“Choose the positive. You have a choice, you are the master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” Bruce Lee
I’ve been gone for a few weeks. Mentally. To be very honest, I am sick of world news. I am sick of not being able to say anything without offending someone, sick of how un-private my life is because of social media but most of all I am sick of people not taking responsibility for their part in a conflict.
And, this is where it gets really hard when it comes to social media because I love technology and I kind of like the idea of keeping in touch with people but what I don’t like or should I say abhor is that as private as I may make my account, I leave myself open to being watched. I am I must admit fanatically private. But, I take responsibility for putting myself out there. I choose to put up ‘selfies’ (hate that word) and the like. I do that, no one else. But more than the whole social media fiasco that we cannot live without (also a choice), is my intense dislike for people not taking responsibility for their actions. You’re probably wondering how the two things are connected. Maybe they aren’t or… We all somewhat live our lives in the public space. We may not be Brad Pitt or an Angelina Jolie but lets be honest we seem to love leading our lives publicly like them. We love hating Facebook but seem to spend half our lives on it. We are all gurus spreading wisdom and advice to others and rarely look inside to ourselves.
Mom always said, “Its okay to be wrong. Its okay to make mistakes. How can anyone be always right? It’s not possible. But always think about what you do and take onus for your actions.”
That stuck like super glue. Oh I make mistakes. Big ones. Like the one where I decided to plaster my picture on social media. But thanks to some amazing people in my life, AND, what I believe to be personal development (because aren’t we all works in progress?), I think, I at least try and think of my part in any given situation. I am not shy of saying I am wrong and boy I seem to say that a lot these days. For me it is imperative I do, if I am. Its intensely human I keep telling my baby girl to make mistakes. In fact you must, to learn. What is an abomination is the lack of ability to not only not accept our mistakes but to also not learn from them.
‘True friends stab you in the front’, so true Mr. Wilde and I’m glad to inform you that I have true friends.
When I moved to Holland some thousand years ago, I felt like I was ‘the’ target of racism. I was miserable and the situation fed itself so out of control that I found myself wanting to leave. Till a dear friend said something to me that made so much sense. She said, “If someone does that, isn’t it more their problem than yours Rakhee? It’s them you should pity. Shrug it off and you take their power away!” Wow! Isn’t that so true? Yes, racism is not right, and no the victim is not to blame. BUT, I must take responsibility for feeding it. I must. There is a popular saying in hindi, ‘taali do haath se bajti hain, ek se nahi’ (you clap with two hands, not one). Makes sense? It does to me. I can tell you since then I have never felt racism even for a day. I just don’t see or feel it happening. And even if it does, I am oblivious to it. Kind of cool isn’t it? To neutralize someone so effectively? For years I suffered till I accepted my part in the whole situation. There is something to be said about emitting a positive aura, as cheesy as it may sound. When I felt negative I got negative back.
So, the past weeks, hours of self reflection, suffering and vehemently muttered cursed adjectives under my breath about why people are the way they are (me included), why there needs to be stupid wars, why if I can look inside, someone else conveniently chooses not to, I set myself free with that Bruce Lee quote I started with, “Choose the positive. You have a choice, you are the master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” And since I believe I and only I am responsible for my actions and my attitude, I choose (for now) the positive yet again.
I made a Raita today. Raita, made of yoghurt in India, is always used to balance the spiciness of the other dishes. It is sincerely meant as that dollop of freshness to cool your mouth. But, I made it spicy because I feel fiery despite my pledge to to be all positive. The white cold freshness of the yoghurt to balance and quell the fire in my belly. The raita, with the cool and the spicy is like the perfect alliance of opposites in constant battle inside my head.
And this dish, it does its job. Can be eaten on its own or with a hot naan (bread) as lunch. Deeply satisfying, its food for your tummy and for your soul.
2 cups yoghurt (plain or greek, I used plain)
1 red chili (sliced)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp golden mustard seeds
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste
handful of mint leaves
naan bread (optional)
Place the yoghurt in 2 bowls and add the salt to taste and mix well.
Dry roast the cumin seeds about a minute on high heat. Crush and make into a fine powder. Set aside.
Take a cucumber and cut into half. Peel off the skin of one half and grate and mix equally into the 2 bowls of yoghurt. The other half cut into thin slices whichever way you like! I cut them lengthwise.
In a wok of pan heat the oil and add the red chili slices and the mustard seeds. Fry for about 2-3 minutes and immediately add to the yoghurt.
Decorate with the thin cucumber slices and some mint leaves and serve with hot naan bread or eat by itself.