I’m eaassyyyy

Today was the first high-energy, productive, moving-around and-getting-shit-done kind of day we have had in over a month. It’s ridiculous, really. Considering we were to leave this morning, and yet even until late yesterday evening — with under 12 hours from proposed departure time — VC and I hadn’t begun actually packing up. I really don’t know what we were waiting for, except that neither of us seemed to be in a rush to get a move on.

Instead I went off early in the morning to spend a couple of hours with D, while VC got some work done. Then we met up at lunch — we managed to squeeze in another Thai meal like it needed to be done more than packing needed to be begun  — before we came home in time to catch the pest control fellows and packers who came two hours later than anticipated. Which meant more waiting around and more time being spent not packing.

We had a list of such random errands to finish, and odds and ends to tie up around the house before we leave. We came with every intention to get it done in a systematic way. In fact before we arrived VC had even said to me I’m going to start doing one thing everyday and tick it all off. But somehow, despite that, in what is now unsurprising, typical fashion we only got around to lining it up somewhere at the end of last week. And it took till yesterday for things to actually happen. In the mean time we traipsed about town, played a lot of taash, met up with friends, went out by ourselves, spent two days in Morjim, loafed around to escape power-cuts at home, and also spent an inordinate amount of time chilling at home.

So anyway you get the gist, yeah?

Finally, when the pest control fellows had done their thing and left, and the packers had packed and moved my plants back and forth around the house yesterday, it was past 8 pm. VC and I were left looking at cockroach carnage around a mud-streaked upside-down house to clean up. When I realised that neither of us was in the mood to do that or even begin packing VC’s stuff, and instead were had chosen to sit back in bed with our noses in our respective laptops, I just took a call.

Let’s leave on Thursday, I said.

And just like that VC agreed.

Then we laughed, and I said to VC, maybe it’s just time to embrace the fact that this is who we are — last minute people. Maybe this isn’t going to change. But I realised this is always how VC has been. He packs his suitcase before an early morning flight, even earlier in the morning, between waking up and leaving home. I’m the one that this is a whole new world for. This is not at all who I used to be — leaving everything to the very last minute, not panicking at all, changing plans on the fly, postponing departures at the nth hour, being okay with sudden change of plans.

I should’ve guessed this was where we were headed when we spent over 2 weeks in a state of ease and relaxation, when we could very well have easily and painlessly managed to finish all our tasks well ahead of time. Instead we somehow got them all done in the last 24 hours. It is fascinating me no end that there is suddenly such an allowance for this, in measures I have not known were possible. Even writing a post like this some months ago would have come with a sense of relief, tinged with regret at how last minute everything has been. But I feel none. I do not regret how much fun I’ve had, how much sleep I caught up on, how much we have eased up and relaxed over the last two weeks, and how much we have enjoyed this home and this unique time where neither of us had much else to do but be in each other’s company, in Goa. it felt serendipitous and I’m glad we just had the ability to go with it.

Anyhow, this morning, something kicked in. We woke up and swung straight into action and had an almost steroid-induced bout of work. We packed up in hyper-efficient manner, turned the house complete upside down, cleaned it out thoroughly, and readied it for it’s next interim occupant. So efficient were we, that we even had time to have a lazy lunch and catch a two hour nap. In the evening, because we had so much time to spare and nowhere to be, we even loaded up the car with all the many bags and boxes, so tomorrow we have to all but wake up, get ready and drive out.

It felt like a fitting day of movement and clearing, to be up and about like this, of productivity, after weeks of slowness. And I almost cannot believe how this has all worked out, but somewhere in all of this there has been a turning point in our beings, and a lesson for me going forward.

***

I’m leaving Goa feeling grateful that we found someone to take the house (even if for a short while) so it will be lived in and looked after until we visit next.

One year ago: It’s a lazy afternoon
Three years ago: Okay bye

Moving on

If I had ten bucks for every time someone confusedly asked me So what’s the plan, really? or some variant of that with regard to this moving back and forth between Goa and Bangalore life, I’d be able to buy myself a ticket to take yet another flight to Goa, I think. It’s been confusing as hell, I believe. Even now, a whole year later, I find I’m still explaining that I’m in Bangalore and VC has been in Goa, and sometimes I’m even explaining why we have this arrangement. Officially, I suppose what seems to everyone to be a precarious balance has ended. VC and I will now be in the same city. And if you really had to make me pick a side, it is Bangalore, for now.

