Mango Cheesecake Recipe (Eggless without oven)

I had received a lot of requests for the recipe of Mango Cheesecake, so I thought I’ll post this one before the mangoes go out of season. I usually make cheesecakes only once a year and that’s always in summer as fresh mango pulp tastes so much better than the fruit crushes or canned mangoes that are available in the stores.

A typical cheesecake is usually baked in an oven with eggs and you will need a springform tin or any baking dish with a detachable base. In case you don’t have these available a normal box or a bowl would work, but you won’t be able to slice the cake, hence you will have to scoop it out using a spoon.

Mango cheesecake in a bowl

INGREDIENTS:

For the cream cheese layer:

  • Pulp of Mangoes: 1 cup (about 2 medium size mangoes. Avoid using mangoes with fibrous texture. I have used good quality Alphonso mangoes)
  • Fresh Cream: 1/4th cup
  • Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup
  • Agar-Agar: 1 sheet or 3-3.5 tbsp of powdered agar agar or gelatin
  •  200gm of cream cheese. (Pour 400gm of curd into a muslin cloth and hang it in a cool place overnight to drain the water. Scoop out the thick yogurt, this is your homemade cream cheese. You can use store bought Philadephia cream cheese in case you are in a hurry.)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch elachi powder (cardamom)

For the biscuit base layer:

  • 20 Marie biscuits or 1 pack of Oreo Choco cream biscuits in case you like a chocolate base.
  • 5 tsp melted butter

For the glaze:

  • Pulp of mangoes: 1/2 cup
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water

PREP TIME: 45 min

SERVES: 4 to 5 slices

PROCEDURE:

  1. Blend the biscuits and the butter in a food processor. Ensure that the butter is at room temperature.
  2. Once the mixture becomes crumbly and fine in texture transfer it into a tin or a box and spread it evenly. This becomes the base of the cheesecake.

Powdered Oreo biscuits

3. Refrigerate the base for an hour.

4. To prepare the filling for the cheesecake, gently whisk the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla essence, elachi powder and the fresh cream until they are well mixed.

5. Soak the agar-agar in water for 10 min and drain the water. In a pan, Boil 50 ml of water and add the agar solution to it and mix until completely dissolved.

Mango puree

6. Simultaneously heat the mango pulp until lukewarm. Add the fully dissolved agar mixture immediately to the mango pulp and mix well. In case you do not like the taste of cooked mango pulp you can skip this step and directly add the agar solution but you will not get a smooth texture to the filling.

7. Now combine the cream cheese mixture and mango mixture and whisk well.

8. Pour this filling over the biscuit base and refrigerate for at least an hour or two.

9. To prepare the glaze for the cheesecake, heat the mango pulp and sugar and water and stir until the sugar dissolves.

10. Bring to a boil and mix until the sauce thickens. The color will change slightly into a pale orange showing that the sugar in the sauce has caramelized.

11. Remove from heat and let it cool down and spread it evenly over the set cake.

12. Refrigerate for half an hour and serve chilled with cubed mangoes as garnish.

 

 

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STOP. READ. NOW GO!

A usual October morning in Bangalore, slightly chilly yet pleasant. It was the kind of weather when one would just want to sleep in, grab a cup of coffee (or in my case, Bournvita), read a good book and spend the entire day oblivious to the world. But I was fidgety and extremely nervous as it was my first interview. It wasn’t for a job but it was something that I considered equally important then. I was nominated by my principal to represent my institution for a Leadership award and I was going to be interviewed by the board of directors and the founding members of my institution. I was told that the interview would be very casual and nothing out of the blue would be asked. But the 17-year-old me wasn’t ready to take that for a reply.

