Odile: The third secret.


The lone spotlight shines on the stage. Her aura,radiates in a aureole around her,dark and powerful. The air hangs heavy, dark and damp.
She enters, the black ribbons of her shoes ,crawling up her legs like vines. Her real face is hidden beneath layers of makeup. She is not herself. The black corset seems to hold her in check,she can barely breathe,the laces cut into her skin.

This is not the girl who feared scrutiny. Not the one who heeds the warning. When she first deviated,he looked. ‘Now,he will see.’ She smirked,the smile a far cry from reassuring.

The entrée is complete. She can sense her partner,but his presence of no consequence. He is merely an accessory to her,today is not for him to be seen. The Pas de deux is now laughable,this moment is hers. She will not share.

On cue,the Adaigo begins.
The very word means Slow. These are movements to showcase fluidity and Grace. As her lover’s eyes plead her not to do this,she remembers all the late-nights spent practising. Practising until she was perfect. He taught her how to use her body to talk,to communicate. He taught her not to be afraid of it.
She hesitates.
And then the moment is gone. The music consumes her,and as she glides through the movements,the touch of her partner-a slight guide. You can see the grace,the elegance,the flexibility. But she is not fluid. The eyes that follow her feel a instinctive coldness. Every pose she holds is a fraction of a second too long. This is different. Why can’t they see?

Our heroine is,on the surface,breathtaking and on the inside,gasping for breath.
The dark is so much more tempting than the the light. It pleases a part of her that has been denied too long. The struggle is soul-shattering. For how could he tell her not to follow her heart,he who taught her to trust it? How dare he imply she was not ready? He who spent every moment devoted to her.

White or Black? The decision will change her. Irrevocably.

The coda begins.
32 Fouettés en tournant. The goal. The challenge. The dispute.

She raises her leg,and using the impetus,spins.













So far so good…but we’re not even half way there.

She continues,and the darkness is palpable. She is beginning to drown.




Her shadow grows,and so does fear in his heart. She must stop. Soon.




Lost in a maelstrom,she knows it is no longer a choice. She has to do this. For herself. For her black swan. For once, it is about her.




Elation. Almost there. The slight pull in her leg is nothing, ‘ I’ve dealt with worse’ she thinks as she takes a regulated breath,ready for completion. For that pinnacle of perfection. The Elite circle of glory. No more will she be a puppet. No longer will anyone doubt her ability. No more crude remarks about her character and her lover will be heard. She will show them all. The laces in the corset cut and there is a ruby red drop of blood glistening on the floor. She barely felt it. It is of no consequence. Or so you thought.




She can sense the crowd. The eyes waiting for her to do the extraordinary. She shifted by half an inch in the last rond de jambe but she recovered almost flawlessly. Only he noticed. Like he always did. He had a petrifed look on his face,and for her that was the last straw. She was about to accomplish her dream and he didn’t even care.


A slight movement, that’s what changed her life forever. It was half an inch. It shouldn’t have made any difference. But it did. She was ready,because she believed she was. She could have lived like that you know,with her dark side out in the open. Not caring. Not loving. Cold. Perfect,seductive even, but drowning,always drowning on the inside.


The crowd cheered. But as she put her raised leg down it landed in that small,tiny depression in the floor. The one she saw when she was White,and delicate and fragile.

She fell.


Inspired by Beethoven’s 5 secrets: Part 3.

The third secret is Balance,between the White and the Dark. Too much of either can destroy.

The Daily Post:Seconds!

The daily prompt is Seconds. So now I get to describe the most glorious meal I’ve eaten,in detail. To say that I am happy is an understatement.

Dinner at the Tasting Room. Artfully decorated with wine red walls and beautiful wooden furniture, I knew this was going to be a good meal before I even sat down. And oh my,what a meal it was.

We started with Crackers with Brie cheese and apricot jam. Let me tell you this, Brie is rightly called the Queen of Cheese. On a crisp cracker with just enough jam to taste but not nearly enough to overpower the cheese, it was like a foodgasm, if I may be so bold as to use that expression. It was light,fresh and the perfect beginning.
Following it up was my choice of Kafir lime and Mascarpone Risotto. Mainly because Risotto has never been on my favourites and I wanted to see if the opinion could be changed. Clearly, It could. The rice was thick but not gluggy and the dish was not even close to the heaviness you’d expect from the mascarpone cream and the base Risotto. The kafir lime cut through the cream beautifully, leaving you with a fresh taste in your mouth. You could truly savour every mouthful. The smooth texture,the creamy experience ending with a burst of lime, my feet are halfway out the door already!

