I have received so many requests for the Christmas cake recipe.
Here it is.

Christmas cake

1.5 kg mixed fruit
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup Sherry
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
250 gm butter
2 tbl spn caramelised sugar to add that rich dark colour
5 eggs
2 cups flour
i tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon essence
1 tsp cinnamon Powder
1/2 tsp clove powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder.

In a Ziplock bag mix the fruits, almonds and 1/2 cup sherry.
Drink the other half cup of sherry.

Minimum soaking period is 48 hours.

The butter and egg should be at room temperature before mixing the batter.

Cream butter and sugar, add one egg at a time along with a table spn of flour and mix. Slowly add the rest of the flour, spice powders, essence and the caramel. Fold in the fruits.
If the batter looks too dry, add a bit more sherry.

Line the cake tin with paper. Wrap the outside of the tin with a layer of brown paper.
Pre heat oven to 150(C) or 300 (F) degrees.
Bake at 150(C) for a 3 hours.
I usually start checking the cake after 2 1/2 hours.

Once the cake is done, cool the cake in the tin, prick it with a needle and pour 1/4 cup of sherry on top.
I wrap the cake in foil and store in the fridge until Christmas, adding more sherry on top of the cake every week.

I have a large catering order to do today..
See ya all on Monday..
Have a nice week end

I contemplated asking Rupesh about Arjun. But I was still angry with him and didn’t feel like talking to him. I could go to the canteen and send a message for Arjun and wait for him, or I could use my time wisely and go to the library and read few more articles about splenomegaly.
I wanted to talk to Arjun.
Kiss and make up.
I smiled thinking about that.
I felt guilty thinking like that.
So I did what I should be doing and walked towards the library.

I left the library around 6.30, took an auto and went back the the hospital. it was visiting hours at the hospital and unlike morning, there were lots of people in the wards.
The first bed had a elderly lady with ascitis. Her daughter was sitting next to her on her bed and talking to her. She saw me and quickly got out of the bed and came to me and asked in Kannada.
“Doctor Madam, When will you discharge my mother? She is been here for 2 weeks now. My brother is getting married next month and I want to take my mother home”
I didn’t know what to tell her. I don’t deal with admission or discharge.
“You will be able to take her home soon ma” I replied.
“Please Doctor madam, please heal her fast. My brother is her youngest child and she is really looking forward to going back home”
“I know” I nodded my head. ” I promise I will do everything that I can”
She looked relieved, as though I just took away the burden from her shoulders.
“Thank you doctor madam” She smiled
I nodded my head again.
I read through all the case files.
5 minutes before 7, the head nurse came and chased away all the relatives from the wards, so Dr. Bhatti could do his rounds peacefully.
Dr. Bhatti came in to the ward. He saw me and asked me to follow him.
“So what do you know about ascitis?”
Ha, that was easy. I knew everything about ascitis.
So I told him the 5 F.( fluid, foetus,fat,faeces and flatus)
He nodded his head. But didn’t say good, good, good.
You should be proud of me Sir, I thought of telling him. I was only a second year student!
“So what do you think this patient is suffering from”
I rattled on and on about all the diseases that can cause the 5 F. meanwhile Dr. Bhatti was busy talking to the patient. He asked her Who came to visit her today, how is her grandson doing, ? Does he still have fever and cough, Did he go and see a doctor yet?
I didn’t think Dr. Bhatti heard anything that I said. I spend almost an hour reading about ascitis today.
“Temperature chart” Dr.Bhatti asked the nurse.
She flipped through the case notes and found the temperature chart and gave it to him.
He looked at it, then looked at me
“Did you check the temperature chart?” He asked me.
I shook my head. I didn’t bother to check the temperature chart, because the patient didn’t look like she was having fever and besides I was sure she was a classic case of ascitis.
He passed the temperature chart to me and I noticed the peaks in the graph.
“Do you know who is Ptahhotep?”
“Yes sir, Maxims of Ptahhotep
I no longer felt bad for missing out on the temperature chart, Instead I was excited. I finally found someone who knew things that I knew. “So you read”
“yes sir, I do” I grinned.
The nurse was looking at me and then she looked at Dr. Bhatti. I knew she had no clue what was going on
“Follow your heart as long as you live madam” Dr. Bhatti spoke.
I looked at him to see what he meant.
“knowledge doesn’t make you a good doctor. You need to feel it in your heart, then you will see things that are right in front of you”
He looked at me through his soda kannadi to see if I understood what he said.
I did. and it all made sense to me.
“So now what do you think?” He asked
“Infection sir”
“TB?” I looked at him
“How did you guess that?”
“You asked about her grandson sir”
“Good, good, good” Dr. Bhatti nodded his head.
“Do you want to see the tapping tomorrow?” He asked
“Of course Sir”
Dr. Bhatti told the nurse to prepare the patient for tapping after the morning rounds.
“Tomorrow, you watch me, ok? The next time you can do it yourself”
My heart almost skipped a beat. Apart from doing very minimal dissection, I have not done any procedures. That too on a patient who is alive. My hands started to shiver thinking about it.

