Day 285: They’ll be making sure you stay amused

Grateful for friends today. This week has shown me abundance in friendship like never before.

Rekindled connections, restored conversations, grown up versions of the camaraderie we once had.

New friends who I’ve found unexpectedly. New friends who visibly feel a sense of kinship through the experience of the work we shared and make no bones about wanting to stay in touch long after.

Friends who lead by example and champion causes dear to us. Friends who will always be the torchbearers for me to look up to.

Friends who relentless stay in touch and more even when I completely fail to.

Friends who send me food. Always, friends who send me food.

Two years ago: Day 285: Shifting gears

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Day 282: Try to remember the good times

Since the day we got back from holiday, there’s been a heaviness hanging over me. It’s not as if things are down out and dreary, but I cannot ignore this achy, heavy heart that’s feeling trapped inside my ribs. It started with Niyu’s illness that even though we caught in time, really pulled the rug out from beneath my feet. Physically there were many sleepless nights, which though one pulls through high on an adrenaline-addled response, begin to show one way or another. But even otherwise, this is the most stress I have known in a while. If it weren’t for my father, and all the support and help we got from unexpected quarters, I don’t know how we’d have managed. It didn’t help that I had to be away from home for four days, finishing my course, leaving them and my mind at home, trying hard to stay focused. The work in class itself, deeply emotional always takes a toll on me. All in all it was a cocktail of things that sucked the juice out of me last week.

There was also the undeniable sadness and almost grief of ending this incredible journey I’ve been on thanks to the learning. It was an emotional four days, and the cherry on top was the very moving, very inspired and sweet closing ceremony we had. I got some very encouraging feedback on my essays, a very powerful module to close the course with, and all in all it feels like I’ve refuelled for the next many months to come. It was all too bittersweet, high on the sense of accomplishment, of having done something entirely for myself after so many years, of having finished it so well, of having gained oh so much from the entire experience, and yet having it end so fast. It seems like I only just began, just the other day.

Just when that finished, and I was looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday, the #MeToo shitstorm broke out. With S braving the eye of it, I’ve been getting frequent, gut-wrenching, enraging updates, even though I am not on social media where one can follow closely. Every story, every update brings up the bilious rage. But that is not all. This time around, the wave of stories has left me very helpless, hopeless. With a fast and quick-changing idea of feminism brewing in my head, I am very conflicted this time around. My support lies fair and centre on the side of victims, but I am so undecided about many other things. Mostly I am also very troubled by what this means for us as a culture, as a people and a race. What have we lost that has brought us to this point? Where are we letting out boys and girls down? What does it say for us as a culture where so many, many men it seems have just no clue how to deal with desire in a healthy manner, and just don’t know what to do with their feelings when met with a no? I was at the WeTheWomen even here on Sunday, very briefly. I went in just to listen to Raghu Karnad and Rohini Nilekani talk about “Working with boys and men” and though the session left me quite dissatisfied and wanting more, one thing she said really stood out: what have we done for aggression to be the default response to all unaddressed feelings?

I am deeply ashamed at where we stand today, having done a giant disservice to generations of men and women by shrouding all conversation around sex, consent and healthy relationships in shame and fear. For building a culture that normalises violence, aggression and harassment in the name of desire and love. For how we have done little to question and topple power structures present in various facets of society, even as we make advances and have women increasingly make inroads into the ranks. It’s deeply distressing to hear stories from 30 years ago that are coming out today, echoing exactly what is still going on. What has our evolution come to mean? What use is all that performative wokeness?

It felt like a never-ending weekend of the sads. Monday couldn’t come soon enough. My sister got a clean chit on Monday morning at the hospital, and as I heaved a sigh of relief it felt like the first time I exhaled a heavy bout of air I’d trapped inside of me all week long. I returned home, thinking about resuming work again and finding some semblance of routine and normalcy. But then I got a message from D that Leo had passed on and I felt like my world had fallen apart all over again.

I’m due to puppy sit at theirs next month and there’s an ache and a puppy shaped gaping hole in my heart just imagining what it will be like to have 2, not 3 of them begging for a taste of my dinner. I’m still broken, and I have no idea why this has hit so close home and why this loss feels so personal.

