Learning to let go

I held myself back because I thought that’s the only way to meet heartbreak.

I held myself back because it helped me cope and (feel like I can) move on from the pain.

I held myself back because it made me (feel) big, strong, capable. And grown up.

I held myself back because was honestly just easier to close my heart up and withdraw.

I held myself back because I thought it would help digest and dissolve all the difficult feelings within myself.

I held myself back because I thought I’d be too much for people around me.

And now I’m trying to learn to let this, too, go.

What makes you hold yourself back?

***

Had a severe oh-ffffff moment hearing that Mary Oliver has passed on. And immediately remembered her through one of my favourites. Which, ironically, sums up what all of last week was like for me.

I did think, let’s go about this slowly.

This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps.

But, bless us, we didn’t.

— Mary Oliver

One year ago: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Two years ago: Work. But also life.
Three years ago: Hope

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Day 365: December

Eyes wide open

On the first day of this year, I wrote a post that was meant to be a low-key, low-expectations, chill sort of post with things I wanted from the year. I look at it now and think wow, that’s really not low key. But I also look at it and think damn, a lot of that happened and got done.

I wished for more honesty. Of myself and of with people around that matter to me. I think this happened in some measure. More with myself than with people around me — that’s still learning process for me.

I wished for more vulnerability. This happened, in waves and troughs. It had it’s peaks and dips. Thanks to the course and now therapy, I’ve become aware of how much more I want of this and am keen to go deeper.

I wished for the ability to deliver my promises, on time. I think this was specifically related to work, which I didn’t know then was going to be the least of my priorities this year. But the little I did, I was fairly good about. Deadlines were met more often than not — this was kind of a big deal for the eternal procrastinator that I am. But best of all, slowing down on work and trying new things gave me some clarity about the kind of work I am now willing to put my mind to, and the kind I absolutely don’t want to do for some time to come.

So I didn’t swing back smoothly from yet another hiatus like I’d wished. The hiatus saw an unexpected extension. And then a detour. I didn’t pitch a single story after February. I changed course and did different kinds of writing, but yes, I did deliver better first drafts, quicker. Unexpectedly, I’ve become a little more aware of how to work smarter instead of harder.

I wished that VC and I move ahead in our business plans with alacrity and focus. And this happened too. Just not in the manner I imagined at the time I wrote the post. Life happened, and business followed in entirely different ways.

I wished for courage to break out of patterns I have with friends, to break old patterns that keep me from digging deeper and giving (and receiving) a higher level of kinship. Oh jeez, this one was a toughie. 2018 saw more people in my life than I have ever had in many, many years now — I reconnected with old friends, I made many, many new ones. And the best part — not all my friendships were alike like they once used to be. I have entirely different friends for a range of different activities. I know this happened because I’ve opened up. In some ways. But I’ve also realised in what ways I haven’t. I’ve realised why I still feel a deep loneliness that cannot be filled by numbers, despite how much the people landscape has changed in my life. I hope to sit with this and understand it better in the coming year.

I wished for simplicity. In the smallness of my day to day life as much as in the bigness of the things I chase. This wasn’t entirely true for me this year. If anything, I let go and lived big, thrilling in extravagance and all things an older me would deem unnecessary. And maybe a lot of it was, but from where I am now, I see it as a necessary step in the curve in getting to the point of realising and being honest about the fact that my life is anything but simple. I am privileged as fuck, and simplicity is a construct I crave for. A construct that makes my life look like something it truly isn’t. I hope to crack this one some, in the coming year. Finding some balance and a middle-path to a life that is simple, mindful and eco-conscious, while also being realistic and real about the inherent privilege that allows me to even have this train of thought and make this an aspect of focus.

Ending the year in Goa has set the wheels in motion towards this.

I wished for a little more travel. Not just holidays, but chances and ways to experience life outside of the set patterns that we know and exist in. And this happened. Oh how this happened. 11 out of 12 months featured travel this year, going west as far as Europe, east to Thailand yet again and closer home as near as Goa many, many times over, each trip so different from the one before. It opened our hearts up, it tore me up some, it made me desperate and it settled something in me too. And it contributed a fair bit to VC’s and my decision to live apart.

