My body knows

When I began to move from the excessive doing (working, fixing, succeeding, accomplishing yadayadayada) to being first and doing next, I noticed a soft ever so gentle, almost missable, murmur of needs my body was communicating to my mind.

I had this crushing realisation that it was probably communicating this *all along* and I had never realised, busy as I was with my plans and goals for life. Knocking things off, in control and pursuing perfection.

It is oh so easy to miss. This, the stuff beyond words that takes quiet, stillness and observing and listening without judgement. If that sounds glib and cliche, let me quickly say it was and continues to be by far the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. I’m no master. I slip very, very often. But i know what I’m looking for has changed. My gaze has shifted. And I trust that it will make picking myself up easier some.

From time to time, even now, years since I really began listening in, I am overcome by waves of grief for how unkind I have been to myself. Forcing, expecting, beating, bashing, prodding myself to move, grow and be in ways that were serving me no good.

This is where my love now lies. In the quiet wisdom that was and will always be there. Our bodies know. My body knows, and I’d like to listen to it when I can, as often as I can.

One year ago: Monday Tarot Message: Shine the light on your shadow
Three years ago: Hit the road, Jack
Five years ago: Why facebook just feels like a lot of noise

Hello, old friend

I’m going through a somewhat strange phase. One could say my old friend, loneliness, has been visiting. But one could also say that I’m getting better at entertaining him. Yes it’s a him. And by “entertaining,” I mean that I don’t lose my shit when he arrives, instead open the door, look at him and say, “oh, it’s you again (fuckme),” without the urge to shut the door on him. Except this time I’m also not wanting to throw my arms around him in a welcoming embrace, not wanting to roll out the red carpet and offer him snacks and drink and a comfortable spot to settle into. I just feel very, “meh, you again? Oh well.” And I go about my life. His hanging around is hard to ignore so there is a definite pall of gloom, but it’s just there and life goes on. Albeit shaded a slightly different hue or blue.

He comes bearing old reminders and new lessons. Old triggers. New perspectives. Old stories I’ve told myself. New reckoning of how much I’m not willing to tell myself those stories anymore.

He comes with a punch to the gut. As per usual. But I’ve been working on my core strength so it hurts. But it hits differently. It hurts less. I don’t fall down. I notice the pain. And sometimes I even smile. Because it reminds me of how far I’ve come.

Punch.

Does that hurt? YES.

Do I want to give up? NO.

Am I better with the pain? YES.

Am I “over it”? NO.

All the statements above are 100% true.

This time the trigger was different too. A visceral reminder of people who were once in my life, that couldn’t handle who I was, who I was becoming and what that made them feel. (Heh. Incredible how entitled people can feel about others having to manage the feelings they can’t handle themselves. Ridiculous how I mistook that for presence, empathy and friendship.)

One person, when they couldn’t handle my drawing a boundary and how I was changing, told me blatantly, “you haven’t changed, you do the same thing over and over again, this is who you are,” about my need to move on from people when they didn’t understand me. It only affirmed my belief that they indeed didn’t understand me. It was deeply painful, but I had to let it go.

Another one, whose fondness and intimacy I couldn’t reciprocate because they stifled me with their strangely aggressive display of love, told me the distance I needed “felt like a breakup.” That stifled me even more. I hadn’t signed up for a relationship that deep and I felt I was being manipulated into staying. And so I shut it down and bolted.

Recently, as recent as one year ago, I got told my brush with success made a friend jealous. That it was too much for them to take. That my doing well made them unhappy. I have worked through this one, but I am not over it. It still stings when I recall that conversation.

And there was the other one, who when we began to drift, said they would visit me and talk it out in person. That was over three years ago and the more they seemed incapable of walking the talk, the less I trusted them about how close they claimed they actually felt towards me This too, was prompted by an instance of me changing in a very fundamental way. In a way that made me behave a little differently. In a way that was too much for them to take I suppose.

I’m not waiting any longer. But it’s hard not to be triggered when there are reminders of that intimacy we once shared, and worse, reminders of how it couldn’t grow and change along with how we were changing as people.

But to even just see it as this, articulate it and sit with the pain rather than immediately say “I’m fine, I don’t need anyone” is a big deal, for me.

I miss these people. I feel heartbroken that I changed or grew in ways that they couldn’t stomach. It reminds me of how much I have played small and stayed small to keep relationships intact. And how once I began to not do that anymore, people began to drop off from my life like flies. Which brings me to where I’m at today.