Over the course of the last almost-two years, I have grown terribly attached to and fond of D’s puppies. There is something to be said about getting to know your friends dogs. Slowly, over time. It’s a lot like meeting your friend’s children. At first there’s tentativeness on both sides. They’ll look at your curiously, almost as if to say “Why are you here to hog my mommy’s attention again?” But you visit often enough, and the familiarity grows. Eventually guards will drop, and if you’re anything like Leo, you might even offer me your bum from a safe distance of about 2 feet, demanding a good scratch on the rump. You keep the visits frequent enough and slowly you’ll build a relationship with the puppy, outside of your relationship with your friend. You’ll take gifts along sometimes. You’ll take pictures of them. You’ll surprise yourself by feelings of longing when you actually miss the cute little runts. So you’ll fish out your phone and look at pictures lovingly, send them hugs and kisses in your mind. Eventually, you’ll be accepted as family and every arrival will be met with happy wagging tails, wet noses at your feet and gentle demands for petting. All pretence of good behaviour for “guests” too will fade away and you’ll love them anyway. All this and more happened with Leo. He was a special, special puppy who crept into my heart in a way no puppy has. I had mad respect for his underwhelmed-by-everything, too-cool-for-everything-unless-it’s-food demeanour. I loved his focus on all things food and I will truly miss his gentle giant presence every time we visit D and UT going forward. All I know is that special place in puppy heaven with an unending supply of pork sausages just found it’s most ardent occupant. And the loss is entirely ours.

The entire week, weekend and beyond has carried this heavy energy. The bittersweetness of it is inescapable. Wonderful things have happened, but not without a tinge of that heavy price being/to be paid. I’ve crossed paths with difficult times, and through the crises found the immeasurable gift of support, help and boundless love. I’ve ended journeys and felt the palpable beginning of new ones. I’m mad proud and excited for the way in which the universal energies of women are syncing up, but I feel drained and heavy with the pain it is making us all revisit. As much as life endures, it is not without death, surrender and difficult lessons in moving on. All of this is heavy, all of these are life-changing experiences.

One year ago: What coming home feels like: Revisiting old haunts II

Day 274: Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity

Reporting from the comforts of my home. With over twelve hours of sleep under my belt, three cups of filter coffee, an entire meal with dal and veggies included cooked by me, two loads of laundry done and the extreme luxury of a bum-spray in the loo. I am truly home now.

It was a whirlwind of a trip, to be honest. Not our usual laid-back, unwind kind of beach holiday. We’ve clocked some crazy kilometres on our feet, seen every sunrise and sunset, and used every mode of public transport available in these cities (ferries included!) over these past 12 days. Such a far, far cry from our usual beach holidays. It wasn’t just the walking that I’ve mentioned so many times before. There was something very different about the energy on this holiday — the keenness to get out and explore, to see things, to push ourselves rather than settle for the usual wind down, find a spot on the beach/on an island and not move till the end of the holiday.

It’s also the holiday we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones. Took buses instead of flights. Chose hostels instead of hotels. Did things I thought I was done doing — sharing a room and loo with complete strangers. But it all worked out, and I’m a bit chuffed at how it did. This has clearly been a time for discovering unexpected things about ourselves. Yet again.

As a result, it’s also been a bit emotional. I’ve had a world of feelings surface. From overwhelming excitement, incredible wonder at little things I observed about city life and people in Europe, to touch of regret about how little of it we see back home, a realisation that I have quite a bit of harboured shame about being Indian, and a rekindled urge to live overseas. Some more regret about not having chased that dream sooner too. And a heart burst open with the realisation that it’s not too late to do it over now.

However, the overarching emotion has been a lot of love and gratitude. And nothing sealed this more for me, than coming home after a 12 hours (with over 24 hours of no sleep), when I could have been very crabby and cranky, but I returned happy and content. Not all holidays end this way, you know.

There’s always the usual blues I feel even just coming back from Goa. But to have a full heart and to actually look forward to being home again, said a lot about how fulfilling the holiday has been. I feel like I had the best time I could have possibly had. I got a lot from this holiday — expected and unexpected. And it was just so satisfying.

We ended up staying with S in Paris for one night. It wasn’t even remotely part of our plan. And then J flew in from Hamburg to surprise us. And suddenly our time in Paris changed dramatically, unexpectedly becoming a reunion that stoked a warm fire of forgotten memories as we conversed endlessly, laughed and gossiped. There was also so much wandering wherever our feet wanted to take us, picnicking in parks, lounging on street corners, eating wherever and whenever we pleased, some pub hopping and LOTS of wine.

