Stop this train

It’s been one of those strangely full but quiet days. I got a lot more done than I’d anticipated, and yet not enough of all that needs to be done that’s been piling up while I was first in Goa, then moving back, then unpacking, then in pre-class prep, then in class, and now here I am raring to go but able to only make small steps.

I’m calling it a day, and I’ll try again tomorrow.

Three years ago: One number mini rant about Instagram

Keep going

I made it from home to town in just fifteen minutes today. This, after waking up late and feeling extremely slow to start, leaving later than usual and thinking I’m not going to make it to class in time.

Bangalore is such a dream on winter mornings like this. Bright and cool, full of life.

It was just one of those bright and sunny days, with no traffic and all green lights. I’ll take that as a sign for a massive go-ahead from the universe.

Three years ago: ‘ssupdates

Up

It took a yellow saree, that I’ve been dying to bring out of hibernation, and new juttis to get me to get up and going today. I’m suddenly feeling very spent and in need of some space and time away. Some distance to regurgitate and reorganise all the learning that I am feeling just so full and welled up from. And I am so looking forward to doing that in the coming month, once tomorrow is done.

That’s all.

One year ago: Oh god I feel like I’m in for it now

Pause

Today was rest day, before I go back tomorrow for the big exam. And I spent the day mostly chilling, because it’s been a rather intense couple of days with all the examination prep and practice that I’ve been doing. I woke up with what felt like a trauma or vulnerability hangover, with a dense head and knew at once that I needed to just decompress and conserve energy. And so I cancelled plans to get out and meet S. Instead, VC, Niyu and I went to NGMA to check out the Prabuddha Dasgupta show that’s happening there (It’s on for nearly a month more, and it’s quite excellently curated, in case you’re interested in that kind of thing, and you’re in Bangalore). And then we had a lazy cup of tea each, after which I lunched with Amma and Niyu. A longish nap, an evening spent drawing with Niyu, chatting with VC and her, and a masala dosa for dinner later, I’m in bed at 8 pm.

I’m not feeling quite ready for tomorrow, in terms of my energy levels. But a part of me also wants to get the next two days over with, so I can dive into my plan to get a break and some distance from this work in December. I feel the need to process, to regroup and re-compartmentalise and digest all these learnings within myself. I feel so full, and I feel the need for things to settle in me. For the learning to become muscle memory. So I can get more ease with working through my body than my head/mind.

It was a good day for a pause, but today I felt like it was just not enough and it makes me increasingly present to the fact that my internal pace has slowed down so very much.

That’s all.

One year ago: Discover some new truth that was always wrapped around you
Three years ago: Paint me like the sky

To be or not to be

It’s “exam” day and I’m going in reminding every cell in my body of how relaxed, freed of expectations and liberated from the need to perform, I have been feeling recently, so I can stay with that completely. This is the first time in my life that the expectation in such a situation isn’t to perform but to instead surrender to what is authentically me. Even as I enjoy blissful levels of comfort with this newfound ability to truly be, it is constantly testing me, throwing up strange demons old and new.

It’s especially hard when, like me and like each one of us, you’re a product of a capitalist, performance-oriented economy, and a society that wants nothing but to see only the best of you and none of the filth at all. Forcing you to filter it all out and only project only the “good”, well behaved, well put together parts of yourself out into the world.

I suppose this is the other side of seeing the light. To constantly face invitations to slip back into the dark, and choose time and time again to stay with my truth.

That said, I’m inexplicably excited about the “examination” today and that is truly a first.

One year ago: I’m feeling outshined

Spiritual seeking versus spiritual bypassing

I’ve been OD-ing on reading about healing trauma and the psychology of spiritual seeking all weekend. Partly as a last minute dash as I gear up for exam week starting today! and partly also for my own curiosity and intellectual stimulation.

So, some (half-baked, spontaneous, very, very prone-to-change) thoughts (that I am sure I’ll return to with V2, in the future).

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the deeper my relationship with myself gets, the more spiritual the journey has become. Because it recently occurred to me that this is not what I was aiming for when I set off. I didn’t set out seeking spirituality. But I was looking to understand the root of my constant dissatisfaction, restlessness and confusion. And today I realise they’re kind of the same thing.

