Slow Sundays

Sunday. It’s the only day that begins without the alarm ringing frantically. His on his side of the bed, mine on my side. Strategically uncoordinated, just so we can hit snooze and create a medley of cacophony for approximately twenty five minutes before we kick ourselves out of bed and begin the dash to get into the proceedings of the day. Sundays are the one day that I let myself sleep in. I’m a complete morning person, and even though sleeping in in my books means that I am up and pottering about the house at 8 instead of 6.30, I savour those extra 80-90 minutes, sans the ringing alarm and repeated snooze routine to the max. I wake up feeling extra rested and even if there’s a slow, lazy Sunday ahead, I feel ready to face the day.

Summer Sundays have been extra slow, with me waking up hot-headed and just not wanting to face the day. So when the otherwise totally beat-from-the-week-VC woke up super early, brought me chai in bed just as I was surfacing and gently suggested we make our next food-video, all the slowness of Sunday flew out of the window. Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic. That’s been the general theme of summer. Zero enthusiasm. The hottest of hot days (that I thought was last Monday) happened to be this past Sunday, and in my mind, I had planned to order-in some greasy Chinese, chug back a few beers and binge-watch my latest re-addiction at least six hours of the day. I was all set to have that kind of weekend, of just vegging out and doing absolutely nothing. I was also slightly beat from a saturday of baking (four orders!) and hungover from the shenanigans of a friends 30th birthday party the previous night. But. The rare opportunity when VC volunteers to pitch in to help me make a video for my blog is not one to be passed up so easily. So without giving it too much thought, for fear of changing my mind (or his), I agreed. We picked a simple recipe — a basic chicken curry gravy I recently learned from my grandmother on a trip back to Bangalore. She told me this is my grandfather’s recipe and filled me in on an anecdote or two about how she came from a vegetarian home, but my grand father taught her how to cook meat. I was fascinated by the story as much as the recipe and had filed it away as a must-make, on my phone. I am a sucker for this kind of homely, simple curry which uses a handful of spices, ground down to make the base. In this case, it is with coconut. There are almost no additional masala powders that go in after that! We swapped the chicken for eggs because I didn’t want to rush off to the supermarket to buy anything. And that’s how we ensured that there was no slip between thought and action, and we got right to it.

I made lunch, while VC filmed it, teaching himself some video techniques and iMovie on the go. Lens whacking he tells me is the new in thing. I nod along, disinterestedly. My interest in anything apart from the things I really care about is always cursory. I go wide-eyed for a couple of minutes, peek into the youtube video he is looking at totally intently and wonder what sort of DNA makes him go headlong into everything like his life depends on it. If I were making the film by myself, I’d probably just film it and be done with it. Or not film anything at all — which explains why these videos are so few and far between. But when he gets involved, there’s always a plan. And he will go to any lengths to make that plan work as best as possible. At one point, he climbed out the kitchen window and perched himself on the parapet outside, to get the most comfortable angle.

perch

Working with iMovie isn’t the easiest thing around and we had a lot of roadblocks, but we’re figuring it out. Hopefully this enthusiasm won’t fade away before we figure at least some of it out! Learning something new and venturing into brand new territory is always an exciting thing. But its also a lot of work in progress and we’ve got lots of learning to do. I’m attributing the slightly dodgy video quality to his self-taught skills. But when there’s a fabulous meal at the end of it and a Sunday well spent — yet another one in the Sunday series that has taken a very, very, very long break in recent times — I really can’t complain.

Satiated, rubbing my belly and looking over VC’s shoulder as he painstakingly edited the film, I realised this is what a good Sunday is to me. It’s been a very long time since VC has been home. Not just physically, but his presence, all here, in the present, has been hard to come by. His busy stint has been prolonged and most weekends he’s either at the office, and even if he isn’t he’s working at home, or mentally checked out from anything remotely domestic, or apart from his work. What little free time he has he dedicates to cycling his heart out and I’m glad he has a new found love to bust his pent up energy with, de-clutter his mind and just ride out whenever he wishes. If video-making can be another such hobby, I’ll be even happier.