A vast famine in terms of honest relationships of equals. The only person I truly have this with is my husband. And it hurts that I can’t free him from that burden of carrying the husband as well as best friend mantle. I’m grateful for him, and yet I wish there were another outlet.

I’m at that point though where feeling the hurt is about just that: just feeling the hurt. Not fixing it. Not moving on from it. Not letting it go. Just standing here and feeling it.

And when enough of the feeling is done, I always come out knowing I am better for it. Better for growing. Better for not shrinking. For learning who to trust. For wanting better.

For waiting. Even if it means standing in the desolate loneliness for a bit.

I still hurt. But these instances of seeing and feeling the hurt help to remind me that I will not be loved wholly by everyone alike. That truth lands different these days. It doesn’t cripple me. It hurts. But the pain sits happily side by side with the gooey part that is loving myself that is always ready these days, to take over and coat everything around it in that peaceful, quiet acceptance.

It sits side by side with the part of me that knows in a bone-deep way, that I am enough. I don’t need to play small. I don’t need to be polite to keep the status quo going. I don’t need to tolerate excessive niceness to stay in spaces that don’t feel right. My success isn’t too much. My happiness isn’t too much. My growth and love isn’t too much.

Loving myself is a powerful thing.

Sometimes I have these epiphanies on Whatsapp.

One year ago: Lightness
Two years ago: Not my country
Three years ago: Pretend like there’s no world outside

New rituals

The sparkly scent of new beginnings lingers all over this picture, even when I look at it today. I took it earlier this week, after I acted on a whim, in rather impromptu fashion. And then repeated said said action two days later. And then, again today.

There is happiness in new beginnings.
Promise in the liminality of that newness.
A new habit. A new space. A new meditation.
A new cycle, routine, new way of being.

Let’s see how long this one stays going, and let’s see where it takes me.

One year ago: Things I want to say to an assortment of uncles I have known
Two years ago: Ease at home
Three years ago: I’m glad that I’m alive
Five years ago: In between mouthfuls

Life right here, right now

This morning, I caught a visual representation of how I’ve been feeling lately.

Budding, thriving, flourishing (against all odds). Rooted, but flexible. Enjoying catching the breeze, loving the sun.

Thorns and bright blooms alike. Scanty branches, with promise of new growth, bunches of blushing fully-bloomed flowers alike.

One year ago: Cancelling today
Two years ago: Notes on an island
Five years ago: Travel

Little joys

From the last few days.

Pre-storm, billowy gusts of wind that threw all the dry leaves in the air, but cleared the view just for a bit so I spotted that audacious burst of yellow blooms down the street.

Made it to Koshy’s finally for a chill, early dinner and hot lemon tea. Got the window seat, gabbed away while it poured in dramatic fashion for a whole hour. Came home with still enough time to watch some TV and call it a day. Early.

Morning sunlight streaming through my windows (still shut), baking my legs gently orange, whilesitting in my unmade bed, taking my sweet time drinking my hot water to kick start the day.

Three years ago: All my sweat, my blood runs weak
Four years ago: Ten reasons why I love the girls I’m in long distance relationships with
Five years ago: Working better

Pleasure

I’m allowing myself to follow what feels pleasurable. What feels delicious. What feels light and freeing.

One year ago: Seasons
Two year ago: Move, move, move
Three years ago: There’s nothing here to run from 
Five years ago: Major leaps, minor struggles

Re-balance

I’ve had a really full-on week of work. 3 sessions a day on most days, and sometimes things happening in between too. The slowness of 2020 seems to be fading, and whenether I’d really like to or not, an upward energy has scooped me up. I have had to make time to sit down and catch a breath, sometimes a nap, or a grocery run in between my commitments and appointments this week.

It’s been very busy, by my standards (from the last couple of years of major, deliberate relaxation) but fulfilling. I have wanted this. Movement, work, a challenge, so I am really loving it. To enable focusing on work this much, I had to revert to hiring house help again, and it has been a boon to have that taken over. More mindspace has been freed up.

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that it’s also been exhausting. To be present to my work, fit in home stuff, get meals done, try and stock cook and eat clean and somehow pull it off.

Not a big deal in the lives of most women, I know. But it’s been a long, long time since I had work be the predominant force that dictate the rhythm of my routine in such a major way. And it’s been two weeks of this. Next week, I’m taking it easy. Deliberately. Fewer slots open for sessions, I’ve fixed an appointment for a massage, and I’m going to take myself out for a day by myself.

Re-balance.

