Within me

Feeling all kids of quiet and snug within myself today. Content, to use a dull and inadequate word.

Excellent sleep. Daily, intentional exercise. Finally, finally some balance in eating intuitively to nourish rather than punish my body and myself.

Expansiveness between therapy sessions. Mindful observation and reflection. A beautiful containment of everything, a slow and deliberate process and awareness of what really is my process.

Getting out of my head and into my body more. Digging deep to find the constant spring of space and solidity, alongside a red-hot, just kindled, young and feisty fire.

*This is an old picture from a spectacular day in Paris, in September 2018.

One year ago: After the tears have washed your eyes
Three years ago: Just keep swimming

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These days

It’s been about 10 really good (and bustling) days — some reflections, writing, anticipation, exercise, good food, friends, great conversation — and as this week comes to a close, and I’m looking forward to staying in this weekend.

This happens to me every time I touch down in Bangalore. My calendar gets so full so quickly with catching up with people. This time, interestingly, I have been careful to filter out what I am not so keen to do (things I’d do out of politeness), sticking only to meeting people, going places and doing things that I am really interested in. And yet, after a burst of activity like this, I feel the need to just hit mute for a while and sit at home. Which is my plan for the coming weekend. Starting tomorrow, actually.

One year ago: Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
Three years ago: About yesterday

On boundaries: how they’ve changed my experience of friendship

Lately, I’ve been seeing some interesting shifts with the way in which I am experiencing friendship. For years I understood boundaries purely cerebrally, and struggled to find a way to really let the ideas sink deeper and peter into my life. The idea of a boundaries always drew up images of a solitary existence. While I embraced this as a kind of solitude at one time in my life, there came another time when I began to really crave connection, and I began to understand the importance and need for healthy, dependable relationships. Forging those has been a whole adventure of it’s own with so many hiccups and milestones alike.

I didn’t realise this before, but for the longest time I saw a boundaried existence and loneliness as by-products of each other. For the longest time, I didn’t see the middle ground that exists between setting healthy boundaries and simultaneously forging deep and wonderful connections.

I am slowly getting this now that I am experiencing a physical healthy distancing from people, even those I love and hold close. And I am doing my best not to mistake this for the old loneliness. This manifests more as a healthy space between me and the other, and it’s so fascinating to note that it’s the same space that acts as a protective boundary in some relationships, yet deepens my capacity to relate and to connect in others.

In just the last week alone, I experienced both in two separate instances. And both times, I experienced it as a safe, welcome distance between me and the other person. Being someone who usually knows no other way but to go all in, sometimes to the point of being completely enmeshed or losing myself totally to the relationship, and therefore experiencing constant lack from an imbalance in giving and taking, this has been a welcome change.

And what a relief it is. To be better with space between us, minus the throes of fear and peak abandonment that it once resulted in. To enjoy the poise and grace that comes with the space. To watch what happens in the many moments of pause that increase and grow, when there is this space in a relationship. To let go of the need to be seen as good, or well-meaning and kind at all times. To no longer mistake the desperate need and expectation of the other to change or deliver in ways differently from the way they can, as kindness and concern. To just let it go, entirely, as fulcrum on which the future of the relationship hinges. To be okay with people as they are (within healthy limits, of course). To be okay with the uncertainty that comes from not always being on the same page as the people I choose to surround myself with.

This has 100% happened because I am seeing the minutest ways in which I am getting better with a very conscious understanding of:

  • boundaries, how they won’t lead me to impossible loneliness and why they’re actually good for relationships
  • kindness and compassion and when I tend to allow them come into play
  • my tendencies to judge and how they have an impact on the quality of relationships
  • and of course, the overarching process that is meeting myself in a good way, feeling whole and at home with myself

There’s a lot of nuance involved in each of these, and I’m only recording this in brief to remember this feeling of ease and relief that I’ve experienced this past week. The sense of space, again, is really hitting the spot for me.

