Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 Flashback

            As we step in New Year, we generally have expectations of what new year will bring for us. But it is also necessary to rewind to the past year and see what we learnt from our experiences.

           2016 was an eventful year for me. Many happy and unhappy instances occured and each taught me a lesson of its own. Someone had said ‘we learn from our mistakes’, but I prefer to say we learn from each incidence which leaves an impact on our mind; be it a happy successful one or be it a mistake.

Flashback 2016

            January 2016 started with a bang with me being announced as one of the winners for HT Brunch #BrunchBookChallenge 2015. It was my first year of participation, wherein we had to read 34 books in a year and I had managed to read 36.

My prize for winning #BrunchBookChallenge

            I always loved to read books, but it was last year that I started posting my reviews for The Book Club. And… I won my first gift voucher for Sundari Venkatraman’s The Madras Affair contest. Reviewing books helped me read and understand the essence of a particular book and what the author wants to convey through his/her writing.

            February and March saw lots of health issues regarding me and Prerna as she was admitted in hospital for high fever and vomiting. Same day evening I had a great fall in the hospital and I, being me, ignored the pain as a sprain, which after 3 weeks of neglect turned out to be two hairline fractures. (1st time I was in plaster… 2016 was a year of many firsts for me.)

            With Prerna’s health and my fracture, my baking and chocolate making took a back seat due to which had to give away some of the materials and incur loses. L As this continued for next couple of months it led me to the dreaded D-word – depression. Had a tough time in those months dealing with things and becoming normal.

            April end did bring some respite as I got to visit me birth place Dombivali where I met couple of my school mates and my school bestie after may be a decade. Visiting school and the area where I resided was like childhood revisited.

Childhood Revisted

            Around the same time a blogger friend called up to say she needs a video of mine with Prerna for a mother’s day campaign. I was a nervous wreck. I have never faced a camera before and Prerna was camera conscious. Finally with help and encouragement of couple of friends I got the video ready and sent it to her. 2 days later again she called to say the brand liked the video snippet and now they want me in a video shoot for the social media along with couple of other mommy bloggers…Me in a video…UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have a really big big big phobia of being in front of camera and so I was unsure of this. When I spoke to my parents, they said “God is giving you an opportunity, grab it with both hands. Go for it." 

            So on the D-day I set out with butterflies in stomach and head buzzing with excitement. When I reached the studio I met Kim and Kejal, mommy bloggers and my soul sister Janaki. The whole day passed uneventful with loads of masti and bonding. Finally when the shoot wrapped up in evening, though we were exhausted but we were happy. This made May memorable.

            After 3 days when we saw the video I had tears in my eyes as it was so emotional. Thank you, Anusree and Ronald, for making this day a memorable day of my life.

           Next couple of months were bit hectic, dealing with Prerna’s changing hormones, mood swings and me getting used to her tantrums and all. In June received another setback with my health as continuous back and shoulder pain along with migraine and dizziness was diagnosed as slip disc. What followed next were sessions of physiotherapy and no stress and strain. Felt so dependent and handicap as for some time I was advised not to lift even Prerna. But I also met some awesome people in June. These personalities, with whom I had always interacted online, have read their books, their articles, their reviews but never had a chance to meet them in person. Who are they you may ask??? Well they are the awesome admins, authors and reviewers of The Book Club; Rubina, Nilima, Paromita, Sundari, Ashwini, Sunita and many more amongst others. Meeting them all in person and interacting with them was an awesome experience.

The Book Club Team

            In July, I got my 1st big win… won a kindle for reviewing Nilesh Rathod’s The Shattered Dreams. Also in July attended a workshop conducted by Allure Chocolates on coverture chocolates or Belgian chocolates. It was an informative workshop which gave me lots of ideas and knowledge.

Workshop by Allure Chocolates
     Come September, (as nothing worth mentioning happened in August, I skip that month), the birthday month of my not-so-little princess. Prerna completed 12 years. (Why do girls grow up so soon???)Since it was her 12th birthday I wanted to bake something special for her. Also wanted to try a couple of things which was on my to-do list. So made a doll cake with chocolate sponge and strawberry buttercream with edible chocolate candles filled with kesar pista filling (slurp) and for her friends at clinic made a checkerboard cake with coverture dark chocolate ganache. I did try leopard print on 2nd cake but it didn’t turn out that well but happy that I tried something new and it was well appreciated and it tasted yummy.

My 1st Doll Cake

            October is Diwali time. After attending the workshop in July tried my hands on Belgian chocolate for 1st time with three different soft center fillings and it was a hit… yipeeee…..