Soon it was my turn to walk into the room and the moment I walked in, a young lady with a warm smile welcomed me and asked me to take a seat. I became a little calm as I wasn’t being interviewed by the entire board. She ensured I was relaxed and comfortable and she began the interview process with a few basic questions and she asked me, “What is your passion in life?” The next words that popped out of my mouth even before she could finish her question were “Music and art.” She was impressed with the way that I hardly took any time to answer her question. I was surprised that she was very eager to hear about how much music and art meant to me. I spoke quite a lot about how they have changed me as a person and how they have influenced my priorities in life. She asked one last question, “What do you think is your purpose in this world?” I answered rather diplomatically assuming that it would be what my interviewee would have wanted to hear.

Regardless of what the outcome of the interview was, that last question made me search for a more convincing answer. (An answer that would convince me at least.) Although it made me uncomfortable when someone asked what I am doing with my life, it was high time I stopped avoiding these questions. It made me feel unfulfilled and lost not having known it. To my surprise, I found a very interesting outlook for the word “purpose” a few days ago.

In my perspective, there are 4 different kinds of talents in the world

  • Things that you love
  • Things that you are good at
  • Things that you can be paid for
  • Things that the world needs

Now when you combine that what you love and that what you are good at, you get what is known as ‘passion’. Combine the things you are good at with the things that you can be paid for, you get to know your ‘profession’. The things that you can be paid for along with what the things that the world needs, you find a ‘vocation’. When the things that the world needs and that the things you love are put together you get your ‘mission’. Fuse passion, profession, vocation and mission you find your purpose in life.

Sounds very simple to work forward with, doesn’t it? Sadly, the world isn’t that open to all mindsets in order for us to find each of these and follow them with great zeal. Take passion, for instance. Most people find this one without much hassle, but pursuing it and taking it one step further is what they miss out on. If one believes in their passion, no matter what comes in their way, they’ll ensure they go after them. An inextinguishable fire will burn in your soul to quench your obsession for your interest. The way you work on your likes and interests brings out how you perceive yourself and a sense of peace automatically sets in and keeps you going to do more. Imagine you are 85 years old, what will you be proud of leaving behind? What would you want the world to remember you for? It can be as small as the inventor of the salt shaker or someone as big as every CEO you can think of. What makes you proud of being alive? Ask yourself; does this agree with my principles and values? Answers to these questions will help you find your passion.

There are other cases where a person is ready to pursue his/her passion but the typical Indian attitude of ‘log kya kahenge’ comes into the picture or something even worse, negativity from themselves which is a result of demotivation from their social circle. It is twice as hard to boost your enthusiasm to work towards your objective and further up to find your purpose in life when you have people trying to put you down and demoralizing your work.

Mark Twain has said, ” Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great.”

Although I agree with his words,, I think the ones who put you down aren’t the only ones to be blamed. People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them. Learn to say ‘no’ to people without having to explain yourself. Oh yeah, this is a biggie. But eventually, we’ll have to accept this and push ourselves to stop worrying about how much something matters to others. Know that you aren’t defined by your mistakes or criticism. Understand that your self-worth depends on you, and not what others say about you. Be ready to rake comments and criticism in a constructive way. It will help you understand yourself from the perspective of an unbiased person. At the same time, do not let these critics bring you down. Comprehend what is right and what goes alongside your values. No matter how hard we try, we cannot be liked by everyone. Let go of your approval seeking behavior and live life the way you want it to be. Cherish the tiny sparkles, the beautiful bubbles that float in occasionally. Put on a brave face and confront those fears and kick it right out of your life. Make this a habit and you’ll unequivocally agree that you have found your purpose in life.

I’m working on mine, will you join me in the race?

Sunshine is here!

The summer season hasn’t begun until you hear typical lines, ” Why is it SO hot?!” , “Don’t reduce the fan speed!” or this one perhaps “Chubti jalti garmi, chubti jalti garmi ka mausam aaya hai!” blaring on the TVs of every household in the afternoons especially.

