Dear, d(readful)ear Love

~Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale~

I’m not sure why I’m writing this post. I’m no expert on love and relationships, much as I’d love to believe so. Maybe I’m writing this because it’s wedding season and every single person I know is ‘getting hitched’ or ‘biting the dust’. I dread opening Facebook because this (and some bashing of the new POTUS which actually makes for a pretty comical read) is all that is plastered over my newsfeed!

Your kindergarten / school classmate, old college mate, old friend turned foe, coworker, your friend’s brother that you had a crush on, your ex.. everybody’s either getting engaged, married or popping out babies. Where are they finding all these apparent soulmates? Is everybody getting married for love? Or was it arranged? Do they love their arranged marriage partner or are they being forced into it? Are they even really ready? Are you ever really ready? Are they as happy as they claim to be on social media? Do we really get our fairytale and live happily ever after?

Who the hell knows. Ask a new couple and they’ll give you a dreamy answer. Ask a married couple and they’ll tell you never to get married. And then maybe there are some in between..

~Eventually soul mates meet for they have the same hiding place~ Robert Brault

Where does one find this soulmate? Are these our options – Tinder and similar, Shaadi.com, Your aunt’s daughter’s nephew’s aunty’s brother’s child’s doctor (don’t bother making sense of this), Your gossip indulgent neighbour, A relative or a friend, Or is it your destiny/ luck that sends this person waltzing into your life?

*Apparent soulmate waltzes in*

All right, so this person has been locked in. What comes next? Assumably you date them for a while. Then I ask you what a while is. A few weeks/ months/ years. Oh but you can’t date them for too many years because “log kya kahenge”? How do you decide that this is ‘the one’? Do you write down all their qualities and weigh the pros and cons or do you go with that ‘gut feeling’? Will your friends like them? Will your parents approve? Log kya kahenge? Will panditji say “haan”? Will your kundalis match? Does anyone even care that maybe you don’t rely on / believe in this piece of paper? Or if you do believe in this and it says galat jodi, will you let go of your love?

Your movies, books, even Disney will have you believe that you get married for love. After all, life with your best friend, your companion, your soulmate sounds like a joy ride doesn’t it? Zone out of that happy place and the people around you will give you a reality check. Opinions are available a dime a dozen but there isn’t a soul that can guarantee that you will be happy for the rest of your life, probably even your own. But everyone knows best except you *insert major eye rolling*.

Enough about people though. Let’s talk about this soulmate. What is a soulmate anyway? According to a little research:

i. The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, thats not the one. When you meet your soulmate, you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.

ii. What’s a soulmate? It’s like a best friend or more. It’s the one person in the world who knows you better than anyone else. That someone who makes you a better person, no, actually they don’t make you a better person. You do that by yourself because they inspire you. A soulmate is someone you carry with you forever. It’s one person who knew you, accepted you and believed in you before anyone else did or when no one else would. And no matter what happens, you’ll always love them and nothing could ever change that.

Really? Does this really exist? Or in the age of Tinder has this concept been flushed down the drain, because I sure as hell can’t remember the last time somebody told me they had found their soulmate (at the risk of sounding like a pessimist). I’ve read numerous articles on self love and the fact that you only get the kind of love you think you deserve. But what if you do think you deserve the best but don’t exactly get it? Do you let that love go or do you hold on to it because you’re 27 and ab toh umar ho gayi hai and you don’t know if you’ll find love again? Do you convince yourself that nobody really ever gets what they truly want and that you have to compromise on a few things.. does this mean you’re settling? Or do you decide to wait? Does this mean that the people that find it difficult to love themselves don’t deserve the best? Is this when your ‘soulmate’ walks into your life and teaches you to love yourself? Self love articles will have you believe otherwise when they say that one can only love you if you love yourself. But what if you don’t know how to? Does this mean that you’ll lead a loveless life? Is it so wrong if someone waltzes in and teaches you to value yourself? Does that make you meek and dependent? Or sometimes it’s okay if you need a little help..

If only I had even one answer to my rant. This love-shove business is so baffling, I need a cup of hot tea. I still don’t know why I’m writing this but I do know for a fact that I delayed writing about this topic for a while because isse padhkar log kya kahnge? Will aunties call up my Mum and ask her if everything is ok with me? Haha this is going to be fun.

Coming up soon – Arranged Marriage or Auditions for Biwi’s Got Talent!

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Restaurant Review: Smoke House Deli, BKC

Address: Next to Masala Library, FIFC Building,Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai
(Don’t let Google Maps fool you, just get to First Rand Bank on the main road and take a left and then left again! Damn you Maps)

Phone: 022 2653 0762

Price: Rs. 4,000 for 2 people inclusive of alcohol 

Axis Bank brings to Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and and Kolkata the Gourmet Fest from the 11th-20th November 2016. A 10- day long culinary celebration, the event lets you enjoy some great cuisines with a fixed 3 course menu at Rs. 799* per person. All you need to do is pre-book your table with an Axis Bank Card. A minimal booking amount of  49* shall be charged at the time of confirmation and all details of your booking shall be sent to you. The fixed amount of  750* per person will be charged by the restaurant on your Axis Bank Credit/ Debit Card.

Take a look here at the participating restaurants in your city – http://gourmetfest.diningdelights.in

From the Mumbai list I chose Smoke House Deli, BKC. When we don’t know what to do on Sunday evenings and are down right lazy to even boil a packet of Maggi, zipping down to Smoke House Bandra is always our first choice.

Since I had a plus one invitation, I decided to invite a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I’ve been a little low lately so I was looking forward to an evening of good conversation, sangria and great food. It’s safe to say my evening was a delight 🙂

It’s always nice when your experience at a restaurant begins with a warm greeting. If you’re a food blogger it’s even better when the wait staff is aware of your arrival (one of those rare instances!). I immediately chose a table with good lighting, because, photography. Dinner began with a basket of warm breads with the Deli’s herbed butters. I wish they weren’t so damn good because I went to the restaurant hungry and stuffed myself silly.

Then came the made to perfection sangrias. I must make a note here that there are VERY FEW bars / restaurants in the city that make a mean sangria and Smoke House Deli gets it correct EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. If only I could get my hands on their recipe! Conversations and wine now begin to flow.

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For starters, we ordered the sweet potato paprika fries and paprika puffs with wasabi salsa. The fries were lip smacking but the puffs failed to impress. The wasabi salsa thankfully wasn’t too strong but the tomatoes were cut too big, making them messy to eat. They also did not taste too fresh.

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Mains included penne in pink sauce with market vegetables and the wild mushroom risotto. The penne was a plate full of creamy goodness, cooked al dente with the juiciest vegetables. It was that so terribly good that I had leftovers for breakfast! My Mum judged me all the way through.

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Unfortunately, the risotto which normally is fantabulous was a tad bit tangy, the mushrooms were too chewy and tasted like an overdose of vinegar.

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Just when i thought my stomach was about to pop, my friend decided to order the raspberry Oreo cheesecake for dessert! This failed to impress me on all accounts. The cake was too dense, tasted like canned raspberries, the Oreo base was too difficult to cut through and certainly was no treat for sore eyes.  Or in my case some what blurry eyes (thank you Sangria!).

Maybe this just wasn’t one of their days because this was literally the first time I did not lick my plate clean after a meal at Smoke House Deli. However, this is most certainly not going to stop me from going back and ordering the same food. My only suggestion would be that it’s time the restaurant added a few more interesting vegetarian / vegan starters to the menu. It’s been the same for a long long long time now.

Overall, I’d give the restaurant a 4/5 rating, considering the drinks were great, the ambience is always wonderful and service is an absolute delight 🙂