I wished for just a little bit more discipline in terms of daily habits. This was a big fat no. Very early on I gave up trying to be rigid with myself about this because I realised it wasn’t going to be a time of any sort of curtailing, but of flowing with the flow. I hope to regain some balance around this, and it’s interesting to see that the habits I want to inculcate in the coming year are things I didn’t even know I’d want to do 12 months ago.

***

If this is a post measuring all the ways in which I’ve grown this year, I have to say bullshit to everything above this line. Most of all, this year I realised that my need to measure and make goals and projections, no matter how well-intentioned, is also a manifestation of a much more deep-seated tendency to over-achieve. This plays out in everything I do, from making myself write a post every day (and I did it without missing a single day this time around – ho hum) to finishing a reading challenge, to wanting control over my home and routine and sometimes that of VCs too, to hyper curation of everything. This year, quite unconsciously and unknowingly, slowly parts of this began to fall away until in December I was left wondering what there was that I could hold on to and how I could measure this year. I was looking at nothing tangible. Absolutely nothing.

Only experiences. A whole treasure chest of them.

And suddenly, I no longer wanted to open and revisit them in a look-back post. I just want to let them be. I want to slow down and just be. With no finish line in sight. This year, I did a lot of things under the broad umbrella of working on myself. What I didn’t know I was also doing in the bargain was laying the foundations for this already.

I dropped the need to hustle. I rewired the part of my brain that believed the hustle added value to my life. I allowed myself to change my mind over and over and over. I allowed myself to choose the easier path without feeling like I had somehow failed. This was wildly new.

I chose to do the quiet work of building on myself. The work that brings in no bucks and has no visible results to show.

I became comfortable with the idea of giving myself to the business of I. So it was a lot of me, me, me 100% of the time.

I finally realised this was entirely okay.

I learned that not everything has to — or will — turn out matching the projections I may have imagined. Some journeys don’t have fixed destinations. Only milestones that keep changing as I go along. I learned to observe how the journey has contributed to me. This doesn’t render the effort or time spent useless. These are not small steps. These are all big, important parts of the journey.

And this, while difficult to learn and digest, has been precious.

I became willing to open my eyes wide and keep my heart open more often than not.

I found myself a little bit. Outside of being a wife, sister, daughter, friend. I got addicted to learning and growing into me. And I realised this journey will only keep teaching me how much more I have yet to learn and grow.

One month ago: Day 338: November
Two months ago: Day 305: October
Three months ago: Day 284: September
Four months ago: Day 246: August
Five months ago: Day 219: July
Six months ago: Day 184: June

Seven months ago: Day 152: May
Eight months ago: Day 134: April
Nine months ago: Day 92: March
Ten months ago: Day 60: February
Eleven months ago: Day 32: January

One years ago: Crossing over
Two years ago: Day 366: December

Day 364: Expand your mind, take a look behind

Next year, I’ve decided I’m going to ditch the GoodReads challenge, stop obsessively compiling a to-be-read list and just pick up and read whatever catches my fancily, on the go. Organically. The hyper-curation has made my to-be-read list so long and unwieldy, it’s almost intimidating. And I’ve missed out on reading things as and when they’ve cropped up and struck a chord. By the time I get to said book in the list, the moment of inspiration has passed and the impact is lost.

Things that didn’t go to plan this year: finishing 40 books, finishing every book I started (I abandoned and/or didn’t read continuously about 5 books this year — including the one in this picture) reading on holiday (I read nothing in Europe and nothing this time around in Goa). Things that did: read more fiction. Which further tells me to let go of the plan, in general. And flow with the flow.

That’s my plan what I’m looking for next year. But for now, here’s a list of all the books I read this year. A list like I did last year and the year before last. I’m aware this is still a reflection of an obsession for completion making me do this, but I also do this for myself and for anyone else who might want to pick a book up from something they’ve stumbled on somewhere in this blog, but it’s impossible to find at a late date.

