Aligning from the inside to align on the outside.

The world was paralyzed, there was fear, uncertainty, death and dilemma, 2020 was a tough year for many. It changed how we expressed love, how we worked, how we worked out and socialized, it just about changed everything. Suddenly wearing a mask into a bank is ok, not shaking hands is not considered rude, turning down attendance at a social gathering is ok and drawing boundaries is not a bad thing.

Balancing work and life on unfamiliar grounds

As the world changed so did my every day. Knowing how routine-oriented and resistant to change I am as a person, I did reach out to hit the panic button. I live with 2 dogs and a lockdown (first time we had heard the term even) seemed like the world was closing in. I’m programmed to be a stickler for routines and I didn’t change that one thing, my waking and eating and sleeping times were adhered to. My work timings were adhered to. Barring the extra household work during the lockdown since house help were not coming in, I discovered how much time I had on my hands. Yes, call me lucky, I chose the dogs-are-family route. So when I managed sourcing their food and figuring out my own, I seemed to have more control over things. In hindsight, that was the aha! moment for me, the moment I figured life is going to be like this for a few months and I can play with time to my advantage. I discovered that I love working from home – no travel, no dressing up, no unnecessary breaks and everyone seemed focused on getting work done! This was pure joy. The first few weekends were a little unusual because up until then my weekends were packed because weekdays were consumed by the erstwhile office-going activity.

A day in the pandemic life…

I am an early riser but cut myself some slack and used to wake up at 7 am, take the dogs for a walk, give them their food, whip up my breakfast and lunch, settle for work by 9.30 am. Work hand-held me for the rest of the day till 6.30 pm. I’d ensure that I wrap up my day on time, just like I would start it on time. Walk and feeding time again for the dogs, dinner, and to bed after some reading. I do not own a television and all the ‘flix’ entertainment had a per day limit to reduce screen time. Before you think I turned a saint, No!, Instagram was a vice, I scrolling much more than usual. And you know what happens when you do aimless scrolling…you find something useful sometimes. I discovered fermentation.

Bubbles that keep you alive…

Fermentation is basically channeling microbes in food to makes it last longer, more nutritious, bioavailable, and enhance the good gut bacteria. I learnt all this on the way, at first it was the excitement of not having to drink just lime soda and icy mojitos when friends were indulging in wine and other alcohol. I started following fermenters across the world, seeing what all can be made. Even before I knew it, I was rapidly going down the rabbit hole of fermentation. What started with a Tepache (the dalgona coffee of the fermentation world) went into pickled vegetables, whey sodas, ginger beer, vinegars, kimchi, beet kvaas, hot sauce, and various flavours of kombuchas! I wasn’t kidding when I said it was the rabbit hole. There were times when I didn’t know the science of how to troubleshoot when things were wrong. Then I started reading, attending courses and workshops, and getting better at the game. Before you think this is some kind of difficult process, you’d be surprised to know how much fermentation is already entwined in our daily lives – curd, idli, dosa, kanji, achaar, dhokla, and much more including the Indian sourdough!.

As an amateur fermentation enthusiast, I wanted to share my wins and failures with others and so I started an Instagram account called @bubblesinthejar where I record all my fermentation learnings. I had struck gold with this lockdown discovery which is easy-peasy, all you have to do is get something started and the microbes get the party going anyway! Fermented food and drinks are essential to enhance your gut health which then promotes healthy skin, hair and eventually balanced hormones. Not a one trick pony but a good start to mindful living I’d say.

Where I am now…

I have been brewing kombucha (all kinds of flavours) and off late started off on hot sauces. With social life slowly waking up, I’m excited to take my drinks to parties for my other teetotaller buddies who, like me, were stuck with lime sodas, sugary drinks, and icy mojitos. And guess what? The probiotics in these fermented foods are not only good for humans, your dogs can benefit from it too.

Aligning from the inside to align on the outside.

*Image Source – NYT

Share your lockdown discovery right here in the comments.

1 thought on “Aligning from the inside to align on the outside.”

  1. Hey Sreeja, really lovely to read how you discovered a new passion, shall look up @bubblesinthejar !

    As for me, being alone during the first 3 months of the lock-down really helped me push through a few life long fears. One was fear of being alone, I was alone for 3 months and managed everything, without going crazy. I actually started loving being alone, the silence and being able to do what I want to, when I want to. Another fear which was busted was the fear of not having money, the biggest gift of the lockdown was to be able to see what really matters in terms of consumption and suddenly my retirement planning became so much easier.

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