Out and about (not)

Things are fiiiine. I’m safe. I’m indoors. I’m healthy. I feel well. The fridge is full. The kitchen, stocked. I’m in fine company, not alone. My balcony views are pretty stunning, startlingly often. And yet, A pretty large part of me just deeply, deeply needs a good loaf about town. Or outside of town.

Let it be known.

One year ago: Grey
Four years ago: On Solitude

Friday feels

Can’t get over, or enough of, the brilliant weather we’ve had this past week. Consistently moody skies, pleasantly refreshing drizzles in the day and nourishing downpours by evening.

I’ve taken it easy this week thanks to getting my period, but also the fact that it occurred happily right when the weather got so good. I’ve wanted to do nothing but stay in, so I took the readymade excuse that was offered up on a platter.

I had a mini catch-up session for my course, mid-week, but my mind was entirely elsewhere this time around. Amongst the rain laden clouds. The glistening wet streets. The cool air, beyond. In thoughts of picnicking somewhere outside Bangalore. With being in the hills elsewhere. Amongst this random dream of a cottage with a farm where I’m growing my own veggies.

That’s the only spot of work I managed to get myself to do. Readings have been going on, and they don’t tax me or demand a lot out of me at the pace at which I’m operating currently. So it doesn’t even classify as work. There are a few plans or side projects I have that I could get going with — logically this is the right time — but I haven’t been able. I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait like this for the right moment but it feels like the only thing I can do right now. I can seem to only push myself this much. Going against the grain and pushing through in the name of “getting shit done” just because an empty spot of time opened up is not only hard, it feels impossible now.

Today after cleaning chores, though, I shuffled things around at home. In anticipation of our new living room furniture that’s arriving soon. We decided to break the rule and not get a set, or a couch, but two single armchairs instead, in the hope that it opens up our cozy, tiny living room up. I bathed my plants and moved them around. I took the babies that have been inside outside, and brought some new babies inside.

The whole time it drizzled. And I cleaned while listening to Continuum, which threw it all the way back to to yonks ago, to a time in the years when I had just started to drive in Bangalore. When listening to my best music, driving around in the rain, with no plan or agenda, was a legit thing to do. Most times, I didn’t even need company.

This whole album is GOLD. And perfect for the rain. And is loaded with all the feels. It was a serious trip today that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I can’t believe another week has just whizzed by. I feel like I’ve been horizontal for the most part. I can’t complain, but I am just in shock at the pace at which time seems to be moving, even with deliberately doing so little. And just like that another weekend rolls along. The days are certainly blurring, weekday/weekend, nothing seems to matter anymore and I’m just floating through the continuum.

One year ago: Stay in
Two years ago: June

How much?

Ouuff, so much has happened in the span of just a week, and the weekend.

Over the weekend, VC and I realised it’s officially been over 100 days since we have been indoors. Granted, we’ve been venturing out some in the last month, it’s been nowhere close to “normal” or the way that the world outside has bounced back. We’ve still been limiting our outings and getting more stuff done per outing, to avoid repeatedly stepping out.

Over the last week though, we’d finally started getting out a bit, and entertained the idea of having service staff home, to tend to some long pending tasks that we have been putting off since March. Pest control. Some carpentry. A new couch. Running shoes. Pots for my balcony garden (that is mildly out of control right now).

But, over the weekend, our building had one positive case. And since we’re a small building of just 12 homes, a majority of which have senior citizens, the building voluntarily limited movement for a bit once again.

And so we were back to being in. More in than we have been actually because we had to isolate, until the BBMP came over and sanitized the building twice over. It was just a little over two days, but gosh, the gloom that descended over VC and me was quite something. On the surface we have gotten through this entire period of isolation quite okay. Riding the highs and lows because we’ve had each other, and my sister. Over the weekend the pall of gloom was a bit much to take. I’m certainly hitting my saturation point with staying indoors and self-isolating.

The desire isn’t so much about going out to do things like eat or hit a mall, but I’ve been feeling a sense of shrinking that isn’t sitting well, and is getting hard to keep under wraps. My body feels restricted and in need of expansion. The experience is of being stuck, while internally I am feeling such a deep urge for movement. And it’s beginning to test my patience, this holding both states and waiting and watching. A major part of me wants to get going. Sigh.

The darned virus is now literally at our doorsteps. While the world is opening up, and my desire to be out there is rising. The irony of it.

