Day 169: Home where my love lies waiting

It’s been over a year since we moved into this home. And yet, so much remains to be done. I’ve alway shad a constantly WIP home, and I realised very early on that I like the idea of a certain kind of home, far more than I like the effort it takes to get me there. So, the wish list is never really ever fully met, the note titled “Home Stuff” on my phone, where I jot down things I’d like to make, buy, add, build for the house grows faster than I can keep up with it, and periodically I got through spots of frustration when I look around and suddenly think, “SHIT! I never made xyz”, “I *still* haven’t got down to putting abc up”, or “Soon, very soon I’ll finish that DIY project I started in 2012”, or some such.

At the moment too, things are basic, almost minimalist, replete with a fair bit of of half-done stuff, unattended corners and the like. There’s so much we could be doing, but we haven’t managed to just do it. It niggles at the back of my brain from time to time, and when a sudden burst of inspiration strikes, I manage to kill a few things off the list.

But this past weekend, and maybe this is entirely the effects of the weekend talking and not some newfound zen, I felt a deep contentment with my home. A sense of feeling rooted, warm and comforted.

It was drizzling ever so delicately, while the sun still shone pretty bright — Fox’s Wedding style. Inside, it was grey enough to turn the lights on. And everything just felt yellow, happy and…enough.

I realised tat even though it feels incomplete and unfinished, our home does reflect a lot of VC and me. Specifically, our fuss-free way of being. Where we’ll start off with gusto, lose steam and intellectualise the spiralling energy by asking “How much is too much?” or “When will it be enough?”, having realised that what we have is rather full of life, it does the job and it feels good.

And I want to remember the moment, because I felt it so deeply and internally.

Two years ago: Day 169: Work things that make me chuckle

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Day 158: With your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I had an entire day to do just as I pleased. No work demands, no home demands, no strings, no schedules.

It began with a breakfast date with M at Koshy’s, who I was meeting for the very first time. It’s been absolute years since I felt inclined to meet a stranger on the internet via the blog. But something in M’s email, and her reasons for reaching out now even though she’s apparently been reading for years, made me feel we’d click. And it was just such a spectacular delight. We had sausages, bacon, omlettes and coffee and discussed everything from being childfree to our patterns of consumption and waste management. All this, in the context of how the pace of life around us just doesn’t seem to fit with our own and how we’re always seeking like-minded people who feel the same sense of dissonance. I can safely say this is the first time that Ive had a conversation about this stuff and had so many “OMG, ME TOO!”s with anyone in Bangalore. It doesn’t even happen with my own friends anymore. It was wildly reassuring and really made me so grateful for the uncanny ways in which the universe (and the internet) connects us to the right people at the right time.

I got home to an empty house, which I’ve been enjoying. I ate two large mangoes for a late lunch, since I was too stuffed from breakfast to eat anything else, while binge watching and finishing She’s Gotta Have It. I have oh so many thoughts about the show — it’s fantastic, btw — but I will have to let them steep a bit before I pontificate.

I then read for two hours straight. Something else that I haven’t had the pleasure of doing for a long while.

The plan then was to head to my mum’s place where my sister (who is also home alone) and I would eat a light dinner and watch a documentary together. But I had another one of those days where I was fused to the beanbag watching Netflix or reading for something like five hours. And I had obviously gone to the point of no return so that plan got canned so fast.

I did manage to get out in time to cook though. Made myself a big pot of mixed veggie sambar and a palak stir fry, which I walloped faster than I could say yummayy.

The husband was home for all of ten minutes between 7.45 and 8 pm before dashing off for dinner with some friends. So I took my lazy ass to bed early. Enjoying the expanse of the double bed all by myself, watching Netflix to sleep.

It was so good to be home.

It felt so good to be without an agenda and still have a full day.

I loved that I made a new friend.

I realised the flowers in the window are going BATSHIT.

