When breath becomes air

This is not a review as such about the book by Paul Kalanithi but essentially the questions that popped in my mind when reading the book. There is no doubt we have lost such a dedicated, talented neurosurgeon. It’s very sad to see that after all the efforts he has put in, when it was time to reap the benefits he was affected by lung cancer. In these days of corporate hospitals where medical profession has become just another money minting business, we get to see very few people like Paul Kalanithi who don’t look at it like a job but as their calling and dedicate their lives for the suffering of the people.
The point about taking up something just as a job vs. taking it up as your calling has really struck me. I guess that makes all the difference between how seriously we take our work and how much we enjoy doing it even if it demands insane amounts of our time and energy. Be it any profession, I think if everyone gives a serious thought to what they really want to do rather than what benefits/social status a job provides, the world would be a much better place.
Another point that lingers in my mind is about what is considered to be a meaningful life? This might sound contradictory to the above point about doing what your calling is and dedicating entirely to what you want to do. The point is about where to draw a line between work and experiencing the pleasures of life. Maybe for some people, their work and call of duty is the way of life rather than ephemeral pleasures of life. In my view there has to be a right mix of a stoic and an epicurean. One cannot be living life to full potential by being at either one of the two extremes.
At one point in the book he mentions about his regular lunch in the hospital which is just a diet coke and an ice-cream sandwich. I was shocked and also felt sad that inspite of knowing all the ills of processed food, sugary drinks, etc how can the doctors themselves live on these? I agree that this point is totally tangential to the crux of what the book is about but I couldn’t really digest the fact that inspite of the knowledge we have, we sometimes neglect or ignore doing what is right for us. People who know me well and about my recent inclination towards avoiding processed food and going organic way might think I always come back to this topic no matter what the context is about :). However I seriously feel that this is something that should not be taken lightly and more importantly in the light of recent studies about the impact of processed foods on our health and environment.
Though there is lot of research pointing to the processed foods and chemicals as one of the common reasons for cancers in the past few decades, I still don’t get the point why nothing is being done to at least label these foods appropriately. It also reminded me about an article from food babe recently about the cafeterias in hospitals selling all this processed food instead of serving healthy food options. Why can’t the hospitals at least start serving fresh and healthy food instead of selling processed fast food? I am not saying that food or hectic schedule was the culprit in Paul Kalanithi’s case. All I’m trying to say is that we could at least reduce the probability of cancers by avoiding processed foods as much as possible and reducing a bit of stress in our lives. It was saddening to see a person end up with cancer while he himself was into the profession of treating cancers.

I was really amazed by how he has become a neurosurgeon (the toughest stream in medicine) while starting off with B.A in literature. This is like a lesson to all of us with mental blocks that we cannot learn or do something else than what we studied. I am happy that I read this book and hope to imbibe at least some of the good points in my day-to-day life. May his soul rest in peace.

Taantra – Organic Baking

About a month back I stumbled upon Taantra. The moment I read about how Chaitali bakes the cakes with only healthy ingredients I was literally jumping with joy. I immediately ordered a Multi-grain Coffee Chocolate cake and few other items. The order was promptly delivered on time and the moment I tasted the Multigrain Coffee Chocolate cake I knew I found my healthy option for desserts. I decided to order my birthday cake this time from Chaitali and went with almond flour option. Instead of delivery, we decided to pick it up ourselves. After meeting Chaitali and hearing about all the healthy alternatives related to food, I was totally convinced that she was doing a very good job with organic baking and she definitely knew the stuff in and out. The almond flour cake also turned out to be very good.

We picked up Orange Almond cake today that she recommended last time when we met her. The aroma of the Orange Almond cake itself was a testimony of how good it’s going to taste. The taste was so good and the orange flavour filled the mouth. I could not stop with just one piece of it. It is after tasting this amazing cake that I decided to write this post. Whole oranges and almond flour are the only ingredients that go into this cake. This is definitely a healthy and tasty alternative to the regular cakes we get outside. After eating Chaitali’s cakes I now don’t feel like eating the regular ones and I now wonder how I was even eating them all this while. I strongly recommend Chaitali’s cakes to anyone looking for healthier desserts. Today we also ordered some magic bars and I cannot explain how happy I am after tasting them. Evening snack options was always a problem for us and with these magic bars I now have a good option for sure. We also got a sample of granola packet from her and we are yet to try it out. The Nuts & Seed bread that she bakes is also another healthy option for a snack. Do check out Taantra Menu for more options.