I’ve also been wondering about why I didn’t make this discovery earlier, and why I didn’t just turn to the kind of spirituality I have been fed and have have grown up seeing for all my life. The truth is I have always remained somewhat unconvinced about it and of late it has become even less and less appealing to me. It always felt a bit lofty to the point of being unrealistic and unattainable for regular human beings with real, powerful emotions. I think I’m beginning to understand what my discomfort really was about. Because, today I watch the pontificating kind of spiritually inclined adults in my surroundings, fascinated, as I see them so rapt in a spiritual realm and yet so disconnected from themselves, their emotions and their surroundings. I didn’t understand it for many, many years until recently, I learned recently that there’s a term for this. Spiritual Bypassing. A term that was coined in the 1980s to refer to the human tendency to turn to spiritual (often mainstream religion) practices or teachings as a way to avoid looking at the festering pain and discomfort of unresolved trauma and incomplete psychological development. These conditions often manifest in life as stuckness, ill-health, disconnection, disinterest and dissatisfaction with life and serious mental health issues. And the I get now, why the idea that all of this can be somewhat placated with feel-good spiritual practices and teachings that are peddled as quick fixes, appeal like a wonderful short cut to avoid all that discomfort entirely.

Let me also clarify here that I have nothing against the kind of mainstream, religious brand of spirituality that I have grown up with. I believe in it as a legitimate means for seeking spiritual growth. But of late, I have been questioning the need to also examine closely the purpose of any path one may choose. Any path is a means to an end, whether you choose journaling, therapy, meditation, tai-chi, chant the Gayatri Mantra, Vipassana, any other yogic kriya, or combinations of these; but having a purpose, even if a vaguely defined end-point, in mind matters.

I see the need for this because it makes all the difference in whether one chooses a path that takes one closer to reality or away from it. If one sets off on a spiritual path to understand the truth, as most “religion” ostensibly claims to do, it sometimes means traversing difficult and very uncomfortable truths. But if the motivation is to escape those difficult truths, then it is quite futile.

Whatever be the practice one chooses towards spiritual seeking, the former approach leads one to develop a deeper relationship with emotional reality and oneself, while the latter will definitely lead one away from reality, causing further disconnection and confusion.

I see this a lot in spiritual seeking adults of the generation just before me and in my immediate environment, perhaps because I have started to observe the differences between them and us quite keenly of late, in trying to understand what I’m doing differently and why it feels so wholesome and good for me. Even while the tools and practices they’ve often offered promised the same results, but weren’t nearly as convincing. And the few I’ve tried felt alien to me.

I’m kind of baffled at how many of them who have cleaved to spiritual practices early on in life, and have continued to dedicatedly make all the right motions and actions, but currently face an array of debilitating difficulties ranging from disconnection with themselves, confusion and directionlessness, minor to serious physical and mental ill-health. They’re all the same people who I have heard speaking about concepts like finding flow, surrender, acceptance and the like. They’re the ones with the zen demeanour, happy faces and the serene outward beings, while just beneath the surface it’s quite a different story altogether. I have really begun to wonder how much this is spirituality and how much is spiritual bypassing. And how much of this is over-intellectualisation of what is otherwise just a very basic, human approach.

I’m fairly convinced now that wholesome spiritual growth that brings about fullness rather than fragmentation (which pretty much all of us battle at some point in our lives) is impossible without acknowledging and owning up to every aspect of one’s whole being. And that often includes the parts that are difficult to face. Parts that lie in the shadow. Parts that are shrouded in guilt, shame, fear. And this should be the role of any spiritual practice — whether yoga, meditation, therapy or an ayahuasca trip — to gently help us navigate these extremely scary spaces of our psyche. If a spiritual practice is taking one away from this, and promising a direct route to a zen state of mind, I’m not sure how sustainable it is, and how long it will last before the same old demons crop up again.

One year ago: Some we want to stay, but we can’t find peace while sitting

Alive, again

A big part of my journey into meeting myself fully, healing and integrating all parts of myself, has largely involved going back to parts of my childhood and revisiting events and times in my life that my conscious mind has no recollection of. Times that one usually files away in the long forgotten corner of the psyche, possibly because either there was something too frightening/painful/difficult about them to process as a child, or that they made us as children temporarily “adult”, in order to process quickly and “make it alright”.