I had a moment when I realised that I’ve known these boys for almost a decade now. There are few people I think of reconnecting with the way I do with these fellows. In the years since they left Goa, and we did too, we’ve all gone wildly different ways. They’re not people I actively stay in touch with. No social media means I have to make the effort, and I haven’t been very good at all with that these past few years. I might send the occasional text, J relentlessly sends me postcards from his travels, but that’s about it. We’re not clued in on the little ins and outs of each other’s lives anymore like we used to be. But it always happily surprises me when time and time again we manage to snatch chances to catch up. It’s nearly not as frequent as we’d like it to be. But we do manage it, and when we do, time rolls back and slips effortlessly right back to the way things used to be. Distances diminish, boundaries collapse, timezones melt down and we’re the same four bodies drinking and eating and listening to good music and having a laugh all over again. In fact, this was the fourth continent that I have caught up with S in. Over our third bottle of wine and an elaborate snack plate at S’s on our last evening there, I actually told them this — there’s not a lot of people I have the liberty and good fortune of doing this with, but with them I know it will always go back to being easy like we know it, and that’s what makes me want to do it again and again.

I ponder over friendship a lot. I have a lot of different kinds of it in my life at the moment — a whole varied assortment of friends — but even so I am a bit raw about recent experiences in this respect. And this realisation — of what we have with J and S — was soothing like balm. That afternoon, I might have healed a long sore wound and filled up a little emptiness in me.

VC is easily my best travel mate for a range of reasons, but mostly because of his keen sense of curiosity and ability to go all out to get what he wants. It means if he sets his mind on something — a spot for his evening shot, or a particular cuisine we feel like eating, or finding the most uncommercial things to do — he will go all out to make it happen. This compliments my low-key, go-with-the-flow attitude completely.

The rest of the trip had VC going a bit batshit with the photography. You can see his pictures from the trip on his Instagram page. All the aimless wandering certainly helped, and if it weren’t for him and his obsessive commitment to getting all the good pictures, I might not have explored these cities the way I did with him. Ever so grateful for that. Ticking off museums and sights wasn’t on our agenda, so we just took every day as it came, deciding in the morning what we felt like doing, which direction we wanted to wander in, with no real fixed agenda.

It was my second time in Brugges too, so things felt a bit familiar up until them. Amsterdam, on the other hand, was a whole other story. A massive cultural onslaught that smacked me in the face. I thoroughly enjoyed, for obvious reasons bahaha, even though it felt like an odd mix of Bombay and Goa at times which disoriented me in the beginning.

Of course, I’ve left a piece of my heart each in Paris, Brugges and Amsterdam. But I am also feeling so content. I’m so full of love for the experiences, gratitude for how everything worked out despite minimal planning, and I am most thankful for how much the holiday has triggered in my mind, pushing me to get out of my head, and the amount of fodder it’s given me to move ahead from here on.

Two years ago: Day 274: For every down, there is an up

Day 266: You’re still young, that’s your fault

Paris. Day 4.

There’s just so much to say, about this city, about how not having a plan when we travel worked out for us, about intersecting with friends in parts of the world and about just how incredibly overwhelming beautiful this has been.

We’ve been so lucky with the weather this week, even with the spots of rain, we had J fly down from Hamburg to surprise us and S who anyway lives here now, which dramatically changed the way these four days have been.

Mostly, I’m grateful for life’s little surprises and how things always work out. I came without a plan, just a vague idea of what I would do, and it didn’t involve a single museum. I had no idea it would turn out that I’d spend my time the way I did, but somehow it has been exactly what I wanted.

My brain has been shutting down from the sheer sensory party that this place is. I can’t seem to string one sentence straight even though they’re all there in my head. Try as I might to invoke them, all I get is a bunch of superlatives that still fall short.

I’ll have to try once again in a few days after I’ve had a chance to process it all.

Paris has my heart. Good and proper.

Day 261: Some things will never change

On the weekend, I had every intention to finish all my work submissions, so I had Monday to plan packing, and Tuesday to actually pack and tend to odds and ends like emptying out the fridge, doing the dishes and cleaning the dishes before we leave at midnight, tonight.

But the weekend got away in a haze of laziness mixed with some stress that had me paralysed even as I sat before my computer for the most part. I even cancelled Sunday evening plans that I was really keen to make. By Sunday night, I vociferously declared that even though I hadn’t met my weekend goal, I’d definitely finish my work by Monday afternoon. So with that in mind, we made plans to meet N and PK for breakfast on Tuesday (today) and I confidently messaged them about how I was “on track” to finishing everything off by Monday so I could really chill on Tuesday.

