Change needs a chance

More space to invite peace, has meant more space to access hope, for me. And in that hope, I have realised it means giving change a chance. It means sitting with the uncertainty of it. The distress of it. Again, without judgement or intention about how to move through it. A process that isn’t always smooth sailing and pretty.

This message comes to me time and time again, in different aspects of my life, through different situations and also in varying measures of intensity and urgency. And lately, it has come so often, I know I cannot ignore it anymore.

People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.

I found these words by Rebecca Solnit (from Hope in the Dark) that hit the spot, felt especially right for this time and they have given me fresh energy to dig my heels in and commit to doing the work anyway. My work, starting with me. Because aren’t we a collective of individuals anyway?

I’ve been thinking about the nature of hope a lot these days. What it feels like. What shapes it takes, what ideas come to kind, how my body feels and responds when I’m feeling hopeful. And it has been surprising to journal this. Invariably this train of thought takes me to the ingredients of hope. And change. And what it might take to get there — to these ideas of a changed world.

In swirling thoughts about all of this, I feel more and more close to being in agreement with the inherently broken, flawed, imperfectly perfect humanness of us as a species. I see more and more with gentle eyes, why we behave the way we do, why we are the people we are and why our beliefs make us do the things we do. I see a traumatised human being in Narendra Modi. I see incredible unprocessed pain in bigotry and potential for healing and integration in those hanging on to and peddling hate (on both sides of the spectrum).

Suddenly, I have noticed that the raging anger that came in waves has turned to exasperated and confounded laughter. I cannot excuse the impossible levels of injustice, and I am in no way justifying them, but I find my reactions changing. Softer, not in power, but in the gaze with which I view it.

This is a very unsettling place to be. Because it almost makes me sympathise with all that I have held as the “enemy” for so long now. I almost don’t want to allow it. I don’t want to allow myself the softening because of what it has meant to my old brain to hold on to polarities. But I see now that some part of that holding on also means not allowing new possibilities. And that is no longer an option for me. I have got to give change a chance. Beginning with me.

In seeing the connection between peace and hope in myself, I also realise that if the hope for peace in the world at large is the goal, everything about the way in which we remain in our polarities has to change. Everything about the way I remain in my polarities has to change.

One year ago: Breaking the silence
Two years ago: Follow me down to the valley below

Out and about (not)

Things are fiiiine. I’m safe. I’m indoors. I’m healthy. I feel well. The fridge is full. The kitchen, stocked. I’m in fine company, not alone. My balcony views are pretty stunning, startlingly often. And yet, A pretty large part of me just deeply, deeply needs a good loaf about town. Or outside of town.

Let it be known.

One year ago: Grey
Four years ago: On Solitude

There is no better place

Peace, in the last couple of weeks, has come fleetingly. But when it did, it came with a giant embrace that totally engulfed me. I noticed that when it came, it was always on days or phases when I allowed myself to fully respond to all the ways in which I am being called to face change. When I put my mind aside, and responded through body and heart, moving with it to the full extent that seemed necessary. Doing what felt important spontaneously, without intention, little judgement (I try!) and as little planning as I could possibly manage. This is the manageable, internal part. But there is also the external component. And so that all-consuming peace that comes with a hum of happiness has also come from accepting with grace — I am only just learning I have this within me — that the world around me has changed. Irrevocably so. And that it will continue to change.

It takes constant reminding myself in as many different ways as possible: There is no “better” place. Just this, here, now. Hang on to nothing. Stay curious about most things. Be open to everything.

Much easier said than done. And certainly something that needs continual chipping away and internalising, through examining my resistance to it and enjoying the effects of what happens when I drop that resistance for a wee bit. None of this is easy. But what I know for certain now is that it is totally possible.

Four years ago: Chettinadu vignettes

Monday Tarot Message: Examine your illusions

I love when this happens — when a super apt card shows up at just the right time. It feels extra relevant and potent somehow. Like this card, today.

An important one to have picked right after the full moon of the weekend, which featured an important lunar eclipse and coincided with the occasion of Guru Purnima — a day to revere enablers of truth, within and around us.

