Lessons from the Corn Maker (Bhuttawallah)

It’s been raining in Hyderabad. The dreaded heat has been eaten up and replaced by a cool, breezy weather which is a delight to experience!

Any Indian will tell you this sort of cold, rainy weather brings with it the temptation to savor the ‘Bhutta’. A Bhutta is a grilled/roasted corn on the cob spiced with lime, salt and chili powder. You will find Bhuttawallahs in almost every street corner selling corn on their mobile carts and fanning the roasted corn to tempt bystanders with the sweet aroma of their bhuttas.

Yesterday, when I was eating one of these, I couldn’t help but wonder at the profound wisdom which was present in the way a Bhutta was made! When looked at stage by stage, the metamorphosis of a corn cob into a mouth-watering dish held precious lessons in self-development!

To Transform You Need to Burn

Inner Fire
Copyright: Jon Brown (via Flickr)

The corn cob is a hard and unyielding creature. It has great taste and a potential to be a delicacy but it needs to be roasted for a long time on all sides for it to become worthy.

It’s very similar to all of us when we start out on our life journey. After a certain time, we tend to define ourselves in rigid personality structures and have our own preferences about the way we want things to happen. A resistance to change starts creeping in slowly.

This is detrimental to growth. In fact, the lives of great men and women reveal they had to undergo great trials and were forced to confront their weaknesses in order to realize their potential.

It is wise to remember that some fires don’t just burn but also transform. Everytime you face a situation where you feel uncomfortable and get a sense that your boundaries are being stretched, count yourself lucky. Because, you never know when these tribulations could trigger a transformation in your life forever!

Constant Reinforcement – Fanning the Flames

fan paper

The Bhuttawallah is constantly fanning the flames. Once the corn is roasted, the flames underneath are kept burning to ensure the corn doesn’t become hard and the flames don’t die.

Doesn’t this remind us of the need to fan our inner flame constantly?

I hear all the time how people nowadays excitedly pick up new ventures but rarely manage to sustain the enthusiasm. Initial hype and excitement disappears leading to a breakdown and eventually apathy.

The way to prevent this is we need to act as a corn maker to our inner flame. We need to fan it constantly by reinforcing our vision and remind ourselves of the reason we set out to do a particular task in the first place.

Good books, mentors and self-reflection are powerful fans which will help you to keep your inner flames alive!

Balance – A Perfect Seasoning Requires All Flavors

burnt corn

Once the corn cob is ready, the corn maker makes it taste heavenly by adding a perfect seasoning of salt, chili and lime. It is very important to balance these flavors or else the final recipe is a sure disaster!

Even as you undergo a multitude of experiences in life, it is important to remember having a limited mindset always inhibits you. Too much of any flavor in life leads to misery. What makes life a pleasurable journey is a sound balance of choices, experiences and decisions.

Over to You

Whether it be your personal or professional life, these simple insights are bound to have an impact on the way you live your life. The final recipe is after all, in your hands.

Ready to create that perfect Bhutta? Let me know how it turns out!



  1. Sunaina said:

    I can’t sing enough praises for this post…..you have written something so true and inspirational…..i might want to come back to this post again and again when I need inspiration. Thank you so much for this…..

    April 14, 2015
    • Hey Sunaina!

      Welcome to Stumbleuponlife! I am glad you enjoyed the post :) please visit again!

      April 14, 2015
  2. rohanchaubey said:

    Hi Niks,

    I am sorry I could not visit SUL lately due to my exam approaching soon. Another thing is, I already tried commenting and it went under forever submitting comment process. I have even managed to grab a screen shot: http://s16.postimg.org/3onp1mjj9/Capture.png

    Inspirational as always. I am glad to be a part of your mailing list as it gives me updates regularly and your posts keep me motivated.

    I hope you are doing great and everything went well. Saw your pictures on Facebook. They were great! :)

    It isn’t raining here at Mumbai.

    Constant reinforcement and balance; I will keep them in mind whenever I set out to do something new to make it a success.

    – Rohan.

    P.S. My previous comment was better than this one. I guess it doesn’t allow to comment using facebook. :(

    April 14, 2015
    • Damn! Sorry you had to face that glitch :(

      I knew you had exams :) hope you performed well? Thanks for your good wishes Rohan :) and I’m glad you liked the pics 😀 lets chat once you are free and done with your course load!

      Happy week ahead!

      April 15, 2015
  3. Archana Kapoor said:

    Superb and very inspirational Nikshep. Thanks for sharing :-)
    Cheers, Archana – http://www.drishti.co
    P.s – do drop by at Drishti when you can! :-)

    April 14, 2015
    • Hi Archana!

      Thank you so much! :) your website is beautiful and I loved the Haikus about Shiva and Krishna! Will definitely stop over and share my views! Cheers!

      April 15, 2015
  4. Ikechi Awazie said:

    Hi Nikshep

    When I read this post, I am always amazed by your creativity.

    When I saw the picure of the corn, I see the resembelance of the spicy corn and the one which we make in my country. The only difference is that in my country, corn is roasted in fire and no spice is added

    You are right that we need to constantly fan our inner flame and by doing this continuously, it produces beauty on the outside. You are also right that learning to fan our inner flames helps to enhance our motivation. When one is down or burnt out, it is because the inner flame isn’t burning.

    Thanks for this awesome post. Cheers Buddy

    April 16, 2015
    • Ah we like our food spicy you see 😀 I get inspired by a lot of what authors such as yourself write Ikechi :) and thank you for your kind words!


      April 16, 2015
  5. Harleena Singh (@harleenas) said:

    Hi Niks,

    That was wonderful indeed :)

    I liked the way you could pick up lessons from the Bhuttawala too! Trust you to come up with such awesome posts…or is it thanks to your better half now! (Saw the lovely snaps on FB!)

    Coming to the post, we too had a little bit of rain, though the rainy season is when the corns are in full swing, but I guess you get it all sooner than us! You are right about all that you mentioned, just like the corn, you need to burn to transform, and that’s when the real flavors of life come through. Perfect seasoning indeed…lol…edible bhutta in the end!

    Thanks for sharing this one with us. Have a nice week ahead :)

    April 16, 2015
    • Well the rains this time were a little unexpected! Usually hyderabad’s super hot this time of the year! Haha better half sure is editing what I write 😀 you’re bang on about the transformation :)

      Glad you liked it!

      April 16, 2015
  6. Yatin Khulbe said:

    Hi Niks
    What a lovely way of extracting ideas from our daily lives. I also think that there is lot to learn from things around us. We just need to have a lens of understanding the deep details. And you truly have this talent
    I can’t even think about self-improvement lessons from a butta. Hat’s off to you.Ya, some fire transforms us in a productive manner.
    The way you have connected the fanning process with our inner flames is outstanding.
    Thanks for sharing a gem post.

    April 17, 2015
    • Not just me you have the talent too :) I remember your keyboard post! Thanks a lot buddy!

      April 19, 2015
  7. landofinspiration21 said:

    Hey Nikshep
    Totally loved the way you have inspired with the real life experience which we usually avoid.

    Really liked the way you have inspired with a detailed way through a live example.

    Thank you so much

    April 21, 2015
    • Thank you so much :) enjoy your week ahead!

      April 21, 2015
  8. surendrakatgeri said:

    Great comparison buttawallah with our life

    August 18, 2015

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