It’s not like thinking about packing and packing and shutting up a house require entire days. But I’ve been such a last-minute-leela about packing for the last many trips I’ve made that I’ve invariably either packed badly, or felt very overwhelmed and stressed in pushing everything to the very nth hour, that this time I wanted so badly, for it to be different. With work submissions in the mix, I just didn’t want to be in the same situation again. But my wants often don’t coincide with reality and last night, ie Monday, I found myself still 3 small submissions away from finishing my work, and with no packing done.

But nothing can get in the way of plans to eat masala dosas at CTR, so things proceeded to plan. The four of us caught a quick breakfast and came back home to have chai and chit-chat for a bit. In entirely predictable fashion, we chatted and chatted and I got so engrossed and was so relaxed that before I knew it, it was past 12 and I might have continued to sit and jabber if N and PK didn’t have to leave.

Anyhow, so we began at about 1 and somewhere between then and now I have packed twice over, finished two more submissions, had lunch, had coffee, hung out with my sister, the in laws and S’s mum who came over to pass on some goodies for us to take to him.

Meanwhile, VC has spent a larger part of the day chilling in his beanbag. Post breakfast and packing his suitcase, he has continued to binge-watch House, drink his beers, catch a nap and go back to binge-watching.

I, on the other hand, am predictably down to the wire. Just the spot I have been avoiding for a week now. I have one more submission to go, if I am to make it to holiday leaving my laptop behind and not have any unfinished business to come back to. Despite all my intentions and well-laid plans, here I am typing away madly, desperate to finish. And somehow, I didn’t stop to think twice about interrupting to come post this.

Some things will never change *shrug*.

 

One year ago: Back to base

Day 234: It’s been a hard days night

I have a half written post I started this morning, before we began shooting for the day. But my brain is too fried to finish it. Or make much sense otherwise.

But on the upside, we’ve decided to stay an extra day to recover from the hectic shoot we’ve had. Which means I get another day with these (and a third one who will only sometimes allow a pet or a belly rub too fleeting to photograph) runts.

Day 233: I want to thank you for giving me the best days of my life

Gratitude for last week.

For Guru Purnima and for always having the opportunity to be with the music. No matter where I go, how far I wander, the music follows. Or a part of me remains. I’m not sure which. But there is the music.

For the sweet spot of busy-busyness that VC has hit. It’s keeping him on his toes, challenged and excited in a way that has fired him up like I haven’t seen in all these months in Bangalore.

For rainy evenings spent in silence at Koshys. For Bangalore weather. I’m really making the most of this before my time on Bangalore is up.

For the drive to Goa. Any roadtrip is fun with VC. And this was no different.

For Goa. For the weather. For the dogs. For friends. For this other side of life that is so new and filled with joy.

For all the chill. For the conversation. For the tarot insights. For the home-cooked food. For the downtime. For the books. For kinship. For home away from home.

Day 217: Hold on to this feeling, when dreaming of leaving

It’s a perfect, perfect morning.

It’s threatening to rain. But it’s also mildly sunshiney. It’s crisp today, the kind of crisp I can snap perfectly in two if I tried.

I’m listening to this, really loud. It seems to fit.

My heart feels like it’s overflowing river today. I can’t contain it. Everything is beautiful.

Also, I’m all alone. This is the first time since I’ve been back in Bangalore that I am utterly, completely home alone. VC is back in Goa for the weekend. Amma and anna are in Bombay since mid-last week. Niyu has been in Bombay for a while longer, and I haven’t actually met her in a month (and I miss her so).

I’ve had the most fantastic four days at the just concluded module of my course. It has been powerfully emotional, and I think there is something about needing time and space to process this that made this a good time to have this space alone.

I imagined I’d be holed up, cocooning myself at home because I’m usually pretty emotionally and mentally exhausted after doing this work. Previous workshops in this series have always left me completely drained, in need of quiet recuperation at home, eating wholesome food, drinking plenty of water and getting all the sleep I can. However, surprising especially given how powerful the therapy has been this time around and it’s impact that I am feeling reverberating inside me even now, I have been buzzing with an energy that is hard to explain. I don’t know where it has come from, but I have been flowing with it.

On Wednesday evening post class, I walked over to Koshys to have a cup of tea and wait for S who was going to join me for dinner. I had a good two hours to myself, and it warmed my heart that I feel so at home there, a single order of tea and a single cutlet are enough to drag out over two hours.

