A ‘date’ with a cake


Baking fascinates me — especially when the aroma of fresh cookies and cakes fills up the home.

Growing up, birthdays were made extra special with home-baked cake. I’d eagerly wait for my mother to whip up the cake batter. When she transferred the batter to the greased cake tin, I’d grow impatient. ‘Why are you being so thorough! Let me have the joy of cleaning that up!” As soon as the mixing bowl left her hands, I’d dip my finger to scrape out every last drop!

Unlike my mother, I have zero knowledge of what goes into baking. It’s the end result that truly matters (and the batter, yes!).

I find it hard to remember the chemicals involved in the process — is that baking soda or cooking powder — what proportion are they to be used and when should they be added, most importantly, what are the chances that the mixture will explode?

Most recipes are handed down generations, and when in doubt, I simply pick up the phone and ask, either my mother, or my mother-in-law; sometimes asking the same questions over and over. Thanks to the internet, I now also have advisors who don’t mind my asking the same questions repeatedly.

With the help of the food blogging community, I have got answers to some questions, such as, “what if I want to bake a cake without eggs… and without refined flour?” and “what if I don’t have an oven, and what if I’m off refined sugar too?” And I think to myself, how did people remember recipes before the internet?

I posted a few pictures of my experiments with different types of cake and some friends asked me for the recipes. This gave me an opportunity to document my own scribbled notes for future reference.

But first, the credit roll

The original recipe for this cake is by the food blogger / YouTuber ‘Hebbar’s Kitchen’. I replaced some of the ingredients with what was available with me, and it worked out just fine!

If you’d like to see a detailed step-by-step process, I recommend visiting the website, or better yet, check out the YouTube video.


And now, here’s my version:

Step 1: Soak ’em up

  • 2 cups of dates, without the seeds
  • 1 cup hot milk

Soak the dates in hot milk for half an hour. In the meanwhile, read ahead, gather up the rest of the ingredients and then soak yourself up under the winter sun.

After half an hour, blend the soaked dates and milk into a fine paste.

Step 2: Going nuts

  • Handful of your favourite dry fruits
  • 1/2 tbsp wheat flour

Coat the dry fruits lightly with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter

Step 3: Just beat it

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup curd

Beat the ingredients till they form a smooth mixture

Combine with the date paste from step 1 and mix well

Step 4: Shaken, not stirred

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cooking / baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt

Sieve all the dry ingredients together

Step 5: All mixed up

  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix the date paste (step 3) with the flour mixture (step 4)

Add milk, mix well

Add the chopped dry fruits (step 2) and mix lightly

Step 6: Time to bake!

  • Pre-heat the baking apparatus of your choice as you would normally do for any other cake for ten minutes.
  • Grease the baking tin with butter and dust the greased tin with a little flour.
  • Pour the batter and tap gently to level the cake.
  • Garnish with more more nuts, as per taste.
  • Place in baking apparatus.
  • Cook for 45-50 minutes (or till you get the sweet scent of heaven).
  • Check if it’s done by inserting toothpick / knife – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked.
  • Patience, my friend – let it cool.
  • Transfer to a plate, and then, dig in!

Coming up in the next post, the very first cake I baked, without an oven or pressure cooker.

Rooting for the underdogs – Deja Vu


Four GOATs, three days, two titles, one glorious sport

It feels like the summer of 2014. The same anticipation. The same hopes. The same fears. And the same feeling of gratitude. What a wonderful era of tennis.

Today, three of the greatest champions of men’s tennis take centre stage.

As in 2014, the fan in me will wish Roger Federer to win. He’s playing as beautifully as we’ve come to expect of him. But it seems likely that this may be his last match on the grass courts of Wimbledon. That it comes against the great Rafael Nadal, who, eleven years ago beat him in a match widely considered an ‘epic’, and who, less than a month ago, swatted him aside like a fly on the clay of Roland Garros, makes this a nerve-wracking match.

As in 2014, I know deep within that he may not make it further in the tournament, and yet, I will hope, and let myself be heartbroken. I’d rather watch him lose to another great tennis player, than to close the screens and miss a great match.

It’s been a privilege to watch him play, and I am proud to have seen most of his 100 wins on the screen, live.

Federer Vs Nadal episode 40 awaits. Would you rather watch the replay or let the drama unfold before your eyes in real time?