How much more?

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: love and abundance
Four years ago: Watercolour eyes

Something like life

At least a couple times a week, I have a moment of astonishment and awe at what a crazy, crazy time we’re living through. And I don’t mean just the existence of the virus. Today was a day it happened again.

On the one hand while I may have gotten used to a new routine and a new life, I don’t think this will ever feel normal. Or like a new normal — hate that term so much. I don’t know what’s normal anymore actually. I just know that a couple of times a week, when I pause and stop everything  am doing, the utter batshit ridiculousness of the entire sum total of our lives at this point in time hits me. And it doesn’t feel like I am anywhere close to okay with it. It still brings up distress, and a sharp need to quickly flip a switch to return to some past time and place.

***

Went out today. Far, far out into, by current standards. Felt deliriously happy. Like I wanted to stick my head out of the car, wind in my non existent hair, tongue dangling off of my gobsmacked face, like an ecstatic puppy. (I didn’t because, corona.)

But my GOD. The blueeeee skies. The light shower on our way back. The empty-ish roads. The ease and willingness to go all the way to…ahem… Electronic City for what turned out to be a three minute affair. I HAVE MISSED BEING OUT SO MUCH. It did annoy me a little that this felt like a tease because it’s not like really being out and about as yet. I’m scared to go all out. This was just a tantalising, long  car ride, with the world splayed out in front of me, beckoning. AND I CANNOT GO.

On the way back, we drove past Koshy’s WHICH IS NOW OPEN — *weeeep*. But I cannot go. So I glanced lustfully while we pulled along, and spontaneously decided to make a quick stop to pick up mince puffs and egg puffs from the bakery instead. I made it back home right in time for teatime, with the perfect accompaniments in hand. Chai time is becoming a serious production, I tell you.

Yeah, new normal, abnormal, hyper normal, whatever you want to call it, I’m certainly missing some specific parts of what my life used to be. And it really pains me to think about how I have to still wait some more, and that much of it is so irrevocably changed.

One year ago: The powerlessness of love
Two years ago: It’s just the thing that seasons do

Love and magic

…amidst all the hopelessness, it shines through sometimes.

I am now convinced that this country only runs on hope. When all else fails and the paltry systems we have are exposed for how broken and dysfunctional they are, it is only hope that takes us through.

That and the goodwill of regular, everyday people.

I don’t know where we’d be without either.

One year ago: This is now
Four years ago: Work things that make me chuckle

Notice the rage, notice the silence

I listened to the frightfully articulate Resmaa Manakem on his On Being podcast yesterday. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Many threads of my personal journey are beginning to be woven into the landscape of the larger political canvas of our very existence. It’s becoming loud and clear to me that the person is deeply political, seeing as how it is a journey of clarifying my person values. I cannot shy away from this anymore. And that truth gets a little more cemented every day.

This past week, being up close helping with the movement of migrants — sourcing and delivering food and other essentials — realising in how many ways we have actually failed our society, I have really had to look at economic and caste Inequality and Inequity, the very fragmented shards of our broken, broken system right in the eyes.

What’s hit me the hardest is that these are lives (thousands and thousands of them everyday, just wanting to get home) and yet everything about the process, every step of the way forgets and negates that basic fact. The scenes at one of the many hubs around the city where migrants are being registered and organised to get on to the Shramik trains leaving the city, are nothing short of refugee camps. And seeing it all has made my heart heavy. Really heavy.

This is just Bangalore. I think of other cities, other hubs, other states, and the scale of our collective failure as a country is too much to digest. Everyday is excruciating, and the only thing giving me energy and hope in the mind-blowing coming together of communities in Bangalore that I have witnessed. This is something I am quick to forget. It’s easy, when all we see and consume is a steady diet of bad news, high on shock and horror.

I’ve had to come to terms with just how deeply systemic, cultural and utterly entwined divisiveness, subjugation and heartlessness is. Because of the work I do, cognitively I can pin this to trauma. My brain knows this, but my mind and my heart just won’t have it. I want and expect better of human beings. And yet, the reality is something else.

The podcast is a fantastic listen. For anyone interested in a shockingly accurate perspective of what’s going on in the world — and really this lies at the heart if every kind of inequality. Resmaa’s words speak right to this truth.