One year ago: Monday Tarot Message: Mind-body, body-mind
Two years ago: Another favourite
Three years ago: If you could change your mind
Five years ago: Make like a tree

Sunkissed

14 degrees out these days in the morning. Deceptive bright sunshine with biting cold kind of weather that has been making it super hard to get moving to exercise every morning.

Frigid muscles, stiff bones, dry and burning nostrils, heavy breaths, everything taking longer to ease up. I have to admit this has been harder this year than every before. I notice, my body is getting older. Perhaps these are natural ways my body reminds me to payheed to how it is changing. And for a change, I have been listening, not trying to force it to action, whip it into shape, force it to move in ways it is unwilling. I am mostly going the way it is taking me, only gently pushing some boundaries. Largely really steering clear of even trying to push those that I know won’t.

It takes longer these days, but I still crack a sweat and get my heart racing within the first 30 minutes. And by the end of the hour, I am always glad I gently pushed through that starting trouble. That’s how good R’s routines are for me.

Post workout, I go right back to the balconies at the east side of our home to bask some more and stay warm. Then a leisurely hot bath, warm clothes and back into the sunshine for a while.

One year ago: Bombay meri jaan
Two years ago: Weekend highs and lows
Three years ago: May your feet always be swift
Five years ago: Blush

On play

At one of the lowest low points during the lockdown last year (jeez, it still feels so weird saying lockdown last year —  how has it been a year already?!) when loneliness was me, I noticed that what I was really lonely for, so desperate for was actually, tacticle, tangible togetherness and intimacy with people, other bodies, activities, experiences. It struck me how much I missed play.

I use the word a lot lately.

I want to play. I miss play. I want more play in my life.

I know now that what I mean is levity. And that’s a much more rounded, wholesome word for what I mean and want. Because it’s not so much about the doing, or the actual activity at hand, but a feeling I have been missing.

Lightness. Silliness. Fun.

And so I began to wonder about the feeling around fun. How does it feel to have spontenity? What does that make me feel? How does my body respond? What memories come up when I think about lightness, play, frivolity, intimacy, joy.

One thing came up strongly: a need to note the moments, in the moment they occur. To witness exactly what I feel when I’m having fun.

I don’t know if I’ve ever made fun a focus in my life. It always was a byproduct, a happy happenstance of everything else I did — whether work, life, travel or any other pursuit. I have had plenty of fun in my life, just never made an effort to cultivate it. To make a dedicated space for it, go at it with intention and method.

It sounds a bit counterproductive, I know. To want spontenity and fun, but to talk about going about it with method. But what it means to me is, after years spent looking inwards and dealing with the loss of people and experiences that come with that choice, I am ready to step out some. To embrace people and experiences again. This time, from a place of intention and knowing what I want.

It’s a big difference for someone like me.

In all this thinking about fun, I recollected (unsurprisingly) my childhood — possibly the only time in anyone’s life where making fun happen is a focused chase, with near zero distractions. I remembered weekends from my years before age 13, where I would spend all day at play mostly by myself in imaginary worlds that were amalgamations of select fragments of my real life mixed with fantasies from a world I inhabited in my head. Having playmates or company wasn’t a prerequisite. I think I was pretty self-sufficient, and I used pillows and toys as alternative characters and playmates hahaha. Later in my adolescent years, I know fun turned into spending time being lazy, soaking in a book to such a degree that I’d forget to shower and other basic everyday things. I know fun took on a different colour when I was later on in my teens, when buddies, going out, socialising was a whole new world. It was also when I realised, quite gleefully, that I also thoroughly found fun in doing things like cleaning my room, redecorating it, building a space that reflected who I was then, where I’d spend a lot of my time.

If there is one element that was consistent through all the memories that came up it was this: an endlessly dawdly space of time that lingers with no end in sight. That feeling of ease that comes when there is nowhere to be, nothing really to do. When there body relaxes and literally occupies the hours that lie stretched out ahead of me. A full body feeling of enjoyment from being unhurried.

It hit me then. That is what I want to cultivate. Spaces where I can be unhurried. Where time may slow down in my head enough so I can relax within, even if my day is busy.

It is of course a very rare indulgence in an adults life these days. It is certainly an indulgence in mine. But truth be told, I have a life that affords the privilege of making some time for it. Cultivating it, if need be. I remembered osmething N has said to me years ago that I haven’t ever acted on: pencil fun into my schedule. Tread that thin line between organised, yet spontaneous fun. There is a space in there — where I can slot out time for this meandering exploration of nothingness, but also allow for it to organically open up.