And we havent even come to the best part. Dessert. I am a shameless dessert hog.I could very easily skip the main to have more room for dessert. But I don’t. No,really. Of course not.
Anyway dessert, a simple enough dish.
But in reality, it was these three words that changed my life.


I can feel my taste buds start to dance,singing Hallelujah!
Served in a martini glass,two scoops of perfect,dark purple, gooey,goodness. Sour and tangy,just exploding in your mouth. Every bite tasted just a little different from the slightly spiced sorbet. A bit of cinnamon,maybe some cardamom,and a wonderful after taste of pepper,just the slightest hint,to keep you guessing what it was. I loved that sorbet. It’s the kind of dish you have dreams about.

It was amazing.
It was perfect.
It was Glorious.

The three fates: The second secret.


She moves gracefully. One motion flowing into another. The transition seamless. The eyes follow her, with bated breath they watch. Our heroine,however,does not have the luxury of leisure. Every elegant pirouette ,every assémble,deceivingly effortless. She can see the choreography in her mind’s eye,so far she has executed the plan flawlessly. But the crescendo is ahead and we’ve only just begun.

The Mahal Property,Rajasthan,1930.

She never raised her eyes,it was forbidden. She knew that. The handsome English man was a regular visitor at the haveli. He came to discuss matters of business with the Sahib. He always accepted tea. He never stayed for dinner.
The presence of a firang in their dwelling was,at first, quite a source of uproar. ‘How dare he’ seemed the common disapproving whisper,whether directed at the Sahib for extending an invitation or at the English man for accepting, remains unclear. But she liked him. This foreigner. He was kind. Politeness was not a common courtesy extended to women in their times but he was unfailingly so.   

She often thought of him,especially when doing mindless chores,cleaning the verandha of dry leaves, polishing the light fixtures of the palace until they gleamed and shone. Brought up in a culture where taking the name of your own husband was taboo and speaking when two men were conversing unthinkable, she never said a word. After all,she had no confidante, the other maids were a gossiping lot, and if the daimaa came to know?
Heaven help her! She’d be out on the streets without a paisa to her name,or a place to go!

And so she kept her pallu draped over her head,and did as she was told.

It began slowly at first. The accidental brushing of his fingers over her roughened palms as he accepted a cup of tea. The brushing by her,a little to closely to be coincidence,every time he passed by her as she stood,head down,hands folded behind her back at the entrance to the study,at every beck and call of the Sahib.

She pretended to ignore it. It was not be considered,she whispered to her heart in the dead of the night. But her treacherous heart belied her,she found herself waiting for these innocent touches. Outwardly the very image of decorum and proprietary, only her eyes betrayed any sign of the anguish and torment within.

But she never raised them. And so no one saw.

No one noticed the first change .It was small,miniscule even. But he did. He always did. But the time for thinking about the consequences was past,her mind was made up and nothing could dissuade her. Not even the warning look of her lover,her teacher,promising retribution. No, she had decided. She had been suppressed to long,she was ready. This was it. Her moment. It was time.

The second secret is the three fates who control the thread of life. The trick is to not let them.
Inspired by Beethoven’s 5 secrets: 2.

Prologue: The First Secret.


The curtain rises.

She stands there,frozen. There’s too many people here. She can’t breathe,with every moment that passes the walls seem to close in upon her.

Slowly she raises herself,she is en pointe, on the very tips of her toes. She takes a deep breath as she shifts her gaze from the small depression in the floor in front of her to meet the eyes of those who rule her.

She is white. Pristine. Untouched. Pure.
She’s also as naive as they come. She keeps her head down and her mouth shut. She’s small,thin,with plain black hair that’s barely manageable on a good hair day. The math book is her best friend, a tawdry romance novel hidden beneath her mattress the closest thing to a romantic relation she has.
Not exactly someone who stands out in the crowd,she much prefers being backstage,keeping a low profile. It’s understandable really,this affliction to the limelight. It’s too harsh, too hot,and way more uncomfortable than anything should be.
And so she stays away from it. She remains in the shadows,seeing,hearing and observing.
And it’s okay with her. Until the day it’s not.

