The Very Hungry Cook


March 21, 2012

All about me


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Hello there.

Its been a while, hasn’t it? Longer than most of my absences (that might not be strictly accurate, but that is how it seems to me).

A lot has happened since my last post – the creme brulee got eaten (in minutes, of course), new restaurants (some amazing, some average) were discovered on our foraging expeditions, I helped a friend set up a bakery (such fun!!), met some amazing people, made new friends, was introduced to Diego Rivera’s work (thanks Abi!), and then, at the end of it all,  got terribly homesick and headed back to India for (what was initially supposed to be) a short vacation.

One week of pure, unadulterated joy. I don’t think I’d ever felt as peaceful in my home town as I did that week.

Quiet cups of tea on the verandah with my mother (birds chirping, sun shining, flowers blooming), long conversations with my father about a million things, meals cooked, and eaten together at the same table I’d sat down to ever since I can remember (have you ever been attached to a piece of furniture? I love that table), time spent with my very favorite baby cousin (who, it turned out, wasn’t such a baby anymore; it has, after all been almost two years since I was home) and my extended family, time spent with old friends (and new)…

(and somewhere in the grey background, hospital visits for a million tests – all routine of course, not that I gave it another thought)

Only it turned out, I was wrong, and it wasn’t routine. At all.

It’s somewhere between Christmas and new year’s eve, we’re all crammed into a small room; I’m there, of course, my parents and their closest friends (closer than family). They’re both doctors (as well), and its his office that we are at when they tell me I have cancer.


That is all.

Are you wondering what happened after that?

Well, in the minute that followed, I found it a little hard to breathe, then that ever-so-practical voice (which always deserts me when I’m shopping) told me to stop being an ass.

It’s a bit of an anticlimax, no? I’m sorry.. :)

Two surgeries, endless tests, five sessions of chemotherapy, a short fun haircut (which lasted all of 4 weeks) followed by a very giggly session where my husband shaved my head, and approximately a million books later – here I am

I’ve realized what a lucky lucky person I am… Here’s how I see it

-I have a curable disease and the means to have it treated.

-I have a husband and parents that I love more than life itself (and have done nothing to deserve – but then, I did tell you about being lucky)

-A (truly magical) grandmother, without whom I could not have got through this.

-The best friends a person could ever ask for (again, such luck!)

-For years I’ve been trying to get my metabolism to sit up and take notice. Now, thanks to the cancer drugs, I’m in what medical folks call a hyper catabolic state – roughly translates as eat-6-large-meals-and-twice-as-many-snacks-and-still-stay-healthy-state (how great is that???)

-Its going to be mango season and I’ll be in India!!(and I plan one sneaking a few, just don’t tell my doctors)

It’s been almost three months now – 3 months of staying at home (I’m neither allowed out nor meet people), and in any case, since my chemo sessions are less than two weeks apart (instead of the usual 3 weeks to a month, and this rankles-because I keep hearing about all these other people that get back to work hours after chemotherapy, but that just me being a brat) , I can’t really sit up for days.. The way I see it, I finally get to catch up on all that sleep I lost (no more 4 hour nights!!)..

I’m hoping to be back in the U.S.A sometime in May (because that is home as well now).

And guess what? Remember how I was talking about how lucky I feel? To cinch matters, I found out yesterday (after months of exhausting search-thanks Raghu) that we’re moving to a beautiful apartment in one of downtown Manhattan’s most fun neighborhoods with a huge kitchen (no, really, its 20 feet long!!) and a Viking range!!!

Now, if that isn’t something to look forward to, tell me what is!!



To my list of why I’m lucky, I’d like to add this :

- I have the most amazing readers!! Thank you so much, everyone, for the comments, the facebook messages, email messages and everything! And the post has only been up a couple of hours! You make my life that much better. Truly.

  1. Kudos Rajika! Only you can write such an upbeat mail while delivering such news! Im glad u had amazing moral support and you’re getting better…speedy recovery gal!

    Comment by aarti — March 21, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
  2. Wow Rajika!! You are the most amazing girl i have ever met /known ( officially from now on ). With a positive family/friends and a positive you.. there is absolutely nothing that cannot be beaten in life by you!! wishing you a fantastic life ahead.. and cant wait to see your new house and more recipes!!!

    Comment by Vidu — March 21, 2012 @ 1:50 pm
  3. Thank you so much! That really means a lot! hug!

    Comment by Rajika — March 21, 2012 @ 3:17 pm
  4. Akka! Fabulous post! I agree, only you can write such an amazing post while delivering this news!
    P.S – I will come back just to see the kitchen!

    Comment by aaru — March 21, 2012 @ 3:51 pm
  5. Atta girl!! Love your spirit , and with an attitude like yours I am sure the hungry cook will get all better soon :-) get well soon girlie :)

    Comment by Vishnupriya — March 21, 2012 @ 9:19 pm
  6. Kudos to the strongest girl “Rajika” ….Keep the faith and keep the positive energy flowing…you will definitely bounce back with renewed energy and love from all…Wishing you all the very best and takke care gal!

    Comment by Sowmyaa Narayanan — March 21, 2012 @ 9:25 pm
  7. Bravo girl! You have an amazing spirit to keep so strong and funny even at such a time! All my best wishes to you….am sure there r loads of good things to come in ur future :)

    Comment by Apeksha — March 21, 2012 @ 11:14 pm
  8. I love you just the way you are R. This is just how I think brave girls should be, and you are the best. That picture is beautiful!! Expressive and evocative post, a celebration of all the intangibles that we often forget to count! And of course the apartment and the range…woohoo my dear! You are the luckiest. BIG HUGS!!