Initially, every little discovery of even the slightest of pain or difficulty from my childhood, shocked me. The shock was almost always followed by a quick wave of denial, because 1) I genuinely don’t remember a lot of those times and 2) even when I have jogged my memory and accessed my unconscious, I have struggled to accept what has emerged because it has been difficult to acknowledge some of these memories as “painful” — my mind has a great way to paint happy all over a lot of small hurts to retain a larger picture that is “good”, presentable and most importantly, palatable. 

I’ve had to go back, really way back, and meet with my child self over and over and over again. To sit with her, as she was sometimes sad, sometimes lost, sometimes confused, sometimes hurt, sometimes trying to keep it together, sometimes trying to belong, sometimes trying to understand, and really believe that everything I did — both physically/outwardly and emotionally/inwardly — I did from the place of innocence and love as only a child can do. This process has been all kinds of disorienting and distressing, before things began to make sense.

I understand now, that the shock and denial I experienced when revisiting my childhood came from believing that to acknowledge the pain, to make space for it, would be like tainting the largely wonderful, happy and harmonious childhood that I have had the privilege of. Enough years of doing this work, though, has now made me realise that this defence mechanism, to shut down and deny the pain, is also the work of a child who is and has always been deeply emotionally loyal to her parents. So to acknowledge an experience of the contrary is almost like being disloyal, or cheating on them somehow. But what a relief it is to know, as an adult with enough help from professionals whose work it is to hold our hands in navigating these complex dualities and emotions, I can hold them both — the joys and the pain, the easy and the difficult, the ups and downs — equally, without one affecting the other.

Lately, I’ve been looking at some of my childhood pictures, and I’ve been seeing them quite differently. I have rediscovered a connection I had severed somewhere along the way. A connection I had possibly pushed away, in pushing away the pain and the sorrow. An immensely important connection with that child, without whom I can get nowhere in knowing myself as an adult.

Lately, I’ve been looking at some of these pictures from various stages of my life and feeling all kinds of lost memories resurface. I’ve been suddenly seeing myself fully, as that wildly innocent, impish, bright-eyed, curious and easily excitable child that I was. And I’ve been feeling incredibly soft and tender towards her, with great levels of love flooding over.

And quite predictably (because I no longer pass these occurrences off as mere coincidence) pictures from my past have been finding their way to me through unexpected and surprising channels, even when I haven’t been looking for them. The most recent one came in last night from my cousin M. It’s not like we routinely share pictures from the past with each other, so to receive this made me feel an instantly deep, deep connection with the innocence of this child sandwiched in the middle of two older cousins she looked up to and wanted to grow up to be like at that time.

This is my new favourite picture of my childhood. A picture of a moment I have no recollection of. But clearly, I was thrilled then, I feel it just looking at myself.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very much in touch with the innocence and pure-heart that I had as a child. I feel so connected with, and fond of that twinkle in those eyes, the nimble limbs that were so alive and active all the time, the ruffle of curly hair that flopped around messily without a care in the world. And I am deeply aware that the renewed spark I feel for life today, the excitement I have been experiencing for every single day as it blossoms, and the gratitude I feel all the time has everything to do with rediscovering and revitalising this precious connection and holding it tenderly within.

One year ago: Set the controls of the heart of the sun
Three years ago: Holiday reading

<3

It has been a good, good week. And the highlight, quite easily, is having VC back home. We’ve been like stuck records repeating to each other, umpteen times, over the last week: This last year, living apart, was the best thing we could have done. Because from time to time, we realise the little things that have changed about us, within us, and the way in which we’re being different around and with each other.

Just a week since we’ve returned, VC has already flown off to Bombay today for a bunch of meetings, and I suddenly found myself with a day to myself.  It sparked so many thoughts.

On how living apart unconsciously made us experience individuating in this relationship too. How that has somehow brought us closer. How I think this might be a good thing to do every few years, if the need arises. But I’ll save that for another day. But for now, just gratitude for this here. For going full circle. For love.

One year ago: One day in Bangkok (or day one in Bangkok)
Two years ago: Acceptance is a small, quiet room
Three years ago: Guess I’ll have to leave some stuff behind

Out of the park

Today, I just want to document what a lovely day it was.

