On trees and roots

Old-but-renewed fascination with watching age-old trees surfaced some weeks ago, aided by morning wanderings in parts of Bangalore that are beautifully shrouded in a tunnel of treetops. I recollected and shared Mary Oliver’s meditations on Tress some days ago on Instagram and D pointed me to a Larkin poem I have somehow never read before. I don’t know how I could have missed this absolute beauty through 5 years of studying English Literature, in which Larkin featured pretty frequently.

Better late than never, I suppose. Because this, today, speaks to me at so many levels. And maybe that’s why it’s stayed, the words dashing about in my head, playing a game of squash, ever since I read them two weeks ago. Making me look at trees longer, slower, and persuading me to listen in.

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full-grown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Delicious, no?

It’s hard not to see that my obsessive draw and deepening connection to all things green, to having and growing them, to enjoying their company and being surrounded by them has only grown over the last many months. It’s safe to say it very literally gives me a space to ground myself in, and to find real, dirty, hands-on parallels with my own emotional journey and process.

These days, I have my most calming epiphanies and those quiet life-changing aha-moments that make me smile stupidly to myself, when I am running/exercising or gardening. This is why it has also been important and easy to include these two activities into my daily routine, and not just for when I want to have some fun on a whim.

When something takes root, deep and strong, there is a space of anticipation, waiting, uncertainty that comes about. On the one hand, you cannot see what’s at work underground, and it’s also too soon to tell what will happen above. The only thing to do is wait, with faith, and continued dedication to nurturance.

Evocative possibilities can come to life in that space of nothingness. Promise of so many possible futures that can unfold, unravel, that will push through like literal life. Possibilities of thriving, surprises. Stories of death and resurrection. Literal cycles of life in full display within this microcosm.

It’s a place where dreams are real, and unreal all at once. Where possibility is both suspended and in-waiting, but also impending and somehow certain.

That space of seeming emptiness is potent, it is fertile. There is nothing to see, but I have felt it, when I have waited and let the emptiness touch me. And nowadays, when I listen closely, I feel the rootedness saying to me;

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

This morning, I remembered something very sweet and powerful that S said to me in a casual whatsapp chat many, many moons ago. It was such a simple articulation of a very profound thought about leaving people behind as we grow into our own. A thought she had had but we were both beating around the bush trying to catch, pickle and put down in words — and failing.

Until she said;

And this leaving people behind that you talk about is how a tree leaves the ground behind.

Even in the profundity of the moment then, I didn’t see how eminently crucial roots are. In the process of growing. Of transforming. Of gathering wisdom and understanding. And of leaving. Of grasping opportunities to beginning afresh.

Three years ago: Grow
Four years ago: Morning moods

Run, run, run

I’ve been running consistently for the last two weeks now, and it has given me some respite from the exercise rut I was in. And now I’m running everywhere. In my neighbourhood, around my neighbourhood, beyond my neighbourhood, and taking myself to the park for longer run as often as I can.

As usual, humbled and amazed at how the body adapts and responds, still. It took about 12 days of being dissatisfied with my pace (because I am nothing without my unrealistic, gold-standard expectations of myself) and feeling so much regret for all the lost stamina, for my pace to improve. When I noticed that tiny sliver of an improvement, I behaved like I’d run a full marathon, of course.

***

Then last week, just as I was reminiscing my days of training hardddd with B and R in Goa — literally the only thing I still sorely, sorely miss about my life there, and the one thing (yes, even more than than the beach) I could go back for in a heartbeat — B messaged me to say hi after almost a whole year. And it turns out they’ve moved to teaching online, much like the rest of the world. I don’t know why I didn’t think to reach out sooner and get in on it, right from the safety of my own home. But, I managed to sneak in two sessions last week that injected me with energy and excitement about working out differently again.

It was a good reality check too — to see that I’m not nearly as badly off a I imagined and I haven’t quite lost all that good form from three years ago. I was stunned to have finished the class in one piece, even though I has collapsed into a ball of sweat and endorphins by the end of it.

One year ago: Rest
Two years ago: Not yet lost all our graces

Upside down

There’s so much happening below. On the ground beneath my feet.

I’m seeing it all.

And more than occasionally, these days, I take time to look up.

And I soak that in too.

One year ago: Silent and still
Two years ago: Not invited, but I’m glad I made it

The hidden life of trees

So, I decided to break my boredom with home workouts and desperate missing of the gym, by braving the outdoors and resuming running again.