Summer has never been my favorite time of the year for many reasons which most of us would share. But I thought why not give it a little more positive outlook during the time where our body burns from the scorching heat, the sun-kissed faces then which now looks more like sun-burnt face, the constant need of water to stay hydrated all the time, the constant cravings to eat bucket loads of ice-cream, eat a zillion discs of juicy, red watermelon and drink a gallon of Tang or in my case, the 6 year old in me prayed fervently to God that he turn me into a boy just until monsoon visited us. (Oh, the girls reading this article will understand what I mean.)

Bombay style mango kulfi

Amidst all these cringing thoughts, let’s step into a virtual time machine and walk through some of those beautiful memories that summer has created for each one of us.

The 31st of March of every year was the day my final exams got over when I was in school. We had special permission during the month of March to not wear the school tie as it was very uncomfortable and stuffy. (Thank you, principal and teachers!) The next important task at hand was the water-bottle fights that took place immediately after the exams to ease all the tension and welcome the next 2 months of vacation. Meticulous planning of vacations was an integral part in every child’s life. Mine was done entirely by my parents and it was always planned only after April 10th (Exam result day) in my house. You might be expecting me to put up a huge list of places that I visited during my summer holidays, but it was a series of temple visits in just south India along with the visits to the numerous paternal and maternal relatives’ houses at Tirunelveli. (Not that I complained about the latter because I have wonderful cousins who were the source of my entertainment or rather vice versa!) Countless visits to the river nearby and frolicking in the ever so cool and clear water followed by a yummy lunch made by my grandma was a typical day for us.

On days when the heat was unbearable, not so typical board games were our savior. “Pallanguzhi” was one of them. The game consisted of a rectangular wooden board with 2 rows and 7 columns. There are a total of 14 cups (kuzhi in Tamil) and 146 counters. The counters could be anything from tamarind seeds or shells. (Each of us had a huge collection in each type.) It tested our quick math skills, eye-hand coordination, concentration. The person with the most number of counters won and trust me there were major tournaments in the house.

pallankuzhi

Another game which the elders loved playing was “Daaya-Kattai”. The game has a pair of long dice that are shaped like long cuboids, called the DayakattaiThey are typically made of brass and have dots punched onto the long faces (1, 2, 3, 0). Each player starts with six coins at a ‘home’ in the center of the game board. (This game is very similar to Ludo if you add the dramatic expressions of the elders.) There wasn’t a single house in my village that didn’t have either of these!

daya kattai

Not to forget, I did miss my TV shows and the moment I found Cartoon Network or Pogo in my grandparent’s TV set was equivalent to any CBI officer finding the answer final clue to his murder mystery.

The next adventure was finding the most beautiful object found in abundance in summer. In shades of yellow mixed with a variety of shades of green, sometimes with a few spurts of red, glistening in the light in the most elegant and charming way and enticing all its onlookers was the king of fruits, the MANGO! The saying is true by the way, “Stolen mangoes are the sweetest!” Although a monkey stealing it from you is not a very happy sight. The drizzle of a pinch of salt and chilli powder over the thin slices of raw mango was a relishing sight to every member in the household. Probably because that was the only time there was silence.

Totapuri mango

Every visit to my native was incomplete without visiting the Agasthiyar falls. The cold water from the falls hits your head like rocks being thrown at you. But after two minutes into the water, you wouldn’t care! The scrumptious lunch consisting of huge boxes of Puliyogare, Naarthangai saadam (Citron rice), raw mango rice, and curd rice with Maavadu(Mango pickle) was the icing on the cake! A million happy memories are associated when reminiscing the days spent at your grandparents’ house, the tiny fights with your older cousins, the well-kept gardens with many trees bearing fresh and juicy fruits, the beautiful flowers with their sweet fragrance making its way throughout the house seem so close yet so distant. Speaking about fragrance, nothing can beat the smell of freshly made pickle. As summer brought many seasonal fruits and veggies my mother and grandmother busied themselves in making a huge variety of pickles and fryums to be stored for the entire year(which miraculously never happened). Over ten different kinds of pickle in mango alone, along with the mixed vegetable kind, lime, lemon, citron and what not! The process of making the vathal (fryums/ sandige) was a little tedious as the batter had to be made early in the morning so that they could be shaped and let to dry in the sun. (I was a fan of eating them when they were half dried in the sun.) But the moment you deep fry those tiny beauties and pop them into your mouth, it is pure bliss!