Everybody needs a break, and God knows VC has needed a day off like this for a long time now. I’ve been noticing it in his preoccupied eyes and his constantly mumbling in his sleep state of mind. All signs of a mind with too much going on, so it was good to just give in and soak it up, for who know how short-lived this bliss might be?

edit

Coincidentally, the weather turned post lunch and we had rain in the evening. A series of dinners eaten out (yes I’ve undone all the goodness of going months without eating out at the hands of the last few weeks of summer) were trumped by a Sunday indoors — the first in a long time. A Sunday evening in the company of beer, VC clickety-clacking away at the video, the clamour of the downpour outside and one of my favourite Bonobo tracks (also used in the video) playing on loop.

walk

plant

Curtains swished in the breeze that has suddenly become so strong and seems to be flowing right through my house, and I watched it all feeling peaceful in a way that I haven’t in a long time. It’s a different kind of peace to realise you’re completely in the present and just happy with everything the way it is, even in its imperfect simplicity. I felt ever so grateful. For that kind of peace. For the turn in weather, the summer receding and the monsoons heading our way. For the return of some energy to cook us dinner again. For neighbours who cheer me up with gifts of money-plants to put in my home. For technology and for being able to learn things on the internet. For friends who incessantly chatter on whatsapp and make me chuckle all to myself. For a husband who pulls me out of every lull that I have might have found myself in. For his company that always makes staying home the better option. For slow Sundays that surprise me.

Ooh, almost forgot! Here’s the video:

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Kicking ass at kicking ass

In early April, I was forced to find an alternative of some sort when my instructor went away on holiday over summer. I could have just as well joined the gym, the regular gym that is, but after a whole year of working out in the wonderfully energetic Zumba and Body Pump classes I have going, the idea of treading along on a treadmill or busting my ass on a spinning bike all by myself, seems incredibly dull and mindnumbingly boring. Not to mention much harder to get myself to do.

I was never very self-motivated in this respect, and the longest I have stuck to a solitary form of exercise was the year I stuck to running. Aside from that, I have always been a group glass kind of person. A fixed time frame, an instructor to encourage and kick your as in equal measure, and a routine that never gets monotonous and old are all important for me. Going to the gym, though it has been fun in the past and proved to have tremendous results too, is a bit dicey unless I find the right mix that is a good trainer, god-awesome music, a lively environment and some company to keep me going. Neither of which I have been able to find in Goa.

So I picked a kick-aerobics class — one I have been to two years ago, but had to give up because I was working long hours at the time, and it was too hardcore to manage at the end of a work day. My body started giving up in just over a month and regretfully, I had to quit. I returned in April this year, taking this class three times a week, armed with a year of steadily built up stamina and endurance, not to mention heaps more strength than I had the last time around, and since it is a group class and has a kick-butt instructor the going has been wonderfully good.

1) The best part of the class has been the discovery of an outdoor workout twice a week. There’s quite nothing like having an instructor who immediately picks up on my masochistic levels of enthusiasm and asks me to join her at for some extra classes on the remaining two days of the week. Of course, I grabbed the opportunity. And it has been nothing short of fabulous.

Despite the crazy 90+% humidity levels and the evening heat beating down, lying on a tun toasted floor so you feel like your body is going to bake, it feels oh SO good to be outdoors.

kickit
At the end of a hard class. It began to pour soon after class ended and while I was driving back home. Tragic!

2) Aside from meeting the aforementioned criteria, I’ve figured what shaking things up a little every now and then keeps the endorphins kicking for me. I love a new challenge and completely thrive in the process of throwing myself into something seemingly impossible to achieve, killing myself trying to do it and finally three weeks later suddenly tasting sweet success! That’s how I feel about many of the things I have done in this class. Had a #likeaboss moment when after many classes of shakily hovering just off the ground, I finally managed this after three weeks of repeatedly trying.