It began with two hours of gardening. I say “gardening” but actually it was just a lot of repotting and trimming and pruning and setting things right with my plants. For two days since they’ve landed I’ve been meaning to get to them. They looked like the journey had been quite rough on them. But other unpacking and settling at home took precedence. And so this morning when I woke up too sore to make it to the gym, I decided it was a good time to get to them.

Let it be known that I have fully turned into that proper crazy plant lady who did this for two hours straight: phailaoed squelchy red earth all over my balcony (confirming any speculation about my finicky, cleanliness freak side being laid to rest) so I could fix them all and settle them into their new home, all the while talking to them.

Aside from the sheer tactile pleasure of sticking my hands in the dirt, caring for plants really grounds me. And like D said to me this morning when I shared my excitement, something about bringing plants home and watching them grow settles me into this feeling of being home. It makes things extra homely.

I then cooked us a fish curry from a prawn curry recipe that I tweaked mildly to have with dosas for lunch. Then, at about noon VC and I shared a small piece of some truly beautiful edible that R shared with us. And we then had lunch and settled with our respective laptops. Me doing some work, VC watching his latest TV show obsession. I was in a very mellow and enjoyable state of mind and I thought that was it — this edible was smooth, simple enough, good.

Still in a very dreamy space, I set off to meet S. Armed with an aloo bun for each of us, I went to Cubbon Park where we decided to meet for a change. Nothing went right at the start: I didn’t get a cab or auto for half an hour, and realised I could have just as well taken the metro in that much time. Then it took another fifteen minutes to hail an auto off the kerb. But somehow it felt like I cruised through the irritation untouched. Floating above it all.

All the way there I listened to music and I was filled with pure joy at being out. It was a perfect November day. There’s enough of a nip in the air to need a light sweater. And yet the sun is out, making it delightful to be outdoors. The sky was bright and blue. The clouds cottony and wispy. The breeze sharp, making my finger tips numb. and suddenly I was giddy with excitement at the idea of sitting in a park, under the trees.

S was late so I walked around by myself. Sat on a bench. Watched people, petted friendly mutts, contemplated many things, watched the trees. Breathed. I felt excessively blissful and filled with a heady euphoria.

S arrived and we gabbed while we polished off aloo buns, bought some really good milky, sweet chai from passing chaiwallahs. There was so much to catch up on and gush over, we lost track of time, my mind short-circuiting with so many ideas sparking at once and motivation spiking like it does when I’m in the company of a like-minded buddy on the same wavelength.

Today was just one of those really simple, but super satisfying, excessively joyful days and I want to remember it. It feels like the coming together of so many little things that made for one lovely day. On my ride back in the metro, I realised that the unnamed dissatisfaction I felt in the years of 2015-16, was a longing for a life quite like this. I didn’t have the words then, but I had an image, a picture of what my life would entail, down to wanting public transport, people of my wavelength to hang out and spar with intellectually, a life of my own routine and making, a life of relaxing the controls and being guided by something within.

And somehow thats exactly the life that’s panning out for me these days. I want to say this is serendipitous, but I want to acknowledge for a change, the truth about the amount of conscious dreaming, deliberate choices and putting myself and my desire for better (in all its ever morphing glory) and focusing unrelentingly on what I want more of on my life, this has taken.

I’m noticing a great, great increase in my capacity to relax lately. Not in the everyday sense of chilling externally, but as an internal easing up and letting go of the controls some more. Consuming an edible on a random Thursday morning? Meeting a friend for a hang in a park? Vibe-ing over work and play at once and feeling thrilled (and not intimidated) by the prospects? That’s a new one even for me. It’s been the perfect day to get out. And we couldn’t have picked a better day to be in the park.

One year ago: I have tried in my way to be free
Three years ago: Homeward bound

Movie misgivings

S and I decided to meet today. But rather than hangout, like we probably should have, I decided we should watch The Sky Is Pink. Between travels to Manali and Goa I missed it entirely and it’s now down to just one show, which should probably have been a sign. When I suggested it to S, she was so quick to agree, it seemed she wanted to watch the movie too.