One year ago: Stop chasing shadows, just enjoy the ride
Three years ago: How blue

The written word

Well over a month since my birthday and I still haven’t written the letter to myself. Every time that I have decided to sit down and do it, I am overwhelmed by the thought of what parts of everything that is going on right now to include and what to exclude, so as to ensure that it’s not a never-ending letter, and a letter that precisely, not necessarily concisely, captures it all.

There’s a lot going on internally, and every day there are small shifts, changes, bodily movements, differences that I note. Many times these are little clues to something or another relevant to where I’m at internally, mentally, emotionally, and what changes I am experiencing in these areas. Some of it makes it to this blog, and so while it will always be (I think) a thing to go back to when I want to know what happened at this point in my life (and that is the idea behind logging everyday), writing these letters have been special. Every time that I have sat down to write one in the past year, something new has emerged from it. A different way of looking at the exact same thing I already knew I was going to write about. Sometimes, clarity that only comes when I put pen to paper. Most times, a deep sense of gratitude, empowerment and liberation. So I want to get down to this soon. Like today. What I did manage to finish was writing letters to some special folks who have been around and whose presence has  impacted me in some way this past year. 10 letters in total, I surprised myself. And today I went to the good ol’ post office to send some of the overseas letters off.

The exercise always shows me how some of these habits — things I was accustomed to even while growing up — are just near obliterated in our daily lives today. It’s only when I write letters that I realise I don’t know what value of stamps to use anymore. What’s the going base rate? What is an overseas letter going to cost? When I wrapped a letter in today, just snug, I wondered about how J might open it in Germany, without cutting through the letter itself. And then I remembered envelope cutters — every home used to have one. We did too. A blunt knife-like tool that would be stuck into a tiny opening in the envelope, to slide through to release the contents of the envelope. When was the last time you saw or used one? I can’t remember. Remember when everyone had personalised letter heads? And what about the entire operation that is a post office itself. When I entered the neighbourhood one today, complete with the grouchy, reluctant staff behind the counter, seated amidst piles of mail and paperwork, the smell of dusty, musty degenerating paper thick in the air, I felt a pang of nostalgia for the days when everything was analogue. And alive.

***

There’s something about letters and communication in the air for me, obviously, because as soon as I got back from Goa, I stumbled on an old letter from my grandfather that I had stashed away as a keepsake, but completely forgotten about.

Today, amma gave me another one (written in 2001) that she discovered some weeks ago. Back in the day, I used to regularly send printouts and handwritten copies of all my written work to my grandparents. Sometimes including essays I wrote in school that turned out well, and the odd book report or such too. In this letter, my grandfather congratulates me on winning 1st prize in a book and movie report competition in class 11. He had such a flair for picking the right words that always told me so much about his complete interest and involvement in reading whatever I used to send them. He didn’t just read my letters, he got a lot of what I’d write about, and he took great care to reflect/communicate his understanding back to me.

Reading the letter today made me think this is something else we’ve lost to rapid digital communication. The softness that is the essence of having someone’s full attention, knowing well that I am being heard. The human element of a heartfelt response. If writing letters is an act of vulnerability, reading and responding are too. Presenting, making oneself available fully to the mode of interaction at hand is most definitely an act of vulnerability. And I wonder if this is why I often feel like writing letters and do it so often. Even Especially to myself.

One year ago: Only happy when it rains

Spaces in-between

This morning I felt immense gratitude as I was driving to the gym. Waking up and heading straight to the gym has been the routine for the last 10 days, and it hit me this morning how easily fulfilled this desire to get disciplined about working out has been. A gym close to home, my mothers car for me to use every single day, unencumbered mornings to spend at the gym without anyone or anything to rush home to. I am a very easy creature of habit, I realise. Especially with things I love and want to do everything to sustain. So to be able to chase this, so easily with literally nothing in my way, felt overwhelmingly special.

It’s a little thing, I know. But in the end it’s the little things that have the most impact, no?

In the moment I felt free. And I felt gratitude for all that enables this deep sense of freedom. In the moment it felt like gratitude for being in Bangalore which gives me access to so much that I need right now. But I immediately realised it’s not limited to the city, to geography alone. It’s those little things. The very things I’ve needed for so long, that are somehow being fulfilled here, at this point in time in my life, formidably aided by the options and opportunities this city has to offer.