Sliced Raw mangoes with chilli powder

But there were a few summer vacations were these trips didn’t happen summer camps were our rescue and a few years later they were replaced with piles of textbooks around you. Yes, I’m talking about the 10th and 12th board exam scenarios. If only it had stopped with those two. It continued up to engineering where you have to attend college during this most unfortunate period when the kids are having the time of their lives on the streets running around with their cricket bats and footballs. (And to add up to this is the frustrating moment when the teachers switch off the fans in the class which in their defense is a method to silence our ever so loud murmuring. So what have we got to counter this tactic? Yes, we brought our own personal mini table fan.) Gone are the days when you could sip ice cold water along with yummy snacks in front of the idiot box under the pleasure of your living room fan without having to argue with anyone.

Don’t we all dream for a summer like this? The only tension we had sounded something like, will there be many power-cuts? Will our class be shuffled for the next academic year? Will there be enough mangoes to eat?

I wish I didn’t have to get down from this time machine! That’s all, for now, folks!

Enjoy your summer and also take a look at the alluring sight of trees on the Bangalore roads. You will have to wait another six months for this delightful view if you miss it now!

(P.S. Thank you for the cover image, Souvik.)

Cartoon Sun plastic decorative element

 

 

Eggless Marble Cake (Without Oven)

Hello, foodies!

I am not a baker, but a passionate cook with a lot of interest to bake without using an oven. The Tam-Brahms reading this post will totally understand what I mean when I say that my mom feels that using an oven will mix all the ‘patthu’ and ‘non patthu’ things hence the oven is simply a waste of money as it will have to be used only to boil milk and fry papad without oil. Ah! nevertheless, here is my version of a marble cake. The recipe for which I first found on Pinterest and it looked absolutely delicious and I had to give it a go! I made this about three times now and it has been soft and moist all the time. Go ahead and try this simple cake for your tea or your midnight dessert cravings when you cannot decide between chocolate and vanilla.img_20170108_193132808.jpg

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of Maida
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar( 3/4th a cup in case you aren’t a fan of very sweet cakes)
  • 1/2 a cup of unflavoured oil/butter(melted)
  • 1 tsp of Baking powder
  • 1/2 a tsp of Baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder.

Steps:

  • Preheat a thick-bottomed pressure cooker with a layer of salt or sand for about 10 min on a low flame. Do not use the whistle. Place a wire rack on the layer of sand or salt. (This salt cannot be reused in making other dishes although you can use it to bake again. I used about 500gm of salt.)
  •  Grease a 6″ baking tin with butter and line it with butter paper and grease and dust with maida. This prevents the cake from sticking to the baking tin while unmoulding.
  • In a large bowl, beat the yogurt for 2-3 minutes or until it becomes lump-free. Add the sugar and beat until it has completely dissolved. Add the baking powder and baking soda once the sugar has dissolved. Beat this mixture until it becomes frothy.

IMG_20170211_182537774

  • Add the oil/melted butter and the vanilla essence and mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Sift the measured flour twice and make sure there are no gritty lumps. Incorporate the flour slowly into the wet mixture and mix gently in the cut and fold method. Do not beat the mixture and ensure it is lump free.

IMG_20170211_185248688

  • Remove 4 tbsp of this batter and add the cocoa powder to this portion and mix well.
  • Pour half the vanilla batter into the baking tin and drop a few spoonfuls of the chocolate batter on top. Make swirls or patterns as you wish.
  • Add the rest of the vanilla mixture and the chocolate batter in the similar fashion. There is no hard and fast rule to do this, alternate between the two mixtures. In case you have more time in hand, you can put each of the mixtures in two different piping bags and pipe the mixture in circles into the pan. This would look like the inside out zebra cake!

