Food…….Comfort Food!

Good food always evokes positive feelings in me. At home, the moment I smell something nice from the kitchen, I practically run down the stairs to get a first-hand view and taste of the dish. Since childhood, I have been fond of certain dishes but I dislike some ingredients so dishes having those elements do not probably evoke as much a sense of positivism even though I have no qualms eating those.

Back in my school days, I used to come home every evening wanting to eat Maggi noodles. Of course, my mother wouldn’t cook it for me every day or even alternate days (she was pretty apprehensive about the effects of having noodles every evening), but on those days when I did have it, it was pure bliss. It would instantly make me energetic after a particularly tiring day. More than the biscuits and cakes, it was those noodles that I longed for. Even to this day, Maggi noodles (not just any noodles, I need this brand) holds a special place in my heart as a comfort food.

For me, comfort food means not just the food that evokes nostalgic memories, but it’s also the food which gets the best out of me. There have been times when I have been really down that I don’t feel like eating absolutely anything. During those times, Uzhunnu Vada or the ubiquitous Ghee Roast can make me feel a lot better. I would not like to categorize these as stress buster foods. Even when I’m not stressed, eating those has the same sense of elation.

I’ve also come to define comfort food as the dish you eat the most when travelling. Over the years, I have accumulated a few comfort food dishes so that in case one isn’t available, I can look for the other. With travelling there is this mystery of the food at the destination. The thing I look for as comfort food on such occasions is something I can have very easily. While inside India, this has been no problem. But when travelling outside the country, finding a comfort food can be a problem because your sense of smell identifies new ones and choosing what you really like can be difficult. But once you get used to it, you start identifying that particular food which can really make you at ease just by looking at it! Several years ago when I was in the US, I took to Chicken McNuggets as a comfort food source. Believe me, it did make me comfortable!

I revel in the constancy of the comfort food choices. It helps me pick the ones I need when I need. I’m not sure if with age, there will be a change in my choices. But for now, I’m comfortable with my comfort food!

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Rivals in United colors

As you have probably deciphered from my past posts, I’m an avid Manchester United fan. I’ve been following the team for the past two and a half decades or so and nothing gives me more joy than watching them succeed. A football team is made up of its players and the Red Devils have seen quite a galaxy of stars adorning its red and white colors.

There are a number of ways a team can improve and perhaps the best way is to bring in players who the management thinks can contribute towards the success of the team which is winning trophies. It’s a tricky proposition – bringing in players, releasing some of the others in the process, giving players on loan to other clubs etc. The bottom-line is the balance of the team should be intact. This is the reason a lot of emphasis is placed on the astuteness of the buys, sells and loans. In this post I’m going to list out 4 rival players who I would have in United colors, who in the current United squad they would replace and why. Sounds interesting, eh? Read on, folks.

The players I would have at Old Trafford are Mesut Ozil from Arsenal, Martin Skrtel from Liverpool, Sergio Aguero from Manchester City and Eden Hazard from Chelsea. They would replace Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind, Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin respectively.

Ozil is fast, a superb thinker and has an excellent record as a playmaker. He has repeatedly shone for Arsenal since he joined them in 2013. I’ve often felt he is the right man in the wrong team. His midfield prowess would be far deadlier and effective than Fellaini. This is not to underrate Fellaini, but Ozil has a much greater success percentage than him.

Skrtel is a quick, rounded defender, one which the current United side is lacking. He would be a great replacement for Daley Blind, who has played out of position for too long at United and consequently became inconsistent in his performance. I hear he is considering moving out, so Skrtel would be a nice and effective substitute, who is quite aggressive as well.

Sergio Aguero is one of the best forwards you can see in the English Premier League. His ability to convert even half-chances speaks volumes of his abilities as a finisher. Just when you think he is down, he pounces on that subtlest moment of complacency to put it past the defenders and the goalkeeper. I think United will be blessed to have this clinical striker in its ranks for the woefully out of form Memphis Depay. Louis van Gaal’s poor man-management skills meant that Depay did not get as many games as he would have liked to, leaving him thoroughly disillusioned. Some fresh energy in the form of Aguero would be a perfect foil for the young duo of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Eden Hazard is a very highly rated midfielder. His forte in the wings will be a great asset to United. With his technique and ability to understand the nuances of the game, I feel he will bring an added dimension to a United squad raring to go under Jose Mourinho. Hazard can complement Wayne Rooney immensely as his role has been re-defined in midfield. Morgan Schneiderlin’s indifferent season means he has to make way for Hazard.

I think with these replacements we will have a pretty strong squad that can challenge for titles. The following starting eleven would look nice, wouldn’t it?:

De Gea, Varela, Skrtel, Smalling, Herrera, Rooney, Ozil, Hazard, Martial, Rashford, Aguero.

Rain and Sensuality – An endearing duo

Watching the rain is a joy – the sound of it, the look of it, the sway it has on the surroundings particularly the smell of the earth as the first drops fall – all make for a delectable treat. It is gorgeous at all times – morning, noon and night. Rains are so closely connected with the life of an Indian, or rather a Malayalee. For no other section of Indians enjoy and absorb the rain as much as a Malayalee does. And it is the monsoons which conjure the most poignant of emotions.

Rain brings with it an element of romance. The romance slowly and steadily guides you into a world of sensuality too. There is so much splendor in cuddling up with your partner and watch the rain fall. Making love when the rain falls outside is one of the most thrilling and sensual experiences to have. The chemistry between rain and mating is indescribable. It is as if we are fortified by the cold, damp atmosphere. The rain acts as a catalyst towards consummation. This is a deeply sensitive topic, and am sure every Malayalee at one time or the other would relate to this.

One is not really sure at what point of time rain and sensuality came to be associated with each other. For so many years continuing to this day, it is being portrayed in short stories, novels, poems and movies. The words bring to life an emotion which is wholesome and candid. There is undoubtedly a method to the madness – both the male and female psyche are equally attracted to the lure of sensuality in a stormy, rainy atmosphere. Perhaps it’s the divine. Perhaps it’s your brain connecting the beauty of rain with the beauty of lovemaking. Perhaps it’s a mixture of both. Whatever the reason and whenever it was that this endearing partnership commenced, it is for good. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind about it.

Each time I see the rain, my mind wanders off to be a romantic. Each drop of rain has a love story to tell. You can see it, hear it, smell it, touch it and feel it. Just watch it closely and absorb yourself in it. There’s a world of magic in the world of rain. A beautiful, surreal world where love splashes its feet wholeheartedly in the lap of rain!