I have been shedding the “should do’s” of my life for the last many years. I am so much better today than I was in the past when I would compulsively fill every hour with things to do, and even the fun I had felt hurried, limited and like I had to grab at it before it ran out. I don’t want fun to feel like I’m cheating, or like I’m eating into a limited resource. And I am finally in a space where there is enough empty time in my life to do as I please.

I can have fun. I can drop my ideas of duty for some hours in the week to just indulge myself. And the fun and play can look different every time. I don’t need to plan it out.

I want to play, not plan. I want to operate from instinct, not obligation. I want to follow delight over duty. I want to be surprised more often.

And so this year, I am consciously going to invite, make space for, honour and receive fully, opportunities for spontaneity. To use my very flexible schedule and lifestyle to make space for as much unscheduled fun as I do for scheduled productivity, work and duties. And I’m going to try my darndest best to chase the opportunities, grab them when they come, as they come. Whether I am in the company of those who will participate with me, or I am alone.

I don’t want to sit around waiting and watch fun pass me by because I was playing too safe, or being too busy, or feeling too lazy.

Like the drive out to my parents last week. When I knew in my bones I could and had to do it all on my own, and not wait for the perfect alignment (and safety) of a co-passenger. Like the hours spent lying down on a mat in the sun in Cubbon Park, with no plan.

***

I cannot ignore that there is a voice in my head judging me even as I write this. Look at me writing about pursuing fun when the country is blowing up in flames every hour of every day. Personal joy feels so unimportant. It is something I sit with a lot these days — the vast chasm between the personal, the political, the context I exist and breathe in. The guilt has been thawing though, and I see that moments of lightness are probably what I need more than ever before. To recharge and align within, to feel able and willing again. To constantly remake the kind person I want to be in the world — someone who can hold the two spaces lightly, together. And gently flow between them as necessary.

Some questions that alsoc ame up along the way:

  1. Who gets to decide how much fun is appropriate or necessary?
  2. Why is fun always equated with a frivolity not extended to more “serious” things?
  3. At what point in the ageing process does fun lose the novelty that makes it unworthy of being pursued as we did as children?

One year ago: Regular programming ensues
Two years ago: Waking thoughts
Five years ago: Orange is the new black

Eating the sun

That’s the thing with time, isn’t it? It’s not all the same. Some days — some years — some decades — are empty. There is nothing to them. It’s just flat water. And then you come across a year, or even a day, or an afternoon. And it is everything. It is the whole thing.

— Matt Haig

This year, like the last couple, I made no resolutions. No goals. I have some aspirations, but they’re broad and loosely held. What I did pick instead are three words that I want to live by. Words that represent things I want to incorporate more of in my life. One of them is levity. Lightheartedness. Casual, carefreeness. Spontaneity. Lightness and play.

And today was about that.

A morning spent in the sunlight in the park. In silence, but also with laughter. With no agenda, no “activity”, no real plan to do anything but lie back and bask in the winter light. With black coffee and music for company.

Light. Chill. Full.

That’s the thing about time. Especially time spent looking inwards. Most of it is flat. Uneventful. Nothing to show for it. Seemingly empty, even. Suddenly a moment, a day, week or month suddenly comes along with an intensity you don’t see coming. A coming together you couldn’t have envisaged.

This is exactly how it has been. I have spent so many years looking inwards for what it is that has kept me from this kind of levity. All the forces that got in the way, the self-made inadequacies, the limiting beliefs, the old hurts and everything in between. I have craved connection. Longed for fun and play. Done so much to invoke good, fulfilling experiences that lift me up. I have had them in fits and snatches. All the while, somehow, somewhere things have been clearing, making way for more, for what is yet to come. It’s like I’ve been climbing and climbing upwards for the last so many years, not knowing what lies ahead of the peak. And suddenly I find myself here, over the summit and now looking down, the vast, gleaming world lies ahead, luring me. Promising, full of life and light.

I had some preconcieved notions of what the good times will be. What levity might look like. And this is nothing like I imagined. Yet, it is everything.

One year ago: Monday Tarot Message: Suspend
Five years ago: Every day

Drive

The mountains or beaches question always felt like not enough options for me. What about forests? Woods? Jungles? Treelands? I’m mildly obsessed with this forest, and the drive through it. That’s probably a good chunk of the reason I was prompted to drive back on a lark last week. Something about the birdsong, the animals calling, the rustle of the trees, gently dropping dry leaves, a subtle breeze, the drone of nature vibes filling the air has a tremendous capacity to fill my being up, reset my energy and bring me back to the here and now.