It’s been three days and one whole day of severely sore legs, but I feel so good.

It’s more than what running does for my body, which in itself is a whole other story. But I’m also beginning to see why being outdoors in an enveloping tunnel of trees, that are overwhelmingly old and large, surrounded by eye-hurting green views, even as small and limited as they are in a city park, does for me.

It’s a reminder to keep growing. To keep going. Of how strong roots are the key to talk trees. Of age and wisdom. Of a silent judgement-free witnessing. Of the cradle of mother earth. Of the place that energy and the elements have in giving life. Of fertility even in times of destruction. Of survival and enduring.

On Sunday, practically my first real long run since March (because I’m not counting the two failed attempts in May and June), I had a mini cry behind my mask even as I had just entered the parking and started my run. I just felt overwhelmed to be outdoors, for one. But I was also just taken by these large, old trees. Just standing there, watching the world go by, as they have for years now. I also felt a surge of endorphins, and while they’re usually known to induce extreme highs interpreted as happiness I have noticed that they heighten whatever emotion I am allowing myself to feel. That day it was overwhelming gratitude and aliveness.

I have not appreciated trees enough in my life. And that day I realised I have probably not appreciated the trees in Bangalore enough in my life.

They’re becoming reminders for me. Of life and growth. Of swaying with lightness and tenderness, while being powerfully rooted. Of grounding. Of joy and life. Of air and breath.

In the inimitable words of Mary Oliver, who I have realised has woven beauty in words for every goddamn experience, it’s simple.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Stay. Awhile.

One year ago: Brain noodles
Four years ago: Wandering, right here at home

Home is where the heart is

2020

This cosy little nook of ours has really filled out. Enveloping and dragging us into a comforting hug. I don’t think I’d have made it through lockdown and corona times in a home in which I didn’t feel like I could be myself.

And I don’t mean that lightly or superficially. This is the home I’ll always remember as the space that housed me through these important years. And in the corners and crannies of the home, I see transitions, changes and improvement that shadows and echoes the changes I, and we, have gone through as we lived here.

From living a bare bones, minimal this-much-will-do life, to growing into allowing ourselves indulgences, believing we are worth the spoils of a full, lush, lived-in home that gives expression to who we are as people, has been such a trip.

There is so much life in so many more ways now, in this home, than when we first moved. The plants, the colours, the walls, the refrigerator, the transformation of entire rooms.

It’s home, but is home really ever just a home of walls and windows and doors? I have lived in several homes now. This is my seventh, in fact. This one is special.

And I see why they say it’s where the heart is.

2017

Crazy trip seeing this picture from 2017, taken in week one of moving into this apartment. I posted it and wrote about setting up home (and other things) here.

Three years ago: What coming home feels like: finding new comfort in old places
Four years ago: Wayanad things

Coming back to life, again

Taking a break from the Monday Tarot Message this week. Because, I’ve had a very challenging past week, and weekend too. Just dealing with a lot of emotions — like I said here — and trying to stay with it, rather than disconnect and float off into fantasy land where everything is changa si. Things weren’t good. But it is the way it is when you confront challenging emotions, make strides with accepting discomfort and internalising difficult realisations.

I was excessively sad. Grief is too small a word for what I was going through. And there was also anger, as I mentioned the other day. So much anger at being gaslit, and what that did to me, unconsciously baiting me in to a process I could have sidestepped.

I was on edge, irritable and lashed out on everybody and everything, very, very easily. And so to avoid doing that, I went under a bit. Incommunicado.

I’ve traversed a world of emotions in the last seven days, and with an intensity that I haven’t felt in a while. What’s more, it brought a feeling of being unmoored, which I haven’t felt since about 2016. The thing about unraveling and diving into the grief pool is that it makes everything watery and dilute. I lose sight of where I’m at and how far I’ve come. And when the present is clouded, the past takes over so easily.

The incident at class triggered something so deep this time. I confronted really old, old narratives that my logical brain knows I have moved past. And yet, there they were, dragging me down again. I had a surge of memories from wayyyyy back, like years 1-6 in school. Some that I had buried, some that I didn’t even know existed. Painful, not too pleasant ones. Worries around success and money, that I absolutely certainly have a much more flexible, soft and clear approach towards now, surfaced in their old avatar. I felt extreme lack in so many fronts. And almost all of this attacks my self-worth. Cumulatively, I went nose-first into the pit of self-pity, beating my own worth down with all I had. Between Monday to Friday, I had gradually pulled my life apart and was on the way to convincing myself it is all for naught.

