One year ago, I ordered HelĂ©ne Dujardin's Plate to Pixel. And then when it finally reached me, after weeks, it stayed on my bookshelf for 1.5 years. It is not as if I didn't try to read through, I started a million times and then left the bookmark edged in the first few chapters, so that when I finally tried reading it again after months, I'd have to start all over. I'm not a taught baker or photographer or writer, I never took classes for all the things I now love to do, I learned from trial and error. And as painful as it was investing money into baking equipment to no solace, no reward, I have come so far.

For the last four years, I have spent more than half, sometimes even all of the money I had on this blog, on baking ingredients, on memory cards, on professional templates, on domains and on private email plans. And in a way, it became my salvation- of course after it started to go well. 

There is currently a little (more like a lot) political unrest here in Lahore, and my typically slow Wi-Fi is giving out again and again. I am pretty sure that editing these images took me much longer than usual as Shockwave kept crashing down and shutting up the online Photoshop.

  It's that time of the month again, time for the recipe linkup of Mena. Truthfully, this month, I wasn't even sure I was going to make it. First during the Ramadan, it was just not possible for me to devote so many hours to cook something no one was going to eat due to the fasts. Then, the whole week of socializing during the Eid days lead to a week of sickness. Migraines, Nausea, Insomnia, you name it. The only good thing that came out of this week was that I ended up scoring first place in a creative writing competition online, I don't even know how that came to pass.

 This month, our host was Joanne, and she elected a savory and a sweet recipe for the month of August, which were basically 'Machboos', and 'Halwa'. I  decided to opt for the savory this month. Then, after days of throwing around ideas with Sadaf (hi there!), and we both wondering what the hell loomi even was, I gave in and went out to buy those middle eastern spices like Nutmeg and Saffron that we almost never use in the house. And I ended up getting Saffron from a local chandler rather than one of those big shot departmental stores, but even after going to all that trouble, I forgot to use it. Ironic, isn't it?

So, once again, owing to all the reasons I just typed up. I finished/started the assignment on the last day. And all those hours of grinding spices, half frying- half boiling chicken, and having to cook the rice multiple times mean that my right arm is just about giving out from all the stirring and clamour. Why was I so absent minded that it wasn't until I had started frying the chicken that I remembered that I hadn't made any chicken stock? You can guess what happened next. Also by mistake, I interchanged some of the spices I was supposed to add while cooking, and added them to the Baharat mixture. And who forgets to add salt to the rice?

 I give you permission to laugh at me, because I am too. Thankfully, my Mum, who unlike me, wasn't making rice for the first time in her life, fixed it. Though, even after all the spices that went into this rice, it still felt a bit bland to my South-Asian tastebuds that have grown up on the hottest spices you can imagine. And I was automatically transported to the time that we tried Lebanese food at the Lebanese Flower in Abu Dhabi a few years ago, and made fun of the very low tone dishes and funny names. Sorry people, but if it's any compensation, I no longer make fun of any cuisines, food is serious business to me.

 Eid holds fond memories in my head, bling, food, tokens, people, conversation. These five words comprise of what Eid is for me, a joyful occasion, an escape from Lahore, the proximity and embarrassment of being near a tween crush .. It is that one event throughout the year that I, even at a ripe age of almost 18, feel a childish excitement onto. Several memories stand out in my mind, several events are illuminated against the backdrop of my thoughts, and many a laughs have been due to this joyous occasion, Alhamdulillah. Living in a Muslim country is a great blessing, owing to the sense of solidarity and happiness that spreads all around during the rituals. Who doesn't love a break from reality, every now and then?

Though Eid definitely isn't what is used to be in my adolescence, there is no more that excitement and joy. It was a tradition, then to have matching tones of bangles to go with your clothes, and to sniff the henna in your hands all day. Now they're just childish joys in my heart. However, a part of me still is glad for Eid. Last year when I went to pray the Eid prayer at a local Mosque, I stood outside, leaning against the building afterwards, just breathing it all in- before rushing to give away the marbled cupcakes I had woken up early to bake.