Here goes.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson
  2. I’ll Give You The Sun, Jandy Nelson
  3. Ravan and Eddie, Kiran Nagarkar
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Absolutely Fine, Gail Honeyman
  5. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
  6. UsDavid Nicholls
  7. The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
  8. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
  9. The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte
  10. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
  11. Reasons To Stay Alive, Matt Haig
  12. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  13. Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life, Dani Shapiro
  14. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
  15. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxane Gay
  16. What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey
  17. An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
  18. Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny
  19. The Language of Baklava, Diana Abu Jaber
  20. Ballad for a Mad Girl, Vikki Wakefield
  21. Landline, Rainbow Rowell
  22. All the Good Parts, Loretta Nyhan
  23. Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home, Jessica Fechtor
  24. Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”, Lena Dunham
  25. Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney
  26. Barbara the Slut and Other People, Lauren Holmes
  27. The Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, Tishani Doshi
  28. French Milk, Lucy Kinsley
  29. The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
  30. All the Bright Places, Jennifer Niven
  31. Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books, Cara Nicoletti
  32. Cyber Sexy: Rethinking PornographyRicha Kaul Padte
  33. A Room of One’s OwnVirginia Woolf
  34. Born a CrimeTrevor Noah
  35. Gachar Gochar, Vivek Shanbhag (Translated from Kannada by Srinath Perur)
  36. Normal People, Sally Rooney
  37. 60 Indian Poets, Jeet Thayil
  38. Sultana’s Dream, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

All the books: 2016
All the books: 2017

Two years ago: Day 364: Redemption reading

Day 363: Would you rewind it all the time

I’m definitely not finishing my reading challenge for 2018. Which is kind of a pity because I pledged to read 40 books by the end of the year, and I came so close for a change. I had such a good run, with a super good ratio of fun, enjoyable books too. But for various reasons I’m not going to make it to the “finish” and I’m trying not to psych myself into finishing it somehow, as I am known to otherwise. Anyhow. Here’s what I read last.

Gachar Gochar, Vivek Shanbhag (Translated from Kannada by Srinath Perur)
I gobbled this book in under 24 hours on my weekend away in Auroville with A.

It is such a good book — one of the best I’ve read this year. And it’s probably a sign of the banging translation job on this one that it made me wish I could read the original in Kannada. Just so I can get a deeper sense of the regional, colloquial nuances. This is a story of a middle-class family reeling in the aftereffects of sudden monetary success in newly liberalised India. Set in an old Bangalore that many of us have known some elements of, this was all kinds of heartwarming, nostalgic and riveting. If you have a penchant for Indian writing this is a must-read.

Normal People, Sally Rooney
I loved Rooney’s other book — Conversations with Friends — so much that when I heard she has a new book out I got my hands on it immediately. I also read this one in about a day in Auroville (yeah we did not much else than eat and read that weekend – blissful!). This is a book that talks about regular things — youth, love, relationships, passion — but twists it all up in knots, telling a story that can be easily passed off as simple and frivolous, when actually its a subtly political and deeply tender and moving. I enjoyed Normal People almost as much as I did Conversations with Friends, and for the same reasons. The writer in me has huge respect for this artful skill of telling simple stories that cut so deep in the most casual, matter of fact style.

Sultana’s Dream, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
I picked this amazing book up in the bookshop at the visitor’s centre at Auroville, on A’s recommendation. It’s a short, quick read — a very old story, in fact — about a woman’s reverie into a veritable feminist dreamland, incredibly well illustrated by Durga Bai, a tribal artist. It was only after I finished the book that I realised the book I’d bought was merely a modern edition of an old classic. That’s how timeless and relevant this story is. It’s a great

60 Indian Poets, Jeet Thayil

I’ve never been big on poetry. I have always felt studying it (and my staunch efforts not to) in high-school and college killed it for me. But I’ve been drawn to poetry this year. A gifted this Tishani Doshi collection to me earlier this year, and then recommended this one as a good place to begin exploring Indian poetry and I cannot agree more. It’s an excellent (and large, formidable) selection, for one. But more than that it is interspersed with little pieces of text — anecdotes, interesting information about the poet, detailed bios — all across to really beef up the poem and give context. This is a keeper of a book, and one that I will keep going back to. I’ve already gifted it to three other people. It’s just that kind of book.

Title inspiration:

Two years ago: Day 363: Rewind

Day 362: Be kind to the growing mind

What a ride it’s been this year, all the wheels and various moving parts of my being moving to nurture a mind that works for me and with me. A mind that has the ability to stay when everything about my body (and brain) wants to flee. A mind that has a capacity for joy. A mind that has tasted strength in vulnerability and wants so desperately to let that creep under my skin. A mind that has come so very far, and is longing to go the journey ahead. A kind mind to call my own.