The big things in life don’t happen slowly and subtly,she realized. They’re more along the lines of a frying pan hitting your head out of nowhere. As a sidenote, go watch Tangled.  She realized she wanted more,what exactly she was looking for remains a mystery. But it most certainly wasn’t a lifetime of being a second choice or a wallflower. Beneath all the layers of defenses lay a captive soul,struggling for freedom. Struggling for a breath that wasn’t ragged and strenuous.

She raises her arms above her head,ready to begin. As the music begins to play, something clicks,like a long lost piece of a puzzle snapping into place with a resolute snap. She listens with her heart,eyes fluttering shut,she arches one way first and then the other. Her body has been through these motions a hundred times,it’s time for something different. Let it begin.


The first secret is to try,to begin,to just do something already.

Inspired by Beethoven’s 5 secrets. Part 1 of 5.

Experience:Making the cut.

Yesterday was something of a milestone moment for me. As a student of hotel management,I routinely spend about 5 hours a week learning in the basic training kitchen in college preparing a set 3 course meal for 4 portions.

This week’s menu’s main was Pomfret avec mâitre d’hôtel butter. It’s basic,elementary even.
But I filleted a fish for the first time yesterday.
For me that’s big.

Growing up in a vegetarian household,I first started eating non-vegetarian food only last year. We’ve come a long way since then.

I had my doubts about being able to deal with raw meat or a carcass,basically because I would be going in blind and without a clue.
After breaking down a chicken last week and filleting pomfret yesterday,I’m happy to say my fears were unfounded.

Nothing compares to the immense satisfaction you feel when you get it right and have 4 perfect fillets to show for it. The glide of your knife when separating meat from the bone,ending with a swish and a cut. A sharp knife in your hands and an amazing chef to demonstrate the process just made my entire day.

Moreover,the satisfaction you feel when your end product is perfect and receives praise is exhilarating. Moist fillets,marinated with lime juice and then fried until a perfect golden brown,served hot,accompanied by tartare sauce and mâitre d’hôtel butter,along with french fries. I felt a sense of accomplishment as I watched it all disappear within a matter of minutes by friends who enjoyed every last bite.

I love the kitchen and especially the bakery. When you’re in there,it’s like nothing else matters,your world narrows down to the 4 walls within which you work. The clock on the wall and the voice of your head chef the only concern.

It’s dedicated hard work. It’s concentration in practise. It’s learning more than you ever thought possible in a very short span of time. It’s learning discipline,organization and punctuality. It’s amazing and exhausting all at once.

It’s what I love and it reinforces that after all the turmoil I went through before I joined the course,I did the right thing,I did what makes me happy.

It’s like Steve Jobs said-” Follow your gut and instincts,they somehow already know what you want to be”

I made the cut.( Pun intended) And it feels…Good. Really,really good.

Everyday Art.

The Kalaghoda Arts Festival is an amalgamation of all that I love.

Of History,Colour and Art.

Everthing I see.

Everything I see.

Of looking at things differently.

Got Change?


Of bicycles and memories.

A beautiful world.

A beautiful world.

Of even more colour.

More Colour.


Of kindred spirits.

Through the looking glass.

Through the looking glass.

Of Chaos and the beauty within it.


Of the moment in motion.


Of Purple and Curves.

Purple curves.

Of Blue.


Blue in the Shade.

Of the shades of Rust.


Bells and Chimes.

Of a simple moment of solitude.


Roped into thought.

Of Grey Roses and Blue eyes.



Of Coffee at the most unusual times.



Of Candy Floss and Kalakhatta.


Friends and Love.

Kalaghoda is a iconic structure in south Bombay.The Kalaghoda Arts festival is a beautiful experience for everyone who lives and breathes Art. Not just the art you see hung up on the walls of a gallery but everyday art. The art you see in the small bits and pieces of your everyday life. The small things that make you happy. The air itself seems to come alive with euphoria.

Visiting the arts festival every year has been a tradition for me ever since I was a child.