I really enjoyed cooking for myself. The mindfulness of caring about what I eat has returned and it felt so good to eat that hot, home-cooked, healthy meal.

I noticed the skies have been mad off late.

I began the next module of my course today so by the end of yesterday I had the excited anticipatory vibes of a teenager before a new school term.

Life is good. Life is really good.

Two years ago: Day 158: No words today

Day 155: I wrote a letter to my love

Confession: It took me a whole month to write the birthday letter I had promised to write myself.

Every day, since my birthday (when I decided I’d do this) I have thought about getting my ass down to doing it, but I just faced such an enormous resistance from within. I didn’t understand why, because I actually, really, really wanted to begin doing this for myself. But much like the general fog that hung around me, I put it down to the inexplicable forces that I must not attempt to fight. Tomorrow, I’d tell myself. Every day. Until the whole month had passed and nada. Noting. Zilch.

Everything felt like it took extra effort, and yet nothing really held me in what can only be described a high-activity few weeks where my mental and emotional energies have rendered mush. However, in all the chaos, there have been internal signs and cues — just the need to write that letter, the desire to get out for breakfast by myself — that my mind has been silently giving me, continuously.

I discovered the joys of solitude very early in life, and in recent time the pursuit of pockets of time with myself has been selfishly high on my agenda. The rapid shifts I’ve been experiencing within my being has left me silent for the most part of last month, because there was just too much happening within for me to process and share, and begin to live and experience. I have really felt the need to cocoon myself and be alone, quiet. Inevitably though, that feeling comes with a little guilt.

Just how small, narrow and selfish am I being?
self-serving am I making my life?
Is my desire to be by myself causing others around me hurt, worry, rejection?

So in addition to actually wanting to be by myself (and managing to do it a fair bit) I have had an inner tussle these thoughts, I realised, as I sat by myself the other day.

There is also a matter of space. One of the things I’ve felt a little sad about in Bangalore, is not having a room of my own. When we moved to Bangalore, I had already mentally started winding down my personal writing practice, and our current home doesn’t allow for desk space  or a work room (like I had in Goa) for me to work, or just sit and ponder. In Goa, it was my room to retreat to for the most part of any given day. It kept me grounded and centred in more ways that I realised. Until I came here, and have been without a room of my own for over a year.

I’ve been longing for space too, I suppose. In some form or another. A room of my own. A date with myself. A walk in Cubbon Park. Something to make a ritual of.

On June 1st something definitely changed. I woke up early and joined the yoga class I’ve been meaning to for months now. The same one I’ve been unable to because waking up has been so damn hard. I cooked! Willingly, enthusiastically. Looking up long-bookmarked recipes from my favourite cookbook, and really enjoying the cooking, rather than cooking to just get a chore done. And I finally got the letter written.

From the moment I woke up, the will to actually finally put pen to was palpable. I felt upbeat and like I had emerged from a grey cloud to suddenly see the light.

S and I had plans to meet for lunch one afternoon, and when I was all set to leave home and get my cab, she cancelled. I was already in the flow of things, my cab was on it’s way, and I was looking forward to some time out. So, I decided to go anyway. I changed my destination and took myself to Koshy’s — my favourite place to have a table for one, and where I usually go to spend time writing or reading alone, when I just need to be with myself for a bit.

As a last minute thought, I carried my letter pad with me. And lo and behold, almost as soon as I got there, ordered and opened up my pad, the thoughts just bubbled over. And they would. not. stop.

I wrote five whole pages, over three hours. Over two unhurried iced teas, one omelette with a plate of toast, and since the sky had suddenly turned overcast, let out a loud crack and crashed down on us with a massive downpour, a tall glass of chai to end it all.

Originally, I’d wanted to walk down to Blossom’s, but I was just so content from having let the words that have been stifled in me for the last four week come out, I really didn’t need anything more to top the day.

