The 6th semester at college was a very trying period for me. We had to undergo Software Engineering, which was the most boring subject ever. So boring that Bju Sir resorted to stories about his IT industry, Pennu Kaanal and marriage experiences to keep us awake in class. Even worse was Digital Signal Processing, easily the toughest subject in the entire course. The DSP professor's soporific drone that didn't manage to get past the first row of students (I sat right at the back) along with his face as expressionless as Katrina Kaif's didn't make things any easier. And it was our mini project semester. I teamed up with three of my friends to execute the project and it was an uphill climb right from the beginning, a hill no lesser than the mighty Everest that was determined to impose upon us the worst of everything it was capable of. The last few hours before our presentation were the craziest hours of my life. We were chosen as the first team to present our work (no surprise there), we got the expected test results only hours before our presentation, our computer hard disk crashed right after we completed our documentation so that we had to redo the whole thing, and the switchboard to which our computer was connected blew a fuse just as I was about to present my role in the project (I, Robot doesn't sound like just a science fiction anymore, does it?). All in all, we heaved a collective sigh of relief when it was all over but decided to consult the fates to know why we were being treated this way.
So, one fine day, we walked into a numerology cum astrology office near our college, each of us trying our best not to lead the group and praying that nobody would see us. I entered the office expecting a mystic atmosphere; incense sticks spreading sandalwood aroma and smoke everywhere, a prayer bell tinkling somewhere in the background, a bearded and cross eyed swami in saffron, beads and rudrakshas. But the place looked more like a private bank, and my swamiji could have passed for a bank manager. After some giggling and coughing and stuttering and stammering, we let him know why we were there, and he made a note of our names and birthdates. Some calculations later, he informed us that my team mates and I were all 2, 4 and 8 people! He looked so grave as he said it he may have been announcing that we were about to be trampled down by a crazy elephant. When we didn't scream and pull out our hair in anguish, he explained that these were not the luckiest numbers as per numerology, and while we would get along well together, we would face hardships in everything we did. Damn you, 2, 4 and 8! He further pointed out that Amitabh Bachchan and I shared the same numbers, so we would be successful, lose everything and then make a comeback ;) (Which means I must not loose hope as yet). The prathividhi or solution was to change our names. Add a letter here, minus a letter there, so that our names added up to luckier numbers. Somehow, I didn't fancy being called Inndu, nor did my friends want to change their names and we left the place resigned to accept whatever 2, 4 and 8 bestowed upon us.
I guess superstitions and astrology form the basis of India's solution building strategy whenever things don't go as per plans. The daughter's husband is having an affair, let's consult an astrologer. "I bought lottery ticket once again, will I win this time, Pandithji?" "Is my movie going to enter the 100 crore club, Swamiji?" "Who is going to win the next US presidential election, Mahatma?" I do not know if there is any scientific basis for astrology and Vaastu, but I am sure there are plenty of swindler astrologers out there who claim to know just what would happen when Neptune crosses your path and Saturn enters your house. So, instead of consulting a kalla sanyaasi when life throws banana peels and rotten eggs at me, I will indulge in a chocolate mousse to calm myself down. While chocolate won't solve all your problems, it will make them more bearable.
120 grams dark chocolate (I used Bournville Dark Chocolate that has 40% cocoa)
4 medium eggs, separated
2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
As required, grated chocolate to garnish
Break up the chocolate into small pieces. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water.
When the chocolate is almost melted, whisk the egg whites into soft peaks.
Add the egg yolks, rum and honey to the melted chocolate followed by a third of the egg white and whisk till well combined. Fold in the rest of the egg white very gently into the mixture taking care to retain as much air as possible.
Pour into serving bowls and refrigerate until set. Top with grated chocolate and enjoy.
Get an eggless chocolate mousse recipe here.
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