***

Bangalore leaves a lot to be desired. I am routinely enraged, frustrated and bicker about the traffic, the apathy, the garbage and what not. I feel helpless and very agitated by the slow nosedive we’re making to utter destruction. I have to think twice about what I want to wear before I step out. In many ways I feel limited and held back. But even so, on a daily basis I feel a sense of freedom and openness — from within — that overarches everything else.

I didn’t know it then, but I left Goa because I needed space. Space to grow, space to stretch, space to explore and widen my inner life. And somehow, physically as well as emotionally and perhaps metaphysically too, Goa with all its wide open green spaces, overlapping social circles and limited options, had begun to feel so very small. Claustrophobic. Crunched up.

It’s the strangest thing, and I know it sounds odd even as I describe it awkwardly as I am. But this is the truth: this is the free-est, most wide-open I’ve felt. Open to change, open to uncertainty, open to love, open to discovery, open to surprises. Just open. And free. In a way that settles something within me. Gives me space, and a deep sense of openness, freedom to run, to be. A very palpable widening of myself.

***

Long after I left Goa and moved to Bangalore, I found myself constantly tossing up the pros and cons of both places to live. This is typical nature, isn’t it? The need to validate and justify our choices completely. Especially the difficult ones. And to keep trying and trying till we’re sufficiently convinced we’ve done the right thing. I constantly craved and looked for the big things, larger than life events, overwhelming circumstances that would feel like valid reason enough to have done the unthinkable and moved back from Goa to Bangalore — a city I’d run away from and sworn never to return to only 8 years ago. I found solace in some small things, but they were always just that — small consolations — and a larger part of my heart tugged with confusion and a mixed-up longing for…I-dont-know-what exactly for many, many months.

I knew with growing clarity that my time in Goa was done, that wanting to leave was reason enough, but in the years I was away Bangalore has exploded into a slowly self-destructing monster of sorts and the transition from quiet, green, expansive Goa to this gave me bouts of severe cognitive dissonance. The gentle, welcoming, unhurried Bangalore of the 80s and 90s that I knew, has been totally engulfed by this busy, chaotic, always-on-the-run city that I couldn’t quite make sense of. Even though, in pockets, I found comfort in nostalgia, familiarity and many little things (again, it’s the little things that made a difference) that felt like a throwback form my years growing up here, at a macro level, something didn’t quite fit.

That “fit” — that snug clink of pieces falling into place, of things making sense (in whatever way that they do) — is what I’m suddenly feeling I have found. A foothold, a grounding, a series of satisfying little moments on a daily basis that make me grateful for being here. In this city. Here in this moment of time.

It’s nothing tangible of course. It’s a state of mind, maybe? But I have it now. Today, it was the drive to the gym and way in which I lost track of time only to realise it had been 90 minutes since I began working out, that made me register that same feeling. That fit.

It isn’t the desire for fitness alone, though. There is also the desire for people. For family, and for friends. There is the urge to be out in public spaces — parks, cafes, bookstores, restaurants — anywhere but sitting at home all day long, basically, or avoiding public spaces for fear of bumping into someone I knew and didn’t want to meet. There is the need to move freely, the ability to get around freely, on my own. For dependable public transport.

This morning, I felt gratitude for how much all of this is so easily being fulfilled in my life right now. Access to space, all kinds of it, the means to get to places, to people, and to the in-betweens of it all.

***

Last week was chock-full with so many quintessentially Bangalore highlights, it really affirmed how much (and why) I am enjoying being where I am — in this monstrous city. To be walking distance from N and to be able to meet her once every week is a treasure. To hit the gym 6 out of 7 days. To be next door to amma and have so much time to spend there, doing nothing, or everything with them, cooking, chilling, working, lazing, whatever it may be.

