Since I started my job, there are two spaces in the city that I occupy the most. The pantry table in my office, because working in a open seating office distracts me (plus, I’m closer to the coffee machine); and my car seat, where I spend anywhere between 3-5 hours in traffic as I commute to and from work. It's these these two spaces that I observe people the most and what I noticed in the past four month is truly fascinating. I found that there is disorganization in organizations and rhythmic patterns in traffic jams.
Now, disorganization isn’t something new in just this company. It’s something apparent in most organizations where employees aren’t in love with the work they’re doing. Finding passion in what you do for a living is a form of privilege that I have been lucky to have experienced but is something many don’t ever experience. I mean, I know that I find it hard to be passionate about a piece of work primarily because my interests are wide and there are only so many hours in a day that you can devote to things other than binge watching Netflix (and sleeping, though I should probably sleep more). But what does motivate me is knowing that nothing that I’m doing is going to waste. Me learning how to run an ad on Facebook may not have any direct implications to my overarching goals to work in public policy or to own a restaurant but the journey of learning has given me tools that may align with those goals in the future. This is what I tell myself when I work on mundane tasks. For me, if there is the motivation to do that work, then nothing can really stop me from achieving that goal. Heck, I had no idea that I would ever be able to blog nonstop for a long period of time and look at me now! I have been pushing one new blog every week since August. I don’t know about you but I’m impressed!
Traffic on the other hand has been a fascinating thing to see. You can’t visualize what a population of 22 million can look like until you’ve either explored the streets of Old Delhi or traveled through any of its roads during rush hour. Traffic is unique because of its diversity. You have four wheeled cars, three wheeled autos, two wheeled scooters, and four hoofed cows. No one has time to care about the other, which means nobody looks at their surroundings when they navigate the streets. Rear views mirrors are basically a decoration (and most motorcyclists don’t even have them) which makes driving uber stressful if you do end up driving cognizant of your surroundings.
Traveling for four months on one road helps you create a pattern. A uniform sine wave that if you adhere to, can make your mornings and evenings a lot less stressful. On my particular journey I have learnt that motorcyclists are like the spores in a bacterium, you never see them until the traffic light turns green, and then its like a million just effervesced from thin air. I learnt that buses, while huge, are driven by people who think they are driving a small car, moving from one place to another. Hence either stay clear of their path, or drive behind them and let them clear the crowd. Lastly, I learnt that the only way to understand the personality of a driver is by taking a journey in their vehicle because from their perspective everyone else is driving incorrectly. This taught me that the road is an individual’s space and they perform on it the way they deem fit. Since there aren’t succinct rules for the roads, you just have to keep on swimming and do your own thing.
Patterns and organization are the cornerstone of baking as well. The moment you stop measuring ingredients and start winging it, the result starts to warp. This is especially true for cakes. Since cakes are also such an investment in ingredients, time, effort, and electricity
(oven) I rarely deviate from a recipe though, I also create my own recipes which is equally bad sometimes. I had this strange hunger pang for brownies and so began my search to understand the nuances of making a cakey vs. a fudgy brownie. A big difference is the sugar and flour ratios. I used some brown sugar which makes it a lot more chewier. This brownie also has a lot of sugar which helps create a beautiful outer scale with ridges that look like brown waves in an ocean. It's a simple recipe that if you follow blindly (like how most people drive in this city), you’re bound to make decadent albeit diabetes-inducing brownies.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
135 grams of unsalted butter
150 grams of unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup of chocolate chips
3 tablespoons dutch cooking chocolate
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1 teaspoon salt
Set up a double boiler and start by adding butter, chocolate, and slowly mixing in the sugar. Remove the bowl from the boiler and add one egg at a time. Mix really well. It's how you mix this that will help you get a great crust.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F or 177 C or gas mark 5. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and espresso powder into a fresh bowl and mix well
Slowly add the wet ingredients, mix well and set into a parchment lined rectangular baking tin.
Bake for 30 minutes until the top has browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let it rest for at least an hour. I know it's hard but patience!