Its also been excessively rainy, and while the sun comes out we haven’t had bright, sunshiney days in over ten days now. The weather has officially crossed that fine line between sexy and wonderful to downright gloomy.

When I don’t see the sun for a considerable time, I get the blues, I do. VC snapped this picture of me just hanging out in the balcony, watching the daily 4 pm rain, wishing for just a spot of sunshine. Basic, everyday comforts like chai that VC makes for me, and creature comforts like home-delivered sourdough croissants have really gotten me through.

The weekend was a good transit, a slow moving from what felt like a very unanchored and chaotic state in the days before to today which has me back on solid ground again. The coming up for a breath of air, letting my arms and legs relax after a week of flapping them around to stay afloat while a storm of emotions raged on within and around me.

The good news is my laptop got miraculously fixed, very, very easily. Leading me to believe it was but another text the universe sent my way, in what was a very..ahem..testy week. I leaned on got very clingy with VC in a way that I haven’t in a while, the poor thing. After trying to stay on top of things, and failing, all week, I took the weekend to just stay in. I did work some, but mostly we just rested, I cooked and got the house in order, which is all very grounding for me. Things I wasn’t very successful with doing during the week itself.

These days I feel the waves of emotions come and go, within my body. The more tuned into to my physical body I become, the more I see how my emotional body impacts it and vice versa. By Saturday night I felt the weight literally lift. My eyes felt bright, open and my face less pressured and compact. My breathing that was shallow, was open and easy again.

Cumulatively, it’s been upwards of two weeks since I have been wallowing in the dumps, in varying degrees of distress. It goes all the way back here and here and got progressively harder as the days when on, as you’ll recall seeing here and here.

But that was last week. And then the weekend brought fresh energy. VC and I had some spontaneous but important conversations that I didn’t know needed to be had. Some words I needed to hear, some pieces falling into place. Some reassurance, some support I needed, but didn’t realise it was right here for the taking. On Sunday, I just took the time to savour the return of energy and normalcy. We spent the day with VC’s family, which surprisingly was a good break for me.

It was only over the course of the weekend, when I relaxed and quit literally returned to my body, that I realised I’ve been feeling quite emotionally knackered the past few days. So I eased up, and went to bed with a belly full of good homely food, having spent a few hours setting up my old-new laptop again, and knowing somewhere in the pit of my being that the new week is going to be different.

Lo and behold, I was right. This morning I felt alive again. Like a butterfly that’s emerged out of a pupa. We focus so much on the flourish and beauty of the emergence, not realising that the process of coming out is preceded by so much physical distress, thrashing around, exercising new muscles that will enable flight.

I felt freedom in my body this morning, a new energy. New wings. New light. New day. It’s easy to think of growth as a peachy, honey soaked journey where you move from milestone to milestone all the better for it. Yes, we’re largely always better from our experiences of growth, but they are never without their share of stretch and deeply painful challenges.

It’s also very easy to deny myself the allowance of feeling and being challenged in this way, because of the assumption that doing self work somehow makes me immune to it. It’s a constant process of reminding myself how human I am. That in healing means opening up to feeling things more keenly, allowing for a lot more emotional onslaught, but learning to handle it with gentleness and care.

I am only human. I’m coming back to life. All over, yet again.

(Monday Tarot Messages will resume next week.)

One year ago: This way or that
Two years ago: I request another dream
Four years ago: I’m reading again, so books

Happy-sad

The pandemic isn’t over. But I’m very OVER IT.

I went out and did many “bad things” today. By pandemic behaviour standards, that is.

For a brief while I felt free and full of life. But my heart was heavy seeing the very real economic effects of the last few months on the landscape of my city.

That’ll be all.

One year ago: Warrior
Two years ago: It’s the house telling you to close your eyes

Blissful

Just sitting here basking in the joy of an open heart and a clear mind after an excellent session of therapy.

Celebrating the high with the almost-rain backdrop, chai and the closest-to-Parisian croissant I’ve found in Bangalore.

increasingly, therapy has become a very quiet affair, for me. Far fewer words, working mostly with my body, movement and dreams (when I remember them), lots of quiet and noticing what happens in those quiet moments, really taking the time to soak that in before ticking off items from the mental list to move on to the next thing.