IMG_20170211_190231029

  • Tap the tin on the counter a few times to make sure the batter spreads evenly. Place it in the cooker and bake it for 30 to 35 minutes. After the 30 min mark, insert a toothpick or a knife in the middle of the cake to check if the cake is cooked thoroughly. The knife/toothpick must come out clean if cooked completely.
  • Let the cake cool down completely and invert the cake onto a cooling rack or a plate and dig in!

img_20170108_193249716.jpg

Note: Do not use pressure cookers that are less than 3lts to bake. The safety valve melts down as it cannot withstand the heat and you will have to get an earful from your mom. Use a bigger pressure cooker.

You do not have to ice this cake but in case you want to decorate it, a white chocolate ganache with sprinkles on top should do the trick or even a dust of powdered sugar will be good to go!

IMG_20170211_203158337

EXPECTO PATRONUM PART 2

” I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.”

* Hedwig’s theme playing in the background*

Here are the rest of the characters that I loved a tad bit more than the rest of them.

  • Draco Malfoy:

When Draco was first introduced in the books, he was described as the picky and spoilt rich brat. Although he extended a friendly hand to Harry without knowing who he was. But Draco’s intolerance towards Muggle-borns and anyone who belonged to a family below his own, and also the fact that he reminded Harry of his cousin Dudley made him think twice before accepting Draco’s request. This hurt his ego and the rift between Harry and Draco began. The jealousy, pranks and the competitive spirit between both of them was evident throughout the series. Now how many of us have disliked certain people only because our parents or friends didn’t? I feel Draco would have been just like Harry if not for his family being inclined towards the Dark Arts. Belonging to a family that expected great things from him and also that he would one day step up to the position of a death eater. (Basically, parental pressures have created major issues.) He had to join hands with the “big bad boys” and is ordered to do some absolutely terrifying things for the first time. He had to shut down his good side and forget compassion just to fill in the shoes of his father. He stayed back at Hogwarts during the Great War along with his two side-kicks just so that he could redeem his family status in the eyes of Voldemort. I related a lot to Draco, as he started to grow up. Being a fellow Gemini, I probably understand how indecisive he was when he had to choose between the two sides. He chose his family over everything, though he realized they were wrong in certain instances. For some reason, he saved Harry’s life at Malfoy Manor and Harry returned the favor twice by saving his life during the Great War.  The incidents in his teenage changed his views about being pure-blood and he made sure his son didn’t possess any sort of hatred towards them. Well, at least he showed a few signs of being a good father.

  • Fred Weasley and George Weasley

How did J.K.Rowling ever write the scene where Fred died. I felt like I was walking on a bed of nails throughout the scene. Fred and George Weasley, the pranksters, the fun elements, the coolest hunks in the wizarding world, and the reason why Ginny became awesome! The twins were troublemakers since childhood and didn’t believe that academia was their forte, unlike their older brothers. They were very creative wizards and displayed brilliance in their inventions and their business sense in running a highly lucrative shop. They made the family (and the readers) laugh like they never have before with their sarcastic replies and brilliantly timed jokes even during trying times. The inventors began their work for their joke business after Harry had gladly given them the gold he won in the Triwizard Tournament. How many of us could have managed to create Extendable Ears, Skiving Snackboxes, Ton-Tongue Toffee Defence Against the Dark Arts line of products? The number of times they’ve given Filch a hard time is probably too hard to count. Even when George lost an ear he joked about it although he was in pain.  My favorite line has always been the scene where Molly Weasley found out Ron had become a prefect and she exclaimed, “I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Oh, Ron, how wonderful! A prefect! That’s everyone in the family! To which George retorted up,What are Fred and I, next-door neighbors?”  They have taught me that a little bit of good humor wouldn’t hurt anybody and to be unafraid to stand up against what you think is wrong, be it Death-eaters or even humans like Dolores Umbridge.

