5 Things We Can Safely Call “Pungent”

Slightly silly, but definitely not boring.

Don’t ask me why, but yesterday’s prompt was “Pungent” from the Daily Post, and I had this crazy writer’s itch to write! And so I decided to write on this weird sounding word, but not before I asked Google Assistant on my Android about “pungent”, something that I often to do just to see if it is humanely possible to annoy this Assistant to the point of quitting. Per usual, things quickly escalated, which you can see in the slideshow.

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So Allo helped (Yes I am going to call it Allo, because it is just easier), but I needed more to go on. So I googled, and searched, and read, and wasted more time till I had it enough and came with the following 5 things that you can safely call ‘pungent’.

5. The smell of frying (or maybe burning?) onions

There there now, I am trying to start gentle and therefore I talk about the smell of onions, which is kind of inspired from Allo’s results (yes, it is still Allo). Now onions, are a boon for cooking, at least for Punjabi cooking. But the smell of frying/burning onions is enough to give me a heart attack, for it means that the masala is about to get burnt, before I save it with my miraculous cooking skills. I call my cooking skills miraculous because they are still a miracle for my Mom (Yes Mom, I cook. Yes Mom, I have been doing it daily from past 4 years. No mom, I don’t eat out everyday, thanks.)

These are not burnt yet!
These are not burnt yet.


4. The smell of freshly peeled garlic

Garlic is another boon for cooks, but the smell you get on your hands after peeling it, can put any fancy hand-wash to work up a lather (literally). I love the flavor of garlic though, especially in meat preparations. What is a mutton gravy without garlic?

The depth of flavor at the cost of smelly hands.
The depth of flavor at the cost of smelly hands.


3. The smell of LPG leakage

Now this is another pungent odor, for a good cause. LPG itself doesn’t have any smell, so imagine the catastrophe if a little friendly Ethyl Mercaptan wasn’t part of it? Let’s be thankful for this one too.

No caption needed.
No caption needed.


2. The smell of rotten eggs

Now we are venturing into dangerous terrains. I once had the misfortune to open a rotten egg, and the stench was enough to put me off eggs for at least a week. Most of you would know this, if you have tested compound salts in Chemistry Lab and prayed you got one that contained sulfur, since it was so easy to detect 😛

Don't know if it is rotten but it does look sad :(
Don’t know if the egg is rotten but it does look sad 🙁


1. The smell of negativity

Whoa, that is a big one now. So as I scrolled through the meaning of “pungent”, I came across this :

Please ignore my drawing skills!
Please ignore my drawing and screenshot skills.

So you get it right, what I mean by pungent? There will always be people around ready to take you down with the “pungency” of their bad thoughts or actions or opinions, that will alarm you, irritate you, hurt you and even make you cry. But honey, we absolutely have to ignore this pungency now, don’t we? Life is too small to be wasted on insignificant things, especially things that won’t matter 5 years from now. So shun the negativity, put on some good music, work out a bit, and treat yourself with the fragrance of a chocolate muffin. Now that is the kind of “smell” we want more in our lives, don’t we?

If you think this post is advice doled out to self, you are absolutely right!! But while you are at it, why don’t you tell me about things you find, “pungent”? Slightly funky smelling food for thought, eh?

Featured Image: GapYear

Image Sources : NDTV, Cook With Nivedita, Voice, AyurvedauPay


How Blue is my Sapphire – 3

How far will you go for what matters to you?

“This is insane! Saaley ka dimaag khraab hai! Has he lost it or what? Arey if we keep riding the high horse of ideals and morals at this initial stage, how are we ever going to break even!”, exclaimed Aakash loudly, probably shocked by the turn of events but kind of relieved to see the back of Tarang. “He has always been like this Vaani, I swear I am just so tired of him. And I am not budging from my stand this time, I can’t put up to his nonsense.” Aakash plopped down into the cushy bean bag, with his laptop, working on the presentation we were to have with the VC the next day. I took my laptop and sat with him, looking at the presentation, and trying my best to stop thinking about what just happened and how it might change our lives forever.

After that day, none of us ever mentioned Tarang. We informed our employees that Tarang had decided to leave over “incorrigible differences”, and that was the end of it all. No one talked about him, no one wanted to talk about him. We were busy and stressed, and we never contacted Tarang, and he obviously did not contact us. He was hardly active on any social media platform, and except the odd tags, I seldom heard of him.