When S joined me, we chatted and chatted non stop and animatedly over beer, fish cutlets and beef fry, while it poured and poured outside.

On Thursday night we went over to VC’s folks’ for dinner. I was mostly mellow, my mind scattered even though I was physically present. Perhaps internally, I knew what was to come on Friday (which is when I did open out my work). And what a day that was. Deeply thought-provoking, emotionally draining, pushing all the touch-points I’ve been guarding away from being exposed to this work so far. But it really felt like things were building up to just push me to the level of openness and vulnerability that it needs, and that I am finally ready for.

So when it was time and my turn, I really did feel so ready for it. I came away feeling raw, yet liberated, so light and free that initially I beat myself up a bit for delaying this and keeping it waiting for so long. But sleeping over it, I know now that this was the perfect time for it. This was my time. It could not have been any other way. I had to lay out the path, do the preparatory work, peel back the older layers before I got to the crux of what’s been sitting inside of me for so long.

Funnily though, intense as the therapy was (and therapy usually has me cancelling the rest of the day in favour of sleeping), I came out very willing to go out and do something. Specifically wanting to engage, feel uplifted and just go with that flow.

I did the most unlikely thing. Unlikely given it was post therapy, and it was 7 pm on a Friday night in Bangalore. I drove across town to Indiranagar to meet S for dinner. It was meant to be an early and quick thing. I didn’t plan to drink. And I thought it might have been good to aim to come home and get some sleep. But all those plans were shot to bits once we began talking.

Remember how I mentioned I’m thoroughly enjoying watching the women around me come into their own? It was an evening that completely, thoroughly reaffirmed that for me. I ended up with a pink drink, and we were completely engrossed in conversation from the word go. There was deeply gratifying laughter, intensely personal sharing that brought some tears, and a very heartwarming connection over what’s going on inside of us. And I can tell you one thing for sure, at this point watching S as she flowers into this impeccably happy, solid on the inside, sure-of-herself person, even as she’s tearing up telling me about her anxieties, and sharing her deepest, current vulnerability is all kinds of joyful.

There was gyoza, dimsum and stirfried lamb to be eaten. And then the biggest slice of a gooey chocolate cake. I ate it all, and even so, the food wasn’t a patch on the way the company and conversation filled me up.

It’s amazing to sense this kind of transformation and feel such deep resonance over it. It’s transformation from the inside, that requires little explanation on the outside. She mentioned a quietly altered bio that reflected the big, bold shifts that are shaking her inner core, and I heaved a sigh of relief because it was everything (and then some) that I have been working through myself, at times feeling very alone. It’s everything I have refrained from talking about — in real life (save a couple of people I am very close to) or online even as I post here everyday. It was everything that I needed to hear from someone as articulate and sound in thinking, as she is.

There is immense liberation in women coming together over shared experiences. And I came away feeling extremely grateful for this connection I share with S. I have a theory that women sparkle on the outside, when they’re sparkling on the inside. I believe it even more today.

I’m only now seeing the difference between change at a cerebral level — when ideas sound aspirational or desirable and I can embrace them in the realm of the cognitive — and a deepened, shape-shifting sort of change that happens within, inside my gut, in the depths of my mind, at a cellular level. This is where it is most unsettling, when my insides feel like they’re in churn and everything is up in the air, and I’m counting down backwards slowly, waiting to see what shape and form the new settled will take.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were long and very intense days at class. Plenty of learning, way too many aha moments for me to compute and that require me to allow myself to marinade in some quiet for a while longer. We did some amazing written and movement exercises that are going to be etched in my mind for weeks to come. Something has shifted for good inside of me, and I’m revelling in this energy it’s brought with it.

I came home on Saturday to finally enjoy the alone time I have had for days now, but have been too busy to really sink into. A hot salt bath was taken, momos and hakka noodles were ordered, two pieces of dark chocolate studded with orange peel were consumed, and I was in bed by 8 pm ostensibly reading. I didn’t last very long, before I complete passed out.

The next thing I knew, it was 8 am today. I had been asleep for nearly 11 hours. I feel rested, filled-up, content and so alive today, it’s not even funny.

One year ago: Book ends
Two years ago: Day 218: So green

Day 212: I eat the city as I leave the scene

Happy-making things from today.

Finishing and submitting two deliverables on time this morning, before I headed out to my fun time.

