War of depression

More than half of the population nowadays is suffering from the terrible mental ordeal called “depression.” According to science, depression is a product of stress and anxiety. It gives rise to various kinds of personality disorders. It changes the thinking of a human being. The power of depression makes it even more perilous than a common person can imagine. It physically changes the size of the brain. How dangerous this depression is!

Depression is like a monster that awakens within you at the oddest of times, when you least expect it to. It is a sadness that weighs you down. It is a feeling that temporarily but frequently darkens your world. You would want to enjoy a certain moment along with others, but this depression will make sure you do not enjoy it at all. This feeling makes it seem almost impossible for a person to live their life like they want to. It attacks a person in the most monstrous of ways. It makes you loathe, it makes you hate, it makes you force a smile you don’t want to show, it makes you cry at the weirdest of times, it makes you envy the successful and happy people and it makes you totally different from others.

The number of people prone to depression is constantly on the rise. There are a lot of reasons behind this gradual increase. Depression is not restricted to any age or race. It is a disease that can attack anyone; from the beggar sitting at the side of the road to the model posing for Vogue. What makes a person depressed? Sometimes it has something to do with material issues, like lack of money, or failing business. Or it may have something to do with a childhood or family trauma, loss of a loved one etc. Whatever the reason, the effects of depression can be irreparable at times.

Depression is a strong force that most often, drives you towards negativity, even suicide. But it is possible to fight it off and ultimately repel its attack. It won’t go away, but you can decrease its power and control over you. Each and every human being who suffers from depression carries this opposing power within them. But not everyone is fortunate enough to realize that they too, hold the strength to stand up to this dejected feeling. Most people feel that this depression would never let them function like a proper or normal human anymore. They feel that with the advent of this lingering melancholia in their soul, there is no glow of happiness left for them to experience. I say different.

The only enemy of depression is a genuine happy moment which is very obvious, so to speak. But how to find happiness when you can’t see happiness surrounding you anywhere? Happiness is not a huge mansion that you would suddenly catch gleaming under the morning sky. It is actually, the faint glow of light at the end of a pitch dark tunnel that you have been exploring since days. That faint glow is ephemeral though. As soon as you reach it, move out into it, it will vanish. But, it will open a new door for you, a new area to observe. It shows you a different path and it is a guiding luminescence. Such is the power of happiness! But what do half of the people suffering from depression perceive it as? They become seized by the sudden absence of the faint glow. They become so absorbed in that light that they don’t bother to see what it illuminated for them.

To fight the depression, surround yourself with what makes you smile. What is that activity that makes you forget what you are sad about? Is it arts? Is it music? Is it cooking or gardening? Is it simply reading books or magazines? Whatever it is, make the most out of this distraction. Turn that depressive feeling into a productive strength. Work on your skills whenever you feel a powerful emotion. Work on yourself, on your personality. Immerse yourself into something that would eventually fade depression into nothingness and blow it into that abyss you fear so much.

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Image credit: cce-wakata.blogspot.com

Who am I?

Majority of you have been following me for ages but I never got around introducing myself. If there IS a person out there, who ever wonders who I am, today is your lucky day. This anonymous personality is finally, NOT revealing the name but merely letting you have a peek into the private universe.

***

I am on the road to discover myself gradually, figuring out my whole life, learning about who I was, who I am and who I want to be.

I am trying to single out and read that entangled mess of thoughts in my mind. I am trying to differentiate what my heart and my brain desire.

I am simply a perfectly imperfect human, curious about who I actually am.

I am an explorer of sorts.

I am introvert who likes being in the shadow but seeks attention as well. I want to be heard, understood and most importantly, I want to change at least one person before I die; for the greater good. I want to bring positivity somewhere.

I love smiles and I live because this world holds a thing called “laughter.” It keeps me motivated and it is the only medicine I have ever found for the sorrows that linger around and within me.

I am that blinking star you see in the pitch black sky, but as soon as you try to focus on it, it disappears.

I love discussions and talks but I dislike socializing more than I can handle.