A month after Tarang left, on my birthday, over a dinner of Italian in Chianti and red wine, Aakaash gifted me a sapphire ring. “Why sapphire?”, I asked and smiled. “There is something about that stone that reminds me of you, of how you have always been there, of how much you have done for me and the company. I want to say a lot more and I know you know about how I feel, but I want to give you some time to decide. The ring is to let you know that you are precious to me. ” There, he had said what I had always known. In that moment, just for a second, Tarang’s face came into my mind – how I always defended him, cared for him, and probably loved him, and how he never acknowledged it, and in fact chose to leave instead of listening to me and letting me reason out with Aakaash. But to Aakaash, the one person who never left my side, I said nothing and wore the ring happily on the ring finger of my right hand.

Months passed, we continued to work over EatOrg, but it was EatOrg only in name. We changed everything about it, from our business model to our basic principles. We scaled up all across the city, continued to source cheap ingredients and made tie-ups with corporates to provide “healthy eating”, by showing half-baked nutritional information.

But the biggest blow was when we got loaded with complaints by our customers for the dinner items for 5th January 2016. A lot of people developed food poisoning, with some of them even having to go to hospitals to get themselves treated. Some of them took to social media to air their grudges with EatOrg and the VC, Ajay Dua, called an urgent meeting at 4 in the morning, with Aakaash and me.

“Dekho, nothing to worry. I have called you folks to let you know that I have everything handled.” Ajay was a show-off, albeit fair and handsome with light eyes, dressed in his Armaani suit even at 4 am, while me and Aakaash looked like we were kicked out of our respective beds. “We will refund the money to all the customers, and I have already spoken to my lawyer, if in case anyone complains, we will figure it out. Meanwhile, you guys keep working on the app, and tomorrow morning you will get your supplies from my farm as well.” Ajay got up and left after giving us our instructions, and Aakaash went near the window to light up a smoke. He had started smoking after Ajay insisted him to “share a light” with him.

“Dua is a good man, isn’t he? ” Aakaash, spoke while blowing out circles of smoke from his mouth. “That guy takes care of everything, I don’t know what would we do without him.” “Can I have a drag at that cigarette?”, I asked him. “What? Seriously? You are the one who tsks at me each time I do it!!!” “You were more anti-smoking than I am, back in college. I want to see what is so addictive about blowing smoke rings like a pro” “Fine”, as usual he gave up, albeit sullenly and handed me his cigarette. I took a drag, and as expected, I coughed. Aakaash quickly fetched me a glass of water and said agitated,”I told you to not do it Vaani, you can’t handle it. Have some water now.” I took another drag, my eyes were welling up due to the smoke, but this one was better than the last one. I continued, and got better at it.

Couple of minutes later, I stopped. I felt light-headed and decided to head home. As I lay in my bed, I kept thinking how far had I come, and if this is what I truly wanted to do. I remembered how I was a simple girl in college, a chatterbox, keen to study only as much as required, but willing to do everything else – read, dance, act, write, even travel alone to dingy food joints for delicious Chicken noodles! I “fell in love” quite often, and got hurt too, but it just added to my strength and my spirit of doing things only for myself. What happened to me? When was the last time I read a good book? Or ate something I liked? When was the last time I went for a movie that I liked, instead of the usual team outings? Ever since EatOrg took off, it had just been work, work and work. I used to enjoy working, I loved my previous job. I thought having my own venture would provide me even greater professional satisfaction. But wait a second, was that venture even mine at the first place? It was Tarang’s idea and Aakaash’s money and scruples (or the lack of them), that made EatOrg. I was maybe just the third wheel, carrying along, but not really needed or sought after. But isn’t that what friendship is? Standing by your friends forever, supporting them in everything they do? Not everyone has to be a hero, and I was quite happy being behind the scenes. But was I?

EatOrg, producing finest dishes with locally sourced organic ingredients, it sounded like a joke. Everyone who was working with procurement, knew that our definition of locally sourced organic food was limited to the sprawling farm of Ajay Dua at Coorg, where several laborers worked day in and out to get maximum produce possible. Fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, you name it and Dua used them in the farm. We had no choice but to abide by his rules, he was our venture capitalist only at this condition. Dua was a man who thought only about profits. Hence he conceived the horrendous idea of marrying EatOrg to his farm and its chemical produce. So many times, because of poor storage and transport conditions (cost cutting), the vegetables we received would be rotten. And we had no choice but to make do with them, since we were bound by our contract to not source our ingredients from any other place. The quality of ingredients was such that it seemed surprising to me that we got food poisoning issue after 6 months of using Dua’s produce – the insect-filled cauliflower and the black mushrooms can put even the best of stomachs to test. No wonder all our good chefs left, no one wanted to touch rotten vegetables!