It has brought about a sense of expansiveness not just in the way that therapy is working to open me up, but also in the way that I am experiencing life itself. Open, quiet, slow and free.

Today was an important session. And I spent much of it in a haze of peace and oneness. Not having the words or even the urge to explain what I was feeling. It’s such a relief to have a therapist who works in this way, with whom I can spend the entire hour in mostly silence, without owing explanations and still feel held, safe and grounded. Today has left me feeling very present in the now. In today. In what my body is experiencing as this sense of peace and togetherness.

We always end with “so how are you feeling now?” and usually my answer is the woefully inadequate “good” or “not so good” (as the case may be). Today I burst into a beaming, heartful smile and said, Blissful.

One year ago: Two things
Two years ago: If you, if you could return
Four years ago: Gym rant

Small annoyances

All of us woke, progressive, ahead-of-the-game folks: why are we watching Indian Matchmaking? Why are we watching it and posting about it, even if to make fun of it? We know this stuff. We know it’s going to be cringe-worthy, it’s going to trigger us, we know it doesn’t need more eyeballs. I’ve watched a lot of timepass TV in the last four months, but I’ve consciously decided I’m going to stay away from things that no longer sit with my values. And considering I’m always feeling like there’s not even Indian content that’s made for an audience like me, I feel even more strongly that I can no longer give into this sort of voyeuristic, guilty-pleasure viewing. If I want better, I’ve got to choose better.

I wish everyone would stop with the memes, the hot-takes and even the mockery. The show doesn’t need more eyeballs, and certainly not confirmation and proof of how many eyeballs have been directed towards it.

I’m not entirely sure what the sweet spot between showing the grotesque reality of a socio-cultural structure like this, and making an informed commentary relevant to this moment in time is, but just seeing the trailer, I feel like this is not it. We have to move past skimming the surface by embracing enough wokeness to garner brownie points and profit from it through viewership, while sidestepping delving into the depths of an issue so problematic and in need of exploration.

***

So deeply disappointed in Kangana Ranaut of late. I’ve been slowly sliding out of that fandom for over the last year or so, but nothing made me exit faster than the way she’s been piling on her own agenda onto the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput. Deeply distressing to watch the way she’s using her words, targeting and verbally abusing the same group of people she claims she belongs to and is fighting the cause for. It makes no sense anymore.

I’ve tossed this around in my head a lot in the past. Wondering if it is my conditioning that makes an aggressive, opinionated woman uncomfortable for me to take. But it isn’t. It’s the hypocrisy, the double standards, the blatant pandering one toxic establishment in the name of bucking the foundations of another. Most of all it’s the total lack of empathy and foolhardiness of her arrogance that is making me shame my head every time she opens her mouth.

***

I’ve been wondering about this whole Bollywood debacle that’s droned on and on and on with absolutely no new insights being offered for a month now, and wondering how and why it’s occupying so much primetime news space, in a country and at a time when the pandemic is literally raging fury, floods are ravaging significant parts, while others are drowning in anarchy and complete breakdown of law and order. So many states reeling under the effects of a broken health system, no real, dependable answers and numbers from health officials from any corner about what we have on our hands and how we’re dealing, even four months into this.

But we’re so happy to get behind relative non issues like nepotism? Like we’re well on our way to finding that vaccine and making is available to the country? Like we’ve solved hunger, poverty and education?

This is where I smell a rat and call bullshit on Kangana’s rampage. She is a well trained arm of the forces that be. Extremely erudite in understanding the goals of the propaganda machine, fitting right in, harnessing all her clout and skills to deliver. Distractions, histrionics, dangerous rhetoric, pretend nationalism couched in nice sounding intentions. She’s aced this act since 2014. And she has been well rewarded for it.

So while the nation burns, lets please keep focusing on Bollywood and imagined issues of any relevance.

***

I was late to catch up on the Shubham Mishra video, but heck, it gave me chills to watch it and hear his impassioned words. I felt really physically afraid, in my body, thinking about the number of men — his entire army of followers — who would be emboldened by those words. And it really stoked a fire that’s been slowly gathering steam in the pit of my belly: 

I do not feel safe in this country. I do not feel safe to be a woman. I do not feel safe on the Internet. I do not feel safe in this society. I do not feel safe.