In case you are wondering, here’s what I wrote in the summer of 2014: The Last Hurrah?

Also, in the unlikely event that he does get through, the likely finalist Novak Djokovic will pose a much, much stiffer competition.


Tomorrow, Serena Williams will be playing to own yet another page in the history books. Her achievements in a society and sport that is steeped in patriarchy — am I not guilty of it as well, by writing about her after the others? — are awe-inspiring.

Perhaps it is the one-sided nature of the matches that disappoint fans of the sport, and do not evoke the same passion as the other side of the sport — I recall looking forward to her matches against Justin Henin, and lately, Angelique Kerber with similar anticipation.

I have admired Simona Halep’s game for a while, and hope she will give Serena a run for the money (and glory) tomorrow. Had it been any other player, I would have said that it may be her last shot at number 24, but with the US open left this year, she may well make it 25.

These three days, I’m rooting for the underdogs. In the end, two players will add one title to their kitty. The biggest winner, though, will be the sport of tennis, and it’s crazy fans.

What my ego taught me


Picture any coming-of-age movie with bratty teenagers making life miserable for their teacher. That was math class in my school. 

My math teacher in senior high school was a brilliant teacher. Gentle, patient, knowledgeable, and effortlessly simplified complex concepts for those of us who were terrible in mathematics. His only flaw, was that he was a Tamilian, with a dark complexion, and a very thick accent. For a majority of my classmates, he was great fodder for bullying. They openly mocked his accent, and laughed in class. There weren’t any repercussions on their education — they had tuitions after school to make up for that.

Being a fellow Tamilian, I could understand his frustration. And that motivated me to be that one person in class that he could call a student. The other teachers were treated with more respect (or perhaps, fear), but student disinterest in studies, was blatantly clear.

In college, the atmosphere was completely opposite. Unlike school, the students had their independence. And the teachers — highly accomplished academics — were indifferent to them. Students didn’t dare disturb classes. But if they were disinterested, they’d just leave. Here too, private tuitions were the safety net.

In both my school and college, I stubbornly refused to take these supplementary classes. Some of the reasons included: my firm belief that extra tuitions were for ‘dumbos’ who couldn’t study on their own; my stubbornness in sticking to that judgement even as the ‘intelligent’ ones folded in; and my unwillingness in spending exorbitant amounts in fees when the same (sometimes better) education was already being paid for (that too at a subsidised rate).

It was these beliefs, that pushed me to ask questions in class, to seek clarifications on things I struggled to grasp. At first, I felt stupid. But my egotistical self that refused outside help, gave me no choice. Between feeling publicly stupid, and privately admitting I needed help, apparently, I preferred the former.

And so I asked questions. Even as I felt I was being stupid.


It was after one Accounts class in school. One of my classmates came up to me to seek clarification on a topic that had been introduced that day. I had asked the same question in class, just moments earlier.

It was then, that I realised, that by asking questions, I wasn’t being stupid. I was asking the questions everyone wanted to ask, but for some reason didn’t.


Ego, stubbornness, being judgemental, aren’t traits I, or anyone, would be proud of. By no means am I advocating it. These very traits have hurt me very badly. In the years since, I have tried to let go of my ego — it’s a work-in-progress, and I think I have made a fair amount of progress.

I have learnt that there is no shame in asking for help. It is wrong to label people as ‘dumb’. And it is naive (even, dangerous) to judge people based on my unfounded notions.

But for compelling me learn to teach myself, and brazenly ask questions in uncomfortable environments — abilities that have helped me immensely in my work as a user experience designer — I am thankful to that adolescent, egotistical, judgemental self.

Veterans and Diversity this Wimbledon Season


Scrolling though the draws in this year’s Wimbledon, I couldn’t help notice the stark difference between the ladies and gentlemen’s section of the draws. While there was diversity and an open playing field on one side, the other had very predictable favourites (FYI – mine are the Swiss ones). While there is a significant amount of diversity at one end, the other lacks any succession plan.

With so many inspirational players in the gentlemen’s draw belonging to one generation, I wonder how long this can be sustained. When they all retire en mass, I often doubt if I would take an interest in tennis.

The ladies, though, give me much hope. The story of Wimbledon so far is definitely about a certain fifteen year old, Cori Gauff who played her idol, Venus Williams on Court No.1 on her very first Grand Slam. From her shot making, to how she handled the big stage, and her humility thereafter — thanking Venus after the match — is awe-inspiring.

