Looking for some culinary inspiration during the lockdown? Look no further.

“Cooking is a great stress-buster. Once you get into the kitchen and start cooking/ baking, you forget everything else and when you relish what you’ve made, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and the push that we are all missing in this lockdown”, says Divyaratna Singh Masuda, a 27-year-old who has been enchanting his friends and social media followers with the wonders that he has been churning out of his home kitchen in Ajmer. Known amongst his dear ones for his legendary jungli maas, he is a keen explorer of the rich Indian cuisine and enjoys preparing lamb burgers. 


An ex-Mayoite, Divyaratna completed his graduation from Sri Venkateswara College in Delhi, after which he began working in the field of PR and marketing for start-up restaurants. He then worked in the field of production before launching his own firm, ‘The Indian Roadster Co.’ to scout exotic, off the beaten tracks for inbound crews and those in search of unique travel itineraries around Rajasthan. A motorhead and rally enthusiast himself, Divyaratna has traveled across some of the remotest parts of the subcontinent. He is also a distinguished shooter with an impressive track record ever since he started shooting in 2008. 


When asked about the inception of his passion for cooking, Divyaratna says, “my inspiration for cooking came from my food enthusiast father, as well as my own love for food. The satisfaction of feeding your friends and family encourages me to cook, especially for those who appreciate good food. I think my travelling also played an important role- wherever I went. I wanted to try the local food and learn how they made it and what local ingredients they used, which made every dish taste so different.”

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Dear 2020,

It’s only mid-year and so many of us are wishing that you were already coming to an end. Who is to blame for daring to make such a (calendrically) unreasonable wish? The world is enveloped in a pandemic that has thrown every grail of the word ‘normalcy’ out of gravitational ambits. COVID-19 has brought about a new world order wherein an altered sense of existence and quarantined functioning is the new normal. A sense of panic, anxiety and dystopia invades us homo sapiens, and as we get stronger in adjusting to these contingencies, we brace ourselves to endure this for longer than our earlier naiveties had expected.

Before we became fully aware of what the Coronavirus had in store for us, anti-CAA and NRC protests had already splintered into communal riots in several parts of our country. Soon after India entered its quarantine months that threw the lives of uncountable migrant labourers into jeopardy, there was the Vishakhapatnam gas leak, mild earthquakes that shook our tectonic plates, and last, but by no means the least, cyclone Amphan, that has devastated our fellow countrymen in Odisha, West Bengal and the adjoining coastal belts.

So pardon us 2020, for wanting to fast forward the remaining half of you, despite knowing of its impossibility. That said, despite our frantic muddles through the various curveballs that you are unleashing at us, we are coping in the only way that we have inherited from our ancestors- through the act of adapting. Yes, we will be caught in frenzies and panics at the beginning, but we will be held together by our stronger segments and we will, as a race, adapt. Our health experts will work hard to curb the virus from spreading any further. Our relief teams will bandage the wounds that you inflict. We will brace these storms. Sure, we will lose much of what we can’t recover. Many of us will perish. But know this, 2020, that the rest of us who survived, would have adapted and become stronger to face you on behalf of those of us who are to come, as well as those of us who we lost along the way.

We might complain, criticise and even attempt to escape our present destinies, but we will still fight, and we will survive. We brace for the new normal that you have unveiled to us. We will retain optimism, not as a choice, but as the only choice that we have. Our savings dwindle, we are caged, but on the bright side, our environment begins to heal. Sooner or later, we too will re-emerge with altered ideas of what it means to live a good life. With a renewed sense of gratitude and a renewed sense of purpose, to re-examine why we all are here, and what we can do to make it truly count, not just for ourselves, but more importantly, for each other.

In the end, when you draw to a close 2020, we will be here, humbler than we were on the previous New Years’ Eve, fatigued, yes, but with all the gratitude that we had been taking for granted for far too long. And lest we even say, we aren’t glad at how you unfurled, 2020, but we are relieved for having known better than you thought

we would.

Veer Bhogya Vasundhara (the brave shall reap the earth).


Urvashi Singh


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Ma: The conglomeration of Saraswati, Durga & Lakshmi