I love the atmosphere,the energy,the sheer amount of happiness and fascination I see on everyone’s faces.

It is truly a part of me.

It is where you can paint with the colours of the wind.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Home.


Home is where happiness is.
Home is south Indian coffee while watching the sunrise on your terrace.
Home is a blue door and yellow walls.
Home is where parts of my soul stay,cuddled up on my bed when I’m in college.
Home is the slobbering of your dog.
Home is when your cat sits in your lap and refuses to move.
Home is the freedom of wearing long T-shirts and no pants.
Home is.

We find ourselves there too.

Yesterday was the end of the writing challenge,and I have to say I ended up enjoying myself a lot more than I initially expected. I’ve had fun and it makes a difference to your outlook when you consciously think and write about Philosophy and Life,however basic it may be.

So now the question is-What next?
This challenge was meant to encourage me to blog on a more regular basis and I hope to refocus it on Bakery from the coming weekend onwards. But I’d also love to continue these Quote Challenges,any ideas anyone? Anything you’d like me to write?

Until next time then,and I leave you with this…’We lose ourselves in the things we love,We find ourselves there too.’

The Writing Room.

I sit in a corner,leaning on a beige pillow,my beloved copy of Jane Eyre in my hands. It’s a small nook that’s more precious to me than any other material possession. It’s a small 6×6 feet loft with a simple mattress laid on the floor. The bright red sheet covering the mattress is off set by the numerous beige and wine red pillows scattered all around. The walls are lined with bookshelves,the scent of old,well-loved books with tattered spines heavy in the air. One wall contains books passed down by my grandfather,favoured by my father and cherished by me. The adjacent wall holds books I have added to an already extensive family collection.

On the other end of this wall is my corner. A simple enough place,a place that gives me somewhere to go when Reality is overwhelming.
A third wall holds stationery because on some days,you need an ink pen and creamy white paper to write upon. Rows upon rows of beautiful papers fill the shelves, but the third shelf from the bottom is different. It has a stack of midnight blue A4 sized sheets,a stack of envelopes, a wax stick, a stamp and a burner.
This shelf is where all dreams begin. It is meant for writing about only those things which are closest to your heart. Your soul is on those captivating blue sheets sealed in an envelope with wax and stamped with a beautiful filigree pattern. This is for mailing to a person who owns part of your soul.This is for reading on those days when it seems too much,too fast, too hard. This is to remind you that You can and You will. Because you once dared to dream.

The final 4th wall to complete this structure…does not exist. In it’s place is a full length window,opening to a regular city view. Rooftops and tall buildings in the distance,a tree outside the window,the road four flights down. The view reminds you that beauty and inspiration lies in the Everyday.

And finally to complete the vision, a typewriter on a table about a foot off the ground lies opposite to my corner,the 2 adjacent book walls. I see myslef sitting cross-legged in front of it,typing away for all I’m worth,Briony by Dario Marianelli playing softly in the background.

Never regret anything that made you smile.

Now this ‘No regrets’ policy is something I actually live by. I suffer from an uncommon trait in today’s world-Brutal Honesty. Maybe it’s because I’m young enough to be able to get away with it. Maybe it’s because I believe in speaking my mind,irrespective of consequences-at least where talking to my peers is concerned.

Moving on to ‘something that once made you smile’ bit of it,that is a lot easier said than done.

“You run out of tears long before you run out of hurt.”-Gregson.

That is true. When you shatter,it takes time to heal,to mend,and sometimes it changes you irrevocably.

But it’s okay. Because someday,you wake up and you can breathe. The grey cloud floating above has disappeared and it’s a Good day.

For me,Someday took some 2 years to finally show up. And when it did,I realized that that’s how life lessons happen.

It’s like C.S.Lewis said  ” Experience.That most brutal of teachers. But you learn. My god,do you learn.”
So despite how over used it may be,I’m gonna say – Never regret anything that once made you smile. Anything that made you happy once was time well spent.

Speak your mind-somehow when you don’t the feelings fester in your heart and dwell in your mind until it becomes all-consuming. The consequences be damned,at least you did what you believe to be right.
And if you’re ever unsure of what to do,think of this- Trust your gut and heart,they somehow already know what you want to be.
Part 7 of the ‘Life is short’ series. ©Angrezikabutar.