A couple of self defence moves (with sparring to practice, to boot) thrown in here and there are a big bonus. I now challenge the hugsband to try me, and I’ve never been more serious.

3) The blurb that introduces her class on the Studio website inspired me to sign up: Please don’t come to my class unless you plan to work your ass completely off! Please eat everything you are eating now. Sounds harsh but I want realism. Stopping certain foods is temporary and tricky. I feel that once a difference is felt and seen in the physique, the food sensibilities fall into place or aren’t even required.

My instructor just won’t take no for an answer and that has by far been the biggest positive about this class. You’re not allowed not to try, and once you do, you’re not allowed to give up.

4) This class is the diametric opposite of everything that Zumba is. For one there’s no music, just focused counting and ass-whooping kick-aerobics. There’s a good 15-17 minute warm-up which in enough to make me melt, unlike having to dance a good half an hour before which I start to feel like I’m heating up. Where Zumba is slightly pretty, graceful and always makes me feel like I need to reach deep inside to fish out my inner chica, with kick-aerobics I can be as klutzy and brash as I want to be.

I love Zumba for the energy, music and the excuse to dance my ass off three times a week, but many times I really do feel like I’m having an out of body experience shimmying my ungraceful self with a straight face. Kick aerobics calls for some aggro and that’s not too hard to gather. Quite predictably, the Zumba class attracts a lot of women of all kinds, and save for a couple of women, I find myself a complete misfit there. I am probably the only childless person there, and probably also the only person not working out to 1) get back in shape post a baby, or 2) get in shape in order to have a baby, or 3) try and be a size 0 or fit into a particular dress. The vibe in the kick-aerobics is entirely different. I don’t think we have ever discussed flab or sizes or clothes or anything of the sort. The focus is entirely on getting strong and doing shit you think you cant do and we crack on from the moment go.

5) Giving my body a change, a new high to aspire for and ending every day, 5 days a week, in a puddle of sweat has done wonders for my happiness quotient this summer. Also, its always kickass to discover how much your body is actually capable of but that you never realised because you haven’t had that opportunity to stretch. Just like when I began Body Pump lessons, this class has reaffirmed my belief that there’s pretty much nothing you can’t slowly train yourself to achieve. If you want to do it badly enough, you’ve got to just do it. The rest is just fluff.

Because I’m Happy

Yeah, despite the last two posts being tagged under the “Bheja Fry” section of this blog, believe it or not, I am happy. After three days of continuous political discussions, debates at home, opinions being aired all over the place, and then that dreaded flight back (which was the last straw on my back), I woke up to excellent happy news on Monday morning.

I’ve been obsessed with WIll Pharrell’s Happy ever since the brilliant 24 hour video website was launched earlier this year. When cities across the world started making their own Happy videos, a tiny keeda lodged itself in my brain. I wanted to make one that featured the many happy things in Goa, because it just seemed so apt. But I am neither equipped to make a film, nor do I have the clout to gather enough happy people. Also the few people I floated the idea too weren’t as enthusiastic. So the keeda died a sudden and untimely death. Until one afternoon, when my friend Princy and I discussed it on a whim over lunch. The keeda lay there festering, even more fueled by Ramya’s post about the Vizag video, and before we knew it we were out filming one very, very hot weekend. Two days in the sun, driving around Goa, filming locations, people, coordinating various shots, slowly becoming pros at chatting up complete strangers and asking them to do a jig for us, and getting even better at breaking into a far from coordinated move (or if you’re anything like me, doing cartwheels on a busy beach) in the middle of a crowded street, we thought we had enough footage to get this together. But the first cut wasn’t as hot as we’d expected. I took off to Bangalore mid-way, and Princy and her husband took on another couple of days of painstaking filming, and many many days of tedious editing which finally resulted in this piece of happy news that reached me on Monday morning.

Pharrell love has finally hit Goa!