There was brunch with A at Koshys one day with the option to amble into Blossoms bookstore, hanging out with S at Bharatiya Jalpaan another day and not feeling satisfied so prolonging our chatter over lemon chai after. On Friday Niyu and I took the parents for a pizza lunch all the way across town, and later that night I ended up (without prior planning) partying at a brewery surrounded by the sounds and smells of people way too young for my own good and bumping into the ex, and then a bookstore/cafe opening on the weekend where I got to listen to Mahesh Rao (who I have loved for so many years, and missed for so long now because, no social media) and Arshia Sattar talk about how they became readers and eventually writers, which was followed up by a chance almost-unplanned dinner with D at Koshys again, and Sunday brunch with S over too many Mango-Chilli Caprioskas and the allowance to indulge in berry pulao.

I know this sounds like an ode to Bangalore, maybe? But the thing that clicked into place in my head this morning was that this was never about choosing one city or another, it was yet another act of making space, and doing it in a place that allows me that luxury, in the way that I need it now.

There is space in my life right now. So much space, so much of it. And the freedom to meander and navigate it just as I please.

I was so done being cooped up in the way that my life in Goa had begun to feel. It is wonderful to now be out and about in more ways than one. I am so grateful for this time and all the things that have gone into bringing me here, all that it takes to keep me afloat and allows me the privilege to enjoy it.

One year ago: When the rainy days are dying
Three years ago: New tricks

All heart and all soul

Today, I stumbled on an email S sent me in January 2016. An email urging me to do many things that I didn’t know then would shake my very core, crumble the foundations of who I am an ask of me to rebuild from there. To drop all assumptions, compulsions, expectations of myself — to let it all go and see what remains. I didn’t know what any of this meant then, and I had no idea what to even do about it.

Some part unconsciously, some part by deliberate design, I set off on a path back then. One thing led to another and here I am. And it is only now, I would think as recently as early this year that I have just about found a somewhat deepened experience of what S had urged me to do in that email. What a long and fascinating trip it has been.

Of course I can only connect the dots backwards and so reading the email today, filled my heart with so much love and joy. For friendship that can shape my life. For friendship that has my back. For friendship that endures. For friendship that’s real and all heart.

It’s a good day for this simple reminder, which is also the crux of the email.

One year ago: With your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
Three years ago: What I watched

Tough love

Last week, in an unnecessarily heated conversation with VC, I realised I have so much work to still do in the gracefully receiving his (acts of)love freely and fearlessly.

The conversation had me being thoughtlessly sharp, defensive, and plain mean. It took many hours of conscious rethinking, going over the conversation again and again in my head to realise where I had slipped and why I had heard what I had heard even though the words VC had used were totally different. It took many days of processing too, before I realised how I had unconsciously projected the inner tussle caused by my inability to receive freely from him, on to him, very quickly (and unnecessarily) turning a gentle and love-filled conversation into a bitter one.

When I realised the full extent to which I had slipped and the consequences the conversation had had on him, I was of course filled with guilt, shame and regret. It’s been several days and even though we’ve had our truce and life has moved on, I still haven’t said the words I’m sorry.

This week, I realised I have so much work to still do in freely and fearlessly saying sorry and being accountable for every time that I behave like a child, or a jerk. Or sometimes both.

One year: A serious kind of something new
Three years ago: No words today

Meeting myself

It has taken me so long to really understand:

  1. And articulate to myself, what I have been after ever since I began my self-work
  2. My own process and how it can be no other way except the way my mind and heart can and will go
  3. How slow and expansive my process actually is and how much time and space I need to still learn to give myself
  4. The difference between being troubled by my thoughts and instead witnessing them from a place of compassion and acceptance
  5. That this is so much more about the process and the journey, than it is about the outcome

One year ago: Serendipity, do you believe that this makes sense?

Here you are

It may not always be apparent on the outside — the silent, slowly shifting way in which the soul moves. Every little expansion, stretching my skin, elongating my bones and making me porous and light, open and free. Only I know the work that it has taken and continues to take — the quiet, private work of meeting myself in a way that I have never known before. The energy it consumes and the emotions it brings to the surface. To make space for it all even as I hold it within is a process — almost dance-like — that I am only just getting familiar with.

It may not always immediately make sense. Especially to my rational, habituated mind that still slips back into old ways. And even more so, it may make absolutely no sense to the outside world.