            November, another firsts… took courage and tried making a choco mousse cake and to my surprise it turned out delicious at first attempt. Also received my most awaited prize… My Kindle…

Mera wala Kindle :) 

1st Choco Mousse cake

           Another feather in hat was Chocodisiac became the official favourite choice of authors of The Book Club as the best Giveaway prize for their winners :) 

          Lastly comes month of December, last month of the year; wherein we all wait for Christmas and the current year to end.  I had won the blog tour of Paromita’s Shamsuddin’s Grave and the prize was a guest post for the author’s blog along with a gift voucher. Paromita sent me her questionnaire and lo, my 1st interview, my 1st blog post… what more can I ask. (Read here) What a fantabulous end to the eventful year. Also amongst all this mayhem I did manage to read 37 books for #BrunchBookChallenge this year.

            2016 was a mixed year for me; professionally it was ok and on personal front though health issues were main concern but still I manage to swim through it.

            So what did 2016 teach me? Well I did learn lots from the past year incidences. Initially I used to get upset whenever I used to see pictures posted by other bakers of their art. But then someone did speak out to me, What do you really want to do in life? It actually set me thinking and was an eye opener for me. I did have an heart-to-heart chat with….. ME.

            And I made peace with myself that even though I LOVE baking and doing stuff I do have my limitations; with Prerna and my health issues I can’t be a full time home-baker. So now I don’t feel bad when for days I don’t get bake orders. Instead I utilize my time for my spoilt teen and reading and learning new skills and improving my knowledge and admire works of skilled bakers on guild.

            Personally I have to let go my past and hurt deeply embedded in heart (which is little difficult) and look ahead. Acceptance plays an important role in bringing up Prerna. Though she is a differently abled child, her physical development will be normal, it's not going to stop or slow down. Initially I was scared just by its thought. But then I accepted that her development is a natural phenomenon, though reluctantly, I did accept it and then it did become little easy for me to face it.

            Previously, people used to say, it's difficult to raise a girl with special needs, as they grow older. I knew it is going to, but a recent chat with two of my friends who have boys going through this difficult stage and also with Prerna’s therapist made me realize; handling girls is easy than handling boys. Though both have their own and different set of issues and problems.

            Last but not the least; I learnt an important lesson towards end of the year not all who show as your friends are what they really show they are. Some are interested to know your issues not because they care for you or are concerned. They just want to know how much deep you are in troubled waters so that they can attack you when the time is right to strike, when you are weak and vulnerable. So choose your friends wisely. Instead of having hundreds of people whom I call as friends, I prefer to have a select few who will stand by me against hundreds if time comes.

Goals for 2017…

            Well, foremost top on my list is to recover from the damage done to my health by taking little care of myself because health is wealth and if health is good we can even climb Mt. Everest…

            To read atleast 40 books this year, even though target for #BrunchBookChallenge is 36 I am testing myself.

            As far as baking is concerned, well my bucket list for this is very long one… hope to tick off one item every month. I will keep updating about it on my Chocodisiac page as and when I accomplish it. {Fingers crossed}.

            I hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew. Time will tel.

            Till then folks, have a great rocking year 2017 and keep reading, commenting, sharing and supporting me as you have done since past 5 years.

            Enjoy… Love you all. Protection Status


  1. You are one brave woman Aparna. You have come a long way and I am proud to be your friend <3

    1. Thank you Rubina :) I am lucky to have you as my friend too :)

  2. It was so beautifully written Aparna. When we face difficult times we sometimes forget that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am glad that you have pull up through and now doing what you always wanted. God has sent Prerna to you because he knows not all can take care of her.

  3. Aparna, you are a strong woman. The cake pictures are yumm. It will steadily grow. Give some time.I have to get back to see the videos. Happy 2017.

    1. Thank you Ls....hope you liked the videos :)

  4. A huge hugs.. Loved getting to know you through your post. Please hug Prerna for me! I hope to get you know better this year. To one of the strongest women out there....

  5. Aparna as usual loved reading your article nd yes so precisely covered each nd every incident no doubt u are a strong lady and a source of inspiration to many of us for sure..

    1. Thank you Anonymous... would have liked to thank you by your name...

  6. Hey Aps c'mon, u gotto b kidding.. Jan Feb u get a hairline fracture and Apr May u do a personal video and then get featured in an ad for one of the topmost brands.. June July u struggle wid ur daughty's physio and get a slip disc yourself coupled wid migraine, and same time u win a kindle.. I mean, what are you made of ��

    You sure r an inspiration to me. And I haven't said this to anyone earlier.. ����

    Happy achieving..

    1. Thank you so much Kavi....for such encouraging words... :)


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