Trauma decontextualized in a person looks like personality.
Trauma decontextualized in a family looks like family traits.
Trauma in a people looks like culture.

When you begin to look at healing a “thousand-year-old” trauma of a people, you’ll see how it is mirrored right down to the traumas faced by individuals, at the level of the personality. And there’s hope when I see it that way.

He is fantastically clear, speaks powerful words without mincing them. He speaks of Race, but he could very well be speaking of Caste, our very own thousand-year-old collective trauma. And that’s what touched me the most. The universality of What Hurts, What’s Broken. And I hesitate to write this because there is so much talk about taking away space from Black Lives right now. I don’t mean to take away space at all. I know absolutely nothing about that fight, to even try. But I also see commonality, and in that way, what’s going on across the planet also hurts me.

It’s been an emotionally heavy couple of weeks and I see how it has reflected in my writing here. I used to feel a bit apologetic about that, and even express it here from time to time. But one thing that’s become very clear for me very, very recently is that healing involves leaning in more into what hurts. And this blog is a space where I will be doing that.

Like Resmaa says;

Notice the rage. Notice the silence.

The podcast too, reiterated that for me. There is no looking away form the discomfort and hurt of where we are as a race. We can begin to heal by looking at ourselves. The personal, is political. We are a traumatized lot, and because we don’t want to stop to heal, we continue to pass it on. And because we are a delicately balanced lot, existing in a precarious system of inequalities, we’re always retraumatizing the most disenfranchised amongst us, making them relive the worst atrocities, every single day.

Closer home, we really can’t talk about Development without talking about healing, without doing the work to own up to and re-contextualizing this trauma. And I realise how bloody far away we are from that. These are truly dark ages. This past week I certainly felt like we have regressed, slipped further below, dragged ourselves backwards as a nation.

Give the podcast a listen. It’s essential for every human being, I’d say.

One year ago: The written word 
Two years ago: Only happy when it rains

Things that happened today

I got out of home and looked up. And I caught a view that wasn’t the same one I have been seeing outside my balcony for three months now.

I went in for an in-person therapy session today. My first in three months. And when I stepped out of my home to walk down to my therapists’ I had this surreal, never-felt-before feeling of excitement. I was a bit giddy, walking down with a spring in my step. Such strange, unforgettable times, where the idea of meeting another human being, sitting in (safe) proximity, sharing an intimate space, gave me that mix of excitement and wonder.

It was my first real “outing” that’s not for shopping, which is the only other reason I have stepped out since March. This is the first interaction with someone other than VC, my sister, my neighbours and building staff, since March. I know things around are opening up and moving back to normalcy, but I still feel a bit stuck and safe indoors. I have yet to go out and meet another human being in the way that I did today.

***

I realised that even the outings for shopping for supplies have been so limited, that I had to almost reorient myself to being out in the open again. It was so, so strange.

I desperately want to be out some more, and meet people. But I am also feeling so tentative about who I am feeling drawn to reaching out to. And that is such a strange feeling.

***

 I woke up with an intense urge to be elsewhere today. Travelling, in a cafe drinking a frothy cappuccino, in an homestay or a hotel in a new city, in a different country — anywhere. Just somewhere else. It felt like such a deep, physical need. Almost like wanting to leave this body.

I’ve been nursing this desire to “get out” since the weekend. But it’s not just physically getting out of this home and these self-imposed restrictions. But something else, I am not able to put a finger on it. Again, it feels like a need of some sort, and I can’t figure it out.

I’m ready for life, in its fullness and in a different flavour and form again. Something has got to change and I feel ready to venture out and figure it out.

***

Insane amounts of sleep. I think the three days of being in class, even though online, triggered it. It seems the therapy can have the same effects as it does when I am in class or in a workshop. I experienced the same full-body exhaustion and the need to do nothing else but stay horizontal. Extra long naps, yesterday and today. Despite which I was knocked out cold at 11 pm last night, only to wake up bright and early at 7 am today with the intention of finishing a host of chores before therapy, only to staying horizontal and in bed, cancelling all plans, till it was time to go to therapy.

I am getting good with cancelling well laid plans. So good that VC commended me on it today!

One year ago: Here you are   
Two years ago: I wrote a letter to my love

Grey-blue

Woke up to a classic grey Bangalore morning, and a daytime drizzle that I have been praying for for weeks now. And it’s taken me from living in shorts for eight straight weeks to a full-sleeved teeshirt and jeans this morning. I have missed this weather so much.