I hope she goes on to achieve many more wins (she plays later today) and retains her focus, grace and composure.


Earlier today, I learnt about the number of moms (Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Evgeniya Rodina, Maria Martínez Sánchez & Mandy Minella) playing on the circuit. It amazes me how these players continue to compete at the highest level, digging up reserves, beating not just physical strains but also fighting a patriarchal system. There are far more fathers on the tour, as compared to mothers, who are forced to quit due to lack of child-care facilities at most courts around the world (barring the four grand slams).

Mother’s Day may have gone by several weeks ago, but these heroes do not need a specific day to celebrate them.

Thank you, ladies, for inspiring us with your grit and determination.

Related read: some other posts I’ve written about tennis.

Finding priorities


Everyday, while performing mundane tasks, such as doing the dishes, I open the YouTube App on my phone, and allow it it show me videos that it has learned to curate for me. For the most part, the app gets it right — US-based late-night political comedies and TED talks.

Today, this talk popped up in my feed: “How to gain control of your free time.” I had watched this video before, but because my hands were engaged (and because this is a great talk), I allowed the smartphone to remind me of how wasteful I have been of my time.

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says that when people say they don’t have time for something, what they mean is, that it’s not their priority.

When something is a priority for us, we make time for it, no matter how busy our lives are.

I have experienced this first hand, several times. Including, as recently as, last month, when I got around to digitise my mother’s art, in time for her 60th birthday. My previous attempt was way back in 2015. And after four years, with enough motivation to drive me, I finally opened shop on Society6 (This announcement should, and will be, a separate post) .

Under virtual dust

At the end of last year, one of my regrets was not having maintained this blog much. Two posts in a year was a dismal number, considering that the previous year saw me celebrate my 300th post during the NaBloPoMo.

I have several unfinished drafts and ideas — some that are many years old, and some only in want of a ‘featured image’ to go live.

As this video reminds me, somewhat harshly, blogging isn’t my priority anymore. And that is an unhappy thought. Why did I stop doing that which I absolutely loved?

The answer: The decline in my writing on the blog has coincided with my use of Instagram.

Most of my blog posts go through multiple iterations, with me reading, and re-reading them, to make sure it is something worth reading. There is this burden of responsibility, to do justice to the reader’s time. On Instagram, however, there is lesser pressure to write.

I do realise that this pressure about ‘quality of writing’ is pretentious. Clearly, I blog for very selfish reasons.

Another reason, is the decline in community participation — or more appropriately, the narcissism factor. Back when WordPress had ‘featured posts’ on its homepage, and ran Weekly Photo Challenges, there seemed to be a greater incentive to post (read, greater likelihood of ‘likes’). Blogging was chance to discover, and be discovered. (The Discover tab on WordPress now is rather uninspiring)

I found Instagram to be more engaging. Words are less appealing than pictures. Those who couldn’t be bothered to read, are happy seeing pictures (and that includes me). Today, Instagram is what WordPress used to be — fun.

And so, since that NaBloPoMo in 2017, when I gingerly opened my Instagram account, writing has moved to another platform.

Finding a way back

Over the past two years there have been so many exciting things I should have written about here — in my safe space — but didn’t get around to. (I published on four different platforms, travelled to new places, let go of toxic relationships and put myself on a path to heal myself).

Most nights, I lay awake simply because there are so many ideas jumping in my head, waiting to explode (here’s why).

This, rather impulsive post, is my attempt at making a comeback to blogging. Will it succeed? Only time will tell.

A whole new world


(Continued from “We’ll draw a green thumb”)

I watched my father-in-law poke a few holes into the bag with the screwdriver. He left it in the corner, and turned around to find me in a happy daze.

Here I was fretting about the lack of an actual ground. ‘One can’t possibly compost without a hole in the ground,’ I thought to myself. And there he was, coolly collecting all the kitchen waste into a plastic bag to make a compost bag in our tiny apartment balcony.

After my in-laws returned to their home, we continued to add kitchen waste to this make-shift compost bag, excited about harvesting compost.

But something wasn’t quite right.

For starters, it smelt bad. Very, very bad.

And it was super soggy – dripping brown smelly liquid wherever we kept it.

And then there were the maggots. Lots of them.

