Day 236: So comfortable, we live in a bubble

Goa has been such a necessary pause in my life. From routine, from regular programming, from being stuck in my own head.

I’ve returned home happy and content.

Two years ago: Day 236: Farewell to the rain

Advertisements

Day 235: Took some time to celebrate

Postcard from my last day in Goa.

Fin.

Two years ago: Day 235: What my Sunday morning was like

Day 234: It’s been a hard days night

I have a half written post I started this morning, before we began shooting for the day. But my brain is too fried to finish it. Or make much sense otherwise.

But on the upside, we’ve decided to stay an extra day to recover from the hectic shoot we’ve had. Which means I get another day with these (and a third one who will only sometimes allow a pet or a belly rub too fleeting to photograph) runts.

Day 233: I want to thank you for giving me the best days of my life

Gratitude for last week.

For Guru Purnima and for always having the opportunity to be with the music. No matter where I go, how far I wander, the music follows. Or a part of me remains. I’m not sure which. But there is the music.

For the sweet spot of busy-busyness that VC has hit. It’s keeping him on his toes, challenged and excited in a way that has fired him up like I haven’t seen in all these months in Bangalore.

For rainy evenings spent in silence at Koshys. For Bangalore weather. I’m really making the most of this before my time on Bangalore is up.

For the drive to Goa. Any roadtrip is fun with VC. And this was no different.

For Goa. For the weather. For the dogs. For friends. For this other side of life that is so new and filled with joy.

For all the chill. For the conversation. For the tarot insights. For the home-cooked food. For the downtime. For the books. For kinship. For home away from home.

Day 232: When you wake up in the evening and the day is shot

As always, being away from my own routine has given me uninterrupted time to read, read, read. One of the things I miss most about living in Goa, is the amount of reading I got done in the rain. I don’t know if it’s the sheer inability to step out as much, or the fact that grey skies, completely limpid environment and everything just begging you to sit down with a book (and not get up till you’re done) that makes it so, but this is such great weather to get a good bit of reading done.

I’ve been very lucky, and feeling so grateful that despite not living here we’ve somehow found home here at D and U’s. I’m so filled with gratitude when I think of how many times their doors have been open to us, whether we travel for work or even just when I felt like I wanted a break, I wanted to be in Goa, and I could just take the liberty to go. There is a sense of ease in having this kind of comfort, reaffirmed by how I can fully decompress, read, write, chat, gossip, laugh, cook, drink, eat, colour our hair, get tattoos — and everything in between. Somehow, even with all the non stop yakking that D and I manage, the little bit of cooking (and constant preoccupation about what to eat next) we did, I managed to finish these books this past week.

All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
I am aghast at how much great YA of this specific genre there is out there, that I have entirely missed. AND OMG I AM SO GLAD TO HAVE FINALLY FOUND A ROAD IN!

AAAAAAAA-AAA! This book made me breathless and so full of emotion, choked up, exhilarated, overly joyful and heartbroken in equal measure, much like Eleanor & Park and I’ll Give You the Sun did. The latter more than the former, which was also the book I enjoyed the most, this year.

This is the kind of book I wish I had read when I was an angsty teenager trapped in my head, getting in my own way. It’s about being a teenager, mental illness, feeling lonely, peer pressure, finding love, finding friendship all at once. And it gripped me and ripped my heart right open. After years and years, a book has kept me up at night, fighting sleep just so I can finish it and not put it down.

This is the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, 17 years old and dealing with a lot of the issues 17-year-olds have to deal with. Except Finch has a mental condition that makes him routinely suicidal, and Violet is silently grieving over her dead sister that she has probably never really, openly grieved. The books with the two meeting atop a bell-tower, contemplating finishing their lives off. But of course they don’t jump because the book commences, and suddenly you’re wondering who saved who.

So it’s chockfull of love, loss, grief, passion, hormones, hopelessness, new-life-ness. It feels like so much, and yet somehow it filled me up with so much joy in reading how they find and hold on to each other in a world where everybody else is looking t them like they’re freaks. Violet becomes Finch’s reason to live, and Finch becomes Violet’s reason to find life anew.