This comes on the back of four days of torrential evening downpours. Insane winds, heavy, heavy rain that wreaked havoc in my neighbourhood. Amongst several others, we lost a gigantic rain-tree (I think) that was easily over 50 years old. A tree that the home I grew up in overlooked, a tree that I have seen every single day of my life the last 25 years in that home. A tree that has grown and grown right before our eyes, housing so many dozens of birds and squirrels and what have you. It’s survived being struck by lightning some years ago, but the storm a few days ago knocked it right off from the roots, sending this colossal epic life-giving green lunch on my block crashing down.

The storms have been so bad, flinging our windows open, bringing glassware crashing down, upturning my pots and badgering my plants. It’s been destructive as hell. In keeping with the general energy around the planet at this time, I would say. This virus, the genocide it’s brought on, the definite economic slowdown that’s creeping up, a cyclone, storms, avalanches in some parts of the country, a heatwave in others, and now locusts. I keep wondering when we’ll catch a break. It’s like we just can’t.

I’ve been feeling melancholic all week. And as it has been the last three months or so, the words have been hard to come by. They’re there, swimming around in my brain. But I have almost no inclination to pickle them and prune them and put down in articulate terms what I am feeling at the moment.

I have gotten far too comfortable with feeling the feelings, rather than trying to necessarily understand or break them down. It might seem counterintuitive to say so, but this has been a freeing shift.

And so this morning, when I woke up to the greyness that immediately spurred a hot shower and a full-sleeved tee, I felt a resonance. The skies are melancholic. The air is wet. There’s that faint aroma of rain hanging in the air like an unkept promise. And there’s no sunlight to be seen right now.

I’ve been feeling intensely lonely lately too. More than usual. More than I have even during the lockdown. It’s not loneliness that’s a longing for company, but something else. Something I am not quite sure of, but am feeling very intensely anyway.

And so this morning, when I woke up to this greyness, I felt very unwilling to get up and get going. Last night I had a plan for this morning. Workout, chores, veggie shopping, lunch by myself. Instead I have just been in bed for much longer than planned, canned the workout and chores, had a hot shower, and gotten right back into bed.

I am okay with this.

One year ago: We back   
Two years ago: Days when I couldn’t live my life without you   
Four years ago: Waiting (the film)

Minimal

Things that excite me these days.

Before I get startled by the price for a bunch like this. 50 rupees last week. 55 this week. And yes we’re running through entire bunches in about a week. Don’t ask.

Mid-week work from home scenes. Aka: life. I have really enjoyed being locked down with VC. Much, much more than I imagined possible. And by that I mean for a simplified, pared down, minimal routine that we have had, it has somehow been richer and fuller, together. I’m not even sure how.

Blue hour that otherwise makes me slightly blue, I find bittersweet and beautiful, some days.

One year ago: Happy bytes
Four years ago: Malleswaram market things

On missing the offline life

Not so long ago when introversion was all the rage, I was so quick to identify the part of me that fit the label. I took solace in every single meme that celebrated grumpy solitude, people-hating, or scoffed at the idea of getting out, meeting the world out there, taking the trouble to connect. I took way too much (more than was true, actually) pleasure happy being an island, in almost elevating the idea of never stepping out of my home to a virtuous existence. It helped that my life in Goa has become conducive to that. I had pulled back from so many people over time, there was so little stuff to distract me, I could really enjoy being home for days on end. I had convinced myself I didn’t need people.

Even now, I am mostly a homebody. I do thoroughly enjoy spending time by myself, at home, mostly quietly, doing my thing. But in the last few years, I have realised that I like the option of venturing out. I don’t like the idea of cleaving to the introvert label so much that I cut out the possibility of interacting with human beings when I feel like it. Contrary to what I said and believed in 2015-16, I actually like people. Most people, in fact. I like going out. I like doing things in groups, albeit small ones than large gatherings.

I know this about myself now: I enjoy the outdoors, I enjoy the company of people, I enjoy spending my energy outwards, as much as I like the peace and quiet of my own space and company.

I really love both. Almost equally.

And so when this lockdown began, given that the physical reality of my life was largely unchanged, it didn’t take much getting used to. Physically. Emotionally and mentally, is a different matter and the stuff of another post. But 45 days on, I just want to say I miss people.