I’m just so very grateful. For everything.

Two years ago: Day 362: Time

Day 359: Lay down all thoughts

I’m taking the downtime to really put it all down. Rest my mind a little. I’m not succeeding all the time. But I’m still trying.

This year was filled with more new experiences than any other in a while. And yet, this year I came face to face with loneliness. I don’t mean that as a lack of people. I mean loneliness like this cloud that chases me around, always looming like a darkness waiting to descend. I mean really facing and acknowledging the truth about this pattern of loneliness that’s like a theme that threads through all the stories in my life.

This year, I gained weight again. And despite all the positivity I’ve felt about my body, there have been days when it has bothered me. When I felt fat and ugly.

This year, despite everything I’ve realised about boundaries and saying no, I said maybe instead of a clean no, more times than I care to admit.

This year, I worked on myself more than I ever have. In fact I’ve worked so hard at it, I cringe at the word work, despite all the good that came from it. I need a new word.

Despite all that work, right at the end of the year I’ve woken up to some pretty groundbreaking realisations about myself. The kind of realisations that have left me on very shaky ground the last few days.

I’m more self-sacrificing than I’d like to believe.

I’m not as comfortable with vulnerability as I thought I could be. In fact I’m so quick to build an armour of defence, when I’m feeling vulnerable.

I’m not as good at forgiving myself as I am at forgiving others.

I suppose the good thing is despite realising all of this I’m mostly left feeling and thinking, so effing what? 

The one thing I know for certain is I’m more open to change and growth than I have ever been before. I have that. And so, tomorrow is a new day, next week is a new year. I’ll live, I’ll try again. I’ll keep trying and I’ll grow.

One year ago: Morning song

Day 338: November

Changes are shifting outside the words

It’s December. Inside of me, I feel full and potent, about to let loose and lunge forth like the pre-monsoon sea in Goa. Ripe, bright brown and churning up, ready to burst in welcoming the gush of the first rainfall. It’s how I feel about the turn of the year. 2019 is full of promise, and I’m only making the most of the last four weeks before the curtain falls. Inside, things shake and mix, bulge and wane, noisily. Outside is where it’s oddly calm, everything lying in waiting as the energy builds up to a precarious crescendo.

As always, it is when silence takes over, that everything unfelt, or that which I have been unable to make space for, creeps in to make its presence felt. It feels fitting for the last month, of the year, to sit with all that I have not had the time or presence of mind for until now.

I have recently realised that the fear of loss and scarcity has been a huge influence in shaping my attitude to life, and while I may have made significant breakthroughs in overcoming some of it in terms of work, monetary abundance, an idea of prosperity and success, it is still very much apparent, alive and kicking, and rears its head in other spheres of my life. And when that happens, it makes me slip back into living from a place of fear. Which keeps me from living my life in an open, healthy and soft way.

The world seems hell bent on making us believe that life is not lived if it isn’t filled with hardship and struggle, but this is a lie. My experience has taught me that it is a fallacy that keeps various wheels of the establishment turning. Whether the economics of the capitalist world, or societal mores, fear is a great thing to put your money behind. Building walls, being strong, caging emotions in are part and parcel of the struggle. The struggle that leaves no room for falling apart. And this costs us the lightness of our hearts and eats away at our souls.

The belief that I must fight the lack that’s perpetually chasing me pushes me on to believe that I must work harder at everything — from a life of writing to relationships with heart. The same thing that causes me to disallow emotions to come in and be felt. But if recent experience is anything to go by, I know for sure that there is always the possibility of a life of ease, where life flows, relationships are easy, judgement fades and decision making moves to the beat of my heart. But it requires that deliberate softness, a decided focus on getting closer to authenticity, making vulnerability a habit.

It requires courage. Not in the typical sense of bravery or in big, bold acts, but simply to live life with utmost honesty and sincerity, even when engaging with the minutest, most simple and insignificant daily acts. To not attempt this is to commit to a life of fear.

Last month, I held the words of David Whyte, on Courage, close to me. And I believe it has pushed me a step ahead from the place of waiting that I have been in for so many months now.

Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work; a future. To be courageous is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences. To be courageous is to seat our feelings deeply in the body and in the world: to live up to and into the necessities of relationships that often already exist, with things we find we already care deeply about: with a person, a future, a possibility in society, or with an unknown that begs us on and always has begged us on. To be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.

And so in this last month of 2018, I’ve been sitting with that which I already know I feel, but inviting it in rather than keeping it at the threshold of my heart. I am attempting to allow it to seep in fully and deeply. To unfurl a new kind of vulnerability, to flirt with feelings very different from the kind that I’ve become used to. To turn some of my I’m-not-sures and I-don’t-knows to I-think-I-cans.

To drop the unfounded resistance and lean in to the unknown that begs me on and to cleave to the bits of me that I am slowly discovering are closest to the way I was originally made. As I near the end of the year, I’m longing for some (more) courage, to make space for all that I am unwilling to or unable to see as yet. To sit with the discomfort as much as I welcome the comforts. To cry with as much ease as I laugh. To welcome chaos once more. To walk into the light. And I wish the same for you too.

***

I spent the end of October running into November in Goa and it was the sort of open-ended trip that could extend or shorten itself depending on how things went. I drove down with VC, and didn’t have a return ticket because if you’re familiar with life in Goa, you’ll know that setting up a home there is by no means a short, quick or easy task. And so it was the kind of trip where I took every day as it came, not knowing how much longer it could go on that way. As it happened, I stayed over three weeks, feeling chuffed that somewhere when I wasn’t even looking, the ability to really go with the flow has seeped into my life.

One year ago, a trip like this wold have shred me to bits with anxiety and unnecessary stress. And yet somehow, this trip was a wonderful mixed bag with its fair share of moments of joy at where life has brought us, gratitude for the help that has come along the way, but not without a healthy dose of fear and wonder about the future.

Time always slows down when I’m in Goa. I feel this physically, my breathing grows calm and my being is more relaxed and spontaneous. We’re extremely lucky to have friends like D and UT whose home has been a second home of sorts in Goa all these months, and it made for a perfect base this time around too. From our conversations, the meals we love and share, the comfortable silence and the proximity to our own home — this time around was no different, except for the added excitement of babysitting their puppies which hugely contributed to us feeling at home and at peace, even in their absence. It was also the perfect antidote to the wildly frustrating exercise that is setting up home in Goa.

Being back in Goa also stirred up so much nostalgia, and surprisingly fear and anxiety, had me reminiscing so much about the way things used to be. There is still such a definite resistance to letting the comfort of that go, even with the knowledge of how miserable it used to be. Even when I am actively moving towards a future that has no space for the narratives and stories that ruled the old. Realising and accepting this felt like a blow to my mostly zen current state of mind and put me in a very contemplative headspace. Some days, there were no words. in which to be around the ever-present, ever-willing, I’ll-take-you-as-you-are energy that puppies bring, was a new and soothing experience for me.

There was much contemplation: about the #metoo movement and this fantastic comic. Of fresh beginnings for VC and me in two separate cities and homes, of this exciting new ground that I find myself in, of a yet another revised definition of home and a new love for poetry, of the joy and privilege of a pause before the next big change. There was also ample time to spend reading, and so I caught up on the books I’ve been ignoring.

Even as I grieved the sense of loss I felt was triggered in Goa, there were two bright sparks of friendship and belonging: a day spent with N, and a weekend in Auroville with A, that both reminded me of how much more valuable the here and now always is.

That weekend in particular brought a shift in the rushed, hyper energy that I have been carrying around for two months. Between eating healthy, earthy meals and walking for hours in the dust and heat of Auroville, I felt dragged back to reality with a sense of healing and settledness. On our last evening sitting on thr warm sand, watching the waves come and go, I was taken back to a favourite essay on the need to cultivate “Negative Capability“. The peace and quiet and time to myself meant I could empty my mind and prepare to begin again.

I came back to some great, great Bangalore winter weather that I have been enjoying in small doses. Crisp sunshiney days with a nip in the air that make it perfect for lots of walking around town, outings alone to finish work and drink lots of chai, dinners of soup and toast, enjoying jackets and stoles and shawls again. I’ve been out a lot, but I also feel like I’ve been indoors so much — my days feel longer, somehow. So much more gets done, and that means more scope for bad days and slow days. I also came home to the happy surprise of being published in an anthology of stories and essays on menstruation. A real, proper book, you guys! And all the walking  has felt like finding my feet and the love for walking my walk again.