The Moon speaks of illusions we hold in our waking life. Like fear, shame and guilt — that make us project versions of ourselves, in the attempt to keep the true, most authentic versions of ourselves at bay. These projections help us fight the need to delve deep into the inner truths of our subconscious (depicted by the rippled pool of water), which is the only place to know who we really are. For example, a projection of strength, maybe hiding the fear or shame of facing the tenderness and fragility of human nature. A projection of uncompromising resilience maybe hiding the need to accept a vulnerability that would probably help us from staying out of harmful situations, than walking into them over and over, in the name of resilience.

Owning who we really are involves facing up to these illusions we hold. It requires confronting a truth that we may have avoided for long because it is either too scary or difficult or painful or shameful to face alone. This is where the role of a fellow truth seeker/speaker becomes crucial. For a seeker groping the dark, the path is illuminated by a Guru.

Traditional connotations of the term may bring to mind a picture difficult for many of us to connect with, so perhaps it will help to deconstruct the term to suit your reality and experience. Think of a Guru as anyone who enables this journey for you. Anyone who stands by your side shining a light sometimes, leading by examples sometimes, cheering you on and holding your hand when the going gets tough. This could very well be a spiritual or religious leader, as is often the case. But it could also be a mentor, a fiercely honest friend or relative, a teacher, a fellow truth seeker, a therapist even.

With the help of a Guru, you can introspect on and examine your illusions and dismantle them. So you can get to the truth that lies just beyond the facade. What do your illusions hold? What are they keeping you from seeing? What truth are they helping you fight, keeping you fragmented and disconnected from yourself?

A projection is usually hiding something very innately human. In our quest for perfection for example, we’re usually fighting embracing the very real messy, unkempt and imperfect side of ourselves. And in the bargain we’re fighting our very humanness.

Beyond the illusion is usually exactly what we need to see, acknowledge, and embrace.

Interestingly, the full moon that just passed marked Guru Purnima — a day on the Indian calendar dedicated to celebrating our Gurus and enablers of truth. And this year, Jupiter — the planet of wisdom and truth, also called Guru — is in retrograde, heralding a time of a quiet, introspective, inward-turned gaze.

Take a moment to think of the truth speakers/seekers in your life. All those who allow you to be true to yourself, who hold space for your truth, who enable you on the journey to knowing your true self. And with grace and gratitude, give thanks today.

Two years ago: Did you fall from a shooting star?
Four years ago: More work thoughts

Life goes easy on me

There are currently fewer things that really, and I mean reallllly, hit the spot for me than

  • a day with no plans
  • cooking an utterly barebones meal
  • and sticking my hands in mud first thing in the morning

Today, I hit the jackpot, because even without intending or planning to, I waltzed through all three things, spontaneously today.

It certainly helps that it is a gorgeous morning here, with dappled light, a steady drizzle, with the promise of more rain. So gorgeous that it inspired me to indulge in that rare occurrence –breakfast. And chai on top of it.

And then I began sorting through my plants. Repotting some stuff, putting some babies that I’d propagated too long ago into soil, cutting and pruning some, and snipping off a large bunch of new babies, and making a giant mess in the bargain. I didn’t realise it, but three hours just passed by this way.

Thankful for the gifts my little balcony keeps giving. Literal and metaphorical today, because I was moved to tears seeing the root growth on a wee spider baby plant that I have ignored for longer than I intended to.

I’ve been easily moved and emotional lately. But the comfort with the emotions welling over isn’t always uniform. Sometimes there is extreme ease, and sometimes I feel taken by surprise and quickly begin to analyze where it may be coming from. Invariably, I conclude that it doesn’t matter. What matters is to feel it out, one way or another. I know that writing is one way for me to feel, but I have been trying to choose less fixed, cognitive, obvious and “presentable” ways to feel in recent times. Watercolours, watching the rain, gardening, sitting in silence. And I wonder if this has made it easier still, for the emotions to flow, without reason. Filterless and free.

Life goes easy on me today.

One year ago: Pause
Two years ago: You’ll be a good listener, you’ll be honest, you’ll be brave
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: light and life
Four years ago: June

Friday feels

Can’t get over, or enough of, the brilliant weather we’ve had this past week. Consistently moody skies, pleasantly refreshing drizzles in the day and nourishing downpours by evening.