Desperately, on some days. And this isn’t not just the lockdown blues or cabin fever talking. It’s just an outcome of having gone this far without that extra, outward interaction.

I am longing for contact, touch, real words shared in real proximity, being in spaces outside my home. I miss the tensions of dynamics, the unique energy of every interaction, the effort that it all sometimes takes, the anticipation of a meeting, the lingering satisfaction when it is done. The sharing of space, of language, of energy, of a vibe. I miss saying hi with a hug. I miss giving taplis. I miss the breakfasts, the coffees, the desserts, the favourite meals. I miss sharing cocktails.

I miss the little things. Catching glimpses of emotion when they escape — shimmery eyes, a quiver in the chin, shifty gaze, that phone that always gets in the way. I miss picking up on the unsaid things. I miss sitting across people. I miss the intimacy of that.

I’ve done umpteen video calls with friends. Long ones too — eating, drinking, sharing a doob — doing all of the same things online, that we’d do face to face in an era before all this. In that sense, I feel closer to my friends in different cities and continents because somehow in the post-Corona world we’re interacting on video a lot more than before.

I’ve taken yoga lessons on Zoom. I’ve caught umpteen events and speakers on Instagram Live. And it’s all been so great. The access that this kind of meeting has brought is honestly, staggering.

Until I think about how when it’s over and I shut the light off on that screen, I’m alone again. And that interaction somehow loses some of its sheen just like the battery it simultaneously discharges.

I was supposed to finish my family constellation course this year. In fact I was in class when the directives on social distancing were announced, putting a spoke in my last session. That was my last outing in the world. So of course we’ve moved the rest of this online too. Yesterday, 10 of us checked into a Zoom meeting. It felt good to reconnect and I’m glad for options to keep the learning going. I was excited. I was happy. But I couldn’t help but also feel like this “new normal” isn’t quite cutting it for me.

Something is missing.

And of course it is that intimacy and that something that only a life, in the flesh meeting of bodies can bring. But I don’t know if it is just that. Is it ever just about the physical?

This isn’t me being a luddite and dissing new ways of on-boarding technology. I see how much easier it has made life, I see how it has the potential to make good change happen in the world — I’m dreaming of decongested roads and lots more work life balance in Bangalore, for example, because hopefully more people are convinced about how possible it is to just stay the fuck home and get the same shit done.

So, I’m not complaining. I’m just saying I miss people.  I’m just saying that I am not all that much of an introvert I made myself to be. I’m just saying I liked my life with all the options available.

I’m just saying that even with all the increased, new ways of interacting, I feel lonely quite a bit of the time.

Four years ago: Blend

Poof

These days, my phone is filled with pictures of only what we cook/eat, my plants, the same view from my window/balcony.

Finally, today, I just want to go out.

It’s day 40 and like everyone else, I’ve only been as far as the neighbourhood vegetable vendor and supermarket a handful of times. I haven’t missed the outdoors this desperately, until now.

I’d like to do something other than cook, clean, watch TV, practice solitude.

I’d like to see some human beings other than VC, Niyu and my vegetable vendor. Much as I am so thankful for not being all alone, I’m ready for some life.

I’d like to see some views other than the one outside my window.

Today, I’m really feeling constricted. There’s low hanging, horribly muggy summer rain clouds that are doing nothing more than hanging around. The air is hot and thick, impenetrable, sultry. Some rain would give respite, but the clouds just won’t part.

It’s making staying indoors really stuffy today. But I know that’s just the external. Internally too, I’m longing for a change of scene. Even if just for a bit. A drive? A walk?

While I’ve had good days and bad that have flowed from one to the next, I have mostly been able to get by and get on. Today, I’m finally feeling the suffocation of it all. And I’m feeling all kinds of gloomy will-this-ever-lift thoughts. The lack of information around whatever the fuck is going on, where we stand, is not helping me.

I’m longing for a nice long run in the park.
I’d love a beach day, from last summer.
My dreams alternate between meeting S to consume cold, stiff cocktails in restaurants I currently cannot go to, and my loved solitary escape to consume brownies slowly, greedily at Third Wave.
I long to get a haircut.

I miss it all so, so, so very much. And it’s all a bit surreal to be dreaming about such “basic” things. I know, to dream is also a privilege at this point.