But I guess it’s official now. Because our plants left for Bangalore today. The packers were a bit amused to see that the plants were literally all we’re shipping back to Bangalore. And judging by VC’s stance and expression, what he’s thinking is probably This is one of the stupidest things I’ve done in a while.

But that it how it is. The rest of the house remains, and I believe it is a not-so-subconscious attempt to keep the back door open, so we may keep coming back. Even with all my readiness to move on, the growing sense of an ending with this chapter, a feeling of having somewhat grown up to stepping into an all new phase in love and in life, I just can’t get myself to believe fully in my bones that we’re moving (yet again) on from Goa. I’ve been wondering if maybe this is one of the side-effects of having a home here? It makes a place never too far off? And this easy access is always just a flight or a day’s drive away. But today, after I spent a couple of hours this morning hanging with D, I realised it’s more than just the home. It’s connection and belonging that goes beyond physical limits. When I left Goa in 2017, it came with a lot of ties broken off with people here. I left feeling quite orphaned by the place, with little sense of belonging to salvage. And even though most of those people aren’t in my life today, others are. Others with whom I have significant, growing, constantly evolving relationships that seem to surpass time and distance in a way that was difficult for me to do even just two years ago.

I guess what I’m saying is Goa — even with all it’s befuddling changes that break my heart on a daily basis — will always be home in some form. It is after all, the place that gave me space to drop roots, sprout wings and fly in what was easily the most formative decade of my life thus far. It’s where I made friends with folks who have significantly impacted and shaped this very important phase of my life. And there is a sense of belonging in that, more than in the physical idea of Goa as a place. A part of me does feel like it belongs here.

What I’m also trying to say is, this feels like yet another short-term good-bye, and not at all like the heart-wrenching goodbye from moving lock stock and barrel, like it felt in 2017. This feels like a see-you-very-soon rather than an alvida!

***

Gratitude today for all the restful days I’ve had in Goa. It has rested something deeper within me, in a way that I couldn’t have done in my own home, smack in the middle of my regular life in Bangalore.

One year ago: The rest is up to you, you make the call

Ammama vs me

I had a regular Sunday yesterday, which, going by the last ten days was no different from any other day. I spent it in what is fast becoming the race to run out of content to consume online. But. There was one surprise event, that was easily the highlight of the day weekend. Actually, the entire week.

Ammama has just upgraded her old phone to a smart one some months ago and has started to use Whatsapp. Yesterday, she video-called me!

Ammama: What’s happening in Goa?

Me: Nothing much, I’m just…er…chilling.

I say the above sheepishly, because chilling idly for er, what – two weeks now? is kind of demonised in my family. Ammama would not be pleased and would have definitely frowned at me, if she had fully registered the extent to which chilling meant doing nothing.

First of all, look at her. Hair combed, bindi in place, in crisp clothes at 11 m on a Sunday morning, while I was clearly still in night clothes, still lazing about in bed.

I awaited the minor lecture about why I wasn’t up and about as yet and further questioning about “work” to come at me. But she totally sidestepped my reply and proceeded to unconsciously throw shade by telling allllll that she has been up to. Not just on that day, but the entire week. It included every little happening from what was cooked for dinner last night (vegetarian and non vegetarian menus in full detail, even though she’s vegetarian), what she ate and enjoyed, to where she went, whose boring company she had to endure at which unnecessary social gathering, what’s happening to various members of my extended family and who is up to what shenanigans.

And then she told me she was recovering from a bad sore throat and had fever until two days ago.

Man, way to make a lazyass girl who has done nothing for 14 days straight feel bad.

Nah, I kid. I was just thrilled and it literally gave me life listening to her ramble on and on excitedly, giving me all the scoop in such excruciating detail. To have that much zest for life at 84 is what I’ll aim for, and if I get to even half as much energy, I’ll be happy. But, truth be told, the prospect (going by current states of sloth) isn’t looking very promising bahahaha…

***

Speaking of sloth, it took about two weeks of not doing much by way of really making progress on packing up for the move, to finally getting going. And completely true to form, we’ve managed to get everything going on the last two days before we leave. I sorted out and tended to my plants a couple of days ago, finally emptied out the fridge today, took all our perishables over to D to use, figured out what else we’re taking and how much space it would need. Then, finally the movers arrived, and the pest control blokes promised to come tomorrow. It only took three calls to each of them and waiting over four days.