I’ve taken it easy this week thanks to getting my period, but also the fact that it occurred happily right when the weather got so good. I’ve wanted to do nothing but stay in, so I took the readymade excuse that was offered up on a platter.

I had a mini catch-up session for my course, mid-week, but my mind was entirely elsewhere this time around. Amongst the rain laden clouds. The glistening wet streets. The cool air, beyond. In thoughts of picnicking somewhere outside Bangalore. With being in the hills elsewhere. Amongst this random dream of a cottage with a farm where I’m growing my own veggies.

That’s the only spot of work I managed to get myself to do. Readings have been going on, and they don’t tax me or demand a lot out of me at the pace at which I’m operating currently. So it doesn’t even classify as work. There are a few plans or side projects I have that I could get going with — logically this is the right time — but I haven’t been able. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait like this for the right moment but it feels like the only thing I can do right now. I can seem to only push myself this much. Going against the grain and pushing through in the name of “getting shit done” just because an empty spot of time opened up is not only hard, it feels impossible now.

Today after cleaning chores, though, I shuffled things around at home. In anticipation of our new living room furniture that’s arriving soon. We decided to break the rule and not get a set, or a couch, but two single armchairs instead, in the hope that it opens up our cozy, tiny living room up. I bathed my plants and moved them around. I took the babies that have been inside outside, and brought some new babies inside.

The whole time it drizzled. And I cleaned while listening to Continuum, which threw it all the way back to to yonks ago, to a time in the years when I had just started to drive in Bangalore. When listening to my best music, driving around in the rain, with no plan or agenda, was a legit thing to do. Most times, I didn’t even need company.

This whole album is GOLD. And perfect for the rain. And is loaded with all the feels. It was a serious trip today that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I can’t believe another week has just whizzed by. I feel like I’ve been horizontal for the most part. I can’t complain, but I am just in shock at the pace at which time seems to be moving, even with deliberately doing so little. And just like that another weekend rolls along. The days are certainly blurring, weekday/weekend, nothing seems to matter anymore and I’m just floating through the continuum.

One year ago: Stay in
Two years ago: June

Nesting

It’s been gloomy all day. Spend the day under a blanket kind of weather. And that’s just what I did. Getting out only briefly to help VC make lunch. He made us steaks with a creamy wine and mushroom sauce today, with sauteed garlicky beans on the side.

I’m happy for days like this, somehow. And I said to VC, how different this whole time might have been if he or I or both of us had full time jobs that took us outside.id have definitely missed this opportunity for nesting in the way that we have.

Something about the luxury of that has meant cocooning some more. And it has been very good for us.

One year ago: Reflections
Two years ago: I wouldn’t change a single thing

Peace, within and without

First thing in the morning is my most preferred time of day for exercise. In a perfect world, my energy and willingness would be right up there with that intention. But that isn’t always the case. And it is only very recently that I have come into agreement with this fact, without feeling like I am somehow useless for not always meeting that standard.

I don’t know if it is just an outcome of ageing that I am me seeing how my “morning person” energy is shifting, as it does, mostly towards a natural slowing down, or if this has always been true and I am only just getting more comfortable with my inherent patterns of energy.

I am also at my most energetic, nimble and supple in the few days right after my period, while at my least energetic and not desiring movement in the days right before my period.

Today was that kind of day. Slow, blobby, body not entirely willing even though head and heart were. So even though I woke up early and had a perfect window to workout, I found myself moving in a very measured way, doing everything else except getting ready to exercise.

I nearly cancelled out the workout entirely, even. But pushed myself just a wee bit. Because I have rarely never regretted a workout once I have finished, no matter what the circumstances before I began.

This is also a part of rolling with the punches — the willingness and ease with breaking the plan, with doing something rather than nothing at all, going as far as is possible than not going at all, not being exacting and demanding with my expectations of myself.