Feeling defeated and deflated today, to think that I’m living in a time when all of this is currently a question of “if and when” and not “sometime soon”.

Who knows how long it’ll be?

Sigh.

One year ago: Plant babies
Two years ago: You know it used to be mad love

Zen

Woke up this morning and just felt like it had to be one of those days with no routine. Even though I’m always saying routine is what keeps me going. Especially during this lockdown, it has been the anchor to my days. But this is hardly a time to be exacting and rigid. I have been much more relaxed about having the day going to “plan” lately, and it has helped.

I spent a good half hour tending to my plants. Half an hour is really a lot, given the size of my balcony. I thrilled at the roots that are cropping up in many little babies I’m propagating in water. I pruned the bougainvillea that’s behaving odd.

Then I did some really mundane stuff like hang out the sheets that had washed overnight, put some dahi to set and figured out lunch. There’s some new excitement about roaming about my home in the day time, every morning feeling like Sunday morning. Doing things in that unhurried, slow way that is usually reserved for Sundays.

I skipped working out today. VC did the dishes as usual and I skipped cleaning. Had a late shower and settled in to TV time. Niyu cooked us a splendid, mindblasting dinner — eggplant lasagne with a roasted pepper and beetroot salad. It took her a couple of hours in the afternoon.

By then it was chai time. I’ve taken to having adrak chai every evening and it’s a bit of a production that is more exciting than the drinking itself. I enjoy it. Everyday last week I ate a maska-fied bun toasted on the tava, along with the chai. The period has come and gone and I no longer feel the need for the additional carbs hahaha. So today, I skipped that bit.

VC went off for a run and Niyu went home to workout, and I spent some time by myself, catching up on work and answering emails. There’s suddenly a spike in requests for readings and I have been thinking what that might be about.

Dinner was earlyish, as has become the norm these days. We ran out of alcohol some days ago strangely, quite unlike me, I have been craving some Coke ever since. It’s been in short supply in the neighbourhood. But today VC managed to score some imported, extra sweet, overpriced Pepsi. I drank it in a wine glass, with lots of ice and a slice of lime, like it was contraband. Dinner was mindblowing. And not because I had that Pepsi with it.

I am enjoying this easy rhythm of life. The minimalist days, the liberty to quit my days plan and go freewheeling, the simple home-bound joys.

I am truly realising what my most-needed essentials are and what I can absolutely do without. Right from the likes of atta and milk, butter, rice and eggs to people and things.

What I do need though, is a good brownie. A haircut. And birthday cake in a few weeks, thanks to the lockdown being extended.

One year ago: And thanks, Goa
Four years ago: Imperfect timing

Regeneration

It’s hard to miss the silver lining that’s beginning to creep out of all this silence and solitude. Yes, the economic genocide continues, the uncertainty is thick like a pre-monsoon humid atmosphere, the hunger issue is right up in my doorstep. Literally. This morning as I was entering my building gate, a man walked up to me and asked for some food in a language I didn’t understand. And he didn’t understand me when I said I was empty-handed, but if he waited, I could get him some food from upstairs. He was gone before I could finish my sentence. And it made me wonder if that’s because he’s been turned away from many doors already. And yet, yet, I feel a sense of something regenerating. I’ve been saying it in different ways in posts before, and I feel it slowly crystallising into something in my head, holding meaning for my personal life. And I can feel it in the way people around me are rethinking very basic aspects of their lives and what sort of problematic “normal” we have upheld till now. That, for me, is good news. It’s a subtle, but powerful shift that is otherwise very difficult to bring about.

But yes, I’m also feeling good seeing the news about rivers cleaning themselves up. Today I saw a video of the Dasashwamedha Ghat in Benaras, devoid of the throng it always sports and I couldn’t believe how clean the water looked from just one year ago when VC and I visited. I’m feeling the sense of regeneration. In the peacocks that showed up in my neighbourhood. The skies clearing up and entire mountain ranges coming to sight. Wildlife taking over city streets and junctions. In our kitchens where we’re all cooking nourishing meals, mindfully. In our self-reliance, minimal, stripped down existence. In our sudden attention to detail, which is now a necessity, not a luxury. Like soft gentle tinkling bells heralding change, bursting forth with the promise of new life.

I stuck these spider plant “babies” in water at the end of last week. Today, I saw they’ve sprouted shiny, tender new roots, ready to take life on, on their own.