We walked to the next patient
“So what kind of books you read?”
“Anything and everything sir”
“oh, I see”
“What is your favourite book?”
“Prophet by Kahlil Gibran Sir”
“Oh, why?”
Why? I didn’t really know why.
“I don’t really know sir, it is just that I can read it over and over and every time I find something new, something that I didn’t notice before”
“hmm” Dr. Bhatti nodded his head
I really wanted to ask him what was his favourite book. But how to ask such a question to the Associate professor of Medicine, when all I am is just a second year student?

Rounds got over by 8.30 and I took an auto back to my hostel. There were so many stars in the sky. I looked at all the constellations.
I remembered my father.
I remembered my grandmother
I closed my eyes and I could see Dr. Bhatti looking at me through his sodakannadi.

I was just about to go for lunch when Anitha barged in to my room
“Hey, I heard Dr. Bhatti asked you to follow him for the evening rounds”
News sure did spread fast.
“yeah” I mumbled
“How do you know him?”
“Excuse me?”
“How do you know Dr. Bhatti?”
“Anitha,He is the Associate Prof of Medicine. He has been teaching in this college for 15 years!”
As though she doesn’t know that.
“I know that silly. I thought you might have known him through your uncle or something”
There was no point getting angry. George’s shadow always followed me and there was nothing I could do.
“No Anitha, I didn’t know him before”
I was so happy that I was good in medicine, yet it was so hard to prove it to others.
‘There is no need to prove anyone anything’ Sensible one spoke
‘yeah’ I agreed
“Anitha, I am hungry. I am going for lunch”
I started to walk.
“Wait, I am also going to the mess” Anitha started to walk with me.
“You are so lucky Nina”
Luck had nothing to do with being chosen for attending the evening rounds. I was chosen because I was good in medicine. I thought of telling that to Anitha.
“Your folks are so open minded”
“You know my mother would have killed me if I was dating a non Christian guy. Your mother is so nice”
I wanted to laugh. Irony of it all.
“My mother is so narrow minded. You know all my cousins started to read Mills and Boon by the time they are in 10th Std. My mother made me promise her that I would never read Mills and Boon till I was 17, because she felt Mills and Boons will corrupt my mind. Guess what, my cousins used to smuggle Mills and Boon books for me and I started to read them when I was in 9th Std. You know what is funny?” Anitha looked at me
“No, tell me”
“When I turned 17, I purposely went and asked my mother for her permission to start reading Mills and Boon and guess what?” Anitha was grinning
I didn’t know what to guess.
“You know what my mother told me?”
I shook my head.
“She told me I was still innocent and didn’t know the ways of life. Can you imagine, “ways of life!”
“what is that eh?” Anitha was laughing and mocking her mother
“You know Nina, I wonder what she would do if she knew that I have been reading Mills and Boons since I was 13 years old! I think she will have a heart attack”
I didn’t say anything.
I tried to remember all my sins.
I cooked food when Amma told me not to, got drunk though she didn’t really tell me not to and I kissed Arjun. Nah he kissed me, I corrected myself
‘Both are the same, you idiot’ Sensible one spoke.

The line was too long at the mess hall and we waited in line for our turn.
“Hey, heard Dr. Bhatti asked you to follow him for the evening rounds” One of the super senior girl came up to me and started to speak.
“yeah” I mumbled
“You know how lucky you are?”
Why are people so fixated on luck? What has luck got to do with this? I read the journals and I knew the answers, plain simple reason why I was chosen to follow Dr. Bhatti. It was not because Mercury and Venus was in alignment!
“Yeah” I mumbled again
“Would you tell me all the points Dr. Bhatti discussed with you after the evening rounds?” She asked
“Thank you”
I took the plate and looked around for a quiet place to sit down and eat my food peacefully. All these while when I was in every one’s ignore list, all i wanted was to be part of a group. Ironically right now all I wanted was to be left alone.
“Shall we sit there?” Anitha pointed the table near the door.
“yeah” I agreed. I wanted to eat quickly and get out.
“You know Nina, I wish I had a mom like yours”
“She does such a good job of making you all independent. Your sister already bought an apartment. How many Mallu girls do you know that bought their own apartment? They all wait for their parents to buy apartments for them. Am I right?”
I knew Chechy couldn’t have afforded to buy an apartment on her own. Somethign wasn’t right. I just couldn’t figure out what exactly was going on. Knowing George, there sure would be something fishy.
“So what are your plans?” Anitha asked
“are you planning to do PG?”
“I don’t know” I replied
” I have no intention of continuing this torture of keeping awake all through the night and study. I told my parents that I don’t want to do PG. My dad was a little disappointed. My mom is fine. She wants me to get married as soon as I finish final year. What about you? When are you and Arjun tying the knot?”

