One year ago, today. A group of 15 people from my batch, including me, fresh into the first year of post graduation studies at NICMAR took our oaths as the new Students’ Council. We were thrown together, each of us with a different personality and skill set. I could say we were a bunch of misfits put together to form a team. To work towards the ‘Student Activities’ of the college.
I remember how it was those first few days. We didn’t know each other at all. How we worked, how our equation was and would be with each other. All unknown. We were at the start of this journey with so many milestones to achieve along the way.
But I don’t want to talk about the journey or the milestones. Everyone around us has experienced that with us. Today we ‘officially’ handed over our posts to our successors. Suddenly, it feels like the year never happened. The crazy laughter, the long endless nights of work, the anger towards each other and the whole world, that feeling we got after every milestone. I think each of us did have these thoughts at some point or the other. I’ve been asked several times ‘Why did you decide to get into the council anyway?’. I can’t figure out what to answer such people. I asked myself the same question too. But today, being here I know the answer. I know that this one year is nothing when thrown into perspective with the rest of our lives. But those who weren’t in the council will never realise what they missed out on. We are all going to have to work for the rest of our lives. But this was one job, one responsibility that was given to us solely because there was just this feeling in each of us that this was something we WANTED to do. Not something we HAD to do. That is an incredible feeling. We have been a bunch of misfits who found a way to make things work beautifully even at the worst times. We’ve become the people who can pull off events flawlessly. There are so many things I would do differently if I got the chance to repeat the year. But I don’t want to. Because then it wouldn’t be the year that was.
I keep thinking that there is something more I need to say to say goodbye. But words are not enough right now. I think the rest of the ex-council will agree with me.
On a totally unrelated note, I made this Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook a few weeks back and I was totally floored by what a perfect tea-time cake it is. Not too sweet, so crumbly and a perfect bite. It is THE tea time cake. The cornmeal adds another dimension to the texture of it. Also, all that yummy jam from blueberries. Oh, blueberries, I wish could basically have them all year around. What perfection in berries! I was saving 2 frozen packs of them for something special and I couldn’t think of anything better to use them in. I think any type of jam-ey fruit would work with this cake. Bookmark this recipe for strawberry season, please. Though the next time I make it, I will add some more butter in the streusel for a better bite and crunch. I suggest you make this cake for when guests come over for tea. Or maybe just so that you could have an amazing tea time treat!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 cup all-purprose flour, plus more for pan
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- ⅓ cup sour cream or yoghurt
- 2 cups blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of table salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment, then either butter and flour the bottom and sides or coat them with a nonstick spray.
- Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions, then add the vanilla and lime zest. Add 1/3 of flour mixture, all of the sour cream/yoghurt, and another third of the flour, beating until just blended. Mix the remaining flour with the blueberries. Fold the blueberry-flour mixture gently into the cake batter.
- Spread the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Using the original dry-ingredients bowl, combine the streusel ingredients with a fork. Mash in the butter with your fork, fingertips, or pastry blender. Scatter topping over the batter.
- Bake the cake about 35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes, then cut and serve!