The good news is I get to take all my plants back home with me, and I’m over the moon at the thought. The bad news is there’s a suspected return of the cyclone, which might set us behind by a few days again.

This trip, like no other, has tested my capacity to throw well-laid plans to wind and see what happens. I have so far fared extremely well, if I may say so myself. But this last bit seems to really be testing me to the max.

One year ago: Ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend?
Two years ago: Hotel hangover
Three years ago: Invitation

Seaside blues

What you didn’t see in yesterday’s pictures, and what I missed to reflect on, given that I wrote the post in my post sea-swim bliss, was how strewn with trash and how awfully filthy the sea was. Thanks to the combined effects of the sea being in full churn, from ten days of cyclonic, stormy weather — many red alert days — and a full moon, there was trash just everywhere.

Not ideal, but one anticipates this sort of filth on the beaches more popular amongst tourists. When we moved here nearly ten years ago, local friends would tell us to go beyond Anjuna — which was something of a cut-off point — to find quiet, cleaner beaches. That imaginary point slowly moved up to Vagator. Few years down it went even further up north to Ashwem. I remember one summer, perhaps it was 2014 or 2015, we went up to Ashwem expecting to find some peace and quiet, and found literal busloads and hoards of picnicking tourists trashing the beach. For two years after, we went all the way up to Arambol whenever we needed a beach day. I was really shocked and deeply saddened yesterday, to find Morjim in much the same state.

It’s not just the filth on the beach. Something about the vibe up north has changed. The approach to the beaches, the streets, the stores and outlets, the quick and disturbingly unplanned way in which buildings and settlements are cropping up — everything feels different. And of course this means more people, more trash, more noise, more desensitisation towards the place around us.

I watched it with my own eyes when I accompanied VC down the beach where he wanted to take some sunset pictures. Morjim felt like Miramar, and if it wasn’t for the stunning sunset, I might have come back really sad. I was so tired of dodging piles of shit and rubbish. And VC was already clicking his tongue thinking about how much filth he’d have to clone out of his pictures. He said this on Instagram too, recently.

I know Goa’s garbage problem has almost touched the point of no return. And I feel a sense of helplessness when I think about where that will take us from here on. The load on the land isn’t reducing any time, systems don’t seem to be at all keeping up with where things stand today, or prepping for the future, and it just makes me wonder with worry about where this will end. And if there’s a way in which it will end even remotely prettily?

***

That aside, it was a wonderful getaway. The fact that somehow, I have spent the last three Diwalis — every one, since leaving Goa — not just back in Goa, but in close proximity to and in the company of D and UT, dawned on me earlier today. In another day it might have felt like a chance coincidence, but three consecutive years is a bit much to ignore. On our first trip back here since moving, at the same time of year, we came to Morjim to spend a day and a night. And it was only the first of oh so many, many trips back to Goa where we stayed with them for extended periods of time, ending in a whole month spent with them, babysitting the puppies, while we got our flat ready for VC’s move last year. I know I’ve always said this about sharing space with them, and having a sense of home here. But I think it is as much about a sense of home in them as people, as it is about having a space to come to.

Given the number of friendship lessons the past few years has thrown my way, the difficult realisations, the betrayal, the disappointments, the pleasant turns and coincidences, I am grateful for (and I don’t think I flip this around on it’s head to see the other side often enough) all the people who have remained.

We had a really chill 24 hours. Slowness, sessions for gabbing, silences, swimming, saltwater, squids, sleep — lots of sleep. VC and I might have gone away for a day somewhere on our own before we left, but we ended up staying only because it’s easy in the company of D and UT. Plans melt, have tos get bent, must dos are forgotten. I’m glad we made the trip away. It felt like a satisfying send off from Goa, for now, before we begin packing.

One year ago: Quiet movements where I can find

The sun. The sea.