Picked a short, quick, high-impact workout today. There is quite nothing like that burst of energy, even for a body that not so long ago felt unwilling to move. Invariably, it takes all of 5-7 minutes for me to feel like I can move. And so I am glad I pushed through with whatever I had to give and however I was able to show up today. Because by the end of it, I felt bliss.

Bliss is just the word for it. Have you ever felt bliss within your body? Like the sun shining out from within you? I felt that way this morning, despite that feet-dragging start. And so I felt instinctively drawn to step outside, to the little sliver of sunshine I get and feeling one with the world around me.

It has to be said that even with the ups and downs in my emotions, in context to what’s been going on around me and the world at large, I feel very much at one with myself lately. A sense of togetherness within me. Peace inside of me. Quite anchored and not wanting to uproot anything — a sense of everything being in it’s place.

Earlier, when this contentment showed up, it would come with a desperate need to hold on to it. To bottle it. To keep it for a rainy day. I notice now that there is a new ease with just witnessing, experiencing it in the now, now. And letting it go. And welcoming all experiences and everything that they bring, alike.

This is so new, and I suspect a major reason for the peace, even in the face of feeling low sometimes, quite a bit of grief sometimes, physical distress from being restricted too.

I want to acknowledge this experience I’m having, of seeing and knowing emotions, without being hijacked by them, getting swept away or losing my footing when in their effect. Is this possibly a brush with inner peace?

***

Today, this also made me really happy.

***

Looking back at posts from July one year ago, and again balking at what a different place I was in, in my head and in my life. It seems too distant to even process, like reading the words of an entirely different person.

This year, with the coming of the monsoon, that expected and predictable yearning to be in Goa is all but missing. A fascinating development. I mean, I would love to be there in the monsoon, but every year since I have moved away, this time of year used to bring an aching longing and FOMO, which hasn’t come this year.

One year ago: The rain
Three years ago: I need to sit with the quiet, I know that much
Four years ago: The rain, the rain

How much?

Ouuff, so much has happened in the span of just a week, and the weekend.

Over the weekend, VC and I realised it’s officially been over 100 days since we have been indoors. Granted, we’ve been venturing out some in the last month, it’s been nowhere close to “normal” or the way that the world outside has bounced back. We’ve still been limiting our outings and getting more stuff done per outing, to avoid repeatedly stepping out.

Over the last week though, we’d finally started getting out a bit, and entertained the idea of having service staff home, to tend to some long pending tasks that we have been putting off since March. Pest control. Some carpentry. A new couch. Running shoes. Pots for my balcony garden (that is mildly out of control right now).

But, over the weekend, our building had one positive case. And since we’re a small building of just 12 homes, a majority of which have senior citizens, the building voluntarily limited movement for a bit once again.

And so we were back to being in. More in than we have been actually because we had to isolate, until the BBMP came over and sanitized the building twice over. It was just a little over two days, but gosh, the gloom that descended over VC and me was quite something. On the surface we have gotten through this entire period of isolation quite okay. Riding the highs and lows because we’ve had each other, and my sister. Over the weekend the pall of gloom was a bit much to take. I’m certainly hitting my saturation point with staying indoors and self-isolating.

The desire isn’t so much about going out to do things like eat or hit a mall, but I’ve been feeling a sense of shrinking that isn’t sitting well, and is getting hard to keep under wraps. My body feels restricted and in need of expansion. The experience is of being stuck, while internally I am feeling such a deep urge for movement. And it’s beginning to test my patience, this holding both states and waiting and watching. A major part of me wants to get going. Sigh.

The darned virus is now literally at our doorsteps. While the world is opening up, and my desire to be out there is rising. The irony of it.

How much more?

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: love and abundance
Four years ago: Watercolour eyes

Monday Tarot Message: Reimagining love

The Ace of Cups typically speaks of romantic love. But lately, I’ve been drawn to examine love outside this stereotypical association alone.

Love, like all emotions, is like water. It will find a way to flow. It can either refresh and give life, if tended to nurturance; or it can flood and destroy, if suppressed and withheld.

This is an invitation to revisit love in a time when building walls around our hearts and saving up our love only for people exactly in the same camp as us, is the norm.