The thought-mill in my head was running hard and fast, and with these thoughts I looked at the sapphire shining from my ring on the bedside table. It looked intense, so blue, that for a second I got intimidated, it felt like the blueness of it pierced through my eyes and penetrated into my soul, asking me uncomfortable questions about my allegiance and honesty, the answers to which I knew, but didn’t want to admit…

Be Curious, NOT Judgmental

Curiosity and judging others, though poles apart, are innate qualities of human mind. As a child, we all have pestered our elders with piercing questions, about life, about nature, about adulthood, to which they sometimes had answers and sometimes not. All our childhood experiences, our upbringing, our schooling, has contributed to being the person we are today. And on our way to adulthood, we all learnt to form something that we were most likely better off without – judgments.

It starts innocuously, possibly at the onset of teenage, when we learn to form opinions about things around us. I don’t know about you, but me, I was very very vocal about my thoughts since my childhood. I had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong, and I spent a lot of my childhood picking fights with those who didn’t agree. It was not good, and I remember long lectures by my parents about how there was no need to fight with all and sundry, simply because “I could”.

Throughout school and for sometime in college, I continued to air my opinions and pick fights. It would also disturb me, since a fight is almost always extremely emotionally draining, and standing on the other side of the crowd, alone, was very trying.

Things improved with time, I met some genuinely nice people in college, whom I am still firm friends with. I grew a little more tolerant, but it was my experience at my Masters in Manipal, that really changed my outlook to different people and their opinions. Manipal is a student town, and if you ever have been there, you will find all kinds of kids doing all sorts of things under the sun. Initially it was awkward, watching girls smoke openly, or boys hanging out with girls in public, and yet seeing same people literally rubbing their noses in their textbooks at the library, but I learnt to not judge people on their looks. I learnt to just let them be.

After 2.5 years as a a working professional, I have learnt that people are not always what they seem.  And hence, therefore, it is just wrong to judge someone just like that. I am learning to let my judgmental behavior give way to a genuine curiosity, to understand why someone is the way they are. Of course, that might not justify their actions, but still, it is a better outlet for all the unnecessary negativity.

Because it is not worth it!
Because it is not worth it!

It is not like I am surrounded by perfect people. Even if I am not judgmental, sometimes I still have fights or confrontations with people who just won’t let me be. Sigh, if only people understood what we learnt by rote in Science in school, that “Energy is constant”. If we let out negative energy to the universe, it will come back to us in some form, and always negative. It is so much better to release positive energy in the Universe, and wait for it to come back to us, as an unexpected bonus.

While it may be fun airing your opinions all the time about someone’s job, their lifestyle, their love life, their spending capacity, it is often a good idea to just SHUT UP and observe. Be curious, try to learn more. But never ever be mean enough to judge someone on the basis of their looks or the money they make or anything else equally superficial. Don’t feel offended if they don’t think the way you do, just let them be. There will be so much more peace around if we don’t try to control everything.

What do you think about this Friday Gyaan? Have you judged someone, only to realize you were way off the mark? Has anyone judged you unfairly? Share in the comments below! 🙂

Image source: Pinterest

A new beginning

0130 hours in the morning. Raindrops splattering over the tree-tops. A looming Sunday, a dirty house. What else do you need to complete the picture of a confused soul, wandering in the dark alleys of her unbidden thoughts, wiping the cobwebs of her past?

They say human being is very resilient – we underestimate our own adaptability till we have no choice but to adapt. We overestimate feelings – as our very own Joey Tribbiani puts it, “They are just feelings..they will go away”. And they do, in their own sweet time.

Some things are more important than others – dreams are more important than remorse over past. Sometimes you have to pick yourself and move on, hoping for bigger and better things. And hope, is a good thing.

People come, change for worse, and go. Or maybe they were always like that, but it took you some time to figure that out. Till then, it was already late. The storm was here, and it took with it everything existing, leaving nothing but wreckage of an raged mind and violated heart. But here is a thing about storms, once they are over, there is peace all around. There is introspection, and assessment of damage. Practicality kicks in, and imperative decisions are taken. Thoughts that have always been lurking around, take up center stage, and the emergency services move in – family and true friends.

The aftermath of a storm results in clear skies, and clear priorities. And it has encouraged this writer to be brave enough to begin afresh. The first post of 2015, that symbolizes a new beginning of the rest of her life.

Thoughts? Share in the comments section below!