The sun comes out. And we make it to the beach. A swim in the sea, a dip in the pool, a stunning #nofilterneeded sunset.

I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately. Specifically in context of earning my own again, and chasing some of the experiences I want. It’s easy, when one does that, to lose sight of the experiences one has, that one is in the midst of, the luxuries one already affords, all that is accessible and a privilege. Not to say, of course, that one must aspire for or dream of having more, but the luxury of coming from a holiday on the hills to a week of some more relaxation in a home in Goa, and being able to take off and check in to a resort for a night to be closer to the sea, hit me today. And while I set my eyes on future goals and targets, I want to also acknowledge all that’s in my present. I’m grateful for today. For the sunset. For the sea.

One year ago: The wild unknown

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that

If there’s one thing the incessant rain has ensured, it’s a quiet Diwali. I don’t remember Goa being too big on noisy fireworks to begin with. In all my years here, I haven’t ever faced the sort of noise levels that I did, and one continues to face, in cities like Bangalore. But this wet, wet, wet Diwali ensured that even the little that usually happens, probably didn’t. We didn’t hear a peep, or see any signs of festivity up until yesterday morning. City centres, away from us, probably had their fair share of Narkasur shenanigans with the whole hog. No rain will ever really dampen that spirit, I suspect. But it was a nice quiet weekend for us.

I’m constantly underestimating the niceness of people around us. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t expect it, that I am surprised so often. Our neighbours came over bright and early on Saturday morning, looking bright eyed and bushy tailed, all freshly bathed and in crisp new clothes, wit three boxes in hand. One with hot, homemade gulab jamuns, and two others with some traditional poha-based sweets they apparently make here in Goa.

VC and dragged himself out of bed to get the door when they came a knocking, and then dragged me out — braless, teeth unbrushed and still in our night clothes — to come wish them and say thanks. Late in the morning, THE SUN CAME OUT, FINALLY. And it was really interesting to see how it instantly gave me life. I sprang into action, setting the house back in order like I usually do immediately after I arrive here. A day or sun also meant I could finally get out into the hitherto out-of-bounds terrace and tend to our plants that are now in varying stages of flourish. It’s super fascinating to see how they’ve grown, some literally since babyhood from nearly a year ago, and others from different heights and stages of fullness. We got out and shopped for groceries, brought ourselves mithai — the only thing we did to mark Diwali here at home — and ate a home-cooked meal of dal.

Finally it felt like Diwali by yesterday evening as we drove over to D and UTs, Goa was lit up, and we got to an absolutely resplendent home that was aglow with lights. Another night of cards, food and cheer ensued.

The kind of night that’s gentle and easy, but so fun, things got a bit blurry. For humans and doggies alike.

***

As of today the skies have officially cleared, the neighbours all have their Diwali lights strung out finally. The sun is doing its October magic. The street dogs around are making themselves heard again. The pao wala is zipping by twice a day, after not making an appearance ever since we’ve arrived.

The house isn’t in a state of being taken over by soggy, musty laundry, perpetually wet bathroom has had some respite and the kitchen is inviting again. Life as I know it here has resumed. And it has been particularly chill, easy, with flow, than ever before.

I was telling S this morning, that for me, the realisation that I must really slow down has been such a central part of this transition. Even after slowing down so much over the past many months, there seems to be more to do. Getting away from normal life in Bangalore seems to really enable that for me. I’m not surprised at the timely getaways now. And I am getting better at noticing what’s being asked of me — to be with the slowness and the now all the time — and allowing myself to take the liberty.

***

I have been sitting with some latent fear that’s constantly making its presence felt, in the subtlest way. It’s strange to be witnessing it, without it having a grip on me. I began writing about it one week ago, and I am aware I have avoided going back to the draft to finish it ever since. I’m watching even as the desire to articulate my thoughts comes up and goes even before I can act. I’m observing how I’m not sure if this is also a part of slowing down and letting go of the need for perfectly pickled, framed, articulate insights — I really don’t need them as much as I used to — or if it’s some sort of avoidance and denial. I’m interested in holding this space for things to just come up and flow out in their own time, when it’s right, while my need to rush in and do something about it abates by leaps and bounds.