The ask of this ever growing soul, constantly morphing, WIP being, is to stay tuned-in, as far as possible. To the voice that is emerging, growing from strength to strength, as well as the opposing voices also within me that are constantly trying to drown the other out. My job is to give both space so they may meet, converse, mingle and come to a new kind of settled alignment. To make space for this process, to slow down if I must, rather than fill myself with the next activity to numb, deny, ignore or avoid everything that is emerging at this time, or to rush ahead and lose sight of the subtleties that are gentle and small when they show up.

This is the slow and sometimes painful, also hopelessly lonely, grief inducing, and simultaneously exhilarating and invigorating process of being in-bloom.

This is where I am.

One year ago: I wrote a letter to my love
Three years ago: May

These days

I’ve only been back in Bangalore a week, but the settledness that comes with returning home makes it feel like it’s been a while. Longer. Only thoughts of my plants give me a pang for the wonderful summer I had this year, not so long ago. But for the most part, life here has resumed in full swing. The weather has turned here with thunderstorm-y nights and grey, overcast days. Summer feels long gone.

There is the new development of not having work at all, something that otherwise grounds my days, giving me tangible milestones to work towards. I’m also mostly still eating all meals at amma’s, because ammama is visiting, so my kitchen hasn’t found a burst of activity as it usually does when I return. The only thing I’m doing (and by doing I mean expending physical energy) with utmost dedication an enthusiasm, is hitting the gym every single day. As much as this is a luxury that I love and appreciate, it has meant my days are rather floaty, like an extended holiday of sorts. Except I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t a holiday, this is now life itself. A phase of life without work, a life with abundant help and generosity from my mother. It is here for the taking — with freewheeling days to do as I please — and I must step up and take it for what it is, without diminishing its (or my) value with my sometimes problematic notions of what is “okay” to receive, and what is an unnecessary indulgence.

This seriously still disorients me — the floaty days, and the internal tussle I go through before I can enjoy them — but the uncanny and deliberate way in which events aligned to land me in this place this time around feels like a fresh call to just stay with it for a change. Do not rush to fill it with busyness, Re.

Even though I am getting better at it, it still takes a lot of effort to put myself in the headspace to go with it and enjoy it, to believe I am not “slacking off” for not being “productive”, to quit equating my usefulness to professional work alone. There is a sense of urgency I feel in getting to work, that I haven’t had in a while. The comfort of a steady gig, a steady income had kept that at bay, I suppose. The emptiness left by it now has brought old demons I’d somewhat put to rest, back up again. I’ve done my share of overthinking it silently in my head. And I keep coming back to asking myself this — what is your rush? What are you in looking to fill, ignore, move your eyes away from? Are you looking for work to numb the discomfiting silence that comes from extreme stillness? What is so scary about emptiness that you are trying avert it so urgently?

While I figure this out, I’m casting the net out again. Feebly. I’ve been out of the game for so long that I feel inept and a bit at sea about where to begin. So I must remember to take it slow, telling myself as many times as it takes to remember, I didn’t get to this stage of funemployment overnight, that sheer providence has sent a steady flow of work my way even in phases when I wasn’t really looking for it, that I am probably not going to go back to a state of steady work overnight. This is the natural order of things now. That it is okay. That there are gifts in here, even in the sometimes uncomfortably empty days, in the laziness that forces itself on me, in the wealth of time that is opening up for me. Is work really the only thing I want to fill it with?

At this point, I don’t know.

One year ago: Life has a funny way of helping you out
Three years ago: Period story and writing lessons

Boundaries

I used to think boundary setting was hard — almost impossible — when I first realised what an unboundaried existence I had. This was when I mistakenly conflated avoidance and distance with boundaries. I’ve now learned that boundaries have nothing to do with avoidance, or distance even. Also, like with everything, a little consistency and practice has helped me get better at what I once thought was impossible. I have experienced what healthy boundaries can do in the closest relationships in my life. And like everything else, getting to one level of progress invariably opens up the road ahead, and gives me a view on how much more there is to be done. Allied aspects of setting boundaries have revealed themselves, my understanding of it has deepened. For example, I have realised how much I still would like to control outcomes. How badly I sometimes want “good” endings. How much I wish and try to mould them. How high my need to be seen as “good” is. All this, even as I am firm about boundaries.

