You need people in your lives with whom you can share parts of your life. When I am angry or upset about something, I will call a particular person and vent out and even shout and scream till I am calmed down. If I am happy about something, I will call usually that same person and share my joy. If I am excited about something I will tell that person about that thing.
But over the years I have also come to learn that it is not necessary that you have just one person with whom you could you share all emotions of your life. I have talked about this earlier too, once, I think. Because really I have grown up to learn that fact. Initially, I used to feel that this kind of companionship is not right. But no, why? Its not necessary that someone who I can talk about cooking maybe interested in shopping with me. Its not necessary that someone who is very close to me and I can share the darkest parts of my life maybe interested in what I am doing with the book I am writing. It is also not important that someone I am comfortable travelling with be the same person that I can just sit by on a bench and talk nothing about. But I do need all kinds of people in my life. I need someone who is quiet enough to sit and quietly watch the waves. Someone who wont think oh, shes so quiet, shes not this quiet always, maybe shes’s not wanting to talk to me. Yes I am talkative, but I am also a very quiet person. I love my quiet space where I can think and yet share space with someone. I need not have a person who would sit quietly with me and watch the waves lashing the shores, but I might just enjoy a conversation about what a pleasure it was to enjoy the silence of the beach and the roar of the waves.
I really dont know if I am making any sense of all this. But all I want to say is that if you have a lot of different friends with whom you enjoy different aspects of your lives then its perfectly fine. You still could have that one bestie with whom you share your life absolutely.
Some people tell me I have a lot of friends. I do, and some of them are really close to me. These are people who I have nurtured and who have nurtured me in return. People who have stood by me through my darkest hours and for whom I have been there through the storms. Its not that I have stopped making friends. I meet new people and those who I connect with I make friends with, and I know I will do it till I am alive.
But it takes time, really a good amount of time to know who your real friends are. Some are just there to have fun, and then they move on, when you move forward. So take your time. Be good, have fun, laugh a lot, and if someone decides to move on and not be in touch – its ok. They had their share in your lives. You gave them what you had to, and they what they had. Just remember the good times.
Paneer or Cottage cheese is one such good friend in the North Indian kitchens. Its the kind of friend who will be a curry for you, a sandwich for you, a dry side for you, a snack for you, or a paratha for you. I know, just like the potato. I love them both so much. In my fridge you will always find either boiled potatoes or a slab of paneer, because I have a big kid you comes barging into the house and ransacking the kitchen as if he’s just returned from a deserted island where he hasnt eaten for some years. Infact, hes the very reason why I have to keep looking for new things to cook.
A lot of my non North Indian friends wanted to know more about the mystery called stuffed Parathas. Well its a versatile meal with combines bread and some kind of stuffing inside which can be conveniently eaten whenever hunger strikes. A lot of time, even our unhappy kids like some variety of parathas. For me, its a very convenient lunch item that I give to my big kid for whom eating lunch in office is a big task. So this is handy, just roll and eat without taking your eyes off the computer screen and one hand still free to type out a mail.
The trick to make good parathas is the dough should be just soft enough, not too hard, not too soft and the filling should be dry. If it is wet the possibility of the parathas breaking out or not being rolled properly are 100%.
So here’s my recipe for a good tasting delicious paneer paratha
Time taken – 1 minute per paratha
1 cup mashed paneer
1 small onion chopped very fine
1 green chillies chopped very fine
a small bunch corriander leaves chopped very fine
Salt to taste (but keep it on the higher side)
a big pinch garam masala
a big pinch amchoor powder
a small pinch caraway or ajwain seeds
Mix all the ingredients into the paneer well
Use a ball of dough per paratha and using your thumb make an indent in the middle and make a cup.
Fill the stuffing into it and close the cup
Gently pat over the rolling board ensuring the closing does not open up. If you apply too much pressure the closing will open up.
Then using some flour roll it into a chappati and cook over a hot griddle pan
You can cook it without any oil or ghee at all, but ghee gives best results, and ghee is also good for you.
To gain maximum taste of the paratha eat it right off the pan with a dollop of butter on it.
I cant honestly afford to eat it this way, I cant even get anywhere close to this – so I am just dreaming of it.