Relish your TasteBuds !!

Do you know how important is taste in our day to day life? Even though I never thought about the importance of taste that much before, in the past couple of weeks, this is the only topic I hear from many lovely people I know, including my other half, my colleagues and my friends.

Loss of taste (probably one of the most underrated) is a main symptom of COVID-19, as we all know by now from every possible data sources available to us, and one of the most frustrating symptoms of all.

I remember one of my colleagues said, “Everything tastes cardboard.” And the ruthless self of mine responded by asking, “So, when have you tasted cardboard?”. And we bursted out in laughter. But that was couple of days ago.

Today I was making my lovely cup of ‘milky’ coffee, which only myself and my colleague Cara can drink. [People did suggest in the past seeing the way I make it: that why bother putting coffee, drink milk rather ;)]. I offered Cara a cup of coffee too, which she gently declined, saying, “Don’t waste your effort, I can’t taste it.” But do you think I give up? No way, I proudly said, “But I shall make you my best signature coffee and you will love it. To this she couldn’t deny, but gladly agreed.

As usual, I made that signature coffee of mine, one for her too, but it’s really unfortunate, that my lovely friend Cara couldn’t sense any taste of it whatsoever. She looked so pathetic when she said it and my response was the worst one. I laughed my head off, but I promise I didn’t mean it. It’s true we are a team of a crazy bunch at work, and we laugh off many things. But, honestly, I empathised in my heart.

Even though losing taste is better than losing life, I do pray and wish that everyone get their taste back. Because I do believe that life can’t be the same, without being able to taste that lovely cuppa tea or coffee, that we savour every morning to start a brand new day.

Hence, dear people never underestimate the power of taste in our day to day life, because as the saying goes you won’t know what you have until you lose it.

Much Love,

~Chinchu Gibu

Some Cat Talks !!

Today I was washing my plates in the kitchen, it’s over a week now, I haven’t stepped out of my home.

Two of my feline visitors, walked to my back garden. Let’s call them Kitty and Milo, the naughty male farm cats from my neighbourhood.

Kitty is black and white, handsome of course and Milo, has black, white and brown fur with white whiskers, looks wild, but gentle.

The flowing tap water gathered their attention towards me. They stood for a moment watching me, of course, making comments on what I was doing.

I raised my eyebrow to kitty, who stood near my window and Milo was standing by the fence.

Since they distracted my attention I dropped the plate with a thud noise, which alerted Kitty. I smiled at him and raised my hand and said, “Sorry, mate.”

I saw him turning to Milo and say, “Nevermind, she is a bit clumsy, looks like she hasn’t recovered yet, anyway we are in the safe zone.”

I saw that cheeky smile they shared and I rolled my eyes and sighed, “You silly cats, don’t think that I failed to notice that meaningful look of yours.” As though they understood, both walked away quietly.

~ Chinchu Gibu

COVID-19: A Disrupted System Communication

Brain: Chinchu, hey what’s going on? You sleeping there? Don’t you have any work to do? Come on girl wake up.

Heart: Is she hibernating or what? I had so less effort this week. Yeah, in the beginning I pumped a bit faster, didn’t understand what was going on in her little brain on Monday night.?

Brain: True, Monday night she seemed chaotic, she used me to the point that I got exhausted and eventually shut down.

Lungs: This girl has no idea, after a very long while, I mean years, that I felt worked up so bad. Yes, that was on Monday morning and afternoon. Many times she ran out to the garden to breathe in deep to fill my alveoli. Very unusual, though.

Brain: Yes, I remember her mentioning that she felt breathless on Monday.

Kidneys: She normally drink well. But that eventful Monday, I worked like a donkey, she kept on drinking as if she didn’t see water for weeks. And then the next day onwards, as though I was on holiday, I had nothing to do.

Brain: Indeed, that day, she drank a whole 2-litre bottle with no effort at all.

Skin: Lot of confusion going on. It’s been a few days that I don’t know if I feel hot or cold, one minute, am emitting heat and the next minute am cold as ice.

Brain: True, she has a fever. No wonder she is less active these days.

Liver: She is not a junk eater. But I do worry about her these days, she started taking less food and more paracetamol regularly than usual. I know she is a sensible girl, but I feel concerned.

Brain: If she is unwell, I should know by now. I do wonder, is this the new guy out there, the one now the whole world is talking about – yeah that one who got a funny name. COVID-19.. People say he is only a protein and look what damage he has made. The whole system is out of order.