I was sure that I wanted to compost waste, and was determined to do so. But was it to be as yucky as this? Neither of us had any idea. And so we shot the question out into the electrical void – the internet.

The internet informed us what was going wrong. The short answer: our compost was out of ‘balance’ and had too much moisture*.

To solve our immediate composting crisis, we added shredded newspaper, and left the bag slightly open, in the furthest corner of our balcony. Next step: we decided to get a proper composter.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and we welcomed our Kambha.

The Kambha is a terracotta composter made by a Bengaluru based NGO, Daily Dump. There really isn’t much to it: three earthen pots with holes on the sides. While the top two had a rope mesh at the bottom, the third one was closed at the bottom. They stacked up neatly. I marvelled at the simplicity of its design.

We watched the instructional video and transferred our (now utterly disgusting) waste and added some of the ‘remix’ material supplied by the organisation. The ‘remix’ material and the terracotta absorbed the excess moisture, and within a couple of days the compost stopped smelling.

As I learnt soon enough, the compost pile is as much a living organism as you and me. Needing a well balanced diet, breathing in oxygen, and exhaling carbon dioxide. And if it is malnourished or there is something wrong with its digestion, it emits a foul smell.

As for the maggots, they stopped bothering me. The composter was now a self enclosed eco-system. The compost pile was its earth. And a host of creatures grazed on its lands. With the plastic bag out of the way, the air around the compost became more breathable, and the fruit flies joined the maggots. Soon the land sprung shoots of large fungi, and even a sapling here and there. And the fungus gnats appeared. The maggots slowly reduced in number, as the competition for food grew. And then came the spiders – the top of the food chain, preying upon the insects.

All the while the kitchen waste continued to reduce. What was first green, yellow and purple slowly turned a rich, dark brown colour, and it smelt sweet – like Mother Nature.


* The long answer comes in a separate post!

The girl and the Cherry Tree


Minha stood in front of me. Surrounded by her parents, and standing close to her baby brother’s pram, she waited in anticipation for the writer who had written her favourite story. In her arms was a colourful hard-bound book, eagerly waiting for Mussourie’s most famous resident to sign it for her. She held it close to her, as if she wanted to hug every word within its pages.

She wasn’t alone.

When we arrived at the book shop, an hour ahead of scheduled time, the queue was already 15 people long. It was the Saturday before Easter, and the hill-town was brimming with tourists from all over the country, and the world.

“We were planning to return to Delhi by 10 this morning,” said Minha’s mother. “But this little one was quite insistent upon meeting Ruskin Bond. And so, here we are.”

“If we wouldn’t have lingered on at the restaurant for the second parantha, we’d have been at the beginning of the queue,” Minha’s father playfully teased her.

“Minha read this story, The Cherry Tree. And in it, she read that Ruskin Bond lives in Mussourie. She’s been wanting to meet him ever since.”

Ruskin Bond planted his Cherry Tree several decades ago. As it grew, it delighted him. He shared his delight with his readers, and they loved every word of it. His words delighted me. And they continue to delight young readers like Minha.

In that little girl standing in front of me, I saw a reflection of myself. I must have been about her age too, when I harboured the dream of meeting Mr. Bond, because of those lines in every book I read, “He now lives with his adopted family in Landour, Mussourie.”

But my reflection ended at precisely 3:30 pm, just as a vehicle pulled up beside us. Even as Minha’s mother excitedly pulled out her phone to snap a close-up picture of the writer now amidst us, I stood dumbstruck.

He waved and acknowledged his fans and then disappeared into the bookshop. Minha had the biggest smile on her face, as she peered into her mother’s phone. Her mother, in turn looked at me with excitement, and then exclaimed, “Oh come on! Don’t cry, yaar!”

Tears rolling down my cheeks, I tried to hide my face from the young girl. “Keep it together, there’s a little girl in front of you – what will she think,” I repeatedly told myself. Minha smiled innocently, but something told me she wasn’t judging me. And I silently thanked her for it.

Within a few short minutes, my twenty-year old wait ended.

“I remember this… It’s one of the earlier covers.”

In Mr. Bond’s hands was my favourite book – which had been in our house ever since I can remember.

For over twenty years, it has been my dream to meet Mr. Ruskin Bond, to tell him how much his writing has meant to me; how I read and reread the stories in the book “The night train at Deoli”.