It’s an exhilarating trip and it left me with a knot in my throat the entire time, especially with it’s build up toward the end which totally devastated me in a happy way and left me feeling so happy and heartbroken. How is that even possible, you might wonder. You’ll have to read this to know how. This was such a good book, and I was in just the right headspace for it.

PS: it’s going to be a movie sooooon. Cannot wait!

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, Cara Nicoletti
I’ve been on a bit of a roll reading food memoirs, since this summer when The Language of Baklava rekindled my interest in them. So I picked up Voracious which had such a good blurb and premise — A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, it said. Books and food and surprising connections. But it was a book that over-promised and under-sold.

The book is structured in chapters which are single essays titled the book/work of literature that inspired the food behind it. Through anecdotes from her own sometimes interesting and fascinating life (she is the grand-daughter of a butcher and spent a lot of her time growing up, in her grandfathers meat shop, for example), and gleaning from parts of these books she loved, Nicoletti brings her favourite food to life. But she only succeeded 50% of the time. The book had it’s high points, and I did enjoy reading some essays, but most were insipid and didn’t tug at my heart or my belly like a good food memoir can. Every chapter also ends in a recipe for said food/dish. Perhaps it was also the format that didn’t work for me. It felt too staccato and blog-post-ish, without a thread tying it together, which makes me lose interest fairly quickly, in the absence of any other aspect of interest.

Two years ago: Day 232: Manifesting a dream

Day 227: New way, new life

Postcards from our drive to Goa. 11/12 hours of which were rained out.

And everywhere we looked, signs of life creeping out from everywhere possible, were to be seen.

12 hours of driving thru battering rain, and I’m home.

Day 213: If it is written in the stars, then it can be read

With the promise of more Goa days dangling ahead of me like the proverbial carrot-on-a-stick, the idea that lures me the most, strangely enough, is of cycling again. Cycling in the rain, to be precise. I read this post yesterday and felt especially nostalgic, the pangs of a time gone by never to return, yanking the soft spots in my mind.

My time in Bangalore has been so full and otherwise occupied, I haven’t actively had the space to mourn the lack of cycling in my life. I haven’t really missed it. I don’t. Until I am in Goa of course. And the empty roads flanked by paddy fields fills my chest up with the kind of openness and calm that I know I am missing even when I don’t realise it.

VC has actually attempted to cycle around in Bangalore. He’s far more determined than J am to give it a go every now and then, despite every attempt fizzling out sooner than later. I, on the other hand, haven’t even assembled my bike back together since it was taken apart to be transported here. In retrospect, I feel I should have left it back, so I could use it whenever I visit.

But even before I dismantled it to pack and move, I hadn’t been on a ride in a long time. It’s been nearly two years, collectively. The very last time I was in the saddle was the 100km ride I completed in October, 2016.

Incidentally, that was also during the last of the rains for the year, making way for October’s punishing heat, a little bit of an excuse of winter where temperatures dip just enough to make it hard to rise early and get out, and then summer again. During which time I moved. So yeah, I’m really suddenly thinking wistfully, of the times we’d take off on weekend mornings. Managing to wake up earlier than normal, riding off in the dark, with some music and a few 100 rupees between us. That’s all it took. And the levels of satisfaction were exponentially high.

The promise of Goa days loom large and right up there, at the top of the list of things I miss and can’t wait to go back to, is riding my bike. Preferably in the rain.

***

Meanwhile, in Bangalore too, we’re enjoying the best kind of Bangalore weather. Grey, sunless, sometimes-raining, great-to-be-outdoors kind of weather that is making me reach for my shawl and book at midday.

Day 207: Weather changes moods

Here it is, everything to eye-hurtingly green. A shimmery freshness in the air. All colours fluid. Every edge blurry. Everything is awash, and sprouting new life. Reaching out through the cracks and crevices, bursting forth to life. And around every corner, along every pock-marked laterite wall, every overgrown gutter I see signs. Reminders to not just bloom where I can, when I can. But a reminder to try and thrive. In every little, seemingly insignificant way that I can.

Goa in the monsoon is a surprise, a fresh delight every single year. Everything is breathtakingly new, yet comfortingly familiar. Like being born again, an all new avatar, in a same old place.