The hard part has been realising that setting healthy boundaries comes with the added practice in learning to let go of the outcomes. And that includes being okay with imperfect, abrupt endings. Being okay with people not liking the boundary. Being okay with me not being liked for setting it. I’ve seen this to be especially true during phases when I’ve experienced rapid, constant, visible change. There have invariably been people who have been jarred by it, some people who suddenly no longer fit, some people with whom I feel the need for new boundaries, some with whom I have want to change up the boundaries. All of this is not going to uniformly go down well across the board, with everyone alike.

I’m learning that part of being better with healthy boundaries is to also get better at letting go of the need to please, and to that extent control the way the other feels about my boundaries. To be accountable only for my actions and emotions, and leave the outcome, the responsibility of the reactions and responses to the other. And I’m trying to be unhurried about learning this.

One year ago: The week ends, the week begins
Two years ago: Changing seasons
Three years ago: Skies that lie

We back

Today, I was so happy to see I’m almost exactly at the same running pace I was at when I left two months ago. Finished an easy 4.8kms in 35 minutes today, and really felt a world of improvement in my strength and conditioning lifting weights today, compared to two months ago. Was so good to feel my legs work better than they did then. That I haven’t shaved off too much stamina and endurance even though I’ve only been working out at home while I was away gave me a real kick. In fact, if anything I’m doing better, because I finished today’s run with ease and zero cramps or huffing and puffing. I think all the clean eating and the consistent HIIT focus has helped fast twitch muscles considerably. I’ll go the distance and get there in time, my goal for now is to finish 5k in sub-30 minutes.

There’s quite nothing like tracking progress of this sort, when I’ve had a break and returned to an old activity, expecting to be a little rusty but I find the difference is pleasant, and so visible.

I’ve missed the gym so much. I’ve missed the treadmill, the weights, my new sneakers that I left behind in favour of an old worn-in pair to take to Goa. I’m so ready to begin lifting heavy again, because that’s what’s calling out to me now.

One year ago: Days when I couldn’t live my life without you
Three years ago: Waiting (the film)

Small sadness and everyday grief

I woke up to terrible news today. My maid, who I had e trusted with a rather simple task of watering my plants for just four days till VC was back, had failed spectacularly at the task. I couldn’t have made the job easier even if I tried, seeing as how I’d already moved everything into the shade, separating the plants that need daily watering from those that do better with less. And yet she couldn’t have done a better job of killing them even if she’d tried.

VC showed me the damage on a video call as he tried to salvage what he could, watering everything in a hurry. And as I watched the extent of damage a surge of grief rose within me and made its way out in a heaving big cry. Loud wails and big tears, snot and all, that was the start to my day.

They’re just plants, I know. But for some reason this morning seeing what had become of them just days after I’d left felt too much to take. I felt disappointed at my maids lack of care, and I felt guilty for having left them to her to begin with. I felt it all and I felt very, very sad. The irreversible finality of death, hitting me harder than it maybe should have? I don’t know. Because I’m also not sure if I was just crying about the plants, because I know the whole act of gardening and the attachment I’ve felt to this little garden I grew from a handful of pots has been something more, to begin with.

I went about my day after, but every now and then the feeling of sadness has been welling up in me. In empty moments, especially on a lonely cab ride into town, when the mind is empty and traverses so much, I teared up again.

I talk so much of everyday grief, and yet every single time I experience it, it feels fresh and new. I wonder how much if this is actually pent up grief from elsewhere and from another time perhaps many other times from long, long ago that I happened to tap into in an instant today. Small deaths, little defeats, insignificant hiccups all rushing out to find a way out to be seen and heard.

Anyhow, hitting a favourite happy spot this evening for a coffee and some conversation. But lingering at the back of my mind is surprise at the sudden outpouring of tears and sadness, and utter perplexity at where it may have come from.