And yet, when the time came to express my sheer joy and excitement at meeting my hero, I struggled to contain my tears. I simultaneously smiled and choked. Eventually I stammered the words, “this book is as old as I am.”

Mr. Bond held the book; my book; my family’s book; his book. He recognised the old cover and said, “You have preserved it well.”

After he had signed the book, I meekly placed the other old book I had brought with me: The Children’s Omnibus. It was one of the first books I asked my parents to buy for me, when I was about 10 years old. And I remember the sequence of events surrounding that purchase: the Scholastic mail order form, choosing the books, the anticipation, and receiving the books in class.

Mr. Bond pointed to his portrait on the yellowing cover of the book and said, “I was much slimmer then!” And then we burst out laughing. I felt a little bit at ease. 

There was a long queue of fans waiting to get their turn. I couldn’t hog his time for long. Mr. Bond returned the signed books and said, “I can’t initial or write messages…” I would like to believe he wanted to write me a comforting message. I’ll never know.

That night I cried my heart out. And continue to cry every time I think about it – even now. I cannot explain these fits of crying – except perhaps as an indication of immeasurable joy, that is too much to comprehend without being overwhelmed.

But I also wonder, are these tears of regret? The things I wish I had spoken about – how much I adored his stories; how much his style of writing influenced me; how, like him, I loved nature, and walking, and collecting feathers and stones and coins and seashells… instead I stammered and stuttered.

Today, as Mr. Bond turns eighty five years young, he is launching yet another book. The whole town will, no doubt, be there to wish him. I wonder, if I were there today, would I be able express my gratitude to him? Highly unlikely.

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"I remember this… It's one of the earlier covers." In Mr. Bond's hands was my favourite book – which had been in our house ever since I can remember. For over twenty years, it has been my dream to meet Mr. Ruskin Bond, to tell him how much his writing has meant to me; how I read and reread the stories in the book "The night train at Deoli". And yet, when the time came to express my sheer joy and excitement at meeting my hero, I struggled to contain my tears. I choked and barely managed to stammer the words, "this book is as old as I am." Mr. Bond held the book; my book; my family's book; his book. He recognised the old cover and said, "You have preserved it well." After he had signed the book, I meekly placed the other old book I had brought with me: The Children's Omnibus. It was one of the first books I asked my parents to buy for me, when I was about 10 years. And I remember the sequence of events surrounding that purchase: the Scholastic mail order form, choosing the books, the anticipation, and receiving the books in class. Mr. Bond pointed to his portrait on the yellowing cover of the book and said, "I was much slimmer then!" And we burst out laughing. I wished to spend more time. But being a long weekend, there was a long queue of fans waiting to get their turn. As if reading my mind, Mr. Bond handed me the books and said, "I can't initial or write messages…" It's true, as our dreams come true, more ambitious ones appear. For now though, these memories are overwhelming. It's been over two weeks and I am still processing what happened on the 20th of April. That night I cried my heart out. And continue to cry everytime I think about it: Joy beyond measure, that is hard for us mortals to comprehend without being overwhelmed. Thank you @cambridgebookdepot for making it possible to meet #ruskinbond And @chitraakriti : for being there for me, enduring over 40 hours of sleep deprivation #fan #writer #author #stories #story #emotions #dreamcometrue #mussourie #travel #india #pilgrimage #booksigning #love

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The family that votes together…


… (hopefully) keeps the country together.

It’s been a long, bitter and frankly, the most disgusting election campaign I’ve witnessed. We did what we could – by voting. Here’s hoping for harmony, unity and peace of mind.

The Silk Trap


“Mommy, mommy!” The little bug ran towards her mother.

“I’m not going foraging!” she cried.

“Budku! What have you told Chitkoo now?”

Budku chuckled to himself and flew swiftly away from his mother.

“Mommy! Budku says there are spiders out there! And they chase gnats into their silk traps! Is it true?”

Mommy bug let out a deep sigh. Budku had always been mischievous. But this time, he had been partially right.

“Come here, sweetie… don’t think too much about it… It’s too early to be thinking about foraging.”

Chitkoo hugged her mother and calmed down.

Mommy bug glared at Budku as he peeped from behind the fungus, even as she kept Chitkoo close to her. There were spiders, yes. But Chitkoo was in deeper danger at home than out there. Just yesterday she had spotted a web close to their home. It was Budku’s first day learning to fly, and he’d had quite the adventure.