Growing a positive and nurturing attitude towards love begins within each one of us. With noticing what makes us clam shut and close our hearts up. Why we give up connection and empathy so easily, even when we’re neurologically hardwired to connect and belong. And to examine the deeply held prejudices that block love from flowing. Conversely, what makes us open up and express love to those with whom we have a sense of sameness and commonality.

Can we learn to let love flow freely again, as the necessary component of structural compassion and empathy our communities so desperately need right now? How else can we reorganise our world to move past the growing divisions that split and keeps us apart?

What role does love then play, in a world constantly being served up hate, differences and distinct polarities? How can we reorganise the notions, practice and expressions of love so it allows for:

  • examination of our deeply held prejudices that block love from flowing freely
  • compassion for the varied experiences of the other, completely different from the ones we know.
  • justice for those wronged by an inequitable system.
  • empathy for circumstances our privilege will never allow us to touch
    closer-knit, self-contained communities.
  • courage for a less fear-driven way of connecting with each other.
  • a broader sense of wanting a better, equitable and ecological world beyond our little cubbyholes.
  • the ability to making space for all expressions and kinds of love across the spectrum.

Just questions today. No ready-made, neatly summed up answers. Because some answers don’t come easy and sometimes we’d do well to sit with the discomfort of *not* knowing, with confronting the messy work of pulling existing structures apart, not having quick answers, immediate opinions and perfect fixes. Then, maybe we can begin to rebuild.

One year ago: Stillness
Two years ago: I choose to be happy
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: revisiting old haunts
Four years ago: Holiday vibes

Saturday morning done right

When it’s raining outside.

…and err, inside also.

Four months of very, very regular working out, right after a whole year of running more than I have in many, many years means I now need new training shoes. This is the quickest I am having to replace a pair of sneakers.

One year ago: Decompress
Two years ago: Did we fly to the moon too soon?
Three years ago: Back to base. Almost.

Something like life

At least a couple times a week, I have a moment of astonishment and awe at what a crazy, crazy time we’re living through. And I don’t mean just the existence of the virus. Today was a day it happened again.

On the one hand while I may have gotten used to a new routine and a new life, I don’t think this will ever feel normal. Or like a new normal — hate that term so much. I don’t know what’s normal anymore actually. I just know that a couple of times a week, when I pause and stop everything  am doing, the utter batshit ridiculousness of the entire sum total of our lives at this point in time hits me. And it doesn’t feel like I am anywhere close to okay with it. It still brings up distress, and a sharp need to quickly flip a switch to return to some past time and place.

***

Went out today. Far, far out into, by current standards. Felt deliriously happy. Like I wanted to stick my head out of the car, wind in my non existent hair, tongue dangling off of my gobsmacked face, like an ecstatic puppy. (I didn’t because, corona.)

But my GOD. The blueeeee skies. The light shower on our way back. The empty-ish roads. The ease and willingness to go all the way to…ahem… Electronic City for what turned out to be a three minute affair. I HAVE MISSED BEING OUT SO MUCH. It did annoy me a little that this felt like a tease because it’s not like really being out and about as yet. I’m scared to go all out. This was just a tantalising, long  car ride, with the world splayed out in front of me, beckoning. AND I CANNOT GO.

On the way back, we drove past Koshy’s WHICH IS NOW OPEN — *weeeep*. But I cannot go. So I glanced lustfully while we pulled along, and spontaneously decided to make a quick stop to pick up mince puffs and egg puffs from the bakery instead. I made it back home right in time for teatime, with the perfect accompaniments in hand. Chai time is becoming a serious production, I tell you.

Yeah, new normal, abnormal, hyper normal, whatever you want to call it, I’m certainly missing some specific parts of what my life used to be. And it really pains me to think about how I have to still wait some more, and that much of it is so irrevocably changed.

One year ago: The powerlessness of love
Two years ago: It’s just the thing that seasons do

Rolling with the punches

Woke up at 5.50 am this morning. By woke up, I mean first opened my eyes. I texted the relief work group, forwarded some important updates too, and then dozed off back to sleep. Then, I actually woke up, eyes wide, not-going-back-to-sleep at 7.30. I planned to get out of bed, get going, work out in the morning today. I like doing mornings that start early, because I can work out before the rest of the day gets ahead of me.