Getting from Malleswaram to Jayanagar in 17 minutes @INR 23. And finding a seat on the Metro to boot. The Pool ride I’d have otherwiae taken would have cost 149 bucks and a whole hour in traffic. I can’t wait for when the city is thoroughly connected via Metro. It’s fast, it’s cheap, the views are far, far nicer and the entire commute passed without a single crib about the city.

THIS meal.

One thing to have come from being in Bangalore is the friendships outside of the most predictable set of people I’d otherwise tend to gravitate towards. I am so glad and grateful for having friends older than me, in life stages ahead of and wildly different from mine, people with accomplishments I admire and look up to, people with whom I can talk about stuff I don’t otherwise. And my life has only grown and expanded in ways I haven’t experienced before.

I always, always have the most sparkling conversations with A. And almost every one of our hangouts ends with one of us texting “Great conversation!” to the other. Today was no different.

In fact we had so much to animatedly share — so many updates, inspirations, frustrations and stories — that we sat around over our finished meals, plates wiped clean, fingers getting crusted over, oblivious to how much time we’d spent in a mess that’s otherwise an in-and-out affair lasting not more than 15 minutes.

We carried it over to a coffee spot I love to wash down all that rice with my favourite cold coffees. Plural.

And then I wound my way back home where this parcel had been delivered.

Excited for new learning and new experiments that await. I cannot wait to dig in.

Finding parking on Residency Road and the promise of beers and dinner with R.

Tomorrow, I begin module 3 of my course and I am so ready for another burst of learning, healing, reflection and growth. Feels like a fitting close to the month and a promising beginning for August. I can feel it in my bones.

Today, I’m happy and my cup, it runneth over.

Day 211: There’s glitter on the floor after the party

It’s been a weekend of crawling back to normalcy, considering this was my default state of being for the last ten days:

I’m taking stock of the highs (and some lows) of the week gone by because today, I realised I am so grateful for the people in my life.

I came back to Bangalore along with D and K, who spent three days with us. Like I was telling D the day she left, one would assume that considering we spent the last ten days in Goa, chilling together and gabbing a lot, we wouldn’t have much to talk about. But somehow we yakked all the way to the Goa airport, through the flight, all the way home, and then some more every night that they were here. Our day together would begin when they’d return from class and even though we had a set pattern of things to do, somehow it just doesn’t get old. Or boring. Or tiring.

I feel blessed to be surrounded by people in the same headspace as I am, with whom I can unabashedly talk about most things on my mind. It has meant a lot of thrashing out of things I’d otherwise mull over (and cause some confusion) myself. There is the added benefit of fresh perspective, reassurance and a sense of kinship that we are not alone. That everyone is more or less in the same boat.

Having come away form Goa with so much to navigate, I’m taken aback by the gentleness with which I have been going through it all. I think back to being in a similar situation some years ago and I can see the difference. I know for a fact that it is the presence of people like D and K, in whose lives I see similarities with mine and it gives me immense confidence, with whom I have talked about issues direct and indirect, and from whom I gain a quiet strength that all things will pass, that we are looked after, that we are enough, that has contributed to this shift in my being.

I loved that we cooked so many meals together, in Goa and in Bangalore. It takes a special level of comfort to get into someone’s kitchen and help yourself, pitch in without asking, basically make yourself at home, and it’s an ease that warms my heart.

On Thursday, I caught up with S for a lunch of Andhra meals at Nagarjuna where we ate almost as fast as we chatted. It extended into black coffee and iced teas at Koshy’s where we discussed our new thoughts about gender (amongst other very important things) in hushed tones. She got me the loveliest cotton dress (with pockets!) as a birthday present, and when she pointed to my new sling bag and said she loved it, I emptied it out and gave it to her.

There was also the Thai meal D, K and I snuck in, at Misu which really surpassed my expectations and made me very very happy.

It must be a week of gifts because earlier, D got me flowers for the house. Purple ones that I put in a vase on the console, where they’ve lasted more than there usual time, and two long stalks of tuberoses that I stuck in a whiskey bottle.

Friday night had us turning in relatively early, considering the many many nights we’ve stayed up beyond the usual limit our old lady bones usually allow us to. But, it was not meant to be. I got out from under my blanket at 10.45 to get a peek at the pre-eclipse full moon, and eventually we ended up on the terrace, beanbag, cushions, mat and blankets in tow, where the three of us camped out under the moon. Determined to catch the eclipse, but fading away and drifting off to sleep before it actually started. But the near-hour we spent basking in the moonlight, watching bats hover around and the odd sparkle of Venus shining through from behind the heavy cloud cover, was just amazing.

