Of Cowardice And Courage

We recently finished the basement of our home, a process that we had started in September of 2021. What once used to be a cold and dark place- wires jutting out from here and there, strange pink insulation padding peeking out from corners along with a wonderful display of cobwebs- has now been transformed into a warm and inviting place, that is part play area and part music area. The kids have found a slice of heaven it would appear, the good man enjoys his guitar and we all groove to music that plays over a new speaker. In addition to having a functional space that we all get to enjoy as a family, chances of us stepping on tiny pieces of toys, while walking around in the main living spaces of the house and shrieking out in pain, are also a lot less now.

But while I enjoy a good book on the couch in our new basement, all cozy under a bright yellow blanket, I know that across the ocean, basements are being used as bunkers, as shelters, as make shift care centers, as temporary nursing homes. Videos and images of atrocities and also unfaltering courage, in the face of all the senselessness, have caused for a sudden silence in our house after the kids fall asleep. They sleep in peace on their beds with their favorite stuffies, as their lullaby plays on and the twinkling star lights on the ceiling of the room create a space that comforts them, keeps them safe. My babies are safe.

But at this exact moment in time, thousands of kids, like mine, are traumatized, to put it mildly. They are homeless, they are refugees, they are separated from their parent/s, many will lose a parent or both, and many will also pay for this senseless act with their precious lives. What was once their warm site of endless recollections, their comfort, their source of happiness has all but vanished or is in the process of vanishing. We all watch in horror and disbelief. We express solidarity, we donate and march in town squares, where possible people are opening up their homes and hearts to provide for a safe space for those fleeing and seeking shelter, while politicians and law makers and others with important job titles scramble to find ways to stop a madman in his path. History sighs. What the world is witnessing today- this unforgivable act- She has always had such pages. Always. The sun that rises each morning is hopeful, and yet it, sadly, continues to set on an unjust, unequal and vicious world.

While I tuck my kids safely under their blankets and kiss them every night, a mother somewhere watches over her sick kid and prays for more time with them; while someone raises a glass to congratulate a newly married couple, another buries their loved one. Painful and precious moments have coexisted in this strange world since time immemorial. A wishful thought maybe, but since man has reached the moon and beyond, has tamed grave illnesses and attained heights of glory through music and art, wouldn’t he have also figured out a way to prevent humanity from ever reaching a juncture- something similar to the one we are at now- where history would repeat itself? But as we all know, truth is stranger than fiction and so, some men continue on in their path of destruction, led by greed and all that seek to strip them of their humanity. The world descends into chaos. Yet, when sanity takes a backseat and there is not much to hold on to, when tears no longer fall as every drop has been shed, it is man again, a different kind, who rises to inspire and to believe and to show what courage can look like, what humanity should look like. The cycle continues. This omnipresent dance of cruelty and beauty, of cowardice and courage is oppressive and still strangely uplifting, don’t you think? The display of gallantry shows the power of togetherness, the power of humility and of honor and while it comes at a cost that is too much to bear, it paves the way for future generations to learn from, to write more hopeful chapters in the story of our shared world.

The winter carries within it the heart of spring.

Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Pavlova!

When the wonderful Amanda invites you for a bake off challenge, you jump up and down! May be not you, but I certainly did. Also may be not literally;) Not just because she is lovely, but also because I LOVE desserts and the opportunity to try something entirely new is always way too exciting to pass on. And though my pavlova did not turn out as pretty as hers but it really tasted good…thank you Amanda!

(I will explain where my pavlova went wrong in a bit).

Cakes and brownies are usually the go to desserts in our family but even for someone who has a sweet tooth, that is way too sweet probably, these desserts can feel heavy. Occasionally we add flan too. And so when Amanda wrote about this, it gave me an excuse to make a special dessert when there was really nothing special to celebrate! But then I remembered…for the first time ever, we have a female Vice President- a reason BIG enough to rejoice, won’t you agree? ! The recipe was pretty simple and it did not take a lot of time too. You can find it here.

I had never heard of Pavlova before and when I did, I thought it must be Russian... the dangers of assumption, you see. But Amanda’s post and Wikipedia soon corrected me. I finally managed to bake it yesterday evening, as opposed to the weekend when hopes of baking the pavlova were dashed by the piles of laundry that seemed to have overtaken our bedroom and the entire apartment had started looking like a mine field of Lego pieces and other tiny toys, that while remaining invisible, are capable of causing significant damage to one’s cracked winter heels. You see, the blessings and bane of having mischievous little ones! Now, moving on from an extra long sentence.

As I mentioned earlier, it is an easy and delicious dessert and if you have not tried, you must do so. The mistake I made and the reason it looks different is because it is more flat that it should be. When the recipe asked me to just put heavy scoops of the meringue on the sheet, out of habit I think, I sort of leveled it a bit and realized this misstep only after I had put the sheet in the oven. So the pavlova turned to be flatter than what it should be. And that is also the reason I decided not to do the chocolate dome, and I had really wanted to. But I will be making this soon again and it will most certainly have that delicious looking chocolate dome! For this, I put some shaved bittersweet chocolate on top and along with peaches and oranges and strawberry, the whole thing was so mouthwatering.

Here’s wishing you sweetness and thank you dear Amanda for introducing me to the Pavlova!

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.