Me: Thank you Brain finally you know what I mean 🙄😓

~Chinchu Gibu

P.C: Google Images

N.B. I was unwell and my friend phoned me to uplift my mood, and this was what we thought was the communication going on between my vital organs. 🤗 Though there was more to our weird imagination, this is all I could comprehend here as the rest were robotic language which I will try to include in a later blog.🙈

For how long..?

Headache.. Lethargic.. Fed up.. This was what I felt last week at work. Don’t take me wrong, I work in a very supportive environment, with a good team and backed up by a good management. It’s the mask I wear, for long hours. I ask myself every day, for how long…?

This week am off from work, am in the comfort of my home, didn’t go anywhere, I have no mask on, and you know what, I feel good, I didn’t have any more of those headaches.

It’s another National lockdown. As I was scrolling through the Sky News this evening, I happened to read the current statistics of confirmed Covid cases in England. The facts are overwhelming, one in 50 people in England has Covid. I been trying to avoid the news for months, to hide myself from the reality we face in the present day.

I think what Shylaja teacher, (the health minister of Kerala) said the other day is worth a thought. Yes, a self lockdown has become pertinent. Because no matter, what the government put in place, if we don’t follow the rules, what’s the use?

We as individuals need to make this decision of putting ourselves to a strict self lockdown in order to protect ourselves and the rest of the people around us. Because we are in a war right now, a war with the virus that is limiting us from our life, and our freedom.

In the past year, we learned to live a life that’s a lot simpler than we followed for years. We learned to live with what’s necessary rather than what we want. We learned to limit ourselves where needed to promote a safer life. Can we try it,with a bit more patience and perseverance for this one more time. It is indeed frustrating for you and me; but we have to stop this deadly variant. Because it has done enough damage to our lives. Just think about it, for how long can we endure this?

Think about a tomorrow, where we can walk out of our home, with a smile on the face that’s not covered by a mask.

Think about a tomorrow, we can wholeheartedly hold our loved one in our arms to give a warm hug.

Think about a tomorrow where we don’t have to stand in long queues in front of the supermarket for our essentials.

Think about a tomorrow where the kids can grow, learn and play with their fellow friends at school.

Think about a tomorrow where we can openly meet our friends for a treat or hang out with them.

Think about a tomorrow where we can freely travel to all those beautiful destinations in our bucket list with no fear.

Think about a tomorrow where we can taste the freedom which was once part of our day to day life.

Because if we don’t take this step today, how long can we endure this? For how long?

#stayhome #staysafe #savelives

~ Chinchu Gibu

TONIGHT…

I have nothing to say other than

Thanks…

THANK YOU …

to my hubby for being there for me

to my family for all the prayers send on my way

to my friends for all your thoughtfulness and love

to my colleagues for staying strong and immune

to my profound thoughts for keeping me busy and sane

to WordPress for sharing my craziness to the world out there

Above all..

to God almighty,

not only for keeping us safe

but also for blessing me

with everything

I mentioned above..

P.S.: Thank you COVID, though you made our lives a hell, I still found out a new hobby, without you I would never know I could do some art too 😝.. But it’s been too long you been hanging around, I think you have to leave too..

Happy New Year’s Eve

It’s a freezing morning ☺️

My Two Months of Christmas..

It is usually a week or if I stretch a bit too much, then a month, so what is it about two months of Christmas? I was too keen to celebrate Christmas this year, probably because I wanted to compensate for the whole year. It all began in the first weeks of November during my holidays, I started watching Christmas movies in Netflix when I made my Christmas bucket list for 2020.

My first task started with assembling dry fruits, including raisins, sultanas, dates, prunes, glazed cherries and tutti frutti from Asda, Tesco, Costcutter, the Indian Shop and even from Amazon. By the beginning of the third week of November, I did my cake mixing. Ideally, rum or brandy is suggested, but we soaked it with Red Wine and powdered spices (cinnamon, cloves,cardamom). It was indeed a prelude to the upcoming joy and spirit of Christmas.

Selection of dry fruits for Cake Mixing

The next in the list was winemaking. Choosing the best and the finest quality grapes from the market was the first and foremost of all steps. And following my recipe from the previous years, I gathered my ingredients one by one carefully. The whole process was followed thoroughly with utmost care to each step. The periodic ritual of stirring the wine was indeed the most exciting part of the whole process, seeing the results were worth the effort.