I’m glad I finally managed to cut the chatter and go get it. Because it was nice to just decompress and put my thoughts out, and see them for what they are. Freeing and unburdening.

It was nice to have that sense of space about me again. I’ve been longing for some room. Some room in the clutter of my mind. A room of my own. But sometimes just a table, a pen and some paper will do.

Two years ago: Day 155: Sairat

Day 153: Life has a funny way of helping you out

Little moments that have stuck with me this past week:

  • Coming home to fresh flowers on the plants that have come back from the dead thanks to the incessant rain the week we were away, really made my heart sing
  • When the last of the sandy, stodgy, musty holiday laundry pile-up was hung out to dry, and I took a deep breath because everything smelt flowery like detergent
  • When my yoga teacher said (out to the entire class) “You don’t have to go all the way. Just go only as far as you can right now” and I felt like it was just meant only for me
  • When an ex-client from yonks ago messaged me, opening with “I read your article in Arre and loved it!” and it made me smile inside
  • Every time that VC has thrown his head back and laughed a wholesome, belly laugh that lights up his eyes, it has made me giggle
  • When I opened the fridge (that I had emptied and cleared out a couple of hours before) felt deeply satisfied at how minimalist it looked
  • The unexpected glee at feeling 15 again, when we were at The Permit Room, this song came on

  • The peace of the only afternoon I had all by my lonesome at home, and VC returned to find me sitting in exactly the same place in exactly the same position I was in when he left me three hours before

Two years ago: Day 153: Period story and writing lessons

Day 149: It don’t look like I’ll ever stop my wandering

I’m feeling a bit blank this week. I thought it was the post-holiday fatigue, and a touch of jetlag. But it’s been two days and with the sleepiness and lethargy showing no signs of abating, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something more to it. As such this entire month has had me repeating my refrain: I’m feeling unsettled. Save for the two trips away, that has been the general feeling I’ve carried around.

Travel always unanchors just a bit. Something about letting go of the regular routine and relaxing means I tend to take a while to slip back to normalcy. But this is my third consecutive time going away and returning, to realise that I still don’t feel that I’m-coming-home feeling when I return to Bangalore. That feeling usually aids the return to normalcy. I feel it only once I’m within the safe space of my home or my parents home. But landing at the airport still leaves me feeling like I’m in transit, and like I have to hop on to a flight to get to Goa or someplace else.

Bangalore still feels like a pitstop. This really bothers me. I’ve been trying to do an assortment of little things to help settle in. Part of it is because I feel I owe it to myself — so much has gone into moving lock, stock and barrel, I feel let down to think that 365 days later, I’m still not quite…well, at home in that truest, deep-down sort of way.

But today, when I woke up in a funk and forced myself to try and potter about the house, settle things, cook a little (it’s domestic stuff that usually helps me find my ground again), that I had a small realisation. It’s when I beat myself up over trying to feel at home, that I end up feeling unsettled.

I thought I was dealing with this transition better than ever before. I am, but just not quite as well as I imagined, perhaps. I’m allowed an off-day in this respect too, I suppose. Maybe I need to stop fighting the unsettledness. Let it be. Let it pass.

It’s funny, when I lived in Goa I had a distinct feeling of belonging there. Despite my bouts of homesickness. I had come to a place of feeling at home in two places, of feeling at home as a state of mind. And  everything, I placed so much of this feeling of home on the places I lived in, on the things that make up the idea of home in my head.

Now, that I am back in the original home city, one year on and still pretty rootless, and increasingly feeling less inclined to settle, I’m questioning the idea of home itself. When I think about where home might be as a place, I draw a blank.

Metaphorically, though, I have been feeling plenty at home in my own space, in my body, in my mind and within myself. And maybe this is where the two ideas collide. I’m trying to fit myself into the idea of home as a place, and settle in the old way I knew how. When in reality an alternate kind of homeliness is brewing.