I’m stoked with how it finally turned out considering its rather humble and small beginnings in our very inexperienced hands. Neither Princy nor I know the first thing about making films, so it was natural that the first cut was far from slick or even remotely professional. Princy is a dance instructor at the fitness studio I go to, and I am fast becoming a pro at getting my hands into way too many pie so of course I jumped in when she expressed interest in making the video. Thankfully, her very talented wedding photo/cinematographer husband Amrit pitched in, in parts and gave the film the professional touch it needed. It made me very happy to see that something that started as a fun thing to do to make a weekend exciting, finally turned into a video that someone thought we’d made for Goa Tourism!

It was truly a happy project, started very casually with the two of us lazily gathering people to come join us, but as the days went by it picked up momentum, people jumped on the bandwagon and offered all kinds of help. From posing/dancing for us, to helping us cast the right faces, finding more enthusiastic people, and providing suggestions on locations, events, spots to catch — somehow help just seemed to fall into place when we looked for it. Personally, the making of the video is a fitting depiction of what my Goa experience has been — the rather random, but happy coming together of like-minded people.

30.

It’s about time I manned up and gave making baguettes a shot.
Maybe its about time I quit this time-sucking assignment and focus on work I really want to devote my time to.
I must learn to fix niggling web issues myself. It’s about time!
Got to look up my savings, about time I assessed where I stand, for myself.

“It’s about time” has unconsciously become a refrain in my life of late. I wonder if it is my subconscious reminding me to grow up a little bit. I am 30 today, after all. Some would say its about time.

*****

When I visited Bangalore early in April, I got a big kick out of watching movies with my folks, lying in bed between them. Until one day I had a giggle fit, and exclaimed to my parents, “Jeez, I’m going to be 30 next month. Isn’t it about time I stopped sleeping in your bed?!”

My father grinned, but my mother nonchalantly informed me that no matter how old I get, they will always be 20+ years older.

*****

10 years ago, I had a head full of plans and I honestly thought I had it all figured out. Whatever happened, I was going to face it with a lot of hard work and determination. Naively, thought there was nothing that I couldn’t fight with that combination on my side. And I applied the same approach to everything in life — college exams, job applications, my love life, constant clashes with my parents. Yep, that pretty much summed up my life 10 years ago.

I was a restless, edgy, antsy 20-something and just wanted to break out of home, go out into the world, where I assumed things would be easier. Where they would be free-er. All I wanted was a high-flying job for a year. The plan was to then go back to study, to business school. Get an MBA, get into the Talent Seeking/Management business an climb the corporate ladder, while piles of money flowed in. Yeah I didn’t stop to ask anyone how feasible this plan was. I had it all sorted. It was a straight line and there was nothing I couldn’t fight without that hard work and determination backing me. I had few friends, but a full and pretty active social life. I didn’t spend too much time at home, stretching work and socialising way beyond accepted limits. I had tasted sweet freedom of financial independence, without realising I still had the safety net of going back to a home where my parents watched over me. It was a partial kind of convenient independence, but I lived under the notion of being free.

I thought I had found the one big, unshakeable love, but I didn’t want to settle. In a distant future in my mind, I had named my babies, the ones I assumed I’d have with the boy I thought I was going to end up with. And yet, I didn’t want to be married or worse, that disgusting word – domesticated. I think my hypothetical future involved living-in and procreating without waiting for anyone’s permission to do so. Ten years ago I had it all sorted. Ten years I had plans. My plans.

But plans are overrated. And life does that thing it always does. Messes with all plans, shows you who’s boss. And like a predictable movie gone wrong, the itch to study faded away slowly. The heady high of earning money had me fairly intoxicated and I wanted more. The big love shattered, the babies turned into a distant dream. Nothing was as I had hoped it would be, and yet I was alive and kicking through it all. Five years down, I was married and been through a string of jobs in advertising. I had realised in time that an MBA would have been disastrous for me and working HR even more so. I had tasted the joy of writing and I wasn’t prepared to let it go. And so began a steady stream of jobs that were wrong for me, along the way to find that elusive job that would hopefully be good for me.