Wine Jar taken out for stirring

Every time I opened the cupboard to take out the glass jar to stir the wine, my nostrils were greeted by the aroma of fermenting grapes and the spices in it. My home was filled with the fragrance of Christmas, and my soul with the excitement of the long wait. And what was more thrilling was that it wasn’t just me, but a joint venture, as my friend Vidya Anoop too joined me from Dubai.

Within no time, we stepped into December, and it was time to decorate the home, with fairy lights, candles, Christmas tree and Christmas wreath. And the main thing is to work it all in those days off from work. It was a joint effort, with my better half, and finally, we became ready for welcoming baby Jesus into our hearts and homes. My crib was old, rusty and small, but then, that made it a replica of the scene witnessed by the shepherds, the wise men and the angels, on that eventful night in Bethlehem.

My Christmas Wreath in my living room

The next worry was the baking itself. Of course, the fruits were soaked and all set. But what about the cake. Yes, I have baked before, but never done a perfect cake. And this time, I couldn’t settle for anything less than the best. I didn’t forget to get advice from a very old friend of mine, Hara Cherry, who does a lot of baking these days to kill her time. I should say, talking to friends always gives the best solutions; she gave me the best piece of advise I was looking for. And we decided to practice, my friend Vidya tried an apple cake while I tried a banana cake. It didn’t disappoint us.And again, I baked a simple sponge, but this time it was a bit dry. Indeed a learning curve for me.

On the 22nd of December, precisely a month after the cake mixing day, we decided to bake our Christmas cake. Vidya and me, though a bit worried about the outcome, we were so looking forward to this moment eagerly. It was interesting and unusual at the same time, to follow the steps one by one, via a voice call(BOTim), and send pictures to each other to check if we were doing the right thing. Isn’t it contradictory that though the virus kept us away from our near ones, we stayed virtually connected from two different continents, that too doing baking? We had to keep the cake longer in the oven than expected, but the outcome was the best one for the season. So finally, We did it. The fluffy and moist Christmas fruit cake.

My Christmas cake ❤️ my lack of experience is evident on the number of times I stick the knife in to check if it’s baked enough ☺️

Meanwhile, I been through busy days at work, wrote few Christmas blogs, watched more Christmas movies, had endless conversations with family. Took Christmas pictures with my loving hubby and made personalised greetings for friends and family. Enjoyed the sight of Christmas lightings in our neighbourhood and my favourite Santa next door to me. And of course, we did the grocery shopping for Christmas meal. I was completely engaged in enjoying every bit of what the festive season has to offer, remaining within all my restrictions and constraints.

My husband and I, celebrated our Christmas on Christmas Eve, as we both were working on the 25th. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the visits from our friends due to new rules announced by the government due to rising risks from the new variant virus. I woke up early to make our breakfast as per what we planned a few days before. We cut the cake, which we desperately been waiting to do since the day it was baked, and tasted the homemade wine. Then, I cooked our Christmas dinner, based on our menu for the day. Everything went well, as it had to be. I felt overwhelmed by my little accomplishments. Might sound exaggerating, but I believe in living my moments of happiness and gratitude.

Our cake and Wine.. Homemade!!

Though this year the midnight church service wasn’t there due to the result of the pandemic, the videos were all streaming online, which was never the same. The feel of having family beside, was another great thing we missed. But as we know, it all comes part and parcel of our life away from home. But the videos and photos sent by my sister in law and the narration of their celebration were just enough for me to bring warmth in my heart and the feeling of being home.

Today, as I go through my bucket list, I could see that I covered almost 99% of my tasks, and the ones I left (a few material things) weren’t necessary when outweighed with the risk associated with the shopping involved. It isn’t just about what I did or didn’t do, it is about the immense joy I (and the people around me) experienced in the whole process of celebrating Christmas in my own way. It is about the involvement; of ourselves and letting people join with us to celebrate and have fun. It is about the commitment we put in everything we do. It is about the perseverance and waiting for the best outcome we deserve to achieve . It’s about sharing our joy with the people around us. It’s about caring for ourselves and fulfilling our little dreams. It’s about the gratitude we feel, in the midst of everything we are in now, how well God has led us through. Thank you God for everything.

Thank You God

Much Love..

~ Chinchu Gibu

❤️

A Little Prayer ❤️

Dear God,

Honestly speaking there were many times this year, when I felt really disappointed with you. But to be fair, I do trust that you never put me down. And every will of yours (though some of them are beyond my understanding), I do believe it happened for our well-being.

Well, sometimes I do question, and I can’t help it. It’s not that I lost my trust in you, but it’s just that I don’t understand why. Of course, I don’t need to understand everything. I only have to submit to your will. But, you know me, that I don’t mean it when I get angry with you.