I am 51% religious and striving to take it to 90% before I permanently close my eyes.

I am a thirsty learner. I love learning about new things, trying out new things.

I am an avid art fanatic, though I am more inclined towards contemporary modern art rather than the classical art.

I love reading of course, and I read fiction of all types.

I love listening to the music that heals the bruised parts of my soul.

Writing is the only thing that soothes me. Writing completes me. This is the only way I get my thoughts across.

Penne Pasta With Meat Sauce

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Out of every 10 people, at least 15 love eating pasta. (My math isn’t that weak, I totally made that up, thank you) The day I made this pasta, two of my uncles came to visit us. My mom asked me if I wanted to serve this dish too and I just couldn’t resist showing off a tad bit (Hey, who doesn’t like appreciation?) And so, when they ate their first bite, they were both pretty impressed. Huhu, scored!

Anyways, one of my uncles commented, “This is a pretty simple recipe, you just added pasta to already cooked meat from the last night or something,” and that was enough. I said, “Hello? I spent like 15 minutes making this meat sauce… how could you?” And then I realized he was ONLY kidding. Bad jokes, ugh!

Well honestly, it is a pretty simple and finger licking good recipe. If you love herbs and spices like I do, you’ll definitely give this a try and show off your cooking skills, like I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (available in the markets)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 pound minced beef (Add garlic/ginger paste, pinch of salt, chili powder prior to cooking)

Instructions:

  • Boil the pasta according to the instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the Italian seasoning, chopped onion and red pepper flakes and fry until the onion has softened.
  • Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper and cook until you smell the aroma of garlic. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Heat a pan and cook the beef until it is brown.
  • Add the cooked meat to the pan with the seasoning.
  • Add the sugar and tomato paste and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Now it’s time to adjust the seasonings of your sauce. You can increase the amount of tomato paste if you find it a little dry. Add salt and pepper. Add more sugar if you find it a bit too sour.
  • Finally add the pasta and sprinkle with parsley.

Do try this recipe and let me know if you liked it or not. I love feedback, yo!

Good relatives; endangered species

I write this post, brimming with terrible anger and piercing frustration, with the hope that you, for one, would re-evaluate your self and try not to be a “jerk of a relative.”

When was the last time our so called “blood relatives” left us alone at the time when we actually needed them and plunged into our personal matters with their elongated noses at the time we needed to be alone? I would say, every-bloody-time!

There is a reason why Pakistani relatives are hated so much among our younger generation. And gradually, through heinous experiences, I have realized why it is so common.

It is because of one simple reason: Our relatives, generally speaking, love comparing our life with another totally different person and point out to us what charms we are missing out on in our life. Actually, let me rephrase it: present to our parents what a loser of a child they own and how many people have reached mount Everest in the past few years whereas their own is stuck feeding off their own nibbles.

I don’t get it. Really? All this “career craze” has gone to unbelievable lengths. Enough with this shit!

And I have some particularly badass comebacks and arguments for you “relatives.” You just wait… or not. Keep reading.

Okay first of all, please clarify because we are a bit baffled here: Are you “relatives” following the Eastern side or the Western side? Like for one, you want everyone in your family to work in multinational companies with a huge name and what not (just like the WEST) and on the other hand, you’d grind your child’s ass if they chose their own life-partner, totally out of your community, family or whatever (just not like the WEST.) What exactly are you on about, eh? Set your priorities straight at least, would you?

Years back, your own grandparents didn’t mind when you ate off of their tables or rather dastarkhuwaans and your women didn’t work. There was no concept of being independent and there was happiness, even then. So why is it such a huge issue all of a sudden? Oh, what did you just utter? “It’s the 21st century,” did you say? Oh-kay. Then what about that time when your own daughter said she wanted to wear a gown and your almost killed her with your typical Medusa-glare? It wasn’t 21st century at that moment or what?