On Saturday morning we said our goodbyes and if I hadn’t had plans to meet D for breakfast, I’d have been very, very bummed roaming around an empty house all by myself. D and I had promised to meet to exchange gifts we’ve been holding on to on a string of endless planned and botched meetings. I got the most delightful gift I have in ages — Kiki de Montparnasse, that I have only lusted over before and never thought to own and a wildly unexpected handwritten note. I’m a sucker for those, and when they bring unexpectedly life-affirming messages, it’s a win win win. Told you it’s a week of gifts, no?

Eventually, I did come home to the full force of the gloom of my two week break (if I were to count ten days in Goa plus the three in Bangalore when we had D and K over!) inevitably ending.

As nice as it was to be at home with VC again, potter about clearing up the house and doing comfortingly mundane things like change the sheets, tend to the piled up laundry and cook a simple meal, I had to fight a strange lethargy that had came over me. It brought with it extra long naps on Saturday and Sunday. And Sunday was spent mostly in a funk — restless and a bit antsy. I attributed it to the effects of the full moon lingering on, but VC also pointed out that this Sunday-evening-gloom seems to be a recurring, weekly thing. I hadn’t realised it, but he is right and I want to try and really get to the bottom of why it is so. I don’t have an office to get to on Monday, the start of a new week per se doesn’t bring me down. So why do Sunday evenings get to me?

After restlessly flitting about not achieving much all day, I decided to cook to get myself together. And it worked. Amma was to arrive from Bombay and had asked for a simple dinner. So I cooked a big pot of dal (for them and for us), a karela sabji that I attempted for the first time, and a masala stir fry of boiled eggs. Despite how out of sync I’ve been with the kitchen — with the sense of routine, of even wanting to cook coming and going in waves — it still does ground me in ways that few other things do.

I took dinner over to my folks’ to realise that amma had brought back brownies form Theobroma for us. It really has been a week of happy surprises, and a perfect way to turn in. Brownie in my belly and happy in my heart.

Monday has rolled along, and things have slowly slipped back to normalcy. I resumed yoga today. I caught up on emails, received some happy-making ones. Ate a sumptuous meal with my parents, something I had been missing, I realised. And I caught yet another long nap — something is making me really luxuriate with these. And just like that the gloom of the weekend has lifted completely.

One year ago: Bangalore: a graphic novel
Two years ago: Day 211: Interwebzy things

Day 205: My moves are slow, but soon they’ll know

I’m grateful for the rain. It has been really lovely this week. Just the right amount of downpours that I’ve enjoyed mostly sitting indoors, when it gets dark enough to need the lights on at 5 pm, making the books I’ve been reading unputdownable.

I’m grateful for how things slow down in Goa.

I’m grateful for the unfettered affection I’ve observed in the puppies. I’ve watched them all week, equal parts amazed, entertained, amused, sometimes stupefied at the simple way in which they operate, how steadfastly focused they are on getting the basic good stuff that they want. But mostly I’ve been in awe, again and again, at the unbridled way in which they’re themselves. More human than most humans I know.

I’m grateful for my kindle. Every time that I am away and have the space to read many hours on end, and segue from one book to another in a short while, I realise what a fantastic gadget it is to have.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness a Waldorf school up close. To be inspired by a kind of quiet conviction that I wish I had. To have been transported right back to the last two years of my schooling, which was a much simpler time.

I’m grateful for the abundance I’ve felt this past week. In the homely meals we’ve made for ourselves and enjoyed in silence. In the freewheeling conversations. In sinking into a sea of possibilities that lie ahead. In the friendship I am surrounded by. In feeling so not alone. In the incredible privilege to call two places home.

I’m grateful for friends who open their homes to us time and time and time again. Entertaining us not just with a roof over our heads, but with a heartfelt connection that I can only attribute to something beyond this time and space.

I am grateful for second chances. Yet again. And maybe that makes it a third/fourth chance? I’m grateful for life itself, for how it is so persistent, sometimes roundabout, but always opening up, pushing me further and showing me the way every time that I have stopped to listen.

Day 187: Did you fall from a shooting star?

The weather let up just a wee bit today. Muggy cloudy days have meant the temperatures have been steadily rising. The stillness in the air has been stifling. But today, the clouds broke a bit. And we had overcast skies, the gentlest drizzle and cool wind. Perfect for a brunch date specifically to have deep fried carbs that turned into a gossip sesh over way too many cups of chai. That is all.