So, that was the plan. VC left for a meeting far, far away at about 8.30 am today. At close to 10 am I sent him this picture, with the words: Still here.

Today, I moved very little. And slowly. It’s fine.

My idea of productivity, and planning, is slowly but surely being tested and dismantled in the minutest way, on a daily basis, these days. I am loving it.

Today was a good, do-little day. I am getting better at being okay with them, when they come. Even if unexpectedly, throwing my plans completely out of whack.

I notice this because even just six months ago a day like this would have been classified a bad day. Now, they’re just different kinds of days. Days that I need to approach differently. Let loose my plans, let go my intentions.

I’m noticing the words I use to describe my days, and all that it tells me about how I really feel. The words are loaded sometimes, and if I look beneath the surface, they tell a story of what I actually mean when I use them. Sometimes when I say I had a “full” day, I don’t just mean that it was chockfull with activity. I also derive a certain sense of usefullness and worth from that fullness.

Today was that kind of day. And it came on the heels of a full-on full day. Yesterday, I spun around like a top, quite unintentionally. I didn’t have a moment to spare. It wasn’t planned that way, it just spontaneously ballooned into that kind of situation. But it made me notice the different in how I see a full day now. It doesn’t fill me up in quite the same way that it used to. I don’t even look to it like that anymore. When I couldn’t wait to get into bed to wind down and chill for a bit after, it hit me. I have slowed down, a lottttttt. A lot more than I planned to hahahaha.

What yesterday looked like:

  1. Woke up
  2. Morning chores about the kitchen
  3. Put a load of laundry on
  4. Shopped for veggies
  5. Cleaned out the fridge and veggie tray
  6. Swept, mopped and dusted the whole house because it was jhadoo-poccha day
  7. Cooked a very basic lunch
  8. Dried out the laundry
  9. Ate lunch
  10. Went out with VC for what was meant to be a very quick jaunt to see A couch, it turned into a three hour venture (spent mostly driving around because there’s still not as much traffic out, and we took the opportunity to finish seeing all our options rather than step out again and again)
  11. Came home in time for tea, made some tea and sat down for the first time all day to enjoy it in peace
  12. Marinated some meat for dinner and did some other preps
  13. Cooked dinner with VC and was looking to Dunzo some food to a friend, to no avail
  14. Made the quick decision to drive over myself. Thankfully it’s not too far from home
  15. Came home just in time to make some rice. Niyu was making the salad as I walked in, bless her
  16. Ate dinner and finally got to relax

Finally, when I had the opportunity to get into bed, like I so wanted, it began to pour. So I felt tempted to stay up a bit. I have grown to love my home and my solitude in the post-10 pm glow of my living room. VC turns in early most nights these days. I get to be by myself, in silence. So yesterday, I sat up and painted/journaled for a bit.

It was that kind of full day. And today was so different. Of course I also realise so often that I am blessed to have a life that allows me this. I mean, imagine cancelling and giving in to a slow day if I had a child? Or a pet? Or a day job? I am so grateful for the life that I have cultivated such that I can allow myself this, without feeling entirely useless.

I’m enjoying the varying and growing sense of ease in rolling with the punches that is my mental and physical energy see-saw. This is probably normal. We’ve just been conditioned not to look at it this way. Even now, there will be a day when all of this chilling will catch up with me and amount to a body slam to my self-worth, when I’ll deem myself useless and unproductive and wasted. When my life seem pointless. But that too is conditioning that I am trying to slowly dismantle and rework. It is crazy that I do not look at full days like the one enumerated above, and feel like I haven’t been productive. Isn’t it crazy?

One year ago: Warm
Two years ago: Take a minute, I’ve been sitting here and wondering
Three years ago: What coming home feels like: seeking solitude

Things worth remembering (part 2)

There’s more where this came from.

Rainy Bangalore evenings. Still not nearly as many as I’d have liked, with nearly not heavy enough rain for my preference. But it’ll do. I’ll take it. Even prefaced with sultry pre-rain mornings, tantalisingly grey afternoons finally turning to pregnant dark skies that only break in the evening. So, so, so Bangalore. So much love. Of course all this overflowing love is because there’s no chance of getting stuck in post-rain traffuck situations. So much nicer to enjoy this from the safety of my home where it seems I’m going to be for the rest of the year.

