sunbeams and sugardrops

Archive for December 2011

December is my absolute favorite month of the year, not least because I have a birthday in it. Holidays, family, people doing lovely things for each other, eating well and just a general air of warm and fuzzies.  But despite amazing food and birthday presents and vacations, this birthday month turned out to be slightly more existential-stress-fraught than usual. I don’t think turning 30 had much to do with it – that number is not as daunting as people would have you believe.

But it’s funny how things go. Stressed though I was, and faced with the utter fear of the unknown, I found myself reasoning with myself, making choices and making micro-adjustments internally and surprise surprise. I gave myself the best birthday present I could have asked for. Peace of mind. Hard won and well earned in the end.

Add to that a few simple pleasures – people I love around me and remembering me, good food, some wholesome exercise, fun chatter, some deep conversation, good new people – I think I had one of the best birthdays this year. Just pure, simple, unadulterated happiness and peace. Not wild party happiness. Not wow amazing presents happiness. Not oh joy, everyone loves me happiness. Just…. satisfaction with life.

And turns out at my age, peace of mind is far more a girl’s best friend than a diamond ever could be.


I’ve recently moved to a new-old place. Very familiar from months spent in a happy surrender to self-discovery. And new because now I live here. Am no longer as transient as I thought and now have to be grounded in this place…be mundane when called for, responsible, real. And yet, I feel unhinged. Like I’ve been thrown in to the deep end without a lifesaver. And now I have to remember I knew how to swim. Quite well even. And loved it not too long ago. The strokes reminded me of my strength and ability and gave me pleasure. It’s a vague memory that I need to relearn and touch and hold again. Soon.

There is a world of things that need to be done. Inside and out. To who I am, what I do, where I live. So instead of what I usually do which is worry and then overcompensate by being utterly relaxed, this time I’m going to try this. Just simply doing. And doing another thing. And then doing it again. One step after another.

(c) thebigdurian

Sometimes, especially when the skies are like lead and the rain just won’t let up, or other times when it feels like winter inside you, a shot of hot, dark, delicious chocolate sets the world in order. As the warmth pools in your stomach and begins to slowly radiate through to your fingertips, on its way warming your heart and un-furrowing that brow,  this is love and warmth and a hug in a mug.

And it tastes darned good too. Good enough that you really shouldn’t save it for a rainy day. Hot chocolate needs to be shared – on cozy evenings in, days spent planning a project, sharing nervous revelations, exhilarating secrets, tentative self-discovery, a reward at the end of a really hard piece of thinking, or a quiet moment to kickstart your mind. Really when is NOT the right moment for a cup of hot chocolate!

The point I’m making is this. Hot chocolate needs to be had. And man I had a good cup made for me a while back I just can’t get off my mind.

Now there is no one way to make it but to make it good, you’ve got to start with good things. Good chocolate, real milk and not water…really! And just a little care. This cup I’m talking about was actually a mug filled with about 20g of good chocolate, 2-3 pieces. I like my cocoa dark so I would use a dark, semi sweet chocolate. (Another version I liked used one mini Mr.Goodbar and a mini dark Hershey’s piece). And god as I write this, I think I’m going to try my hot chocolate with a splash of gran marnier tonight!

The chocolate was then melted. In a Microwave which isn’t romantic but it’s easy and quick. So choose what you’re feeling and go with stove-top or microwave accordingly. No one needs to know. Now this next bit is key. The chocolate was whisked! A pinch of salt was added and whisked in with that melted chocolate. Warm milk was poured over the chocolate and then whisked some more.  Because the cup lost some of its heat, another 30 seconds in the microwave warmed it up perfectly.  I’d top it off with a dash of cream if the mood demands it but my god that cup was good to go. Frothy, deep cocoa flavor, salt just making it lovely and satisfying.

Now I know I’ve just gone on and on about hot chocolate which is beyond simple to make and not the least bit insightful for most but really, me, a passionate lover of chocolate,  I had no clue how to do this. All my previous hot cocoa attempts were either too wimpy or far too rich to be anything but sinful. This cup was almost wholesome!

It’s that time of the year when even in Bombay, wintry feelings start to envelope you and ideas of roaring fireplaces and cozy razais start floating around in your head. So, with images of Christmas and holiday planning and Christmas carols everywhere, I think a few cups of hot chocolate are definitely called for.

Sugar Droplets

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