  • Luna Lovegood

A kind hearted girl, who was avoided due to her different ideologies and opinions about the world was Luna Lovegood. He attitude and voice were always dreamy and distant-eyed eyed, and her extremely quirky behavior with many eccentric beliefs and qualities made her classmates distance themselves from her. However, anyone who made fun of ‘The Quibbler’ had to face the stern steel-like voice of hers. If you want to learn how to be honest, you’ve got to go no further. Her uncanny way of expressing the truth made people uncomfortable. She was nonchalant and rarely seemed anxious even under difficult circumstances.Even though she was the subject of ridicule, she seemed undaunted about anyone who made fun of her. Although she had difficulty in making friends she was mon-judgemental and chose to accept people the way they were. She valued her friends so much that she had drawn beautiful faces of her five friends Harry, Ginny, Neville, Ron and Hermoine on her ceiling which were weaved with the word ‘friends; about a thousand times in golden ink. She taught me to be a nonconformist, and to not be afraid to show yourself out to the world just the way you are!

  • Harry Potter, the boy who lived

The star of the series, the Undesirable No.1, the boy who changed the face of the wizarding world, or to say easily the one who got all the attention. I won’t go gaga about him because we all know how brave and loyal he was. He had a thirst to prove himself and also wanted to be heroic which could be considered a weakness or rather a trait of his father’s. He was strong willed and always ready to put himself in danger in order to protect his loved ones. Like every teenager, he went through various stages of moodiness and spiteful remarks due to the emotional stress and trying times he had to endure. His desire for a family made him close to Ron’s family and Molly Weasley sympathized for him and took care of him just as Lily Potter would have. Harry was the happiest when he met his godfather, Sirius Black who was carefree yet very concerned about his best friend’s son. Harry was definitely one of the most compassionate characters in the series.

“Mischief Managed.”

Expecto Patronum! Part 1

” I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.”

* Hedwig’s theme playing in the background*

I remember a certain seven-year-old girl, running joyfully to spend the weekend at her uncle’s house. He had planned for a good old movie marathon and little did she know her life was going to change after watching the movie. The moment she saw the Warner Bros. symbol come up on the screen and the hair-raising emblem which read ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone‘, her eyes lit up gleefully.

Although I regret watching the first three movies before reading the books, I’m so glad my uncle chose this series over the numerous ones he could have. Harry Potter has been my closest companion since then. J.K.Rowling made me realize that there is a large amount of magic in all our souls be it animals or humans. Every character in the entire series has taught me enough to mould me into being the person that I am today. If I begin listing how each character changed me, this post will turn out to be a book! Nevertheless, here are a few of them. Get ready for a whole lot of trivia.

  • Ms. Hermione Jean Granger ( Not pronounced as Hermy-ninny)

