I turn 30 and as scary as the thought is for me, i embraced it recently when i chose to observe 30 sunrises from scratch in 30 consecutive days. The question though is what have I learned in the past 30 years? I reflected, dug up memories, and it was quite a ride to have relived them while writing this post. I am no saint but i hope these 30 lessons i learned can add some value to your life.
1. Be selfish
No its not a bad word! Live for yourself – you’ll be at your happiest and your creative best. Ask for what’s yours and look out for yourself.
I’m the grumpy one here on the left! Its in my nature. The cake belonged to me’ #facepalm
2. Be confident
Don’t be awkward no matter how people look at you or if they’ve a perception about who you are. I was plump in school and was always shy of getting photos clicked especially with girls around. I accepted my weight and my fears and it all changed quickly.
(2003, Manav Sthali School, Delhi)
Knowledge is everything. Seize the moment – you’ll not get time to learn as much as you do when you’re in college. I put my best foot forward when I got a spot in IHM Aurangabad. It helps me till date.
(IHM – A, 2005-2008)
is the only constant. Don’t like the fact that you aren’t fit or aren’t doing something right in your life? Change it! I lost 30kgs to change my life. I transformed from being an introvert to an ambivert.
(2006 – 2009, Run)
5. Be on time and be your best all the time.
On my first job I learnt that the world sees you differently. You’re judged by the way you look, the way you handle yourself. Pretty shallow actually. But you’ve to learn to respect others time (even if they don’t value yours they’ll come around) So it’s not a bad idea to look the part – even if it means shaving on the road!
I am talkative and goofy and i care. I’ve a few friends but i’d do anything for them. Why? Happiness is only real when you can share it.
BTW I’ve been forced fed alcohol all my life. Not a drinker. But I drink for my friends for there is joy found in being a blur sometimes.
7. Quit if you’re unhappy
My first job made me realise that I didn’t belong to the hotels (clearly) So I quit – just like that. Yup. It changed my life entirely. In a good way. So quit whatever makes you unhappy!
(Haha. Such a drama queen! Leela Bangalore, 2009)
8. Do it anyway
They’ll tell you this works and this might not. They will tell you a lot of things. But you gotta do what you gotta do
Nobody wanted me to do an acting course. From my family to friends. I did it, anyway. I loved it. Every second of it. Also, it came in handy!
(2009, Barry John Acting Studio – Mumbai, last row 2nd from the left)
9. Think. Introspect. Don’t be in a hurry. Patience is the key.
I am impatient. I look at the future and many times forget to live the day. After my acting course I tried to make sense of my life. I tried hard to find a connection between cooking and acting. I tried hard to find love. All of which came in its own time. Now i live in the day, what’s for lunch tomorrow..? I don’t know.
(My first photo shoot ever, 2009)
10. Make mistakes but never doubt yourself.
Instead of following my path of acting or cooking I decided to open a publishing house with my uncle (saw money in that). Failed miserably. Burnt my hands. Learnt. But there are no regrets.
(Published books on Rumi, 2010 – a lot of my poetic ideas come from there)
11. Survive and be mindful.
Money is important while you’re figuring your shit out. I started a catering company called Say Chef when I was 23 to stop borrowing money from dad! It helped me clear my head and i was actually motivated to follow my dream.
12. Work hard, passionately.
There is no replacement for what you learn on the ground. There are no small jobs. Don’t be a boss from day one. Start from scratch and don’t dress in a suit when you’re cooking , like me. #fail 🙈
2010, Say Chef catering
13. We must love. Fall for it.
Serendipity or love actually? Whatever works for you. Fall in love.. the honest kind, it’s beautiful. I did. I still do every now and then and i usually opt for a free fall with no boundaries. Don’t be scared. Okay?
14. Your heart will break, so will your spirit. Pain is good, suffering is a choice.
There is beauty in this too. Out of all the pain came hope and tremendous amount of positive energy. It helped me focus on my career and there was a purpose to this sadness. I also learnt *Love Yourself first* is absolutely true! So don’t suffer. Okay?
15. Health is wealth.
Run. Jog. Exercise. Play a sport! Nothing else matters more than your fitness. If you are not fit nothing is possible. So rise and shine and no don’t you dare be lazy!