Maybe what I should do is let it go, and count on the beginnings of that new idea of feeling at home. Allow it to blossom. Really lean in to the idea of being that nomad I’ve been feeling like all month, fully dream the dreams (and realise some of them) of vagabondage and see what happens.

***

Contrary to what any of us expected the hugsband didn’t take a single video on our holiday. Something happened and he decided to focus on the photography for a change. He has been taking some smashing photographs instead, a whole load of them. Determinedly waking up at 5 am to catch the sunrise, and scouting all day for the best vantage points for the sunset, he has had such a full and satisfying holiday. It helped that the first island we were on faced west and the second faced east, and every sunrise and sunset was a completely different colour, like Goa playing with paint. Head over to his Instagram to see a whole host of holiday postcards.

Day 135: I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you

What coming home feels like: When your home and your heart are in two places 

I’m grateful for Goa.

Specifically, for the love for stillness that it kindled in me. If there’s one thing my trip to Goa last week affirmed with a resounding yes, it is that I love, need and thrive when I have the space and quiet for stillness. Without it, my life and everything I strive for today, would not be the same.

For introducing me to the people it did. It’s a small place, Goa. During my years there, the rather motley combination of the organisation I worked for briefly, and the career choice I made later on, plus the fact that I was one of the very few known bloggers from Goa at the time, and my fitness and related life choices, I met a wide range of people and very soon, I realised the pools and circles had intersected. I had reached a place where I couldn’t go anywhere without meeting at least one person I knew/knew of. While this invoked a sense of familiarity at first, it also grew stifling in the later years. When it was time to leave too, it was the desperate need for freshness in people, new connections that definitely spurred the need to move on. I didn’t leave on an altogether positive note, in this respect. But going back one year later made me realise that I’m so fortunate to still know and hold deep bonds with some of the friends I made there. People I can stay with, people I can call on, people I will go the distance to rekindle some of the experiences I have shared with them. People who will gladly have me over and back in their lives. It is particularly telling to note who this set of people includes, today.

For the immediate sense of freedom I always feel so palpably. It was all kinds of liberating to be able to drive out in a car without tints, in short shorts and a tank top at mid-day and have zero pairs of eyes curiously looking at us. I say shorts and tank top because it’s what I had on on that first day when I drove out to drop Niyu off and run some errands, but really it isn’t about the clothes. I was always aware of this luxury of anonymity when I lived in Goa, but being in Bangalore for a year and see-sawing between trying to be myself and blend in with as few raised eyebrows (even when fully, modestly clothes and adequately covered up *eyeroll*) as possible has made the luxury even more special.

For the wide open spaces. The green hubs. The views.

For the market freshness.

For the breakfasts.

I am really enjoying being in this wonderful sweet spot with adequate time and distance between us, and giving myself the permission to enjoy Goa anew. Maybe it is the contrast between where I am now (mentally and emotionally) that makes it possible to be a little balanced and measured than I was when I moved. Maybe I just needed to look away to clear out all that clouded my opinions, in order to appreciate Goa for what it was. Maybe I needed a shift from the over-familiarity and the comfort of a cubby-hole I had gotten myself in. Maybe it is just that I needed a year out to recharge my batteries.

I’m grateful for Goa. And it will always have a large part of my heart.

Day 130: Simple things

Postcard from Goa 8.

Aaaand. It’s done.

I suppose this ought to feel really good, but the darn thing took so much longer than anticipated, and had so many untoward delays, and the waiting has taken forever, that neither VC nor I knew what to feel when we were handed the key.

I’m grateful for everything that’s gone into making this possible. Mostly for VC, because on my own, left to my own antics, I’m not sure I’d get down to doing anything to own a little place of my own.

Now, to let that sink in a bit.

Two years ago: Day 130: April

Day 114: Just a stirring in my soul

This past week has been all about my grandmother who is visiting. It so happened that my parents were both away for four days and my sister and I ended up being home. I haven’t had this kind of time to spend, close to my grandmother, in years and years.