Eternally, eternally grateful for these opportunities. 

Two years ago: Slice of life
Three years ago: Fields of gold
Five years ago: January

Unbridled joy

Barring the boost of forced optimism that January usually brings, the month hasn’t been a particularly good one for the last many years now. Pockets of sunshine aside, I have had deep, brooding Januarys for the last 4-5 years now, where the energy has been more downwards, into the depths than otherwise.

This year, I daresay, I feel distinctly different. Optimism feels like too shallow a word tod escribe how I feel. There’s a deep, deep rootedness that I feel firm in the soles of my feet, that has enabled a sort of springing up. An ascent, a growing out, a maturing, a heart-opening that I have been witnessing slowly come together since the beginning of December.

I have been afraid to acknowledge it, or fully revel in it so far. Wondering when the January sheen will wear off, and the real colour of 2021 will begin to show. But today I said, fuck it. I’m here. I feel really good. And I’m down for it. I’m going to own it, in whatever shape or form it has arrived. Because God knows, it has shown up very differently this year. The joy, abundance, happiness and contentment in my life looks nothing I have come to expect or I have experienced it before.

I’m here for it. With every cell in my body, I’m here for it.

One year ago: Maximum city
Two years ago: Mini thoughts make incremental change
Three years ago: January
Five years ago: On creative hapiness

A home in the clouds

I had a dream a few days ago.

Soft, cotton candy clouds, holding me up.
Like a nest, homey and gentle.
Warm, blood-filled, veins criss-crossing,
a bed of pulpy membranes.

Inviting. Full of life
coursing through them.
Raw, like inside a skinned slice of orange.

Circular, round. Humming.
Unending, life-giving. Enduring.
Of give and take, of ends and beginnings.
From birth seamlessly to death and back.

An eternal nest of life.
Soft to touch. Vulnerable, fragile, delicate.
Strong to hold.
So I lean in, lean back.
I stay, and I look up into the vast blue above.

Crows circling gently, rhythmically.
Ancestors, looking over, protectively.
I am held. I am born.

One year ago: On blooming
Two years ago: Sparks of joy
Five years ago: So, is this a blogathon?

Light and dark

Bangalore is doing a full on delayed, extra dry, extra-nippy-mornings winter. Our home is super well ventilated and gets plenty of light through the day, but not directly flooding through the windows. It’s well positioned, so well lit, but not bright. In winter, the cross breeze is insane, it actually howls while passing through the apartment is all balcony doors or all strategic windows are open. So of course, since we;re back form 36 degree humid weather, we’ve been cooped up at home with everything shut. Which also means less light, and somehow that does make it nippier still.

But, Bangalore also puts on a great winter sunlight. I mean, top-notch. Glowy, iridescent, warm sunlight that sits just alongside the winter air that is so crunchy it might crack if I could snap it in two. Biteable.

So, this morning, after a good two hours of chores, a workout and a super hot shower, I went up to the terrace to lie in the sun. I don’t know why I’ve never done this at home before. I lay there for a full hour, listening to a podcast. And I might have drifted off to sleep.

***

If someone had told me five years ago that the answer to feeling free, comfortable in my own skin, happy with myself and where I am in life lay in looking deep with the abyss of my darkness, I probably wouldn’t have wholeheartedly dived into this journey like I did.

I took a soft and easy approach, but eventually came to The Darkness. The shadow. The duality. The contradictions. The parts of myself I found unbearable and wanted so badly to remain in denial about.

Because that was my training. To always be positive. To be determined to work it out. To triumph at all costs. To be put together always. It’s very hard to be all of these things while staring down at the darkest parts of who I am. The two don’t go together. And slipping into the darkness and owning it meant letting go of the veneer that I was trained to keep up.

For years the work simply involved shedding the idea that The Darkness is bad. Or that I must overcome it. Not let it show. Long and painful work of creating an internal container that could withstand the steep drops that looking into this abyss, was th hardest part. But with enough of that inner strength, I’m finally able to see that The Darkness simply exists. As it does in all of us. I am not worse of or lesser than because of it. And its existence is not a marker of how much I have healed and grown.

If anything, being aware of it, acknowledging it, bringing it into the light, holding it lightly even when it often makes me feel like diving into nothingness, actually liberated me.

Yet another if life’s contradictions: to have tasted freedom in the depths, to have found lightness in the dark.

