Of the ilk of those who tilt at windmills….

“What will happen, Amma, if I let go of you just now? Will I swim?”, lisps my two-year old. She’s been clinging onto my neck for dear life in the dauntingly large expanse of the swimming pool at IIT, where we take a bunch of kids to teach them to swim. The pool is almost Olympic sized and must have seemed like an ocean to a small child. Several lessons have gone by and Arch has learnt to swim. K is still too small so basically she paddles with her feet while never letting go of my neck!

Before I can answer, she takes the plunge and lets go, sinking straight to the bottom which is all of three feet down and comes up gasping for breath and shivering with fright! But she’s nothing if not game and refuses to get out of the pool! “I want to swim like Akka!” She does, years later learn to swim pretty well, gritting her teeth to get across the length of the pool while trying to obey the coach’s instructions to keep her ‘head down, Kanch, head down!’, wondering why he’s yelling when her head is already down! Anyone who’s ever learnt to swim knows that feeling!

I remember my first foray into the pool when I was about fourteen years old. Wearing a costume borrowed from a cousin initially and then in a pair of pyjamas tied around the ankles till I could buy myself a costume! Every time you jumped into the pool, the pyjamas billowed out around you keeping you afloat and that’s how I learned to float!

This habit of jumping in both feet first seems to run in the family starting with my very impulsive mother, just-as-bad me and now my daughter! Consequences are always there of course! Sometimes disastrous, sometimes fantastic but always providing hilarity and many opportunities for saying I told you so to all the people in our lives who positively delight in saying it! Plus of course, even if you have to face some rather unpleasant music (why do they call it facing the music when its so unpleasant, I wonder??!) afterwards, secretly youre gloating over the fun that has already been had and nobody can take it away from you! Fait accompli is a very good thing is my considered-after-five-decades experience!

See how I always have to bail you out of trouble is something Ive heard all my life from various peoplebut I also think that if there werent people like us around, then whom would they be able to say it to? Then what is the purpose of their existence??! And where would they get their hijinks from???! All said and done, I think we windmill-tilters fulfill a very important function in this world anyone wanna dispute that??! Imagine the world of literature without a Don Quixote? The English language wouldnt even have been able to invent the word quixotic!! Phew!

Like many other inventions made quite by impulse like these.


  • 2 cups plain flour /maida
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 green chili – minced
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar or any sharp-tasting cheese
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup butter (melted)
  • ½ cup chopped red or green capsicum
  • ½ cup corn kernels
Preheat oven to 200º C. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners .
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, mixed herbs and baking soda until well mixed. Stir in the cheddar cheese.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs and butter until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until well combined.
Stir in the corn kernels and the capsicum. Mix the batter with a very light hand – overmixing will result in a dense textured muffin.
Spoon the batter into muffin cups, dividing evenly. 
Bake about 20 -25 mins until golden brown, and a skewer inserted in the centre of one of middle muffins comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool in pan at least 5 minutes before removing, then allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.