I’m grateful for the time we had. The meals we cooked and shared. The mangoes we gorged on. The conversations we had. For the energy and spirit she has well into her 80s. For the trooper that she is, enthusiastic and light at heart. Always ready for some fun. And if it involves a good meal and dessert, she’s all in. Always.

I’m so grateful for family. For serendipitous summer togetherness. Just like when I was younger and we’d visit my grandparents in Mumbai.

I’m grateful for the turning of tables and being given the chance to look after her, the way she has, us for nearly all our lives.

One year ago: More books (and a mini Bangalore update)

Day 102: And I’m feeling so bohemian like you

This week:

  1. My house turned into a makeshift studio. Which is to say it was turned upside down entirely. We papered over our living room windows with black chart, cleared out the flood seating, dragged a heavy-ass carpet over from my folks’, set up lights and a tripod (which one set can’t be moved until the shoot is entirely done). It’s been four days and counting. No sign of finish yet.
  2. My house hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned like it usually is every day. Because we’re unable to move this very elaborate set up out/around to allow said cleaning. I’m happy to report, I did not lose my shit.
  3. I added hand model and stop-motion art direction intern to my list of roles/responsibilities at Something Filmy. That would be in addition to my existing titles and roles as co-founder, partner, co-director, friend, foe, confidant, general errand person and master of all resources.
  4. My fridge turned into a restaurant fridge with four kinds of plated meals and a gazillion sides being piled in there, for the shoot.
  5. My freezer turned into a cold stone ice cream shop and my living room console has enough toppings and cones and waffles stashed to open up a little pop-up.
  6. We knocked off a major part of an edit for a stop-motion film we were asked to make. It was challenging, because we had such a steep learning curve, figuring things out on the go, realising it was much more physically taxing than we anticipated, and yet thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying.
  7. I got an extra workout every day from all the physical labour that stop-motion filming demands, and I’m hurting in places I usually only hurt when I lift weights after a break.
  8. Despite good intentions and great ideas every single day, I have been unable to turn my laptop on and post on here. For obvious reasons. My hands have been busy elsewhere (read point #3), and my brain too (read point #4). So I’ve been doing a lot of lazy posting off the phone which always leaves so much to be desired. But the shoot involved a lot of good food, dessert and ice cream. So it took priority. These things happen.
  9. When I haven’t been working, I’ve been either completely relaxing — there have been naps on some days, hangs with the sister (who is all healed and well now!) lazy meals (mostly cooked by amma or Niyu) with the fam on others, plenty reading — or letting my (non-existent)hair down with friends.
    Is this what work-life balance is? Because I fucking love it.
  10. I crossed two major milestones and couldn’t get around to writing what I really wanted to, to mark them. But. Good food, dessert and ice cream took priority. These things happen.

Two years ago: Day 102: Mondays like this

Day 65: Let’s get one thing straight now

This week, I’m looking back on the last 7-10 days, and it’s all a bit fuzzy and disjointed. I can’t remember many bits of it. And I can’t put the pieces that I do remember, back together. I’m thankful for the quick catch-up I managed to squeeze in with Amma and Niyu at Koshys.

I’m grateful for the constant lessons. For the privilege that is a safe distance from institutions that hold no meaning to me. For the vision to see things clearly, the awareness to separate the grain from the chaff.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel. The time with VC in a week that was otherwise written off to a lot of community living.

I’m grateful for dinner we had with S and the kids.

I’m thankful for all the breakfasts we’ve been catching out, thanks to early morning shoot schedules and getting out of the house earlier than we usually do.

I’m thankful for this convenience that definitely makes being in Bangalore lovely, for all of those seven minutes until I’ve consumed what’s in my plate.

I’m thankful for having squeezed in some much-needed down time at the parlour. Im thankful for L who has always been so generous and gentle and so good at whatever service I’ve opted for. I’m sad she’s leaving.

