Who are you? Who am I? I am no one. I am everyone.

Arjun and RC in the sun

A close friend recently asked me, “Who are you?” My first impulse was to say, “What?? What do you mean by who am I?” I am Rutvika, a mother, a businesswoman, a Chartered Accountant blah blah blah. But my friend kept looking into my eyes, searching for something, and I mentally took a step back. I couldn’t answer her then, but this question crops up in my head often now. While doing the most complicated things at work to the most mundane things at home, the question comes and stands before me.

I am a soul. Living this life, enjoying its ups and downs, taking risks, falling committedly in love with people, with things, with ideas; nourishing itself to keep faith in the way things are so as to come back again once this body gives up. These 70-80 years of my life are just a tiny blip in the journey of the soul. 

By now, half of you must have stopped reading, this topic is voodoo. But those of you who are still reading, hear me out.

As a little girl, when the concept of universe was first introduced in school, I was taken aback. All these planets, the sun, the moon, the billion other stars are so huge and have been existing for so long, that a rational non-spiritual mind cannot fathom it. It felt beyond the grasp of reality. The earth is spinning and I can’t feel it? These rocks , rivers, mountains have been here since centuries, our entire existence is merely a moment in their life. We are so inconsequential that we are nothing. And still see how much we take our life seriously. As if it matters.

It doesn’t. Not to the universe.

Everything will go on, whether you are there or you are not there. Whether I exist or I don’t, life will go on. 

But this soul here, he is been living forever. Residing in my body, before that someone else’s and after me in someone else. It feels, it knows. It guides. 

People say babies often remember things which happened in past lives. Arjun used to and still says stuff which couldn’t have possibly happened in this life. Sure, it can be his imagination, but he knows something which is bigger than his 3 year existence on this planet. When we were in Rishikesh on a holiday, he told me that he was bitten by a snake many years back. Or when he was 2, he would go to a corner of the house and say Rukmini-devi is standing here. He wouldn’t let us go near that spot. 

My grandmother, like most Hindus, believes in this stuff of rebirth and souls transcending lives. But most of these people are aiming for “moksha” or avoidance of rebirth. I don’t feel that though. I feel I want to learn as much in this life as much is possible to lead a gracious next life. We live in a world of extremities. On one hand we don’t mind spending several thousand rupees on a two-day holiday, but on the other hand there are people we know who live on a meagre 50 rupees a day. All these kinds of things exist. All the wars, the betrayals, the blood shed, the famines, the joyous moments, births, marriages, victories big and small, all of these are etched into our souls. The black and white, all the grey between, the rainbows and the green of the trees, its been here and you have witnessed it before, in another body, by the same soul.

So who am I ?

I am no one. And I am everyone who has been. I am everyone who will be.

Your father may be reborn as your great-granddaughter. And she will know you. You will know her. We all know each other, and so this question is rhetoric. You and me are same. We are the universe, we are nothing and everything at the same time. 

So now get back to your day, your life, your journey and do good. Be gracious, our soul is going to live on for centuries. 

Cheers,

Rutvika

Pineapple upside-down cake. Same soul, many lives.

I am not a religious girl, but neither am I an atheist. Sometimes when people around you have very concrete religious or non-belief sentiments, you tend to stay away from any extremes. I guess that is what happened to me. So may be, I am a non-conformist believer. Somewhere in the middle. Unsure but stable.

But one thing I have believed since I was 15-16 years old is the theory of souls. In one of Brian Weiss‘s books, which I read back then, he had said that the same group of souls travel together. Relationships may change from life to life, but the souls are the same. I found this concept highly interesting. Many a times, some people feel very close, though I might be meeting them or talking to them for the first time. A same set of people re-occur in my dreams. And some dreams are so vivid and so traumatizing, that it feels that I am re-living a moment lived before. Many a times, I have looked into the eyes of a stranger and  thought ‘I know those eyes.’ Its eerie at times even to myself, but it feels real. May be a figment of my imagination, may be someone I have known in my past life. Or something else.

I don’t openly talk about these things to anyone, except my grand-mom, because she believes in the re-incarnation theory like most devout Hindus do. But in a very different way. I believe in lives we have lived before and she believes in lives yet to come. It is the same, but from different perspectives.

So a couple of days back, I had a conversation with a guy about Past Life Regression. I know him through a food group on facebook, and haven’t met or spoken to him ever, just chatted with him. We were talking about how at times we feel instantly connected to some people, and hate some others, almost immediately. He explained it quite convincingly, and in his own words : “That’s explained in two methods – one scientific and one metaphysical. the scientific one explains it through the concept of thin-slicing – essentially, your brain collating the properties of all the people you’ve ever liked, and disliked and taking a sample from your brief exposure to the new person, comparing it against that data and coming up with an instant judgement – the same process works when you’re standing in the middle of the road and a bus is coming towards you – the instant judgement. the metaphysical explains it as your aura sensing the others aura and making a judgement.”

I was slightly disappointed that he did not say that it was because of someone or something I knew from the past lives, but what he said makes more sense. Past life or not, I love the connections my brain (I can call it soul, but calling it brain to be realistic) makes. It gives me a sense of belief. In the world and in myself.

Ok, so that was it. Don’t worry I am still sane and heading over to my office after I finish this post. I am still your regular 9-5 girl, but just with a bit of *belief* . In this life and the others.

If you are comfortable with talking about it, i would love to read your feelings and thoughts about past life and other theories. Let me know in the comments sections. 🙂

another piece

On a lighter, brighter side is this upside down pineapple cake. With dried fruits, or tutti-fruity speckled like gems in the gaps. A moist decadent sponge cake beneath the tropical flavors of the pineapple.

pineapple cake

I used canned pineapple, because it is easier and I love the syrup soaked pineapples for baking purposes, but you can very well use fresh sliced pineapples cooked in a sugar syrup till tender.

Arrange pineapple slices

Pineapple Upside-down cake

What you will need:

  • 6-8 pineapple slices, with core removed
  • softened butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dried candied fruits or cherries
  • 100 gms all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 100 gms soft butter
  • 100 gms caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs

What to do :

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.
  2. Generously grease a 8-9 inch cake pan with softened butter. Sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar on the greased pan.
  3. Snugly arrange pineapple slices on the pan to make a circular patterns and the dried fruits or cherries to fill in the gaps between the pineapple slices and in the centre of each pineapple slice.
  4. In a bowl. take the flour, baking powder, baking soda, soft butter, caster sugar and eggs and whisk or beat with an electric beater until the batter is smooth.
  5. Add 3 tbsp of pineapple juice/ pineapple syrup to the batter to thin it a little.
  6. Then pour this mixture over the pineapples in the cake tin and gently spread it evenly. the batter will only just cover the pineapples.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then ease a spatula around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and, with one deft – ha! – move, turn it upside-down.

slice of cake

Notes :

  1.  Remember this is an upside down cake so carefully arrange the pineapple slices and choose the best ones.
  2. This cake can also be served with some vanilla whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Rutvika Charegaonkar