I have one very important thing to say to you, that amidst the pandemic, the new variant of it and now the flood last night, you still kept us safe, and I can’t thank you enough. Thank You, God, that you kept our families, our friends and our colleagues safe, even though some of them had to go through tough times.

As we celebrate your human form tonight, I only have one prayer, to keep this world safe and sane.

Merry Christmas

Much Love ❤️

Chinchu Gibu

A Christmas Reflection..

From yesterday’s briefing from the prime minister, the most dramatic news I heard in a long time: Christmas plans cancelled for London. What an impact of the unprecedented times..? I knew something drastic was coming, but never thought it would be this early.. Well! Having said that it couldn’t be any more shocking than having a whole year of failed plans, shattered dreams and losing lives, is it?

I always remember to celebrate life and live its moments with all my heart and soul. And Christmas is nothing different, being the most wonderful time of the year. It has always been a family affair, while growing up. It is all about being home with the people you love; the 25-days lent, the service, the love and sharing, the decorations, the star lights, the carols and a lot of delicious food: simple yet elegant way of celebrating Christ in his human form. It was the norm for years and never changed.

Probably then, I never thought in years to come, I might see the day when I crave to be with family to live those moments once again. It’s over ten years now that I been home for Christmas. It’s not that we don’t celebrate here, but it’s all about missing our dear ones.

As I started being homesick, when the realisation hit me that I can’t be home this year too, I decided to do it my way; by compiling both old and new (to me) traditions in such a way that it’s more of a joyful adventure and an exciting experience. My bucket list for Christmas is a fun journey, from learning to bake to Christmas blogs; every little thing is just as cool as I ever want it to be.

Even though it may not compensate for what I miss in life, it gives me contentment in living my present with no regrets. Because what I learned in life so far, is that the yesterdays are long gone and the future is not within our hold.

So to those of my lovely people out there, those affected by lockdown, those away from family, and those missing their loved ones, let’s make it our way this time. Let’s celebrate, but a bit different to our norms.

Stay safe and a Merry Christmas..

Much Love,

Chinchu Gibu

The Joy of Sharing and Caring

CHRISTMAS BLOG Edition #2

My neighbourhood welcomes the festive season most warmly and incredibly. Probably because it’s a small township in Norfolk, the community here is rather friendly and connected.

We (my husband and I) only moved to Long Stratton last year, that too a fortnight before Christmas. Though, this is a temporary relocation; I should say this place is fantastic.

I was amazed by the friendly people and the way they celebrate in here. The carol singing by children at the market place last year and all the leaflets I received welcoming to Christmas services were all remarkable. The music, the food, the lights and decorations, everything is merry and it’s all about Christmas. Indeed something we miss in city life.

This year it’s a bit quieter, but still happening. Coming back to my neighbourhood, an incident happened to me last week. I thought it was worth sharing as it’s exceptional for me.

I hired a gardener to sort my garden and tidy up the Ivy plant on our front wall. Being completely unaware of the fact that he overcharged me for his services, I continued my daily chores as it was my day off from work.

Few minutes later, I heard the calling bell, because I wasn’t expecting anyone I peeped through the curtain, only to find the old man from next door. He watched me from his flat across the road, while I dealt with the gardener.

It was cold and miserable out there; that type of day when I only wish to grab a hot drink, and sit in my couch wrapped in a cosy blanket. As I opened the door, he introduced himself to me, and pointed to the flat he lives. Though we met many times, and waved at each other, this was the first time we talked.

He said, “You been ripped off dear, I been watching from upstairs, the gardener has overcharged you. I thought you will say no to his quote.” He looked and sounded extremely disappointed with what I did.

I thought why to blame the gardener, it is my ignorance that caused it. Moreover, people are struggling out there due to the unprecedented times, you never know what his (gardener) family is going through. Though I explained why I did, what I did. He wasn’t convinced by my explanation. He seemed very unsatisfied by the gardener’s doing. I understood that he had a valid point and thanked him.

He advised me to be careful next time dealing with people, and also offered me that if I need any garden services in future, he will send me his gardener to help. He also reminded me that good people still exist.

Surprisingly I didn’t feel disappointed, but happy instead to know that people still do care. I was touched by his act of thoughtfulness.

To me this is the spirit of Christmas, the love of giving, the thoughtfulness we receive, the kindness we share and the feeling of joy in everything we do.

Much Love

~Chinchu Gibu