It has taken a lot of work to feel well, whole, and safe in my body. And I have made huge strides in this aspect. But it takes so little to slip back into fear.

Stepped out for a walk with VC this evening. My first outing in over 10 days. I decided to run ahead. And in no time at all, I realised I was being stared the fuck out. A feeling and a sense of self consciousness that I’d lost touch with because I’ve worked hard to move past it in many ways, and I’ve been indoors for the larger part of this year, which has given me space to stretch myself out. And forget others’ eyeballs.

My first instinct was to check if my nipples were showing. Second, double take over my clothes to see what was “inappropriate”. It is this deeply ingrained. Subconsciously, it is so easy to feel unsafe, and then blame ourselves for any danger we might feel.

I know it’s not much better elsewhere. But overall, I’m just so sick of this country. I’m just so done.

***

Even today, so far into this whole situation I saw loads of people without masks on. Old people without masks taking evening walks, mums pushing strollers with babies in them without masks on, construction site workers and contractors milling around without masks on, street-side vendors without masks on. All while I was sweating it out under my mask, while running. Making big glaring eyes at all of them, almost as if to cancel out their stares at whatever the hell they found so interesting to stare at me for.

***

But here’s a sunshiney picture from today. The skies were blindingly blue, but it wasn’t hot. The air was thin, cool and light to the touch. After several nights of heavy rain, and many rainy, wet days, it was lovely today.

And we came out of lockdown today. Two reasons why I decided to get out.

One year ago: Unpretty
Four years ago: Homebody

Same same

Still here, finding the tiny silver lining in the midst of a pandemic that’s raging out of control and has our authorities foxed. Focusing on staying well, staying safe, staying indoors and staying positive.

And it’s a tough ask. I mean last week the health minister just threw his hands up and said only God can now save us from this message. Today he says he alone can’t be expected to do the work.

Then why for you became Health Minister, saar?

Even WHO videos are now pissing me off with how absolutely wishy washy, unreliable and ineffective they’re beginning to sound. Just so much hand-wringing and nothing more. Even seven months since this thing broke out. How is this a 2020 reality?

Virus aside, though, I’m still intermittently in awe of alllllllll the ramifications of the way in which life has been toppled over and all that we are having to contend with.

There’s so many things I hope I never take for granted again. Hugs, for one. Sunlight and fresh air. Just human presence, is what I miss the most I think. Poor VC is bearing the brunt of all my need for human contact, facing frequent assaults of love. But yeah, I can’t unsee some of the fundamental ways in which life has shifted for me. Fourth month of doing all home chores by ourselves and we’ve stacked up a whole load of lessons learned but also tricks and hacks to make this work. I don’t think I can go back to the old ways of waste and excess (in so many little things) in a hurry. Eating meals at the table has been such a joy. Working out at home has been a revelation. And I’m only just scratching the surface. A lot of the changes we have made are small and private and I don’t want to be virtue signalling by talking about them at length. Also, I know this has been the process for many, many people. Everyone has had their own set of learnings and have changed their lives in important ways.

So I’d be lying if I said this painful time hasn’t been without gifts.

It’s just taken me a while to assimilate, look back and acknowledge them. Despite feeling fully the privilege it speaks of to be even doing this. For too long I let the guilt of that privilege stop me. Until I recently realised privilege too is a gift and I’m wasting it by letting the guilt paralyse me. I can instead acknowledge it, own it and let it move me to actually do things.

I ranted about just wanting to go out on my Instagram the other day, and it took absolutely no time for someone to point out that staying in is a privilege! like I was ignorant about or hadn’t possibly considered that truth. That presumption aside, it reflected exactly my own thought process around this. How stuck I have felt from just acknowledging my privilege. And what a shift it has been to accept and own it and instead move on to thinking about how I can use my privilege positively and constructively. Even if just for my own life.

(Also, acknowledging and agreeing with an inherent privilege doesn’t make the feelings of wanting to leave, any less true. Why do we insist on existing in stark binaries so much? The two states can absolutely coexist!)

Heard this Pico Iyer quote the other day on a podcast, and it hit home why some times, some parts of this shit show begin to make sense. And some times it feels good too.

Going nowhere, as Leonard Cohen would later emphasize for me, isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.

Three years ago: In which I end up without a phone
Four years ago: Rainy day feels

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