Tiramisu in Bangalore

I am a big fan of Tiramisu. After trying out in several places in Bangalore over the last 2 years,
I thought it was time to list out some of the good and not-so-good places for Tiramisu.

Good ones – 
Smoke House Deli – One of the best ones for the price and portion size
California Pizza Kitchen – Very good but expensive (Rs. 450 but portion size is big)
Chianti – Good and not very expensive

Not-so-good ones –
ibis (Outer Ring Road) – Was not bad but not as good as the above ones
Spaghetti Kitchen – Will not recommend this place for Tiramisu for sure..but they do have great pizzas
Truffles (Koramangala) – Not very good but their other dessert options are good
Onesta (Koramangala) – Good but not as good as the above options. It’s served in a small shot glass and price is very reasonable.


It’s been a long time since I posted anything here and its also an entirely different topic that I am writing about.
I had been facing problems with mouth ulcers since childhood and none of the home remedies, allopathy/homeopathy/ayurvedic medicines helped. Recently I saw an ad about Yakult on TV and was curious to know about it. I found out that its a probiotic drink with tons of lactobacillus bacteria in just 65 ml drink. I thought of giving it a try to see if that helps in anyway and it unexpectedly turned out to be the magic cure for my mouth ulcers. I have been having 1 Yakult per day (not very regularly but at least 3-4 times a week) for almost 2 months now and since then the mouth ulcers problem is totally gone. I was really really happy to finally find a solution for this chronic problem. So, I am sharing it here just in case someone else has the same issue.

Also, there is no guarantee that this will work for everyone. For some people using more curd in their diet helps and for some people mouth ulcers could be because of too much of stress. It’s just that Yakult worked for me and maybe it can also be given a try if you ran out of all other options. This Yakult ad is one of the very few good things that I learned because of watching TV 🙂 .

My experiments with cooking – mutton curry

Thought of starting a series of posts with all my cooking experiences. Here is the first one starting with my favourite mutton curry. I never liked cooking but somehow yesterday I just felt like making something and then immediately decided to try mutton curry. It was a big risk considering the fact that I never cooked in my life except one previous experience that I posted here before 🙂 . I called up my mom and asked her the recipe. She explained everything over phone and after a few phone calls and cooking time of one hour, I was done with making the curry.
First good thing was that the pieces were cooked properly. But coming to the taste, I think I did not add enough masala, chilli powder, salt and the tomatoes & onions were more than required. Nevertheless, it was not bad at all given that it was my first try. Now, I know what ingredients were missing and how to get it right the next time (provided I cook again which seems to be highly unlikely 🙂 ).
Thinking of trying out something else next time but definitely a non-vegetarian dish only 😀 .

Btw, recently found a lot of monin syrups (strawberry, caramel, mojito, etc) in the supermarkets here. Looks like time to make some nice beverages.

Food food and food….

Thanks  to Amith who took me to Alibaba Cafe & Restaurant for the first time. I must say, it’s the best place to have mutton. Yes!! this post is all about where and how I ended up in finding this Arabian restaurant….though the name has cafe in it, its definitely not one of those Irani cafe’s in Hyderabad 😀 . This place is known for the Arabian delicacies and the mutton served there is really tender. My favourite is sukhe maas (mutton) along with gawapolis. They have a special biryani made only during weekends called khuboos. Also the tea served here is also great.

I like the food there so much that I take the pains to drive 45 mins (one way) in bangalore traffic to eat mutton 😀 . The route to this place is a confusing one and consistently I have always gone through the same wrong route 🙂 but somehow ended up reaching the place. I would definitely suggest this place to any pure non-veggie visiting Bangalore.