Gratitude for S today, and the numerous chats we’ve been having constantly. It has been such a relief to have someone on the same journey as me, doing the same learning, traversing such a similar path, that they get exactly what I am on about when I share and express myself. God knows this has been much needed companionship during this time when I have felt even more distance from most of my closest friends simply because beyond a point I can’t explain what I am going through in a coherent way. Except with someone who has shared that experience closely, and journeyed with me.

***

Two years ago: More Goa postcards: Yellow
Three years ago: Soloism

I’ve had enough

It’s day for of incessant rain and I didn’t think I’d ever complain about it, but here we are. I’ve frikking had enough.

I haven’t seen the sun since we got in on Monday. We haven’t started on any of the errands we need to. In fact our departure hangs in mid air because VC plans to ride his bike back to Bangalore and we can’t even plan to leave until the rain subsides. I haven’t resumed running like I wanted to. I haven’t been able to take this opportunity to get back to my food plan in earnest, and my smoothie lunches. Because, power cuts. Many, many power cuts.

It seems like yet another intervention making my best laid plans go to waste. Literally washing away all my good intentions. But my grip on it is much looser than before so going with the flow has been easier. It’s a wonder, for example, that it’s taken four days before I got to the point of having had absolutely enough of this rain.

I have spent a major part of my time relaxing here. But the lack of sun light and fresh air (because the rain has been so unimaginably heavy all our windows are shut all the time) is finally, finally getting to me. I woke up this morning feeling borderline depressive. Gloomy, down in the dumps, imagining plates of the best food that absolutely nobody will bring to me, with just bread and eggs in the fridge.

This morning we have had no power since 8 am. And finally when it got too much to bear we left the house. Unshowered, just rolled out of bed, changed and left to find the nearest place that will give us beers.

And so here we are. Staying indoors was really beginning to mess with my mind.

I’m taking this as an intervention and trying to accept with grace how little control over my plans, I have. I’m happy to be outdoors. It’s green as fuck, and the temperatures are low, borderline cold, thankfully. I’m going to try and make the most of it while I can.

Incidentally, today is exactly one year since VC and I packed up one person’s worth of living stuff and drove across to Goa separately. Full circle, today. Gratitude for this journey and all that is has unwittingly brought to us.

One year ago: Getaway, you know it’s now or never
Two years ago: Postcards from Pondicherry
Three years ago: Book quandary

Moarrr rain = a lazy week

By now I know that this extended rain isn’t an occurrence isolated to the coasts alone. It’s been raining all over large parts of India, from what I have read and heard. But what I’ve experienced in Goa in just the two days since coming back is phenomenal. I don’t remember it being this heavy even earlier this year in peak monsoon.

This feels like July or August once again, but it is just so much more…relentless. Powerful, unstoppable, aggressive, almost.

Yesterday we had some respite in snatches. But at some point when we were busy playing taash last night, it began to come down again. Loudly and continuously, with no signs of slowing down. It continued well into the night and even as I drove home in the rain closer to 1 am and we got into bed, it didn’t seem like it was going to pause anytime soon. I woke up to the same rain, same intensity, same darkness at about 9 am. And it has just gone on and on and on like that all day long. I am not even exaggerating. I slowed down a wee bit, just a tad, in the afternoon and just as I heaved a sigh of relief it came clamouring down again at about 6 pm, and it’s the same story all over again. It looks and feels a bit like there is some endless source where this is coming from, and it is nowhere near done.

It’s been 20 days since I got any exercise at all. I mean any exercise. I haven’t moved a limb. First it was the holiday, then the hectic week at class. And so I came to Goa prepared to at least resume running again. Outdoors, I thought. Since there’s so many places to go here. But I guess the weather has other plans. So instead of moving again, I’ve spend a majority of my time here in bed. Between the darkness thanks to the nonexistent sunlight, the great sleep vibes this house has, rising late and generally letting myself go this month, I’m writing October off as a dud. A rest month.

Something about being here with absolutely no need to wake up “on time” always brings out the lazy in me. It’s been interesting to see how I can let it be. So far, I’ve slipped into some form of routine here too, but nope I haven’t even tried this time around. The help doesn’t ring the doorbell in the morning, there’s no gym to get to, VC doesn’t even stir because he has no work to get to, and I have absolutely no demands of me. So I have gotten more sleep than I imagined I could these past three nights and two days.