Once a cut-throat Bangalorean, a city girl — someone who couldn’t do without the perks, I found myself in small town Goa, etching a life out for myself. Little did I know then that the quiet that once frightened me would become my best friend in no time at all.I discovered the kitchen and amidst the clatter of pots and pans and crackling tadka, I fell head-long in love with food. Only to go right ahead and get completely obsessed with it.

When I think back in time, it is the last decade that throbs back to life without much effort. It’s almost like the two that passed before it, never happened. The last decade probably did more to shape my personality than I imagined. It chiseled the poky corners, smoothed the edges of my restless, antsy being. It’s taken much of the unpleasant edge off, and made way for a quiet confidence that doesn’t need permission. A confidence that creeps up on me silently, that doesn’t wait to be told when to act. That doesn’t need an excuse to burst to life.

A decade ago, I was so far from knowing who I am as a person, and what truly makes me happy. I was busy looking for it in relationships that tied me down and twisted me into being a person I was not. Professionally, I was hoping to find joy in places it didn’t exist. And in my head, I had a dream that could not have been more inappropriate and wrongly suited to who I am.

10 years ago, while I was actively rejecting and rebelling against most things my parents taught me, against everything that probably came organically to me, in fits and starts but I was too cool to give a chance, I didn’t foresee things would change so drastically one day. The last decade has shown me that.

Because that antsy, unsure, restless 20 something girl that I was, eventually went ahead to do all the things I never planned to do. I got married. I gave into a love that was liberating. I discovered a life of domesticity that ironically, freed me from myself. Emotionally, as well as from the tightly bound goals I imagined for my life. It’s shown me that the things I most loathed, looked down upon and scorned would eventually come back to be the biggest and best sources of joy.

The outgoing, filling-life-with-people-and-stuff person that I was turned calm and quiet, embraced the forced solitude of small-town life with grace and created a life she never imagined possible, in it. I didn’t know it then, but the solitude that I feared soon became my biggest strength and security.

Calm Life

That the carefully cultivated fear of most things new, of the unknown and unfamiliar, of opinions and judgement would be the very same thing that would push me to try things I’d never imagine myself to do. Heck I found a life in the kitchen and turned it into my raison d’etre. It doesn’t get more turn-around-y than that.

Make Things

In the quest for an undomesticated, unsettled, rebel’s life I realised there were far too many cakes to bake before I let life really make me settle the way I imagined it would.

It has been a decade of living, loving and learning and I can’t wait for what the new year holds. So I quietly trudge along, while all the time keeping a close look on myself, and the happiness and satisfaction of those I love. It has been a decade of growing into a daughter, parent, friend, wife, confidante, support system and client all rolled into one — and playing each of those roles better than before. A time of living every emotion — loving like I never have, tasting freedom, owning joy, facing dissatisfaction — completely, feeling it like I never have.

Happy

*****

Sometime last week MM emailed me this piece by Elizabeth Gilbert and it really hit home. Because everything she describes her parents to be, is true for my parents too. And everything she describes in the piece, is everything I have rejected, tagged uncool and unacceptable at 20, and is everything that I have come to now regard, love and respect. Not just that, it is everything I have slowly imbibed and accepted as my own, in the life I have carved for myself today.

As I read the words, my heart grew heavy and ached to hug my mother and my father. Because it described with unbelievable accuracy, everything that my parents have brought us up to believe in. In essence, I could have written that about my parents. It is  is all i grew up listening to, watching, breathing and imbibing.

Theirs was no hippie way of life, but definitely one in which they played by their own rules, evaluated decisions based on worked best for them, what made them happy and gave them satisfaction. And even to this day, they continue to live this way. While I may have unconsciously taken the same path, it is only in recent time that I have become aware of what it means to consciously  live this way. It means forcing yourself to evaluate everything you do and sometimes take decisions that aren’t popular, acceptable, convenient or easy. It can leave you lonely physically and emotionally, but builds a deep-rooted courage and sense of being self-assured. But most of all it sets the strong foundation of living free of fear — of societal acceptance, of new ground, of unfamiliar territory.  Ultimately it has taught me to live my life the way I deem fit.

