently, deep anger brings out the sloth in me.) When I woke up, I decided to cook. (I'll take a moment here to reiterate. I...decided to...cook. COOK. Which involves one to be in the kitchen for some indeterminate amount of time, handle utensils, chop veggies, dispense vegetable peels, etc. I decided to do all that voluntarily. Just points to the fact that I was out of my mind with some deep gnawing worry.)
I made cauliflower stew. It was a simple stew with lots of onions and garlic softened in a mix of olive oil and butter. To this were added cauliflower flowerets, tiny slivers of ginger, cumin powder, salt and hing. Then I added a lot of water and let it boil on slow flame. Meanwhile, separately, I dissolved some Maggi coconut powder in warm water. Here, I didn't follow the instructions correctly. For thick milk, I had to dissolve 3 heaped tablespoons in one cup of water. Instead, at first, I dissolved 3 spoons of powder in 3 cups. But since I like a strong coconut-milk base in stews, I increased the amount to 6 heaped spoons in 3 cups water. Then I added that in slowly to the stew. I loved that pinkish hue that slowly spread across the thick white base, making it slightly sweet, creamy and flavorful. Finally, I finished it off with a strong dash of pepper.
It was really nice.
Given the increase in sullen moods now, I think I'll be cooking more often.