I’m thankful for the haircut I got. And the fact that I’ve found a reliable hairdresser rather close to home that doesn’t require me to break the bank every time I need a cut.

I’m thankful for the electric heat pad, the wonder that is Swiggy and dinner with S, D and VC, that was a huge bonus this past weekend that I spent largely in bed, either in pain or catching up on sleep.

I’m thankful for the good-book streak I’ve hit upon and how much I’ve been able to enjoy the reading. I’m thankful for the peace.

One year ago: Whisky-shisky

Day 43: You guys, I must be the luckiest alive

I’m super duper massively thankful for my body and what it seems to put up with. I bounced back from the walk rather quickly, surprising even myself. But while my muscles seemed to have healed fast, my general exhaustion lingered on draining out very slowly, with every night of good rest I had this week. And through it all I’ve just been giving thanks for this marvel, the machinery and the workings of this complex body. And it’s incredible capacity to stretch.

I’m so thankful for all the rest and great sleep I’ve had this past week. It’s at times like these that I fee grateful to be my own boss. No work to wake up to. No office to be at. Save for a few meetings and a couple of deadlines I had the luxury of taking it easy. Which means I’ve slept like a beast, having these epic pass-out-like-a-light nights, and the occasional afternoon nap from which I emerge feeling as good as new.

I’m thankful for both my mothers. My mother, who had dinner ready for us, packed and delivered at my house, when we came home bone tired from the walk. Within ten minutes of turning on both geysers (because all we really, really wanted was a piping hot shower) we had a power trippage that rendered our house pitch dark. So I hobbled over to hers, where she had filled a bucket full of hot water already. I’m thankful for my mother in law who tirelessly commits herself to giving all her children the littlest joys. She made us a massive dinner of chaat, for the day after my walk when we visited them. I ate what felt like my body weight in sev-puri and dahi-batata-puri and came home with a doggy bag of gajar-halwa. So satisfying.

I’m thankful for our home. For how despite its perpetual state of WIP, it feels like home. I’m grateful for the feelings that makes up for the absence of stuff I might have otherwise tried to fill it up with.

I’m as grateful as I am surprised and fuzzy-hearted at the return of my itch to entertain folks at home. This once habitual side of me had all but died a slow death in the last few years in Goa, but seems to have made a comeback in the last few months.

I’m so thankful for D. For how she was instantly available to pull some cards for a reading. I’m thankful for her way with words, and her gentle patience and how it has a persuasive effect on even the most sceptical person of us all — VC. I’m thankful for the affirmations we’ve received, and to have them up on a wall for easy visualisation.

I’m thankful for the quiet conversations I have had with VC this week. The opportunity to work at something together, nurture it slowly, to pick at the challenges and examine the ups and downs. I’m thankful for the team that we make. It’s all kinds of humbling to have a partner who fights tooth and nail for what he believes in, even if it means he’ll sleep over it and come back eight hours later to admit quite easily that he was being a child. I hope I am able to reach that level of honesty someday soon.

I’m thankful for the chance to play parent to my father who called me for instructions on how to make dal. He’s staying all alone in Wayanad at the moment, and as I gave him step by step instructions over the phone, and I could hear him wildly sautéing the onions in the cooker, I became acutely aware of how the roles had momentarily reversed. I’m thankful for the opportunity.

I’m thankful for the plenty of relaxed time I’ve had this past week, to read, read, read and read some more. I’m thankful for the great recommendations I got and how much I enjoyed each of the books I finished this week.

I’m thankful for people. The electrician, however cocky and over-friendly, who came over on a Sunday to ensure we wouldn’t go another day without power. For my house help who works tirelessly. For my security guards who can be banked upon any time of day or night.

I’m thankful for the rather absurdly delayed extended winter, which is only now slowly showing some signs of fading away. February, and I’m still in a jacket or sweater most days, enjoying hot cups of tea and coffee, and feeling snug as a bug at home.