Today though as I was making my way to the multiplex, S got there before me and sent me a panicked, “macha are you taking me to a Priyanka Chopra movie?!!

That should have also been by cue to change the plan spontaneously to go sit somewhere and gab, because we had oh so much to catch up on too. But we decided to waste three hours in a movie bass instead. And I’m saying waste because that’s what the movie was. A waste.

I came away not knowing if this was a movie about the spirit of life and survival with a brave front in the face of death, or a film about a mother whose entire life is consumed by caring for a terminally ill child, or if it was about all of the things that a family goes through in the peculiar situation they find themselves in — rallying around a child whose life comes with a quick end date. I have no idea. PC gets so much screen time, and I find her to be such an unnatural and forced actor, while Farhan Akhtar and Zaira Wasim were clearly the bright lights that saved the movie. It had its moments — of humour, some sparse good writing, poignant dialogues — but overall the story just didn’t come together for me. In narrating the story from the afterlife, so to speak, one knows right off the bat that Aisha dies. And it just left me wondering from time to time, where is this going? Of course there is also my other usual complain with pretty much every Hindi film: it was unnecessarily long. I don’t know why we consistently get our writing so wrong, why we get so caught up in spelling everything out rather than leaving things to be seen and not told, why every story ends up being so mashed up like baby food and spoonfed to audiences. Movie makers must really take their audiences to be fools?

I know this is an unpopular view because the movie seems to have touched and tugged at heartstrings across the board. But I came away dissatisfied. Perhaps more so because I could have spent that time with S instead of being forced into silence in a dark movie hall trying to figure out what was going on with this film.

To make up for it though, we had a solid Mallu mess meal, complete with boiled rice, chamandi and aila fry. And an Iyengar Bakert butter biscuit each to finish it all off.

Sigh.

One year ago: But if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need
Two years ago: What coming home feels like: The sweet, sweet taste of acceptance

Reunited

It’s been a long day of two bodies — in what is suddenly feeling like a rather small house crammed further still with boxes and suitcases and bags — rummaging, unpacking, sorting and settling through much of our meagre belongings.

In the midst of it all, my plants arrived. Battered and a bit bruised. But mostly alive. My day was instantly made, being reunited with these babies again, and it caused a major distraction in what was otherwise a smooth unpacking operation, causing me to take much, much longer than anticipated. And still didn’t finish. VC left for a recce and a meeting in the afternoon while I pottered around some more, trying to get through as many boxes as possible by myself. Instead, I somehow landed on a little shoebox (of a pair of sandals I owned in 2008, I’m pretty sure) I don’t remember putting this motley collection of things into. But there I was shoebox in hand, but about to go down an abyss I didn’t know I would. It was a box full of letters and postcards and greeting cards from friends and family I’ve loved over the years, and there were also cards and appreciation posts from one of the only jobs I really loved and hated leaving. A shoebox of words of unending love and gratitude. From lots of people no longer in my life, but also some utterly lovely samples from my sister, both my grandparents and a friend who proclaimed love for me in ways I was too daft to understand then but reading the letters yesterday flicked a big tube-light on in my head.

It was a good trip, taking me back to days of yore and reuniting me with parts of myself I have somewhat lost that connection with.

It was a good trip, and the timing felt serendipitous.

All this to say, I’m still not quite back to normal programming and therefore the delayed and disjointed, rushed post. All this to say, this will probably persist for the rest of the week. Because I haven’t paused life to get my home in order. And I haven’t gotten my home in order, because, life.

One year ago: Maybe I’ll get it right next time

To new Mondays like these

I’m home.

And so just like that we are cohabiting again. Which means we have to both adjust to the rhythms and routines of living with one other human being around us. The added detail this time is that VC is probably going to be working out of home for the foreseeable future.

It’s exciting as hell, because everything is suddenly different, shiny and new and I love all the extra time we get together thanks to the fluidity that comes with having complete control over our schedules. But it’s also been a touch unsettling, as much as it was unsettling when VC moved away. Because it means getting through a bunch of suitcases once again, finding space for all our expanded belongings again. And until that happens, especially over the weekend, the home felt a bit like an obstacle course. I’ve noticed that this tends to happen very quickly when VC is around — things never find their way back to where they belong, they hang around, scattered and misplaced — and our tiny home begins to feel cluttered very quickly. But I’m also observing how this time I am less perturbed. Aware, and observant of the mess, but more realistically accepting, not annoyed as yet. Also allowing for ease, time and space before we get to unpacking fully.