I’ve even been slow to get started on the errands we need to tick off before we pack up and move cities yet again. I’ve been late to write a post everyday. I have two drafts I want to get down to fleshing out, but they remain as they are — half-written. I have an essay submission to make and tonights the absolute deadline, but it’s in bits and pieces and I’m dragging my feet on tying up the loose ends like I have all the time in the world.

The weather seems to have changed our plans, and for a change I’m going with it. Coincidentally, my body has also needed the rest. A week of class means a lot more to process physically, and that had exhausted me way more than I realised. So I suppose it’s natural that the minute I put myself in a no-demands environment, it’s claiming the rest and sleep in needs.

***

Even as I’m a bit peeved by how goddamned wet it is, I’m grateful for the break. For the sleep. For the rest. For the contemplation and clarity that has come because of it.

One year ago: We’re never done
Two years ago: On going solo
Three years ago: Weekend snippets

Diwali

It’s that time of year. And I can say that because every year since leaving Goa, I’ve found myself back in Goa in time for Diwali. Playing cards. That’s three consecutive years now.

Interestingly, while Diwali was the one time of the year that invoked the desire to be around family and do family things, in all the years that we lived here. And while I tried to drum up the enthusiasm to cook something and do something between the two of us, I always felt the lack of a larger family to celebrate with. So it’s super ironic to me that every year since moving back, for the last three Diwalis, I’ve left family behind in Bangalore to come here. And somehow I’ve always had a welcoming bunch of people to celebrate with. Also interesting to note that it’s always at D’s home. I wonder if this has become something of a tradition without us even knowing it. Some Diwalis ago, I wrote about yearning for tradition but also wanting to make it relevant and my own, and look what’s happened.

I’m losing sorely today. But making up for it in sangria and small bites.

I’m grateful for festivities that begin early. For homes away from home. For friends that turn into family quite effortlessly.

That’ll be all.

One year ago: You and me, we come from different worlds

Flying the nest

Thankfully, today’s rain wasn’t as severe as the full ass storm we landed into yesterday.

***

For a while now, I’ve been feeling a sense of a separation, of individuation, from various things in my life. It showed up primarily, in a big and apparent way in class. But I am slowly also seeing it in other aspects of my life too. With people, with experiences, with friends, with a phase. It’s a sense of feeding myself, fulfilling my needs in a self-regulated manner, and being able to move on cleanly.

To my shock, today I felt the same about Goa. I have, for too long now, carried the feeling that my time here was always tainted with a sense of struggle and having to try so hard at everything. To find work, to meet good people, to make friends, to feel fulfilled in a whole way. And those fundamental needs, as long as I’ve been looking to fulfill them outwardly, ways felt unmet. No matter how hard I tried.

The more I a work towards integrating and filling myself up, the more I’m finding resources for a majority of my needs within myself. Either that, or the wherewithal to get what I need from elsewhere. There is a significant movement from that childlike, primal, fundamental needy way in which I have needed things — from people and places — and the way in which I experience these same needs now.

Something within my is filled up. And it has made that bitterness, that feeling of being wronged all the time, of having gotten a wrong deal, so much lesser. None of this is to discount the shitty things that have happened, but the charge they have carried has significantly reduced.

All my trips here this past have been strangely bittersweet, an odd flux between feeling between two worlds. Settled and ready to fly. This time, aided by the sense of closure that has come from VCs decision to return to Bangalore, I feel palpably like this chapter is done. And it is a relief to be moving on without that need to run, getaway, leave behind, erase and sever all that Goa has been — which is what I did the last time around.

***

Gratitude for the cradle life has created for me for all these years, as I navigated and understood what it means to grow into an adult and be there for myself. Gratitude for the situations life has thrown at me this year, to show me how ready and capable I am of flying the nest. Gratitude for life’s little coincidences in leading the way.

One year ago: They say you were always enough

Rainy Goa

Hello from Goa where, absurdly enough, we arrived in the midst of a full blown cyclonic weather change. It’s pouring bonkers cats and dogs. And the forecast for the restof the week isn’t looking very promising. I’m usually a big fan of the rain but this time, I wanted some sunshine. We’ve got work to do, I came prepared to go to the beach, and unlike all my other trips this year, this one is going on be shorter.