I mean, not every one wants to work in a multinational company, don’t you get it? There are people still in this world who would want a simple job, less money but true happiness in whatever they are doing. Not everyone treasures money, like you money-hungry freak! Do you want us to spell that out for you or you know what I’m trying to say because I don’t know, you’ll probably tell our parents we are crossing limits…? (which you sure as hell, cross very often)

You don’t know anything about anyone’s life. So stop right there. Stop judging. Stop telling others what to do. You often teach others to mind their own businesses, why not try practicing it yourself first?

Your mere “good intentions” can break someone’s heart. No, some people don’t want, what you call your”kind advice.” And that’s because you are not kind. You try to bring them down with your words. If someone has chosen ARTS as their field, how dare you tell them to “choose something sensible”? HOW DARE YOU? Who are you again? A mere relative, right? You are not that person’s brain or heart. You are definitely not the owner of their soul. You have absolutely no right to tell them what they should do with their lives. You can’t dictate anyone’s life.

Keep your experiences to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are aged over 80 and have all the maturity in this world stuffed in your brain, if you break someone’s heart or bring them down, or try to create any sort of dispute when you clearly know it’ll cause trouble of some kind in that person’s life, you definitely are in trouble. It doesn’t do good taking advantage of your age, dictating everyone’s life, making “better decisions” for other people when they clearly despise it and expecting a leap into the Heaven. No sir/madam. That is not how it works. Your niyyat matters no doubt, but your words matter more. At least have the decency to explain your point in a way that is not mocking.

Every person is different, remember that. Every person has a story you can never imagine. We all hide our demons. We all smile like nothing’s wrong but we all have terrible stories, waiting to be heard or forgotten. We all have experiences that mold us into a person who is standing in front of the mirror. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone learns. To err is human, isn’t it? Let everyone learn on their own accord. Let people experience what they want. They can always change, whenever they want to. Sometimes, your niceness can tear someone apart. One mocking sentence, one jeering remark at their career choice and you can destroy someone’s peaceful life. You would leave their place, satisfied, thinking you have done a good job, helping others. When in reality, you have accidentally thrown a burning matchstick near a haystack in a wooden hut and now gradually, it will all burn into ashes. You don’t realize that, do you?

There are tons of people in this world, who have either chosen the wrong career, or the wrong life partner and now, even if they have parted their ways with that apparent mistake, it lives with them. It moves with them. It’s a part of their shadow. Wherever they go, their mistakes will be dug up, so often that they decide to stay within the confinements of their home, where they feel the safest. Don’t be so harsh that you drive such people into madness. There’s a limit to everything.

Yes, they chose a wrong life-partner. Yes, they chose the wrong career and are not pursuing it anymore. So what? Respect their decisions, would you? Stop asking “WHY did that happen?” Instead, start asking “HOW do you want me to help you now?” That, my dears, would earn you loads of fans.

What may seem like a useless life to you, might actually be way better than yours. You should keep that in mind. Also, learn to realize when your opinion is required. It’ll definitely make the path to Heaven much easier for you, trust me.

Vinegar/Onion Flavored Chips and KFC Style Chicken Wings

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                                                        Mouthwatering… Isn’t it?

One fine day, I WAS DYING TO EAT KFC CHICKEN and I had no idea how to sate these random intense hunger cravings. (Like sheesh, give me a break tummy!)

But seriously, at that moment I thought I definitely needed to learn how to cook KFC style chicken pieces myself because one thing I was sure about: if I got my hands on that perfect recipe, I could stop worrying my a** over being broke and not being able to quieten the growling hunger.

And so my hunt for the recipe began.

It wasn’t much of a hunt to be honest, and after a bit of research, I finally got the hang of it. Just a few special ingredients and you’ve cooked for yourself, exactly the same chicken, ABSOLUTELY FREE!

And now let me tell you why I cooked these vinegar and onion chips.

Because I LOVE CHIPS! Who doesn’t, for God’s sake! I love making flavored chips and I wanted to try it the moment I bought “a certain ingredient.” *winks*

Okay, enough of the background stories. Let’s get back to food business, shall we?