Ran a marathon in B’lore – 22kms: 2hr 10mins, 2009
16. It’s okay to be rejected.
It doesn’t matter. and if it matters then accept rejection and then bounce back like a bunny! My US visa was rejected as I was trying to pursue my acting cooking dream. I was devastated. But i knew this can’t be the stamp that seals my story.
17. Never give up. Else your dream will haunt you forever.
I didn’t give up. I kept at it. I finally found a spot in Foodfood Mahachallenge. Which got my acting and cooking skills together.
18. Laugh. Smile. It changes everything.
What’s life without a smile right? Why be serious when you can be like this? I love being goofy.
I was laughing extra that day : my jokes worked on Madhuri! 😂
19. Fight for your spot in the world. Stand tall.
No nothing comes easy. Nothing is tailor made for you. You’ve to earn your spot. There is no plan B.
It was tough to win this show. Very. But i’m a Rocky Balboa worshipper. So it was okay.
(2011, Mumbai )
20. After you reach your dream. Live it.
I grabbed this food travelogue with both my hands and lived 100 days on the road like there is no tomorrow. I learnt a lot about myself. I fell sick. I felt homesick. I cried. Imagine a 100 sleepless days on roads of India? But it was truly magical. I felt connected to the universe! Really! I am what i am because i lived through it.
(Pan India, 2012)
21. Be permanent
Keep at it. Build on your opportunity. Don’t let it fizzle out. You’ve to keep evolving like your iPhone.
I joined foodfood as the in- house editor and chef of the channel at a very low pay scale but it was an opportunity like none other. It made my career.
2013 FoodFood, Mumbai.
22. Listen carefully
We spend half our lives talking but the real art is in listening and learning from others. Mentors , friends, family. Listen to them and learn. I use all tips they gave me and i still do. No i don’t know everything, i am forever learning.
23. Happiness is in small gestures. Family is everything.
20’s is a difficult time for everyone. We disagree with our parents quite a bit and we don’t spend a lot of time with them. But don’t forget your family in the process. I catch a flight every month to meet mom, dad, grandma and sister.
Yes, dad pays for flights. 😜
(2014, Singapore with mom)
24. Innovate. Create.
Want to stand out? Make a mark? Be original. There is no alternate to this.
This was India’s first food travelogue online. Spice traveller. Not a big hit but a good head start. Lead to many trade and food opportunities.
(Cotswold, UK – 2014)
25. Be proud of yourself.
You’ve worked hard for this. Open a bubbly and play your favourite soundtrack!
Represented India in Sweden.
Got into Limca book of records for longest road journey by a chef.
Pats self on the back.
26. Step out of your comfort zone
I never thought I could write a book. But I did. It made me very uncomfortable. And that’s how life is – not so easy. Never too comfortable.
27. Click good selfies. Make memories.
Oh well. Photos are memories and I love the stage. i love it! So yes learn to document your life one selfie at at time or just in a diary. Whatever works.
(2015, FBAI awards)
28. Eat. Pray. Love.
A good meal sorts me out. Keeps me happy. If i can share it with a loved one, even better. I pray sometimes to the universe.
So the mantra is simple. Poori cholle I ❤ you. Being #SadakChef is my life goal.
2015, Delhi- Bharat nagar.
29. Leave your mark on this world. Be spectacular.
There is nothing more tastier than success. If you have an opportunity to building something amazing – go full throttle.
When you’ve people catching flights from NY and Dubai to come and eat what you’ve cooked. It’s a inexplicable feeling. So yes succeed!
2016, Mumbai – Andheri outlet.
Life is a journey. So wander. Explore. Be a nomad forever. Never ever think that you know it all. We are all but a blip in this universe. 🙂
Travelled recently: Took a 33 day road trip from Delhi to Bangkok. I came back with a lifetime of memories and lessons for the year ahead.
These 30 years have been quite a rush! Would i change anything? Absolutely NO. There are things i thought i’d do when i’m a little older (in my 30’s) i did in my 20’s, so it’s time to slow down a notch. To feel the rhythm. To live for today and not tomorrow. But I’m ready to learn the next 10 lessons!
Thanks for your love, people. I am what I am because of me and you. 🙂