Perhaps this is why I feel like it is about time, all the time. For the last few years I have been blurring the lines of the boundaries I want to draw. I have been treading the line, stepping in and out, toggling between the roles I want to play, and those that are expected of me. But eventually, I realise that it is time to stop trying. And to start doing. To stop asking for permission. Waiting for validation. Seeking approval. Playing by the rules. Staying within the lines and doing things to plan.

There’s something about distance, physical as well as the distance of time, of ten long years, that can put a mellow spin on things. Because over the last few years, I have slowly realised that it takes a long time, but things eventually come full circle, and before you know it, you realise you may very well be turning into the kind of person your parents always wanted you to be. The kind of person you swore you would never be.

Is that what growing up is like?

Calm Down

*****

It seems I’ve only ever written birthday posts in retrospect. Until today. Read some older birthday ruminations, if you feel like, from one, two, three, four years ago.

Back home and back home again

It’s been close to two years since our last big holiday — once an annual thing in our lives — and apart from the recent getaway (VC missed it btw), I can’t seem to recollect the last time the hugsband and I went on a holiday with no agenda but to unwind. VC is mostly immune to this need, feeling the pangs of wanderlust maybe once a year, or less. I was the one with the constant ants-in-pants, wheels-on-heels condition. So it is somewhat odd yet comforting, in retrospect, to note that that familiar get-up-and-go itch has not reared its head in a while.

Part of it is that life has become so all-consuming, it leaves no room to want to get out and do something else. But while the desire to travel seems to be temporarily hibernating, earlier this month I acknowledged the very real issue of having to get out of this gharelu cocoon I have built around me. It’s really easy to get comfortable in here and puts me in the headspace where things amble on endlessly, with me plodding away with my routine every single day, going through the same motions on repeat. Until, bam! Suddenly one I realised it would soon be April and I hadn’t even set one foot forward with some of the things I wanted to finish by mid-2014. There’s nothing wrong with being gharelu, per se. God knows, I love it like I haven’t loved anything in a long time. But it is one of the downsides of being self-employed and owning your time. You have so much of it that sometimes you lose track of where and how you’re spending it. While I was busy baking, cooking, gymming, and just being a home-bred chicken, time was zipping by and I realised that I needed get away in order to get some work done. The kind of work that will not be interrupted by the impossible-to-quell desire to bake a cake or set my cutlery in order, or finish reading a book, or cook an unnecessary elaborate meal for no apparent reason, or fit in an extra run in a day that has already had its fill of endorphins. Who knew every day life could be so distracting?

So I decided to take myself out of this physical space that lures me into a tangle of impossibly high levels of activity. Some distance was necessary. I considered checking into a nice home-stay/resort in Goa but quickly decided it wasn’t worth the indulgence. I was slacking off on my self-made deadlines. The last thing I needed was a reward. I contemplated checking out of life as I know it, cutting back on things like chores, gym, and my monthly writing gigs, to lock myself in and write. But I don’t trust myself around my home. It’s like locking a child up, in a candy store. I can find distraction where distraction doesn’t know it exists.

Scratch that. Hanging out at home was a bad idea. But it needed to be a homely place where I wouldn’t have to think about the basics like food, shelter, peace and quiet. So, I did the next best thing I could think of. I went home. To Bangalore.

So ironic. I escaped the cocoon of my own home, in Goa. To go to the urban crawl that is Bangalore. To write. But, it was a trip like no other I’ve made at home. First of all because I did very little outside home, because for a change, it wasn’t a holiday for leisure. I had a plan and I wanted to make sure it worked out. So I met practically nobody, stayed in at home, got a fair bit of my writing done, while ignoring the world outside.