Ingredients for KFC Chicken:

  • 8 chicken wings (cleaned & washed)
  • 50 gm all purpose flour
  • 50 gm bread crumbs
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp curd
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 green chili (cut these into the tiniest pieces possible)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano (powdered)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Instructions:

  • Wash the chicken and let the water drain from it.
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix curd, egg, 1/2 tsp chili powder and salt.
  • Marinate the chicken wings in this mixture for 4 to 5 hours.
  • In a another large bowl, add the flour, green chili, pepper, basil leaves, oregano, onion powder, ginger powder, garlic powder and the rest of the chili powder.
  • Cover the chicken wings well with this spicy mix and then with the bread crumbs.
  • In a large frying pan, add enough oil to grease the base. I prefer not to deep fry it and rather just fry it. If you want to deep fry the chicken, adjust the amount of oil.
  • Fry the chicken until it is crispy and golden brown.
  • EAT IT !!!

NOOOO WAIT.

Let’s cook the chips now. How can you even THINK of enjoying this delicious chicken without chips? Just hide the chicken somewhere for a while; the fragrance is sure to attract a lot of people. Huhu.

Ingredients for Vinegar/Onion flavored Chips:

  • Potatoes (Duh!)
  • Vinegar
  • Onion powder (this is the ingredient I was winking about, remember? No? Fish memory!)
  • Salt

Instructions:

  • Slice the potatoes into the thinnest round shape possible. It is pretty easy to do if you use a chopping board and a sharp knife (just like your tongue, heh!) You can keep the skin if you want.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil. Like I said before, I prefer using the least amount of oil and it does no harm to the dish being cooked, trust me.
  • Fry the potatoes till they are golden brown.
  • Add the salt, vinegar and onion powder seasoning to the chips right after you take them out on a paper to dry. That way, the flavor will be absorbed.
  • What are you waiting for? EEEAAAAATTTT!!!

This is probably the best weather to try out these dishes. Dryness makes it more crunchy. Also, I have learned from my experience that garlic, onion and ginger powder are some ingredients you should always have in your kitchen. You can add them to ANYTHING for an excellent flavor.

Please do let me know when you try out these recipes. I love knowing if you enjoyed them or you wanted to push me down a cliff for wasting your time. Haha.

 

5 culinary herbs you should add to your diet

People nowadays, are facing major health issues because of inadequate nutritional values in their food intake. Even the slightest deficiency or excess of some important elements in our body, like potassium, sodium etc., can lead to dangerously fatal disorders. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure your family has a proper nutritional diet. Keeping this under consideration, it is advised to eat all kinds of meat as well, along with vegetables & fruits, unless you’ve been advised, otherwise, by your doctor.

Before I start though, here’s a general question: What’s the best thing about herbs/leaves? Minimum calories, is the answer. If you’ve decided to lose some weight, the best idea is to add more leaves to your food instead of starving yourself. Choose from the following:

  • Arugula (Rocket, Rucola)
                       Salad of Arugula Leaves                                                    (www.health.com)

Arugula is commonly known as qulfa in our language. It’s a highly under-rated, Mediterranean herb. It has an acidic taste and a strong fragrance and is usually used in salads. But in some desi families, it is cooked along with potatoes, lentils etc. and eaten with bread.

Benefits:

Arugula has shown to have lowered blood pressure levels and increased athletic activities.

Scientifically it has been proven that people who consume this vegetable have lower risk of cancer, mainly of colon, & lung. The bitter taste of these vegetables is due to the presence of cancer fighting compounds in Arugula leaves.

Arugula is rich in Calcium and thus helps in preventing osteoporosis.

It also helps in decreasing the glucose levels, thus very beneficial for Diabetic patients.

Tips to increase Arugula intake: 

Add Arugula leaves in different pasta to give it a strong taste along with minimal spices. It can also be added to pizza.

Add a handful of Arugula leaves to your omelette, sandwiches or even cooked bread.

You can also sprinkle Arugula leaves in your juices or smoothies.

