The Kitchen Bench Syndrome

Once while watching Masterchef Australia, I noted the emphasis on keeping the bench clean while recreating complex recipes. It was mentioned that our work-station reflected our mind space and having it cluttered and messy greatly affects our productivity.

At the time, I couldn’t realize the importance of this principle, but over time, this learning made better sense to me and has now become a practice I religiously follow.

Once while baking a chocolate sponge cake, I had the recipe before my eyes, all ingredients laid out, all tools, bake-ware prepared and the oven set to preheating. One look at the kitchen bench would give the onlooker an idea that a major experiment was on its way. Perhaps a recipe being invented that the human race was yet to introduce to its taste buds. Every possible baking tool was on the kitchen counter besides the usual staples and much more.

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Staying focused in a cluttered kitchen like this is a herculean task

Soon enough there was flour everywhere, egg shells, butter paper strips, grains of sugar and of course cocoa powder and baking powder too added to the mess painting the bench in shades of white and brown.

As I put my cake to bake in the oven, I darted out of the kitchen, relieved that all was done. Leaving the messy kitchen bench to be dealt with later. It was only later that I realized that had I cleaned the kitchen bench right away, I would have noted having missed on adding the Vanilla extract (a key ingredient to mask the odor of the eggs added) to my cake, a key ingredient in this simple 6 ingredient recipe.

Minutes ticked away and though I could smell something cooking, there was no sign of the heartwarming aroma of the vanilla essence in the air. Still, no alarm bells rang in my head. At the specified time, when I took the cake out of the oven, I still couldn’t smell anything I usually do.

As I set the cake to cool down and started cleaning up the bench, I realized the blunder I had committed but it was too late to correct it anyway.That was the day, my life changed.

Food, especially baking is very close to my heart. Stuffing up a well-rehearsed recipe didn’t go down well with me and the ruined cake haunted me for a very long time.

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From that moment (a few years ago) on I make it a point to clear up as soon as I am done with a task. Be it the kitchen bench or my writing desk. I strive to keep it as less cluttered as I can make it.

Though I didn’t notice any significant results right away, but in the long run my productivity has improved manifolds. My mind feels clearer and better focused and I have been able to recreate recipes with over 35 ingredients with inspiring results every single time. And stress fails to get the better of me because I feel in better control all the time.

While being organised is the key, the impact of keeping the workstation clutter-free represents a clear mind space that is open to relaxed, happier outlook, helping you see through the problem right away and is definitely provides a needed push to perform better free from distraction.

What is the usual state of your kitchen bench/ workstation?

In Control

Tomorrow is an important day of my our life. Pari starts her journey in a new school, in a new class, with a lot of firsts going to be marked in history. But that is to happen tomorrow. This post is a quickie to record my crucial first.

Today, I am as calm as a summer sea. It is very unusual for a worrier like yours truly. Over the years of my existence, I have worried too much in anticipation of every big or small event of my life. This has on almost all occasions done more harm than good. I was tired of worrying endlessly to the extent, that finally, I decided to do something serious about it.

I have finally taken a baby step in this direction.

I was well aware I’ll go nuts today, worrying and preparing for Pari’s big day. So this time I made all arrangements one day in advance. Bag packed, the dress is ready and everything else is set since last night.

Action is the answer to the problem of over-thinking.

This very small step has kept me cool all day. I have been able to focus on work normally and I am looking forward to tomorrow positively. It is quite unlike me, but something I am absolutely loving. I am geared up to hit the sack early tonight. This is not going to be a one-night affair and I am sure it will surely give a boost to my productivity, health, and peace of mind too.

Being optimistic is good, but taking a decisive step to make things happen is the real point when tides of worry ebb.

With this happy feeling of accomplishment, I am all set to embark on an important chapter of my life.

Wish us good luck!

The song on mind: O mere dil ke chain ~ Mere Jeevansathi

My Forgetfulness

I have always been known to be the one who remembers the minutest details about everything that transpires in my surroundings. Besides, being the proud possessor of sharp observation.

Though my memory was never photographic, but still it did rank among the rarest of its kind seen in today’s era. Remembering phone numbers, birth dates, personal preferences of dear ones, colours of dresses worn by people known to me over many occasions, registration numbers of vehicles owned by my friends and colleagues, who liked which actor and so on, was something I did effortlessly.

With the turn of events in my life, as tasks at hand increased with the fog of worries growing thicker, my brain soon began to lose its magical memory.

Images began to blur, details reduced to headlines and names turned out to be the biggest victims. I know, many of you find remembering names tedious with frequent lapses. I sure have heard that a number of times. But, seeing it happen with me, sounds like a nightmare to me, even while writing about it.

The last nail in the coffin of my sharp memory came with my pregnancy. I would have conveniently blamed the pregnancy hormones, but their levels have ebbed eons ago with me left with a damaged power of reminiscence, proving otherwise.

The emotional turmoil and psychological shattering I suffered in the past two years, clearly washed off my brain’s power to remember the intricate details, leaving it blank like a clean slate.

Today, I struggle to remember my appointments of the day, the day and date, names of kids of even my close friends and also the content of my blog posts written not so long ago. Remembering the chore I had in mind while heading towards the kitchen sometimes calls for straining my mind and often retracing my steps to get answers.

Meeting deadlines is quite a task, for I often forget to make notes in my little book. I am startled by many things on daily basis that we normally take for granted. I fail to remember which pizza I had ordered couple of minutes ago on phone, confirming my phone number has me thinking twice. The list is painful, embarrassing and frustrating, requiring me to invest a lot of time trying to recall and leading an organised life.

But, like every dark cloud, my forgetfulness too has a silver lining. It has greatly helped me in moving on from a broken marriage. It has washed off most of the painful memories besides the happy ones, making living in present while planning for the future, lot easier than would have been the case otherwise.

I am seen to struggle recollecting details of my life hardly two years down the line. It is actually good for me, is something that I have recently come to realise. While I struggle with my forgetfulness, I sure have strong reasons for loving my life this way.

The existence of forgetting has never been proved:  We only know that some things don’t come to mind when we want them ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The song on my mind:  Aate jaate khoobsurat ~ Anurodh