It means that I have to temper my excitement of having VC around a lot more. It curbing allllllll the random things I want to say to him over the course f the day, because unlike me, he can’t compartmentalise his brain and chat while working. So I have to save it up for break time.

It means I have someone to outsource the chasing away of stray lizards that makes it into the home, rather than brave the horrendous task myself.

It means replacing the long-drawn facetime calls of the last year with actual facetime, everyday. More togetherness, more conversation.

It means twice the laundry, twice the cooking, twice the planning, yes.

It means realising once again that it’s possible to feel wistful and nostalgic about the time I had living by myself, simultaneously as I feel an overwhelming excitement about the days to come. The two can coexist. Like with most other dualities, I find myself no longer trying to choose and pick a side. Accepting one doesn’t make the opposing force less true.

It means spontaneous Monday afternoon jaunts to eat things we randomly crave, without having to plan or schedule them. Like we did today, with the intention to eat a really good burger — our last real binge and the end of the holiday life before we get back to regular programming and eating healthy, home food again — which turned into us eating really good steaks at an old Bangalore favourite. It did not disappoint.

It gave me special thrills to take an auto back and forth, to walk down the streets of CBD together on a typically Bangalore November afternoon with a slight nip in the air, a distinct breeze with the sun shining down too.

For now, I’m definitely home.

***

Gratitude today for the twists and turns of the last year. And like VC said to me yesterday, ever so grateful for whatever it is outside of us that has shaped and enabled the way in which our relationship has evolved and brought us to where we are today.

One year ago: And yesterday becomes tomorrow
Three years ago: That’s how the light gets in

Into the wide open

We left a blisteringly hot and sunshiney Goa yesterday, and have entered overcast, grey sky weather in Karnataka today. It stormed all night with scary thunder and lightning. But it means a more comfortable drive today. For VC more than me, who is happier riding when the sun is playing hide and seek.

Today, I’m grateful for the way in which VC and I can see eye to eye and make good travel buddies. It makes even tedious journeys like this one a touch more fun.

One year ago: While the world plays for our pleasure
Three years ago: Midweek blues

Drive

Our car will be ten in the new year. And while she’s begun to look her age, thanks to nine years and nine monsoons in Goa, she still runs like a very young girl off to chase a dream at the slightest opportunity.

Many little niggling things have been acting up. The AC has been on its last legs for about a year now. The headlamps were horribly foggy until I scrubbed them with baking soda yesterday. The speakers have been in various stages of disconnection for a long while now but kat year the music system itself came unhinged and stopped working. All it’s good for is charging a phone. So this drive hasn’t been easy. The heat is a lot more intense than I expected, the air is dry as hell. There’s no music to be had so I’m using a portable speaker because I’m all alone (with two suitcases riding shotgun in the front seat) and I could do with some entertainment.

Also, this blasted curse of development just won’t let things be. Forget setting dysfunctional things right, they’re hell bent on fixing things that ain’t broke. So the perfectly decent highway between Goa and Bangalore that made for a comfortable 10 hour journey just one year ago has shot up to a painful 14 hours. The road is pretty flawless, silky smooth, but the endless diversions every few hundred metres has made it painful. Getting on and off the rough service roads, throwing up clouds of dust and dry air as we bump down terrible stretched of dangerous half-built roads, means one can’t even enjoy and maximize the good bits for what they’re worth.

As such, we as a country deserve nothing good. No amount of “development” will ever be good enough and worth it because you can’t get on a “world-class” highway long enough before a tractor lazily ambles across without warning, or a two wheeler shoots at you on the wrong side of the wrong side of the road just to avoid going the long route to make a U-turn. We’re the pits.

So it hasn’t been a fun drive. And yet, I’ve enjoyed driving. If that makes any sense at all. Because my car, my gosh, she is still so fine. And perhaps the only advantage of having a choc full car loaded up to the brim is that the weight in the tail of the car means I can take all the bumps easily. I accelerate and the car complies, no fear of people or things flying around in the back of the car. There’s grip and grounding.