“Out there, is a wonderland, my dear.” Mommy bug said softly.

“In a few days you’ll be ready to start flying on your own. And it will be fun. There are peels of fruits and vegetables all over the ground. And there are fungi. So many different types than the ones near our home. And there are seeds too. They are much harder to forage, but they are the ones that have the most goodness – the reward is worth the effort.”

“Yeah, and there are fruit flies,” added Budku. Mommy bug’s glare had had its effect. Budku changed his tone.

“They’re just the cutest – brown and round, floating slowly. You’ll really get along very well with them.”

“What about spiders?” Chitkoo asked, without looking around.

Mommy bug sighed. “Yes, dear. There are spiders,” she replied.

“But they are fewer than us gnats and flies. And they can’t fly. No! They crawl and spin webs, but we have wings and we can fly. Budku was chased by one today. And he was so scared. But he flew away. And you will learn to navigate the alleys.”

Mommy bug didn’t dare tell Chitkoo about how close Budku was to being spider-meal. But Chitkoo would have to fend for herself. Spiders weren’t the only threat.

Chitkoo looked up and caught her mother’s glare. She turned around to see her brother sitting next to the fungus. He loved fungus, and was always nibbling at it. But today he just sat there, too scared of his mother to even look at the white goodie.

Above the ground, the other gnats and flies were busy going about their foraging, when the heavens above opened up. “Giant alert! Giant alert!”

Bright light filled the the sky, and it began raining. The gnats and flies flew, as far apart as they could. The spiders ran for their lives. The giants were notorious for squishing the spiders, purely for game, it seemed. They sure didn’t eat the spiders.

It was all over in a few minutes. As it always did. The rains were always heavy, and buried the slower flies and gnats. But once the sky closed back, it was a feast. A fresh pile of food, and the spiders away for some time.

To be continued.

Cover image by Atul. (@chitraakriti)

“We’ll draw a green thumb”


“Why can’t I have green fingers?” I asked my unsuspecting friend, one day.

“It seems everything I plant just refuses to grow. Everyone in my family has green thumbs. Why am I not able to grow even the easiest of plants?”

“Oh, is that all?” said my friend. “Don’t worry. One day, you and I will sit together and draw a big green thumb!”

I eventually married my reassuring friend. And sure enough, we began growing a few plants, most of which survived! One of my wishes had been fulfilled. But in my heart, I knew there was only one way my garden could be complete. If only we had a real garden.


A real garden, to me, was what my grandmother had at their house on the outskirts of Chennai – a lawn in the front, with three hibiscus trees, a car shed with a guava tree as a roof. Papaya on one side of the house, bananas on the other. The mango and lemon trees were in the backyard. There was even a pineapple plant, and two coconut palms – my father had brought coconut sprouts all the way from the Andaman Islands. There were numerous flowering plants and cacti too.

Almost every time that we’d visit, we’d carry a pineapple, mango, coconut or some lemons back home. Once, I saw my grandfather climb up a tall stool to harvest a bunch of bananas, while I stood nervously on the ground praying for his safety.

Having lived in apartments all my life, I had made peace with the fact that we probably wouldn’t be able to have that sort of an area for growing plants. But the one thing that completed the garden, was a compost pile.

At a very early age, we were initiated into composting by my grandmother. There was always a separate bin for kitchen waste, which she’d dump into the pit in the backyard, near the fence.

Back home, my mother did what she could, to use the kitchen waste for the flowerpots – the coffee grounds and tea leaves almost always ended up going to the flowerpots in the balcony. And that was the closest, I thought, that we could get to reusing kitchen waste. Up until recently, that is.


“What are you doing?” I asked my father-in-law. He looked mischievously at me, and picked up the screw driver from the kitchen.

My father-in-law, I found out soon after I got married, loved plants. Our garden was minuscule compared to his large terrace garden. And when he first saw the small take-out containers I had re-purposed into planters, he remarked. “They need a bigger area to grow roots! These are too small!”

Perhaps he saw potential in the garden, or recognised our shared love for plants – he quickly warmed up to the idea of a small garden. He procured a few more plants and helped grow the garden – even helping me repurpose more food containers!

It wasn’t unusual for him to tinker around with the plants. But on this particular day, he busied himself with something new.

I followed him to our tiny balcony.

“I am making compost,” he declared.

Read part 2: A whole new world