If there’s anything that tops a perfectly rainy day, it’s a tea-time production complete with snacks. I have become quite the tea-time glutton through this lockdown. I cannot seem to have my evening chai, the only cup I consume on any given day, without a snack of some kind. VC has been watching me with amusement and adoration, turning to mild worry these days hahahahaha.

The three of us are up to no good. Something is brewing and it has made us make a record number of calls late into the night because we’re managing time-zones across two continents. So long after my neighbourhood (and husband) has gone to sleep, I sneak out of bed and get on the phone. In no time at all, I’m giggling. No matter what we talk about, I find myself in splits.

The day before therapy last week, I gave myself a session of therapy by mindfully making myself this stack of egg (omelette), ham and cheese sandwiches, grilled to a perfect gold, under the careful guidance of D, who also very, very kindly provided the ham. The best ham the city has, I think. Sometimes this is what self-care looks like.

Sat down one rainy afternoon for a little session of sound painting. My sister is doing these Ways of Seeing sessions, and they’re such a great way to sneak in an hour of quiet, self-involved, downtime while playing with colour — whatever you’ve got handy. Open to people of all ages — young and old. No prior experience or skills needed. I would so totally recommend this if you’re inclined to just spend some time with yourself, exploring, expressing. Quietly, without anyone having to judge, see or understand what you’re doing.

One year ago: Simple
Four years ago: Begin

Things worth remembering (part 1)

The last two weeks were an emotional landslide, to say the least. I constantly felt the undertow tugging at me, dragging me down and asking me to slip and slide and go under. I was torn between giving in to it and letting to, or flapping my arms around to stay afloat. I did bits of both — neither with very much success.

At some point last week, things began to turn ever so slowly. Then the weekend came and I noticed an observable, significant shift. Yesterday, I felt anew again. I’m getting better at witnessing the natural (and maybe necessary?) ebbs and flow in my emotional energy. I also see how, often, the movement is aligned with either the moon, or some planetary movement that’s on the cards. I just notice, there’s nothing to be done. But it helps be lighter and easier when the shifts and slips and slides come, as they do. And it helps mark the moments when things aren’t spiralling and feeling well isn’t so entirely out of my grasp. Moments when I can breathe deeply and fill myself with life-giving air. When I can smile softly, subtly. When I can stretch myself and take up space fiercely. When I can enjoy life’s little gifts, however minute. I like remembering those moments.

Cooking and allied kitchen/domestic activities have taken me through the last three months of uncertainty. Giving me that window of groundedness and familiarity — predictability — in a time where things are anything but predictable. And after consistently leaning on this habit for over three months, my hectic schedules the last two weeks meant planning, shopping for, cooking and consuming wholesome meals was the first thing to fall to the side. This was the first proper meal I cooked after cleaning out my fridge last week. Mixed veggie stir fry in oyster sauce with broken red matta rice.

Been stalking these critters twice a day, everyday, for the last 10 days or so ever since I spotted them. Watching their every move ever since, as they are fast growing out of the gutter where they were birthed. Also exercising massive amounts of self-control to keep from giving in to my own achy heart that wants to take the dusty brown one in, and also VC’s incessant chatter about this spotting of puppies is the last in a string of “signs” that we should get one.

A surprise Sunday morning video call with the nugget/rosogulla/dumpling/firecracker of a new niece. It’s all kinds of surreal, yet somehow acceptable, that I have barely any smidgen of an ongoing relationship with so many of my cousins, but one of them has a baby this cute and suddenly I want to video call them?

The “new normal” featuring a live Kunal Kamra show via Zoom. It was more like hanging out in a room with a comedian and a bunch of random people, listening to the comedian talk about a realllllyyy random collection of things and being funny some times, and less like a live show I’d catch on stage. But it was interesting, and I stayed up later than usual for it, and I laughed a lot.

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: Bangalore sky porn
Four years ago: Kursi ki peti