One year ago: It don’t look like I’ll ever stop my wandering
Three years ago: Ten

Onwards and upwards

Clambering back to regular programming today after four rather unnecessarily hectic days. This tends to happen when VC visits because his folks and family like to behave like he’s returned from Timbuktoo (and not just the next state). So our days get filled with obligatory meals out, hanging out with various parts of his family and with a short break at hand, consumes all of the days.

Perhaps it was the sharp contrast to all the quiet downtime we have had, but I’ve been spent from all the social activity, and I felt a real lack time to ourselves. Suddenly, I realised that this is my city now, and it would be nice to spend some time with VC here on my turf, which is quite different from life in Goa. Of course I mustn’t complain because I’ve just returned from an extended stay together. Or so my guilty conscience made me feel for even thinking this. But it did make me wonder about possible future trips that he might make, and how much it is my tendency to brush my desires aside in favour of what’s “right”. Even after ten years being married, it is still the default to step back and make space for his family to take over. To shrink my needs and desires, make myself take up less space, be less demanding. And to do all of this much more than I am genuinely willing, comfortable or happy to do.

This realisation hit me quietly, this past weekend. Like a gentle nudge in the right place at the right time. One of the side-effects of developing a new sense of self is growing clarity about what I want and an awareness about how much I tend to put myself aside for “the other”. Conversely, how much I am no longer willing to put myself aside has become very apparent.

Given that the last two months have been all kinds of favourable for a growing sense of self, some significant milestones and a very cohesive coming together of some threads in this story, it has given me a very real experience of the impact that healthy individuality that can have on us as a couple, in our marriage. So naturally, I experienced the very regular set of events that occur when VC comes home, in a whole new way. It was like seeing the same things but with very new eyes.

This is not to be mistaken to mean that I have been a docile, submissive daughter in law, or that I have quietly taken all things meted out to me. But even so, I am suddenly aware of how my default tendency has always been to push so many little desires to the back burner, to put myself behind to allow space for other agendas. In the name of being adjusting or sometimes to be the bigger person or sometimes just to save myself the hassle of a conversation to explain myself. This past weekend I could trace this pattern from the smallest insignificant things to some larger things that could in fact impact our relationship, and it worried me.

The thing about indulging in discovering myself, is that it sometimes brings me to unexplored territory and it sometimes presents an invitation to re-visit the old and to meet it in a healthy way, from a place of wholeness that I now inhabit. I feel this way about our marriage too. It feels like a second opportunity to do-over everything again, with a deliberate and purposeful focus on the sense of self I have now. That we have now.

I am not the same person I have been for the last decade of being married. VC isn’t either. And the more things change, the more I feel compelled to rework templates, fixed habits and patterns and ways of doing things. To evolve in a direction that makes sense for who we are now.

In just the last four days alone, all of this has brought up a lot of thoughts about belonging, love, commitment and values. I feel a palpable shift for VC and me, new roads opening, and multiple new ways in which we can steer our relationship up for the taking. At the moment, aside from the basic foundation of commitment, love and understanding, I’m really beginning to feel we can go any where from here. The options and avenues are unknown and aplenty. There is quite nothing like slow and steady, one step at a time, one day at a time — leaving a lot to providence and fate, but just as much to deliberation and mindfulness. This is a process that was at one time my worst nightmare, but is somehow today a thrill and excitement.

One year ago: I’ll take a quiet life

Bangalore showers

Speaking of rain, I got a good dose of the quintessential Bangalore torrential rain two nights a row. Completely washing our Saturday night drink plan out, and causing us massive detours and delays while getting back home because of uprooted trees everywhere.

Last night was no less and the storm taking down several trees including this massive one on my street along with four electric poles that knocked out the power for 20 hours.

So today was a hot, uncomfortable, achy from period day spent listlessly. I was conserving battery on all my gadgets and felt like my brain was steaming up so couldn’t get myself to write.

We’ve taken ourselves out for a quick dinner before VC leaves for Goa tomorrow. I’m nursing a tall pink sugary drink — my last indulgence in the last four days of constant indulgence — and feeling mildly better.

Tomorrow will be a new day.

One year ago: For you will still be here, but your dreams may not
Three years ago: Odd days like today