    Comment by Deeba Rajpal (@vindee) — March 23, 2012 @ 5:32 am
  9. You are amazing! Hats off to you for writing such a gorgeous post… my prayers are with you! I love your picture – you look great! And congrats on the new place :) I am SO jealous of your awesome new kitchen… You are blessed! Big hugs to you from a Very hungry fan of The Very Hungry Cook! :)

    Comment by Marsha @ The Harried Cook — March 23, 2012 @ 8:50 am
  10. Rajika – love your spirit! am sure with your positive energy and all the love around you – you’ll be at your best sooner than ever!! Love your blogs.. i’m watching your posts.. so pls keep them coming!!!

    Comment by Rukaiya — March 23, 2012 @ 11:49 am
  11. Rajika…I love your post!!! You are one of the most amazing people I have met… I should thank abi for getting to know you :-)Im sure you will recover soon and Il come visit you in your new apartment :-)

    Comment by Nivedita — March 25, 2012 @ 12:34 pm
  12. WOW! This is the 1st time I am visiting your blog. You have shown tremendous courage in this post and that courage will get you back in the best of health in no time. I wish you well.

    Comment by Jayanthi Kanderi — March 25, 2012 @ 7:26 pm
  13. Hey Rajika, I am Pooja’s neighbor from Amherst ..Remember you borrowed my bike ;) I had always been following your blog and actually yours is the only one which is bookmarked and now that I check it today I know why were you away …..Have not known you that well personally but your positive energy would always always be on my mind from now onwards….keep smiling !! you will be fine :) Cant wait to see your next post from your big kitchen in Manhattan !! Love n hugs…Ajanta

    Comment by Ajanta — March 25, 2012 @ 7:51 pm
  14. Hey Rajika,is my first time over, and, ‘Whoa!’:) God speed. prayers and the best to you!{if you are a dog person, i so would say ‘Oreo (my awesome choc brown lab :D) sends u her wet nosed licks’, but i do not know that yet. so, i’ll hold that thought till i get to know that}. till then, happy cooking/baking, IN your wonderwow new kitchen!
    P.S: Keep the sense of humor pls, it is addictive, to say the least! :)

    Comment by Kajal — March 26, 2012 @ 12:48 pm
  15. Hi,

    This is my first visit to your blog…Stepped in from indiblogger and got a jolt on reading the contents…Thats the epitome of positive human spirit I am seeing in there…And though you have portrayed as taking it all in the perfect right spirit I am sure that going through all that would have been hell….Wishing you a super dooper life ahead…and Good Luck !

    Comment by jaish_vats — March 26, 2012 @ 10:31 pm
  16. Amazing the visit was worth…

    Comment by bwl — March 28, 2012 @ 8:50 am
  17. I was so pissed off, in a very non dramatic way, for not having seen a new post in so much time. I would keep coming back after every few days hoping to find it. And then there was a new post, with a very nice haircut picture. And then I read it. And now I am so pissed off with myself.

    Just please keep writing. I only know you for that but I do hope all goes perfectly well for you. You have a lovely life and it has to be lived through completely.

    Comment by Anchal — March 29, 2012 @ 3:45 pm
  18. This post made me (almost) cry first and then smile, because it’s so you (and you’ve been doing that for around 26 years now so I should be used to it!). One thing I’ll disagree with — it’s your friends and family — yours truly included — that need to work hard to prove they deserve *you* — model patient, loyal friend, and dedicated enemy of waistline-reducing-attempts everywhere — you light up everyone’s day. Come back to NY, and thence out West, as soon as you possibly can!

    Comment by Sid — April 5, 2012 @ 9:24 am
  19. Hi Rajika…1st time here…this post has such a profound bitter-sweet feeling…you get well soon and I will browse through your previous ones, until you stand behind ur new kitchen!!

    Comment by Vaishnavi — April 8, 2012 @ 11:15 pm
  20. Amazing the visit was worth…

    Comment by Shivangi — April 12, 2012 @ 12:46 am
  21. Hi Rajjiikka!!!! I just can’t believe this !! :( I wish u a speedy recovery !! I have been trying to reach u from whatsapp but u weren’t active and since I’m off Fb I couldn’t get it touch !! I remember u were goin to india for Xmas but I didn’t know what happened after that !! I was in india for 3 months too jan – march !! I just got back 2 weeks ago !! Had I known I would hav visited u in cbe :( How hav u been these days ?? Take good care and be strong :) u are a lovely girl !! Love hugs and prayers always :) please keep in touch !!! :) I’ll Pakka see u at NY this time :) all the best for Keets :)

    Comment by Keerthi — April 20, 2012 @ 5:21 pm
  22. Hi Rajikaji,
    This is my first time here. I came here looking for intersting recepes. I read your blog and was touched, motivated, Felt blessed and sad and glad all at the same time. I am glad you were able to come out a winner. Was following Yuvraj Singh (cricketer) story through newspapers. I just returned from India after meeting my best friends Mom, in her 70s who went through a successful fight with a relapse and is as upbeat, Happy and matter of factly (excuse the words)hates pity. Spends a lot of time talking to people in a similar situation. You are wonderful. May god bless your entire happy family. you are much younger than me but out of respect the Ji, Rajikaji

    Comment by Samuel Prabhakar — April 20, 2012 @ 11:17 pm
  23. Hi Rajikaji …
    WOW!!! You certainly have been through quite a journey. Reading unexpectedly about the course your life’s path has taken brought back memories of my mother’s journey as well. My heart is full for you. I will keep you in my prayers.

    While searching for a recipe today for masaman I stumbled across your blog. I found the recipe, but I also found a warm, engaging and very compelling person authoring the blog. I was captivated by your positive spirit. I thank you for sharing your story.

    I am looking forward to hearing more about your journey. I know you will do wonderfully … blessing to you and your family.

    Warmly, Jacque

    Comment by J. Britton — March 1, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

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