Anyhow, leg one of this arduous journey is done.

***

Today and glad and super grateful for my parents who absolutely insisted (not that I needed any coaxing and convincing at all, but still) I learn to drive as soon as I turned 18. It has made making movement in my life so much more significant.

One year ago: What do you need to make your wild heart beat?
Three years ago: Holiday mornings

I’m eaassyyyy

Today was the first high-energy, productive, moving-around and-getting-shit-done kind of day we have had in over a month. It’s ridiculous, really. Considering we were to leave this morning, and yet even until late yesterday evening — with under 12 hours from proposed departure time — VC and I hadn’t begun actually packing up. I really don’t know what we were waiting for, except that neither of us seemed to be in a rush to get a move on.

Instead I went off early in the morning to spend a couple of hours with D, while VC got some work done. Then we met up at lunch — we managed to squeeze in another Thai meal like it needed to be done more than packing needed to be begun  — before we came home in time to catch the pest control fellows and packers who came two hours later than anticipated. Which meant more waiting around and more time being spent not packing.

We had a list of such random errands to finish, and odds and ends to tie up around the house before we leave. We came with every intention to get it done in a systematic way. In fact before we arrived VC had even said to me I’m going to start doing one thing everyday and tick it all off. But somehow, despite that, in what is now unsurprising, typical fashion we only got around to lining it up somewhere at the end of last week. And it took till yesterday for things to actually happen. In the mean time we traipsed about town, played a lot of taash, met up with friends, went out by ourselves, spent two days in Morjim, loafed around to escape power-cuts at home, and also spent an inordinate amount of time chilling at home.

So anyway you get the gist, yeah?

Finally, when the pest control fellows had done their thing and left, and the packers had packed and moved my plants back and forth around the house yesterday, it was past 8 pm. VC and I were left looking at cockroach carnage around a mud-streaked upside-down house to clean up. When I realised that neither of us was in the mood to do that or even begin packing VC’s stuff, and instead were had chosen to sit back in bed with our noses in our respective laptops, I just took a call.

Let’s leave on Thursday, I said.

And just like that VC agreed.

Then we laughed, and I said to VC, maybe it’s just time to embrace the fact that this is who we are — last minute people. Maybe this isn’t going to change. But I realised this is always how VC has been. He packs his suitcase before an early morning flight, even earlier in the morning, between waking up and leaving home. I’m the one that this is a whole new world for. This is not at all who I used to be — leaving everything to the very last minute, not panicking at all, changing plans on the fly, postponing departures at the nth hour, being okay with sudden change of plans.

I should’ve guessed this was where we were headed when we spent over 2 weeks in a state of ease and relaxation, when we could very well have easily and painlessly managed to finish all our tasks well ahead of time. Instead we somehow got them all done in the last 24 hours. It is fascinating me no end that there is suddenly such an allowance for this, in measures I have not known were possible. Even writing a post like this some months ago would have come with a sense of relief, tinged with regret at how last minute everything has been. But I feel none. I do not regret how much fun I’ve had, how much sleep I caught up on, how much we have eased up and relaxed over the last two weeks, and how much we have enjoyed this home and this unique time where neither of us had much else to do but be in each other’s company, in Goa. it felt serendipitous and I’m glad we just had the ability to go with it.

Anyhow, this morning, something kicked in. We woke up and swung straight into action and had an almost steroid-induced bout of work. We packed up in hyper-efficient manner, turned the house complete upside down, cleaned it out thoroughly, and readied it for it’s next interim occupant. So efficient were we, that we even had time to have a lazy lunch and catch a two hour nap. In the evening, because we had so much time to spare and nowhere to be, we even loaded up the car with all the many bags and boxes, so tomorrow we have to all but wake up, get ready and drive out.

It felt like a fitting day of movement and clearing, to be up and about like this, of productivity, after weeks of slowness. And I almost cannot believe how this has all worked out, but somewhere in all of this there has been a turning point in our beings, and a lesson for me going forward.

***

I’m leaving Goa feeling grateful that we found someone to take the house (even if for a short while) so it will be lived in and looked after until we visit next.

One year ago: It’s a lazy afternoon
Three years ago: Okay bye