Like new breath, in an old, snug and very accustomed body.

Two years ago: Day 207: Gym rant

Day 205: My moves are slow, but soon they’ll know

I’m grateful for the rain. It has been really lovely this week. Just the right amount of downpours that I’ve enjoyed mostly sitting indoors, when it gets dark enough to need the lights on at 5 pm, making the books I’ve been reading unputdownable.

I’m grateful for how things slow down in Goa.

I’m grateful for the unfettered affection I’ve observed in the puppies. I’ve watched them all week, equal parts amazed, entertained, amused, sometimes stupefied at the simple way in which they operate, how steadfastly focused they are on getting the basic good stuff that they want. But mostly I’ve been in awe, again and again, at the unbridled way in which they’re themselves. More human than most humans I know.

I’m grateful for my kindle. Every time that I am away and have the space to read many hours on end, and segue from one book to another in a short while, I realise what a fantastic gadget it is to have.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness a Waldorf school up close. To be inspired by a kind of quiet conviction that I wish I had. To have been transported right back to the last two years of my schooling, which was a much simpler time.

I’m grateful for the abundance I’ve felt this past week. In the homely meals we’ve made for ourselves and enjoyed in silence. In the freewheeling conversations. In sinking into a sea of possibilities that lie ahead. In the friendship I am surrounded by. In feeling so not alone. In the incredible privilege to call two places home.

I’m grateful for friends who open their homes to us time and time and time again. Entertaining us not just with a roof over our heads, but with a heartfelt connection that I can only attribute to something beyond this time and space.

I am grateful for second chances. Yet again. And maybe that makes it a third/fourth chance? I’m grateful for life itself, for how it is so persistent, sometimes roundabout, but always opening up, pushing me further and showing me the way every time that I have stopped to listen.

Day 201: I got a feeling I’m not the only one

This boy <3

Watching and being around Lego these past few days has made me marvel at how persistent and demanding of love and affection he is. There’s a lesson in here for me: to be unabashedly, unapologetically convinced of the love one deserves and wants. And to go claim it when needed.

July, 2018
May, 2018

One year ago: In which I end up without a phone
Two years ago: Day 201: What happens when you go cycling in the rain

Day 200: Is someone getting the best of you?

I’ve wondered all day what I am going to say in a post today. The truth is there is so much to say — about being in Goa, about the work we did/are doing, the abundant meals, the impeccable conversation, the expansiveness of time and space, and just so much more. But I’ll just say this: I’m grateful for how this business of straddling Bangalore and Goa seems to be a constant with me. Whether I know it or not, something or the other brings me back here. On and on and onward we go.

Two years ago: Day 200: Barely moving

Day 199: If everything could ever be this real forever

This picture pretty much sums up the way I’m feeling this morning. Relaxed. Content. Bright. Happy. Ensconced.

One year ago: Perfect love

Day 198: Always somewhere, miss you where I’ve been

B R E A T H E. F L O W. B R E A T H E. F L O W. B R E A T H E. F L O W. B R E A T H E. F L O W.

Title inspiration, current (annoying) earworm:

Day 197: Under my umbrella

Hello from rainy Goa, which has all my heart. Two years ago: Day 197: That’s all

Day 196: Oh my life is changing everyday

I was meant to fly to Goa on Thursday for a week long break, chilling with D and K and the puppies, before we all returned to Bangalore together, the week after. But not so surprisingly, a random work enquiry is taking us back to Goa. Today. It all came through in about 48 hours and here I am bumping down a highway, through overcast skies and a gentle rain, headed there four whole days ahead of plan. Of course, I’m stoked for the opportunity to be here again. Two weeks ago, when my dad brought us this beer (I love the label art!) from Kerala, I chuckled at the irony of drinking it in Bangalore. But because I’m a sucker for serendipity, so much that I no longer know the difference between seeing signs and having events follow, and thinking and wanting things so bad that I’m willing myself to see conveniently appropriate signs everywhere, I also decided I’ll take this sign when I see it. I just didn’t know it would be this quick and specific.

Two years ago: Day 196: Down and out