Two years ago: Day 187: June

Day 185: One foot in front of the other, babe

This past weekend, we had S and R over for dinner. Niyu came over too and VC and I made pizzas from scratch — homemade whole wheat thin crusts, a slow-cooked tomato sauce, some freshly ground pesto, butter garlic prawns and assorted veg to go on top. Niyu made a cracker of a watermelon and feta salad too. Everything came together so beautifully. Earlier in the day I was overwhelmed. I only began cooking at 3 and had a moment of wanting to throw the towel in because I had bitten off much more than I could chew. Not really — this was actually a simple meal to put together once I broke it down — it’s just been so long since I entertained like this and cooked for more than just VC and me, I had cold feet.

I’m grateful for Niyu. And for the help she always pitches in. I can almost always shut my eyes and leave the salad and/or other components to her and she will not just deliver, but go beyond and wow us.

I’m grateful for the time we spent with R, S and H. It’s nice that we have a space outside of their home, which somehow seems to bring out entirely different sides to them. Everybody loosens up, there is much laughter and chatter, and perhaps the absence of all kinds of policing means everyone lets their guard down.

I’m SO grateful for the new mattress we bought. I’m so glad VC finally just pushed through and took the decision without waiting for me to deliberate or analyse if it was time yet. Our old mattress arrangement (because it wasn’t even a real solid double mattress) goes all the way back to our broke days when we moved to Goa and couldn’t imagine spending double digit thousands on home things. And so we managed. And we managed and we managed for closing in on nine years. I’d probably have managed some more because it was one of those things that hasn’t caused an obvious problem yet. But it’s only in its absence, with the benefit of a far superior alternative that Im realising what we have been missing out on. It’s no wonder that I’ve been having amazing sleep of late.

I’m grateful for CARBS. Oh so so so grateful for them. They have been giving me life these past few weeks. From months of branding them evil, to slowly accepting them again, little by little, I’m now almost fully back to eating carbs as and when I please. And it is so liberating to be eating freely again, without demonizing parts of my food, the meal itself, parts of my body, or myself.

I’m grateful for leftovers. I really, really am.

I’m grateful for the affirmation that I’ve been on. I hadn’t realised it, but what seemed like a surprise set of occurrences in the past few days, was actually directly linked to what I have been affirming to myself everyday.

I’m grateful for the card reading VC obliged me with on Sunday. It was spot on as usual. And of course it featured an elephant. As usual.
And I’m extremely grateful for how he is encouraging me on to go my way. I’ll take a sign when I see one, and I’ll grab it with both hands if VC encourages me to.

I’m grateful for conversations with S this past week, that have been knocking it out of the park as far as getting deep in there and digging in with both hands goes. We met for brunch, with the intention to spend some time painting. Instead, we gabbed and gabbed. While stuffing our faces.
No shying away, no mincing words, no pussyfooting. I love that we can prop each other up and keep each other going in this way.

I’m grateful for this little lesson. It was so needed, and so perfectly timed. And I’m grateful for the little bit of progress I realised I have made.

I’m grateful for some of the things I’ve slowly cultivated this past year that I am only now seeing blooming ever so quietly in ways that are impacting my everyday life: gratitude for the little and big things alike, self-love and opening my heart out a little bit more than what feels comfortable and comes naturally, and a little bit more patience to let things slow down as they must. (This realisation too is an outcome of several conversations I’ve had with S this past week.)

Day 180: I choose to be happy

Of 22 degree Bangalore mornings.

And unplanned plans that turn the day around.

Of wordless work days that need not much else, but remembrance. A dash of red. A quickly snapped picture. An unfussy way to remember the day.

One year ago: What coming home feels like: Revisiting old haunts
Two years ago: Day 180: Thoughts on a girly holiday

Day 179: One day, we’ll be old and think of all the stories we could have told

Today, I’ve been studying my coursework. And I chanced upon a beautiful segment about the energies that guides our relationships, the push and pull of desires guilt and what drives our actions, and how loneliness/solitude and isolation is a necessary by product of self awareness.

Last week, I felt a little grief about a particular friendship. It’s made a comeback of sorts today. It was so uplifting even as I felt vulnerable and cut open.

Another, that I hadn’t even spent any time thinking about, also surfaced today, but only to affirm my place and decision to keep distance. It was so freeing.

Like I said yesterday, I’m grateful for loss. But today really affirmed it. Temporary and permanent.

Two years ago: Day 179: Back to base. Almost.