This morning feels different as I sit by the window overlooking the beautiful green & expansive National Park with my cup of tea tapping the keyboard.

Flashes of my life so far emerge!

I turned 40 last year and my younger self would have never imagined that I would land in Kenya. But here I am today and totally loving it. I could write a movie script with the heroes & villains of my life teaching me important lessons at various stages of growth. I have also learnt about the impermanent nature of ‘everything’ in life. The things that seem so big at a point but feel trivial later in life. The people you can’t live without but live very happily ever after without them. Best friends turning into strangers then getting back together. An enemy seeming more like a life-changer at another stage of life. Wow, the images just keep coming.

I read a beautiful travel blog few days ago. It reminded me of ‘Dabeli.’

Dabeli is basically mashed potato mixed with onions, sauces, peanuts (the mix can be sweet or spicy depending on your taste) served with soft pav (round bread). It is very much an Indian version of a sandwich. To me, Dabeli is symbolical of Navi Mumbai (used to be New Bombay) the place where I grew up. I could not find that taste in Texas but was overjoyed when I found it here in Nairobi.

Food triggers our senses hence plays a very important role in our lives. It is much more than just fuel for the body. It also fuels the emotions and therefore requires us to sit down in peace and cherish every bite instead of gobbling on the go. If you become mindful during your meal times for a few days you will be able to listen to your body and know what it likes & doesn’t. Thereafter you can make your own meal plan instead of following the zillions of diet advice available on the internet. Food is much more deserving than being categorized merely as carbs, sugar, protein, fat etc.

Cut to the Dabeli story 🙂

In the early 90’s, I remember Dabeli was new to our town & used to be sold at INR 3.00 (approx. USD 0.042), today it sells in Nairobi @ Ksh 100 (approx. USD 1.00).

I & my friend Nisha got hooked to the taste ever since we took our first bite. But getting the INR 3.00 from our mothers was quite a struggle. In those days, a very good reason was required to get that kind of money to eat out because street food was forbidden. Our mothers cooked all meals for us, not just 3 but more and anytime & everytime we felt hungry Mum was ready to cook. So, it didn’t make sense to them to lend us money to eat street food. So, we would create our ‘drama’ (the usual teenagers’ stuff) to get that money may be once a month to eat that Dabeli sold at this famous vendor’s cart. We would happily trod to our destination and queue like good citizens. Haha, I can’t stop smiling as I remember that feeling of satisfaction of our treat while relishing each bite. Oh, what an evening well spent 🙂 that would be. A day out! While biting we would be chirping with happiness and laughing at our innocent narration & excitement of little nothings. Totally soaking in the moment!

Today, when I look back and remember those times I realize how far we have come in life. All the hard work, sacrifices, learnings & scars have paid off. It was before the pandemic that Nisha & I were discussing celebrating our 40th birthdays at an exotic destination. And we had a good laugh at how we would cry for the INR 3.00 Dabeli but today we could afford to discuss a luxurious holiday. The plan did not pan out as expected but it did give me a good reason to celebrate the moment. And that’s all life is about; about these meaningful moments, the graph goes up & down like the heartbeat monitor they show in movies. That’s about it and hence worth living in the moment.

As Cheryl Richardson says, in this technology age we are mostly busy responding to others’ needs than tending to our own. This constant alert mode of responding to emails, messenger etc. takes us away from ourselves. No doubt Technology has improved our lives in terms of connectivity but it has also sabotaged our lives to a great extent and that’s what causes sadness.

Living in the moment was complicated for me earlier but now I think I have understood the simplicity of it. It basically means to be fully present & aware of your body & feelings. When you absorb yourself completely into reading an article, enjoying your meal, listening to yourself, the rain or another person. You basically do not have another story running in your head when performing a chore. For eg. I have my phone on silent mode while writing, as a result I listen to my thoughts.

I am completely Living in the Moment, are you?

Much Love,

Rashhmi Yadav

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  1. Mmmm.. This post made me drool and miss Dhabeli.
    Now here in England when all the Michelin Starring Restaurants in the world are there I still miss my Dhabeli and Vada Pay and the Pain Pooris. Great write – took me back to all the teenage years and the struggles of asking for 3 Rs. How amazing is that now I have so much more yet will never get that Dhabeli moment full of dreams, Coming of age and talking about those teenage dreams back. XX

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