Monday, July 2, 2012

The Shape Of Things To Come II

On a quiet dead end street, ten years ago, I began my yoga training in earnest.  Driving every morning before dawn broke, learning not to park under the swaying coconut trees, slowly getting to know my teacher, his style of teaching and the infinite possibilities that yoga promises.  Now the road is very busy - there's almost no space to park.  The morning peace is broken by sounds of cars, scooters, school vans.  Innumerable apartment buildings and a school have sprung up next to the solitary coconut tree and children flood every little space (there being no open spaces for them to move around anywhere).  My teacher's house still stands at the end of the road, but no one could ever guess it once housed a yoga studio.  It has been taken over by an organization for abandoned little girls and looks like a pleasant, happy play school.

My teacher moved his house to Mysore last week, making the final break from Bangalore.  We plan to visit Mysore for a couple of days this month, more to renew contact with him and his family than for any specific training.  Following my teacher's suggestion, I firmly resolved to teach what I had learnt.  My new routine began and was followed for a month, after which my beginner's class disbanded and fled, in search of jobs and other responsibilities.  I don't mind for I have witnessed these scenes over and over when I was a student.  Ashtanga yoga is hard work and requires time and commitment!  I am teaching occasionally these days, whenever a student comes by, but mostly I focus on my own practice- now done in the absence of a guiding hand.  Trying to discipline my mind, to work on my own weaknesses (which I am woefully familiar with)!  Trying to read more books on yoga by experienced, eminent teachers.  I am spending this period in gathering and shaping my skills before I set up a regular class.  At the same time, I find myself keeping an antenna out for a teacher who can help me with advanced techniques to progress in my own practice.

On a less subtle note, my newly bought cookbooks are being thoroughly read and used.  I need to optimize my recipes for sponge cakes, which are the basis of complex and interesting dessert arrangements.   The focus of these months, however, is nuts and seeds.  I know that these are best eaten raw (or soaked) but they are irresistible when baked.  Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, roasted and ground make a wonderful base for savoury crackers.  Sesame seeds are versatile - moist and delicious atop breads and crackers.   Pine nuts are nice in tomato and basil salads and pistachio is too precious to be mixed with anything else.

After using these nuts in savoury foods, I find myself turning to desserts once more - it's time to try those recipes I always put aside for a challenging day.  Tortes with nut batters, cashewnut dacquoise (meringue mixture with ground cashews (instead of the hazelnuts that we don't find here), caramelized almonds spread over brioche-like breads, pralines as toppings and fillings, almond biscotti, walnut sponge rolls...  My list grows.  Who will eat all this?  I'll worry about it when it happens.  This is the shape of things to come in my home and kitchen over the next few months.

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