I wonder how she learned to pronounce her own name! But being the clever, intelligent girl that she is, I’m sure it mustn’t have been a challenge. Hermione is probably whom I connected the most with, in the entire series. The curly-haired witch (pun intended) taught me to be a warrior and not a delicate princess, be bold and stand by one’s values. The moment she said, ” I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed, or worse expelled.” She was smart, funny and probably a know-it-all who didn’t mind being one because she was proud that she knew so much about witchcraft and wizardry though she was a Muggle. This fact didn’t fetch her a lot of friends in the beginning, but as luck would have it our boys came up for her. The strong, confident, pious, independent woman that she turned out to be, urges me every single day to be like her. She even went back to Hogwarts and completed her education because she knew how much it mattered. She cared about all creatures and founded the S.P.EW. only to help elves get respect and recognition for all that they do. Her ability to convince the Ministry of Magic to give her the Time Turner, one of the most volatile and dangerous objects in the wizarding world baffled me.(Altering Timelines is seriously cool! Damn, the movie/book where she had the potential to be a Time Lord.) Do you really see any other character preserving Rita Skeeter in a bottle for a year when they were just FOURTEEN? There’s not a single spell that she couldn’t do (except Riddikulus I think. I don’t blame her anyway, I would have had a similar Boggart). She never liked breaking rules and was always a goody two shoes but the fact she knew they were breaking them for a good cause moved her to support her only two friends in her first year. Her survival skills and intellectual ability and ‘cool use of logic’ at times of peril, and most importantly to guess Voldemort’s plot with Harry make me want to improve my IQ. I’m pretty sure Voldemort wished he could be as talented as her. She stood by her two best friends under all circumstances, be it correcting their foot long essays or giving them schedules before exams, making fake Galleons for D.A. or even motivating her mates for every single pursuit of theirs. It would have killed her to erase her parent’s memories just so that they would be safe from all the danger that she would go through, yet she put family above her desires and went ahead with the memory charm. She has all the ability to be the protagonist of the series. How good would this sound, “Hermoine Granger and the time I figured out everything but ended up petrified and it took my friends ages to find out that I had all of it in my palm.”

  • Dobby, a free elf

When he made his entrance in the Chamber of Secrets, I felt he was probably a retarded creature with the aim of harming the famous Harry Potter. (Well, the seven-year-old me wasn’t very sensible) But as the movie progressed, I began to understand his intentions and there couldn’t have been anyone as kind and loving as him in Malfoy Manor. Although his methods of convincing Harry weren’t great, the poor little elf did try his best to warn him, rather injure him unconsciously. Finally, Harry repaid Dobby by tricking Lucius Malfoy into freeing the elf. The three foot tall elf with big tennis-ball like green eyes, pointy ears, proved that small figure doesn’t play any role in having sky-high dreams. He idolized the three musketeers of Hogwarts and probably the only one who got paid a Galleon a week. A smile on his face, eyes wide open, lying in Harry’s arms and Bellatrix’s silver knife protruding from his body was a mournful image. Dobby taught me to be unabashed about your greatest dreams and demand your rights when you know you deserve it. He could have definitely been the other “Wheezy” to Harry.

  • Remus John Lupin 

By far the coolest teacher at Hogwarts, with the biggest fan following from the Gryffindors especially for his amazing sense of humor as well as his teaching skills. Being infected at the age if five with lycanthropy caused by Fenrir Greyback he became a werewolf but Dumbledore made special accommodations in order to allow him to attend school. The most haunted building in all of Britain, the Shrieking Shack was made to prevent him from attacking other students during his painful transformations. His fellow Gryffindor mates Sirius, James and Peter kept his secret safely and also joined him by becoming Animagi in order to keep him company. (How many of us have such wonderful friends?) Sirius became a dog, James a stag, and Peter a rat, thus the nicknames Padfoot, Prongs, Wormtail and Remus as Moony came up and also became the founders of the Marauder’s Map. (I would kill to have that in my possessions!) Remus was not only a prankster but also a prefect in school. a levelheaded, selfless, intelligent kind hearted man despite suffering a great deal of bigotry he managed to see the positive traits in everyone. Being described as the most responsible and matured one among the Marauders, he gained the trust of Lily though she wasn’t drawn to his fellow mates due to their despicable attitude. Being treated as an outcast since childhood he learned more about the values of caring and affection. He was ready to help Harry and his friends in the quest of Horcruxes but Harry realized that would mean abandoning Tonks hence he retorted in a way that would make him leave but later Remus realized what a valuable lesson his own pupil taught him. He made Harry as Godfather of his son Teddy Lupin and displayed a familial bond between Harry and Remus. Lupin and Tonks’ relationship was one of the most underrated ones in the series. J.K.R. proved once again that love has no bounds and there are times when one actually falls in love with another’s personality. (Don’t we all wish that happens in present times?) He taught me to be a patient teacher because every class has underdogs and also to leave a mark on people when you leave this world. (That was done by all the characters in the Harry Potter series!)