  • Parsley
parsley
                   Making Parsley Tea (www.teamajesty.com)

Parsley goes by many names in Urdu, mainly dhaniya and ajmooda. Prasley also has a slightly bitter taste and is often as a garnish to bring freshness to delicacies. This vegetable is rich in Vitamin K, A, C, Iron and Folate and is very much unappreciated despite being highly nutritious. It is advised to use fresh parsley instead of dried parsley because it has a stronger flavor.

Benefits:

Being rich in Vitamin C, it is helpful in preventing the progression of asthma, colon cancer and diabetes.

It is also helpful in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis & osteoarthritis.

Parsley leaves can be used to avoid heart attack and stroke.

Tips to increase Parsley intake:

Parsley leaves can be added to salads, lentils or any other cooked vegetable or meat.

You can add Parsley to your pasta for an enriched flavor.

Parsley can also be added to omelettes, soups and herbal tea.

  • Lettuce
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      Lettuce leaves (www.mynortherngarden.com)

Lettuce is known as salad patta in Urdu. So basically, it is used in salads. Lettuce has a succulent, juicy taste and has quite a few varieties, the most common being Romaine. Lettuce has been appreciated since ages and guess what? Chinese people consider lettuce gives good luck so they consume it on special occasions!

Benefits:

Lettuce contains compounds which have relaxing properties. Thus, it is a perfect vegetable for insomniacs.

It helps preventing the production of cholesterol & plaque.

This is one of the best vegetables for the people who are trying to lose weight.

Tips to increase lettuce intake:

People use lettuce leaves in smoothies and desserts.

Lettuce leaves are perfect complements for cheese, mayonnaise, oil, peppers, onions, eggs & vinegar. Now let your imagination explode and make something delicious!

  • Basil (Saint Joseph’s Wort)
basil
                Basil leaves (www.almanac.com)

Basil is more often known as tulsi or niaaz boo. Basil is a key ingredient in Italian cuisines, typically pesto sauce. Jews believe basil gives strength to them when they are fasting. It is known as a royal herb by the French. Basil has medicinal uses. It is of various types, most common being sweet basil which is used in Italian cuisines. the other types are lemon and  lime basil, which are rich in citrus fragrance.

Benefits:

Basil has the ability to reduce swelling and inflammation.

It is a stress reliever and a great ingredient for anxiety patients. (WOW!)

Women use basil water for beauty purposes, like the removal of blemishes on their skin. Also, dear ladies, it is a beneficial ingredient during THAT time of the month. It helps fighting bloat.

Tips to increase Basil intake:

To relieve stress on a hot, tiresome day, add a few leaves to your tea, either green or iced.

Who doesn’t like sauces and pasta? Make your favorite pesto sauce with basil leaves and eat it with pasta.

You can add basil leaves to your soups, salads and stir-fried vegetables to experience an extraordinary flavor.

  • Mint (Mentha)
Mint leaves (www.greensmoothiecommunity.com
 Mint leaves (www.greensmoothiecommunity.com

Mint is commonly called podeena. Mint is one of the most commonly used leaves, not only in cuisines but in various market products such as toothpastes, soaps, air fresheners and even candies. It is rich in anti-oxidants. Mint has a cooling taste, which itself is a mystery (how can “cool” be a taste?!) It is fresh green in color and has a strong aroma. It has multiple varieties including spearmint and peppermint. Mint has excellent medicinal properties.

Benefits: 

Mint has compounds that can combat seasonal allergies like inflammation, cold etc.

It is a valuable appetizer and helps in digestion.

Some people suffer from severe bouts of nausea and headaches. Mint is a great remedy for these ailments.

Mint oil is great for skin, specially breast feeding women.

Peppermint chewing gums are very common and it has been shown in studies that people who chew these gums have higher cognitive abilities. (Keep it going!)

Tips to increase Mint intake:

To get the best out of these leaves, it is advised to use them raw or uncooked and should be added to the dishes at the very end.

Mint leaves can be added to cooked vegetables, soups and meat.

Mint can be used in tea or smoothies along with honey and lemon juice.

If you’re just in a mood to laze around, you can simply chuck in a few leaves to the water you’re about to drink.