Valentine’s day and Archies
It was on our way back from some work, the car was passing through an Archies Store and I asked Madhushree – Do they still make so much business as before? An Archies store may not mean anything to millennials but anyone born in 70’s and 80’s will vouch for it. It was the gateway to love and expression of love and a fantasy land.
Love is a very personal, private feeling for me, hence I have never realised or approved the fact that there should be one singular day when I have to express my love. Teenage and adolescence hormones create havoc in the body and mind. We all go through that phase. Now when I look back, it seems “being in love with someone” was more of a confirmation of belonging to an elite group. Valentine’s day is like that one day where it seems that this is the last day left in the entire world where you can declare your love for your partner.
Some say it takes a lifetime to understand what true love is and some are lucky to find a perfect partner in most weirdest circumstances and in the shortest possible time. Some say people, who are lucky in love never win in gambling. In school, you play FLAME test and when you grow up, you buy Linda Goodman – to check compatibility and fate of relationship. Human relationship is so complex and I wish there were enough data points to do a predictive analysis. None tells you love is also sacrifice, love is also accommodating, love is also adjusting to a whole set of people closest to your partner and all of a sudden becoming your family too.
Love marriage and arranged marriage the BIG question of growing up years
I have not seen many successful matured love story while growing up as it was rare in our growing up year. I have heard this common question from all my relatives and people around, is it arranged or love marriage? In my time, arranged marriage was like getting a chance in a professional course after cracking an entrance exam at state/national level. Arranged marriage apparently had high success rate. Love marriage was like opting for general streams of study with much speculation and uncertainty about the future. Times have changed. Thankfully.
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My Mama, a bong kayasthya got married to a beautiful Sindhi lady in 1980s and that’s the only love story culminating into a successful marriage and a happily ever after life which had been etched in my mind for a long time. Once visiting their house, I saw a plaque on their bedroom door with their couple picture – Every dream needs a beginning – mine began with you. It’s more than 30 years that I have seen this and it’s still one of the most romantic statements for me.
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Love is .. If a plaque had a significant impact, then graffiti and even earlier than that, Sunday telegraph magazine silently played a role. There used to be a series of doodles which used to come out in the form of Love is .. Does this picture remind you of that?
Kim Casali and her teachings
Now when I realise that these quotes were more practical and pulled out from daily life of a couple and very handy too, for a relationship. Some of the best ones are like
Love is ..
- staying calm when she takes ages to get ready
- when you can’t stay mad at each other for long
- soothing away his worries
- making yourself useful at home
- crossing oceans to be with her
- always making up before bed time if you have quarreled
- when you become his screensaver
- a want and a need brought together
- being able to say you are sorry
- knowing you will be loved till the end
This can be endless. A wonderful series was conceptualised by New Zealand Cartoonist Kim Casali in 1960s when she drew these pics for her future husband. Soon they became popular worldwide and are being used by plenty of greetings card manufacturer. Everyday anecdotes, which we realise but tend to overlook but when followed, yields great results for sure.
I hope Tugga reads this when he is about to fall in love and re-reads this time and again to get some perspective. Hope he someday realises that “Chaand, taare tod laoon” is only good on silver screen, when you feel:
Rang bhi dekha
Roop bhi dekha
Rasta manzil saahil mehfil
Koi nahin hai aisa
Tera saath hai jaisa – thats the true love perhaps
When was the last time you had given me a Valentine’s day gift? Did you ever give me any Valentine’s day gift? The conversation with which the piece started – continued and it was eventually a monologue with one party safely choosing to be silent.
The recipe of Lemon and Strawberry Bundt cake
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Lemon and strawberry bundt cake
For the bundt Cake
- 170 gms Unsalted Butter plus extra for greasing
- 375 gms Flour plus extra fro dusting
- 3 nos large eggs
- 350 gms Caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 1 1/4 cup Thick Yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
For the buttercream
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature
- 4 cups Icing Sugar
- 1/4 cup Milk to thin the butter cream if required
- three or four gel food colours
- fresh strawberries for garnish
For the glaze
- 1 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
- 1/4 cup Milk
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Prepare a large bundt pan by greasing it with butter and dusting with flour. Pre heat the oven at 180 degree c.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl for three to four minutes. Add the lemon zest and continue whisking either with hand or an electric hand mixer.
- Break the eggs one by one and incorporate them thoroughly with the butter and sugar. As you do it, you will notice it curdling but it is alright and once you add the flour, it becomes smooth once again.
- Once the eggs are done, add vanilla, lemon juice and the yogurt and whisk nicely.
- In another large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while folding in with a spatula. If you find it too difficult, then use the mixer but don't whisk too much then. Just make sure to incorporate the flour properly with the egg batter.
- Mash the strawberries a little with your fingers so that you have some juice and some small bits too.
- Take the bundt pan and pour about 1/4 of the batter on the bottom. Spread it gently all around.
- Add the strawberries to the rest of the batter and fold using a spatula. Pour this into the bundt pan all around and pop it into the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the centre.
- Take the cake out when done and leave it as it is till it cools down a little bit. Then using a knife, release the edges and then flip it out on a plate. Let it cool down completely and while it is cooling down, make the butter cream.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and then add the icing sugar in small batches till it becomes and smooth buttercream. Use the milk at your discretion. If it has become too soft then add more icing sugar.
- Distribute the butter cream in three or four bowls, depending on the number of food colours you have.
- Add drops of different food colours to the bowls and mix them. Put them in different piping bags with different nozzles.
- Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and the milk and lemon juice. It should not be too runny neither too clumpy.
- When the cake cools down, first pour the glaze using a spoon all around the cake top. Then let the glaze set, which takes about 45 minutes. Then decorate the top of your cake with butter cream and some fresh strawberries.