Two years ago: Day 43: Beach bum

Day 40: The heartache lives on inside

Thanks to my over-stretched muscles and full blown recovery mode, the weekend post The Walk was spent mostly like this.

Which meant I devoured two books — one that I started earlier last week, and another immediately, which I finished in 24 hours. Or less. I love lazy days like these, with no agenda, no demands, and where time just spirals on out of my control. While I slip into a book and forget to come out until it’s done.

Us, David Nicholls
I love an endearing, absorbing love story. But what I love more is an endearing, absorbing love story told by a man. And Us ticked that box perfectly. Having already read, thoroughly enjoyed and loved One Day, David Nicholls other best-selling novel, I sort of knew what to expect. Nicholls has an engaging, flawless voice. A subtle, understated yet rib-ticklingly funny sense of humour and a great sense of observation for the littlest, most mundane details of everyday life.

The story opens with Douglas’ wife of twenty-something years, telling him she wants a divorce because their “marriage has run its course”. The timing couldn’t be more off — with their rebellious 17-year old son ready to set off to college, the three are about to embark on a vacation through Europe. What was meant to be a happy last family holiday, suddenly becomes a last chance to win his family back.

It’s a simple, endearing and at times touching story that covers love, relationships, how relationships grow, marriage, parenting et al. It is peppered with many simple truisms you’ll likely nod along to. A quick and heart-warming read too.

The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
Every time I read a good memoir, I realise it is likely my most favourite format. I absolutely love reading first-person, personal stories that bring out the gory, lurid, emotional, taxing, peaceful anecdotes of real lives, to paper. When I memoir is told in a series of essay, it’s even better.

The Rules Do Not Apply opens at a point in Ariel Levy’s life, where within mere days she goes from being married, pregnant, financially secure, and making a life by her own rules, to losing her child, home, spouse and sabotaging her career. What follows are a series of essays traversing her entire life that is tied together by a strong sense of making her own rules, living by her own means and making a life that makes sense to her. It’s energetic, rebellious, brave and inspiring, but also gets very real, heartbreaking, and downright tragic.

It was empowering and inspiring to read the story of a NY Times journalist, who balances her less than ordinary life with all its ups and downs, with a demanding career, while also embarking on a journey of getting to know herself.

Levy’s craft is stellar. Like top-notch word-wizardry that kept me completely rapt. The essays jump back and forth in time, and sometimes it gets a little tedious keeping track of the sequence of events. Even so, I couldn’t put the book down because it was just so compelling.

One year ago: Commitment issues
Two years ago: Day 40: Begin again

Day 18: Afterglow

Today was a really good day. For no special or momentous reason. Just many little seemingly insignificant things strung together. And I just want to remember it while I’m steeping in the afterglow.

Bunking gym and sleeping in.

Early morning reading even before I got out of bed and surfaced for the day.

Placing an essay that would have otherwise been just a blogpost.

Talking to S about hypno-therapy and social media.

Afternoon reading that lulled me to sleep.

Meeting P and having pasta for dinner for the first time in months.

Turning in early and tucking myself into bed with a book.

Two years ago: Day 18: End of day

Day 17: You’ve been on my mind

Fresh off the back of a long weekend, that also brought with is the unusual first-time that both my parents, and my sister are away, I realised how much VC and I are out of the bubble that was our default mode of existence in Goa.

Physically cut off from family, alone, in a home where we called the shots, had no social obligations even in the city we lived in, had a life devoid of most other sorts of obligations — we were really left to our own devices.

In Bangalore, the bubble doesn’t exist. With my parents living in the building adjacent to us, I’m more often than not tempted to go hang out with them. I spend entire days with my sister, with my folks around. More often than not, I choose going over to be with them, even when VC is home. This was not the case before. So, when either/all of them are not around, I physically miss their presence. Of course, all this is compounded by the fact that I am so ready to get out and go, these days.

