I was updating my resume recently and after a bit of counting on my fingers, I noted down a total experience of 8.3 years. I felt kind of low the rest of the day, for apparently no reason and then it hit me. My college years were far, far behind me; I was not quite young anymore; I was, gulp, middle aged! But was I really not young anymore? Weren't things more or less the same as before? Let me see...
- It is true that most of my friends have two kids or are planning on the second one. We prefer meeting at home rather than at a mall or cinema because it is not easy to handle cranky, screeching kids outside and frankly, what does one do at malls? Whereas I would have found atleast two tubes of lipstick, a facewash and mascara in their bags earlier, now I am sure to get a feeding bottle, nappy rash cream, diapers and a tiffin box with pieces of dosa in it.
- I remember a group of friends who it made it their lives' ambition to try out the same clothes in shops, take pics (I wonder how they managed it without attracting the attention of the ladies whose job it is to count how many pieces of clothing you are taking in), and post them on FB, pout and silly expressions included. Now, all I see are pics of their kids in Halloween costumes if they are settled in the US, or I see the kids bursting crackers in sherwani if they are in India. Come Thanksgiving, I am waiting for all the turkey pics with the in laws in the background!
- The moment I step into a cosmetics shop, I am offered anti-aging solutions. Beauticians advice me to adopt the once in two months facial routine.
- Gone are the days when I wished I had an hourglass figure. Gym is a means of staying healthy rather than being skinny. And do you get joint pain every now and then, especially when it is cold. What is the right age to start on calcium tablets?
- I find young people, their hair style, beads and piercing a tad bit offensive. Maybe that skirt is a bit too short, and why is that boy and girl walking so close together?
- I sometimes don't understand the jokes in new generation movies and laugh only because everyone else is laughing and don't want to feel left out.
- I finish my lunch within 15 minutes and I eat with people whose hair lines are receding, middles bulging, and clothes expensive. We like to frown at the fresh recruits who sit in large groups and laugh loudly for no obvious reason.
- We friends used to be very strict about dividing our expenses. Even the one rupee expenditure had to be divided. (Now there seems to be no more one rupee coins). That was the time when we divided our account balance by the number of days left till month end to know how much we could afford to spend each day. This seems to be one aspect of my life that hasn't changed, unfortunately. My friends however seem to be having money problems of a different kind now. The kind you have when you have too much money. How do you save on taxes? What is the difference between LICs and ULIP? Whats your EMI on the housing loan (of the second house)?
- Cleaning up was the last thing we did in hostel, but now we carry a hand sanitizer.
- All my favourite songs are being featured in the retro hour. And try as I might, I am not able to remember new tunes and lyrics.
I am yet to find the silver lining hidden among those lines, wrinkles and spots that are slowly appearing on my face. My body's decreasing ability to digest carbohydrates probably serves some grand, noble cause, but I am still to come to terms with it. I have no idea about the function of the cool gadgets kids use now a days. And I can't bear mushy Bollywood romance anymore. God, how did I sit through the three hours that Kuch Kuch Hota Hai played on screen, several times?
Time is slipping by fast, isn't it? Just the other day I was thirteen. And now I am ...Well, I might as well stop cribbing and have some chocolate cake - while health permits me.
For the Chocolate Cake
(Recipe from the Cadbury's Cocoa Tin)
2 cups plain flour + extra to prepare tin
5 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
120 grams butter, at room temperature + extra to grease cake tin
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 drops vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 170 degree Celcius.
Butter an 8" cake tin and sprinkle some plain flour. Remove excess flour
Sift together plain flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar till pale. Add eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Mix in milk and essence. Add a third of the flour and mix well. Repeat till all flour is used up. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake in oven on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes till a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
Cool cake completely and remove from tin. Layer the cake into two using to and fro motions of a bread knife. I have not layered the cake in the pics because I didn't want to wait too long for my chocolate kick, but this cake is best layered. Also if the cake has risen in the middle, you can level it out with the bread knife. In this way, you can keep the pie filling in the middle. On the other hand, if you want the pie filling to be sliding all over the cake, don't level the cake.
Note: The cake is slightly dense. If you want a lighter cake, try this recipe
1 package (around 4 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
2 envelopes dessert topping mix
1 1/4 cup cold milk
In a bowl, whisk together dessert topping mix, chocolate pudding mix and milk at medium speed for 2-3 minutes till stiff.
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
Place one cake layer, flat side down on serving plate. Make a ring about 1 cm high and 2 cm wide on top of the cake layer using 1 cup of chocolate frosting. Reserve 3/4 cup of cherry pie filling; fill centre of chocolate frosting ring with the remaining pie filling.
Place second cake layer atop cherry filling. Spoon reserved cherry filling onto the centre of the top layer. Frost the side and top of the cake with remaining chocolate frosting.
Chill and serve.