Yesterday, I gave myself a sloth day from what has become an infinite loop of days filled with cleaning, cooking, working, sleeping in different order of sequence every day. I declared it a do-nothing day because I realised that rest is an important part of regeneration. I chose to take it easy, to give the cleaning a miss, to ditch cooking and get take out for a change. And even with the rest, I felt so full of energy. In mind and body.

I feel restoration within me too, somehow. I know there has been talk of the lockdown being extended, and while it bums me out a little (because I really want to get a run in the park, and a GOOD idli-vada and hot chocolate fudge and just a hangout somewhere that’s not my home, and I really don’t want to spend my birthday locked down)m I’m thinking of all the rest and regeneration that still needs to happen. And maybe it will get a chance to?

I know that our expectations of change are that it be quick, as painless as possible, and always positive. But really, aren’t we beginning to see how the deepest most potent transformation is anything but all of that?

One year ago: Goa vibes
Two years ago: To the gypsy that remains

Sweet relief

One of the things that helped put the brakes on the downward spiral of despair that I felt was inevitable, has been focusing my energy on reflecting how I can be actively engaged in my life, going forward. From composting garbage in my apartment complex to trying to shop more at the local store rather than Reliance Fresh. Thinking a little deeper about my impact on the planet and doing at least five small things differently in my day to day life. Front deeply the need to grow and deepen my capacity for compassion and generosity beyond my own people. To think with a a little deeper involvement about how I engage with not just people but the world starting right outside my doorstep. Wondering how I can move thru the polarities that have starkly emerged, without “othering” the many many many people who I see at the far end of the spectrum from me. To connect even as we are so clearly separate. To evolve along this curve in a way that is gentle but meaningful.

It is many times frustrating because these ideas bubble over in my head and I don’t know where to begin. And N gently reminded me the other day, this sort of change takes time. It’s okay to marinade in this space of discomfort, pain and anger too. Till the right steps emerge.

It feels imperative right now.

I’m experiencing the very confusing coexistence of despair and hope all at once.

Its raining good and proper, finally. And it feels like a cleanse, a wiping of the slate clean. I’m so relieved. I feel hopeful to the brim right now. I’m savouring it.

One year ago: Happy days
Two years ago: You’re beautiful it’s true

Good things

that have come from this stay-in. Just some things I’ve started to pay attention to, enjoy/care about more than I used to before this strange, strange time:

The value of housework. And by value I mean the actual worth. I am totally rethinking how much I’m paying my help enough. And I’m a muddle of thoughts about all the unpaid labour housewives put in and how much of themselves they are forced to forget in the bargain.

Folding the laundry, doing the dishes, mopping the floors down on my haunches. Thanking my stars for having a small (manageable) home. Finding the daily dose of happy by tending to my plants diligently again.

Cooking twice a day, every day. Managing efficiency with groceries. I’m frightfully aware of consumption and wastage lately. We’re becoming champs at repurposing leftovers all the time. Salad becomes raita. Dal goes into paratha dough. Bits and bobs in the veggie tray get roasted up and piled on toast, coffee grounds go into my plants. And it feels really good to be using up everything that’s in my fridge and kitchen to the max.

Cleaning methi leaves. Making dahi every single day. Remembering to soak nuts every night.

Video calls. I’m not much of a phone person. It’s only in recent time that I’ve started to enjoy telephone conversations with some people. Video calls were saved for work and readings. And suddenly now I’m doing it so often, so easily.

Working out alone. Working out at home. Treating the half hours of sweeping and mopping the floor as my full body cardio warm up hahaha. This has forced me to get really innovative with my exercise. Trying that new yoga class on Zoom.

Getting comfortable with finding pockets of routine in days that are really not uniform and where no two days are the same. Being okay with having no routine. I feel quite relaxed.

Not knowing what tomorrow will be like. Imperfection. Taking time out to make myself happy, either by cooking something I want to eat, or finding that window of time to paint, being flexible with exercise.

Holding grief and allowing for it when it comes. Learning to be okay with witnessing it and not making meaning.

Realising I’m in a space of retreat again. Not having much to say about it. Watching as it’s making my relationships change. Not doing a thing about it.

Waiting. Uncertainty. Pause. Going really slow.

Justin Bieber. That daily sugary evening adrak chai with a small unhealthy snack.

Who knew.

Two years ago: Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Four years ago: Weekending