We’re about a fifteen minute drive away from VC’s family, which also means we go over at least once a week. And we’re subject to invitations to lunch, dinner and other family hang-out scenarios, more often than we’re used to.

But this past weekend was different. Slightly under the weather, I chose to stay in, made no plans and had nowhere to go. VC, as usual, indulged in a lot of TV. But it was after absolutely aeons that we were alone. Together. And we had a weekend to ourselves like the ones that were the norm in Goa.

There is quite nothing like a weekend like this, extended time spent in quiet companionship, to reinforce and reaffirm my faith in the absolute, critical need to have someone in my life who is there for me wholly and completely, even as he gives me space to do my thing (while he does his). Who doesn’t need the noise and fanciness of plans and dates and conversations and the overtures of love. Who revels in the smallness of the rhythm of everyday life. Who is happy to just be beside me. In silence. And who still comes out of three days of just doing that and only that, to tell me he had a “fun weekend”.

I love the synchronicity of seeing in words the exact representation of what is otherwise just a jumble of feelings, a tumble of emotions on spin dry in your heart. Even as I was sitting down to write about this, and finding myself unable to pin down the right words, I opened The Artidote today after forever, and saw this —

I love when you become so close with someone that you can see parts of each other in one another and you begin to say the same things and steal lines from one another and have a similar sense of humor and can exchange an inside joke with just a glance you don’t even have to talk because you have such a strong connection with them and you can sit in comfortable silence but also talk for hours it’s really hard to find that kind of compatibility

Compatibility, while accurate, feels like a small, limiting word. Caging the immensity of togetherness — a far bigger, open, expansive word, in my mind — into a small cubby hole. If compatibility feels like the two parallel columns finally syncing with a ka-ching! when the right elements find alignment, togetherness feels like massive rivers gushing down from parts unknown, tumbling together in a noisy ashen blur, only to collide and find a peaceful merging, even in the cacophonous union.

Compatibility does the trick, but togetherness goes several layers deeper. It digs in to the depths of my soul. Touches and kindles a fire that fights through the hubbub of regular life, throbbing to stay alive even when we’re turning the lights out.

Compatibility is just the tip of the iceberg. To have this kind of comfort, connection and peaceful coexistence with a single person feels like so much more, I actually don’t have the word/s for it.

When one door shuts, open it again

There is something to be said about how despite everything positive that has happened for me in Bangalore, every time I return to Goa it immediately feels like home too.

This is my second visit back in the six months since I’ve moved, and it honestly feels like I never left at all. Even more so because we drove down this time around, and I immediately realised how different it is to drive around in Panjim. In Bangalore, I’m edgy when I drive. I hate it, I feel out of my depth. In Goa, it comes naturally.

It got me thinking back to how unhappy I was towards the end of my time here, and  realised how much of it I unknowingly attributed to the place and situations I found myself in. When really I should have been looking within, at the heart of my dissatisfaction. It made me wistful, and some part of me longs for a do-over. Like I said, life isn’t linear, and perhaps I had ti be that dissatisfied, and at sea with that feeling, in order to work it out in a way that led me to Bangalore, just so I could come back to Goa, where I would look at things anew.

So I’ll happily take this life of frequenting Goa, the magnet that it seems to be. I’m grateful for the opportunities to split my time between both homes. To the chance discovery that I have actually found the near-perfect arrangement to satisfy my cant-I-make-both-places-my-home state of mind.  To enjoy Bangalore for all that it has given, and continues to give, me and yet have the peaceful hug of homeliness that I know Goa will always have waiting for me. I’m grateful to have the second chance, and a place to go to every time I need respite from the humdrum that Bangalore inevitably brings.

I’m happy for the opportunities. Period.

Maybe this is my do-over. My second chance.

Like they say, when one door shuts, open it again. It’s a door, it’s how they work.

Same time, last year: Day 294: Link loving