He Went and bought KC Das sweets for me!
And I did the disappearing act.
I had to tell him that I was sorry.
“We haven’t decided Anitha. I have to go now”
I quickly ate my food, washed my hands and ran to the canteen.
I send the message for Arjun that I want to see him through one of the juniors.
I waited and waited.
Soon students were walking towards the gallery for the afternoon lectures. I didn’t have any of my files with me and I didn’t want to go back to the hostel and get my stuff, because I didn’t want to miss Arjun.
I waited till I saw Dr.Gopal walking towards the Gallery. I never missed any of his lectures. Never wanted to give him a chance to get back at me. So I ran all the way to the gallery.
Dr. Gopal was about to shut the door when I barged in.
“Good afternoon Sir” I spoke with a voice that was coated with honey(while trying to take a breath.) Then I gave him a 70mm smile. I wanted to pass Microbiology and if that meant I had to leave my ego outside the classroom, so be it.
“Good afternoon Ms. Thomas, How are you?” He asked
“I am fine Sir” I nodded my head and started to walk up the steps. I saw Rupesh sitting in the fourth row along with the other North Indian boys. There was an empty spot next to him. But I remembered how he laughed at me for using the eosin pencil.
I must not have left all my ego outside the door. Because I continued to walk up and sat next to Grey’s Anatomy.( and the Tamilian students)
Rupesh turned to look at me.
He too got the sweetest 70 mm smile. He didn’t look pleased that I was sitting with the southies.
I smiled happily.

I knew without any doubt that Arjun would be pissed off with me. My group was doing the morning rounds with Dr. Bhatti and he was talking about Pyrexia of unknown origin. I really wanted to listen to what he was saying, instead I was busy looking around to see where Arjun was.
I checked the corridor and then looked at Dr. Bhatti.
He was staring at me, so was all my batch mates.
Walking in to trouble was my forte.
“What is your Name Ms?” He barked
“Nina, Sir” I whispered
“Nina What?”
“Nina Thomas, Sir”

I kind of knew I was kissing goodbye to my dreams of becoming a Doctor.
“What are the causes of fever?” he asked
That was easy
“Infection, sir”
he looked at me to see if I would elaborate, So I told him how Human body fights infection by raising the temperature.
“Tell me few of the infections that can cause PUO”
“Sir, it can be due to Viral, bacterial, fungal infections”
I gave an example for each kind of infection.
“Anything else that cause fever?”
“Cancer, sir”
Dr. Bhatti looked pleased. So was I.
“So what are the investigative test you would do for this patient?”
I looked at the patient.
Male,Early 20’s, emaciated.
“Blood test, Chest x ray, AFB culture”
“What are you looking for?”
“I want to rule out TB, sir”
“Excellent, you are right Madam. You must always rule out TB if your patient has PUO.”
“What did you say your name is?” Dr. Bhatti asked
“Nina Thomas, Sir”
“Good, good, good” He nodded his head happily and I knew my dreams of becoming a doctor is still intact!.
As we walked to the next bed, Ramesh, the most annoying guy in my batch asked
“How did you know that?”
“About ruling out TB?”
“I had read about in Lancet”
“Which edition?” He sounded like Siddhartha Basu. Arrogant and Annoying.
I wondered if he also wanted to know the page number as well.
“I can’t remember” I spoke.
He shook his head and walked away. I watched him pushing his way through and finally managing to find a spot next to Dr. Bhatti.
I looked outside and saw Arjun walking towards the main door.
I ducked my head and hid behind Yussof, the tallest guy in my batch.
“Ms. Nina” Dr. Bhatti called and everyone moved away, so he could see where I was.
I looked at Dr. Bhatti, few feet behind his was Arjun. One looked happy and the other looked hopping mad.
Between the Devil and the deep blue ocean!
I knew I was doomed.
Arjun was leaning on the door and staring at me. I actually wanted to fold my hands and say I am sorry.
Dr Bhatti was staring at me
“Yes Sir” I looked at him
“What is the common cause of Splenomegaly in India?”
“Malaria, Sir”
“Good, good, good” He nodded his head.
There is no words to describe the thrill I felt when Dr. Bhatti nodded his head and said “Good, good. Good”
I knew I was good in medicine and I knew Dr. Bhatti also knew that.
“Where did you read that?” As soon As Dr. Bhatti turned to talk to the patient, Ramesh leaned towards me and asked.
“I can’t remember” I hissed.
He was beginning to annoy me.
There were two more patients to go through and as soon as the rounds were over, I walked towards the main door.
“Ms” Dr. Bhatti called after me
“Yes Sir”
“I do the evening rounds around 7, I would like you to follow me!”
it is a privilege to follow the prof for the evening rounds.
“Sure sir”
I was on cloud Nine. I wanted to jump and down and scream Oh Yeah.

“Here” Arjun passed a plastic bag to my hand and walked off
“Arjun, wait” I called after him.
He just walked away.
I thought of running after him, but I didn’t want my batch mates to know we are having a tiff.

I slowly opened the plastic bag.

A small clay pot that I knew contained Rasgulas inside, then there were three small boxes of sweets.
Arjun knew I loved KC Das sweets.

It hurt knowing that I was nothing but a royal pain in the butt.