Anyhow it was an almost treacherous drive all the way home, with the setting sun, super overcast dark skies and the rain just angrily lashing down. So I did what I do in the rain in Goa. I listened to Coke Studio. All the way home. And felt a super duper longing for life in Goa like it used to be in the years between 2011-2013.

The first thing I did as soon as I walked into the house was check on our plants. They’re THRIVING! The second thing I registered was how I always feel so delighted and at ease to have a home here. There’s quite nothing like it — coming home, from home. And like VC mentioned when I shared this with him, there’s something special about this one — our first home together — that makes it fit.

The rest of the week promises to be interesting.

***

Gratitude for the luxury of flying that just transports me quite literally from one place to another. Even with all the challenges flying has these days, it’s a luxury and a privilege I don’t take lightly.

Two years ago: When one door shuts, open it again
Three years ago: In with the new

All my worries seemed so far away

I drove a total of 109 kms yesterday. Which is not to say I went anywhere really far away. Just the usual routes dropping and picking VC up, with the visit to the cafe and a couple of drives to my sister’s place and back, and an evening spent at the concluding showing of art work for her children’s monsoon workshop.

Driving around in the rain gives me seriously unfounded levels of joy, so a day that involved that much peacefuk driving, while the rain lashed down, was kind of a given.

But it was also a fine lesson in the art of letting well laid plans crumble away haplessly while life emerges as it should, and simply going with it.

I was a tad stressed about finishing packing and winding up ahead of time, and the only purpose that slight stress served was to ensure I finished it so well ahead of time, that I had a day that suddenly opened up the way it did.

I had been feeling a bit like even though Niyu, VC and I have spent nearly the whole month together, with the stresses of the health emergency, the travelling back and forth to Bangalore and back, and VC and Niyu coming down with the flu back to back, we didn’t really spend too much time together, doing the things we would otherwise do. The last four weeks have been tenuous, and the stressful energy has petered into every step we have taken, weighing us down and making me feel like a shrunken version of myself, almost. I haven’t had the will to do much. And even though my head has felt the longing, my heart hasn’t responded. I know it’s been the same for VC and perhaps Niyu too.

So it was great that I got a surprise day like yesterday, when coincidentally, the rain came down as hard as it did, but something in the air around us lifted. My spirits perked up, I felt energetic and willing to venture out and off we went. Brunch was had at the cafe, followed by a spot of lazing at home in the afternoon before we took off for Niyus showing which was a delight for me to witness.

I don’t often get to see my sister at work, at close quarters, but when I do, like I did yesterday it always overwhelms me to see how much she’s put together for herself, how far she’s brought this little homegrown venture full of heart, from where she began and how much the work she does means and touches the hearts of little children. Yesterday was one such day. The setting, in what was easily a 100+ year old Portuguese villa unfancily maintained with sparse furniture and plenty of skylight, was just perfect. I helped her set up the showing and we waited for the kids to arrive with their folks.

Once that was done the plan was to head home and cook some dinner and eat in peace, together. But we let that plan slide and be dashed too, to make space for the spontaneous rain-induced urge to eat gopi-manjuree. And so we went to an old favourite neighbourhood dive, sat under a tin roof that rattled relentlessly under the incessant rain, nursing whiskey-paanis and gobi munchurian.

In the midst of all of that, we chatted and gossipped and I broke into a laughing fit like I haven’t in weeks now. In fact I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard — a big, loud, rolling, full-bellied laugh that came from the depths of my being and shook me to the very tips of my fingers. And while Niyu admitted that it was in that moment that she realised she was fit over her illness, it was in that moment that I realised my own heaviness had lifted in some measure.

I really needed that kind of loosely spooling, unplanned day to go with the wind (or the rain) just as I pleased. I really needed this cocoon with VC and Niyu. I really needed to get out.

I’m not sure if it’s some kind of cruel irony or just a strange kind of perfection that my last day in Goa was the best day I’ve had all month. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. With both arms.