I told someone the other day, I feel like five years of shoveling the dust and grime in the dark seems to be paying off now. This, today, here, is the most comfortable I have been with who I am, where I am, just as I am. This is the free-est I have felt in all these years of seeking it.

What a ride.

One year ago: Monday Tarot Message: On receiving
Five years ago: Finally moving

The deep relief of being in presence

I’ve been in a near eight week-long social bubble. Diametrically opposite to the isolation bubble that was the greater part of the year gone by, most of which was spent experiencing and confronting abject loneliness. It hit me somewhere in the midst of hanging out with my family, that it was a circumstance I had willingly, actively, enthusiastically chosen. A circumstance I would previously not go out of my way to make happen. Mostly letting my busy schedule and other preoccupations take precedence.

So what’s changed?

In the before time, so long as I had the option, the choice, to choose connection over isolation, I reveled in dipping in and out of it. Since I had the privilege of creating and protecting my personal physical space, I dug my heels in and made the most of it, often at the cost of connection. When I felt lonely, often from my own making and of my own choices, I turned to things like books, my handful of friends (also loners), therapy and smaller groups of my liking to bond over a set of interests and pursuits that we had in common. Anything outside of that felt like too much.

The vast disparities that extended families usually present have felt too much for me in the last many years. Being physically isolated in Goa (in the years between 2010 and 2018) unconsciously made it easy to remain in my mental bubble, and reinforce the idea that I was on a different page and we could never find commonality. The already glaring differences grew wider still and it felt physically impossible to commune over anything at all.

So what’s changed?

2020 turned a switch in my brain. Something about my craving for connection and touch coinciding with a time when I was forced into physical isolation and distance, did a real number on me. Where I’d once hold my personal space, my boundaries and my solitude hard and tight, I have been watching as the edges have melted slowly away, and I’ve been finding a midway that emerges quite organically, without effort. A way to connect without losing myself or my sense of personal space and identity that I build around it.

2020 made me see how much I wanted to tap into the collective experience of what was a global emotional crisis. That so much of what we experience anyway is collective, wide-spread and shared, and that it shouldn’t take a pandemic to finally see that. Isolation somehow made my radar for what is held in the collective super sharp and I felt desperate to create physical space for our collective experience. At a time when I…couldn’t.

My emotional/spiritual journey has bene largely private until last year when I threw the doors open and put myself in the thick of things by beginning a practice. Until then, I prided myself in processing everything on my own, in my meticulously developed capacity to detach. I wore my ability to walk away, draw hard boundaries and remove myself from situations and people, like a massive badge of honour. And yet, at a time that forced that upon me, I felt glad that I had a heads up on this moving away from the tangible world, but felt a deeply heavy sadness about suddenly having to process it all alone.

2020 was a googly I didn’t see coming, but that in retrospect I can’t thank enough. The isolation, the strangeness, the collective death and grief, the incessant handwashing and germophobia of 2020 has turned upside down on its head, what I thought was my “natural instinct” when life gets hard. I thought isolation was my normal. I convinced myself it’s what worked for me, what I loved and needed. And I was so absolute in my resolve around it.

But 2020 with it’s forced isolation and distance, in repsonse to my desire for connection and intimacy, that was deeper than it has ever been; it’s denial of any collective experience and shared spaces to process the mammoth emotional toll of it all; it’s default mode of detachment from all things real and “normal”, leaving everything uncertain and up in the air; made me see that even sadness, fear, loss and grief made me want to come together. All the thigns I would once take away into private, shut the door in on myself and sit with all alone, convinced the world couldn’t help me, now convinced me I needed to be out and with people. Specifically the people I love, my family and some chosen friends who have become family.

Something about being forced into being sanitised, and in that way less human, I found the very crux of what makes me alive and human.

That’s what changed.

I spent most of 2020 feeling feelings that I believed were rather uncharacteristic of me — craving the warmth of company of more than one body, the comfort that only comes not from the intimacy of shared physical spaces, connection from spening time being with other people. This was all very strange for me considering how much of a self-made, self-declared introvert/loner/not-more-than-two-people-for-me person that I have been.

The last eight weeks though, I have felt a profound relief from sharing spaces, conversations, bodies and warmth in communion with friends, with Goa, with the sea, and with my family. There have been several moments where I felt that relief. That comfort seeping into my cells. That internal settling and relaxing that comes from a bone-deep consolation and reassurance that only someone’s presence can give.

What a ride. WHAT A RIDE.

Two years ago: This too is Bangalore
Three years ago: You can taste the dishonesty
Five years ago: Pain