It was also the first time I went back home alone, since I left in 2008. Every other trip before this has been either with VC or for a specific purpose like meeting the sister, my grandmother or to attend a function. Either way, it always ends up being a big reunion of sorts, splitting my days in a tight schedule of ticking off things to do, and visiting as many people as I can. So it was good to have no prior agenda, because for a change I got to live the life the way I used to before I got married. Sleeping in my bed, in my bedroom. Waking up to home made breakfasts and filter coffee. Lounging around, catching up on reading, writing and watching TV and movies with my folks (I carried the whole Oscar list of movies for them and we watched many of them together). Eating meals together in the kitchen I have grown up eating in. Cackling away with my mother as my father watched on with a smirk on his face, happy to have the noise back in his home, I think.

Tea. Book. Bangalore weather. Peace.
Tea. Book. Bangalore weather. Peace.

Like I said the last time I visited, Bangalore has become all about home, rather than the other way around. It’s comforting that no matter what changes around you, within you or in your life, there will always be home to go back to. A home that is still as vibrant with energy, colourful, cheerful and happy just the way it has been for as long as you remember. That dinette that I have dined at for almost two decades, gulping down dosas and chapaties as they got made and amma just kept them coming. The frothy filter coffee she makes fresh every morning by passing it through two tumblers, painstakingly, every single time. My father’s garden, garden furniture and unused dark room that has and probably always will remain a shoe closet! The den that holds all the books I’ve gathered thru life, the same collection my mother begs me to sort through but I just can’t get myself to do. The treadmill that doubles up as a towel drying stand. The bathrooms with the perfume of freshener. The super high bed in my parents bedroom that we pile ourselves on to and watch TV. The stool in the bathroom that’s always placed just so. While everything else might undergo sea change, home will always be homely. It was good to go back and immerse myself in that a little, no strings attached.

Breakfast rituals.
Breakfast rituals.

This time around I even minimised visits to VCs home, in order to cut all distractions and focus on my work. It worked wonders. I was much more relaxed without the stress of having to be in both homes at once. It’s amazing but it’s taken me five years of constantly playing see-saw to finally take a stand, choose the home I am comfortable in and stay put without looking for a reasonbeyond because I want to do. For once I didn’t hide behind excuses, told it as it was, and best of all, didn’t feel the twinge of guilt that inevitably follows. It helped that VC cornered me into taking this stand, forcing me to man up and not succumb to the unrealistic expectations of daughters in laws.

The only person I did catch up with was N after, what I was convinced was, a whole decade. It’s wonderful how so many years can pass with little to no interaction, but when you meet an old friend, the conversation flows, life updates speak volumes about how far we have come, and we end up having more in common than we probably imagined. I’m glad I made time for this one. N, I wish we had taken a picture to remember it!

Aside from that, Amma and I made our mandatory trip to the neighbourhood steel patram store. My idea of retail therapy, where many shiny, happy new kitchen goodies were acquired.

Retail therapy.
Retail therapy.

The parents and I ate out at a brand new Thai restaurant, so good that we went back for seconds at the end of the trip. The city didn’t disappoint me as much as it usually does but this probably has to do with the fact that I didn’t venture out.

Engrossed in family goss, of course.
Engrossed in family goss, of course.

Insane drink! Orange, mint, Thai chilli and kaffir lime - hot and cool all at once.
Insane drink! Orange, mint, Thai chilli and kaffir lime – hot and cool all at once.
The rents <3
The rents <3

I’m grateful for the break. Even though it was just from one home to another home. It was just the distance I needed. Perhaps there is some truth to that Seth Godin quote about setting up a life you shouldn’t have to escape, because I’m beginning to find some solace and make some sense of why I want to mostly stay cooped up at home. Soaking up the homeliness, not indulging in people, wanting to write and read like my life depends on it, taking a side and sticking up with it without diplomatically pissing off my in-laws — it was such a refreshingly different trip. It took going back home to remind me where I will always be welcome. At home, where things will always remain the same.

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