One year ago: My moves are slow but soon they’ll know

Second chances

It’s my last day in Goa, for this trip and probably the last for this monsoon. We’ve received a storm alert with unprecedented rains expected over the next 24 hours. It means I will miss the last gush of the rain, but worse, I’ll probably have a really turbulent flight back home tomorrow.

It was meant to be a day spent at home, spent packing and sorting things out in the kitchen. On past trips, somehow this last few days has always been hurried and the last day especially so, scrambling to get all the last minute things done in time. I usually empty out the kitchen of most perishables that I bring in when I’m here, that VC doesn’t use often enough, and instead stock it up with dry stuff that has a longer shelf life that he can use on his own time. I sometimes set a whole bunch of meat in an assortment of marinades in small portions and freeze it all up for him to use over the next week to ten days, and I’ve been making a large batch of upma mix that he can use cook in small quantities to when he wants something quick and homely. This usually keeps him going for at least ten odd days, which is better than going back to restaurant take out from the instant I’ve left the building.

It doesn’t seem like a lot by itself, but with the grocery runs and the prep, it’s more than just a simple list of things. I’ve been hassled cramming it all in the last 24 hours the last few trips, so this time around I gave myself two days to do it all. And I finished ahead of time.

So this morning, I traded the plan to stay in with stepping out to spend a couple of hours at a cafe not far from home.

Reading some more while the rain kept pounding down, babbling toddlers running amok, strange hostile dogs eyeing my croissant and averting my eye from far too many people I know. It seems even in distant corners of Goa, driving to the edges of villages to find tucked away cafes for retreat, I’ll somehow find people I know from another lifetime in Goa. Three out of four occupied tables had people I know in some degree of familiarity and I’m wondering what all of this means to me in my last day here.

I’ve packed away my stuff, leaving behind the staples as I usually do, for my next trip here. But if my hunch is to be believed it’s not going to be for some time now, and when I come back it’ll probably be to pack and take the half of my life and heart that resides here, to complete this half-life existence I’ve been living away from here.

Life has a strange way of making sense in retrospect and from where I am, looking back, the last year or so has been such a ride. I feel lucky for this brush with the best of both worlds and a chance to settle so many unfinished memories and rest so much that was left unsaid and unaddressed in the time and the way that I left Goa in 2017.

Life really does give one second chances. It just takes a certain openness to seeing and taking them that can make all the difference, as I have experienced this past couple of years.

One year ago: Dont worry about, don’t speak of doubt

On and on and on

The skies cleared up ever so slightly today. So we took a walk through some fields in our backyard/neighborhood, this evening.

I came home recharged and surprised at how little it takes, just 20 minutes, being out in the open and breathing clean air, to stop obsessing on-loop about current worries that really just pale in comparison, when you witness something as monument as the dependable setting of the sun, the inevitable rising of the moon, and the religious shutting up of touch-me-not leaves, that always happen right on time, no matter what.

The world just spins on, constantly casually doing wonderful things that I completely take for granted because I can’t stop obsessing over my piddly little life with the even more piddly woes in my piddly little head.

The walk filled my lungs up and gave me perspective today.

One year ago: I got a feeling I’m not the only one
Three years ago: I’ll be fine, sipping wine, taking time slow

Home base

I simply cannot overstate the wonderous effects that a done-to-death routine, based entirely in ordinary homely acts, does to make me feel grounded.

Today has been an utterly mundane day, borne out of complete and basic necessity. It’s been a good, steadying day and very early on, plodding through, I realised how easily pleased days like this make me feel.

I drove to Panjim and back this morning, cooked Niyu some upma for breakfast, had myself a simple smoothie and spent the morning catching up with the Internet that I have ignored for about a week now. I finished up reading one of the books recommended for class, before we meet again next week. And then I napped, waking up in time to cook — broccoli soup, salad and garlic toasts for dinner — and pick VC up from work.

It’s rained for the most part, that deeply soothing hum of rainfall that’s become a refrain in the background, now feeling almost meditative. And when it wasn’t raining, it’s been overcast with just that little leak of light.

There is something to be said of this minimalistic life I tend to have when I’m here, in this way and in this stage, in this home that we’ve specifically made, bare bones, stripped down and inward focused.

One year ago: Is someone getting the best of you?
Three years ago: What happens when you go cycling in the rain