 

So this is Part 1 of the Expecto Patronum series. I’ll be back with the second part soon! Until then keep reading and oh yeah, I forgot one important thing.

“Mischief Managed.”

 

 

 

 

Courage, my Heart!

DISCLAIMER: The below short story is purely coincidental. Any coincidence to the events described below are quite normal and happens on a daily basis to youngsters. All older people must read the below story with an open mind. Any of the values that hurt your sentimental beliefs must be ignored. Once you are cool with all the above mentioned statutory warnings, you are good to go ahead! 

Sometimes you meet someone and it is so clear that the two of you, on some level you belong together as friends, or as a family, or something entirely different as they called it “Something-ship.” You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere.

An odd thousand students and he saw something special in her. The cliched part is, she never knew he existed, but he noticed so much about her. The way she walked, talked, carried herself along with people. (Not in the creepy stalker way as portrayed in the 90’s Bollywood movies. And about that, men should really stop doing so. A girl will not want to talk to you if you creep her out and scare the living daylights of her!)

They started talking and she was blown away by his words but she was very cautious to not give into someone who “says” the right things but to someone who “does” the right things. He had this unbelievable charm to make her open up to him. She had to fight with herself to not open up because she didn’t want another episode of “Boy troubles”. She was under the idea that she is technically single but her heart is taken by someone whom she couldn’t call her own. But he helped get out of her prejudiced thoughts and somehow convinced her to believe in love again. She let him love her just the way she was, as flawed as she might be, as unattractive as she sometimes felt and as unaccomplished as she thought she was.

To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room. And surprisingly he was the sunlight that she needed in her life! He taught her everything that was necessary and unnecessary!

The way he slowly took her into his life was remarkable. He made her understand how important she was in his life. Every touch gave her the shivers and soon she could share everything shamelessly, from the weirdest dreams to the silliest situations she had encountered. He loved every word she said and believed that she was the best thing that had ever happened to him! He made her realize that one does not have to reason everything. Sometimes one has to take in things as it is said. He made her believe that when connections are real they simply never die. But being the girl who constantly worried about her future she tried to bury, ignore and walk away from those emotions but very soon she got to know that once you’ve deeply resonated with another person, the connection remains despite the lack of time, presence, circumstance or communication, it can never be broken.

You may meet these people often throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive and I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate or sheer blind luck but it definitely makes me believe that we don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.

Just as she found her love in her dream guy so did I, in the form of paints, brushes, pastels and canvas! The immense amount of happiness I feel when I finish a painting cannot be compared to any amount of money in the world. The confident stroke of my paint brush on my canvas or the bold slosh of water I throw on a sheet of paper shows the level of comfort I have with my dearest. The ability to draw a straight line without using a ruler or to draw a perfect circle without using a compass took me months to achieve but it also made me realize that nothing good comes out in an easy way. The bright vibrant colors that gleam at me even if I look at them after weeks, gives me the hope that there will always be someone to keep me on my pedestal.The magic my colors perform when I mix one with the other on the dirty palette of mine is a sight that will allure anyone. The smell of Fixative (a transparent coating used to preserve charcoal, pencil and dry pastel work) makes my senses perform back flips! Trust me, so would you if you did smell my room once I spray fixative on my artwork.

I reach a manic stage when I walk into a stationery shop just by looking at the numerous pens, paints, colorful glitter, the un-used drawing books with crisp sheets, the pointy brushes, sharp pencils, the clean palettes, the pearly white paper stubs and the best of all an easel. It has been my dream to buy myself an easel since I first saw one on a popular kid’s show when I was five years old. I have promised myself that the first object I buy from my hard earned salary will be something related to art. After all, he has supported me every time I needed and took in all my emotions whenever I needed someone who would just listen and agree with everything I said.

This is my tribute to art for being my partner-in-crime and a part of my support system.