As always, through it all, there is gratitude. For the extreme luxury that is a home away from home, for the unfettered love that dogs have shown me, and for everything that my life currently allows me to indulge in.

***

One month ago: Day 305: October
Two months ago: Day 284: September
Three months ago: Day 246: August
Four months ago: Day 219: July
Five months ago: Day 184: June

Six months ago: Day 152: May
Seven months ago: Day 134: April
Eight months ago: Day 92: March
Nine months ago: Day 60: February
Ten months ago: Day 32: January

Day 320: Do you need me before I fade away?

Today was such a good day. It started with meeting N for breakfast at CTR and then a big fat loaf on Commercial Street. I don’t realise it as often, or admit it often enough even when I do realise it, but there is a deep connection with this city that is rekindled every time that I have an experience that feels le a throwback to the good days. Commercial Street remains largely unchanged and walking through it always feels like going back in time. Hitting the send haunts — Vashis, Suryanarayana, Woodys, Bhagatram, Mysore Saree Udyog — ways takes me back to a familiar and warm headspace, and gives me a big dose of nostalgia that seems to dull the ache of being in the city and the parts of that trouble me.

I’m grateful for the extra time we got to hang out today. We yakked pretty much non stop and I’m lucky we always make the time for that. This is an ease that I don’t have with too many folks in my life and it is a good place to be.

It was such a good Bangalore winter day! I caught a long nap before I packed up to leave. It’s been a while since I made a trip so spontaneous, so short that I need nothing more than a small backpack. The lightness of it is palpable.

And now, Im on a train after almost three years! So excited that I made a production of the dinner I packed for us and I’m unnecessarily happy about this side berth I’m on.

I’m so looking forward to two days off the grid.

See you on the other side of the weekend.

Two years ago: Day 320: One day in Bangkok (or day one in Bangkok)

Day 296: You and me, we come from different worlds

Reading this post from exactly one year ago sent me down a rabbit hole, going over how the last twelve months have really brought the “at home in both cities” dream to fruition.

Sitting here, on the brink of my better half moving back to Goa, while I exercise the privilege and the dream of living here, and enjoying the luxury of also going home to visit him there for the foreseeable future, I’m amazed at how what was a mere distant thought is today an unbelievable reality for me.

This year I had umpteen opportunities to visit Goa and with each visit the realisation that some part of me will always feel at-home there has grown. And so focused all our intents and thoughts on making this return possible. The funny thing is, now that the move is upon us, I find an equally settled, at-home feeling has developed here too.

This morning, watching and helping VC pack, I thanked my stars for this opportunity to stay. Because I am not ready to relocate just yet. This is a wild twist of events for me: I am not ready to go away just yet. This is not a reflection on Goa as much it is on me feeling at home here, with myself.

So it must be true then, when one door shuts, open it again. It’s a door, it’s how they work. Because it’s certainly what has brought me to this unexpected state of being. At home everywhere. Ready to go. Happy to return.

This agility is such a refreshing change.

Times like this, I’m extra glad for this journal. To look back on and see how far we’ve come. To see how lucky we are. To see how much abundance I have received.

***

I’m already recovering from the throat infection. It literally caught up with me between one day and the next, skipping a the usual signs of bugs festering within. It honestly felt like I was on the mend, and it’s the only reason I let go and indulged in the beer on Sunday. It was R and S’s anniversary and I found my favourite Goan beer on tap so it was hard to hold back.

But taking yesterday off reminded me that I’ve had wheels on my heels this entire month. Pretty much since the day we returned from Europe. There have been slow days spent at home, yes but I’ve been in charge and in fight mode in my head ever since the start of the month. It’s amazing how our bodies have this capacity to get up and run, endlessly, when the time calls for it. To stretch endlessly on and on, swallowing all signs of usual fatigue or time-outs. But everything has a threshold I suppose. And if it weren’t for illness, I probably wouldn’t have known to shut off that fight mode, which is honestly not needed anymore. My sister is all better, my father is back at his home, we’re slowly packing up. I don’t need to rush around.

It wasn’t until Friday when I drove an hour across town to spend the day with N at her home, that I realised that it was the only day I had to myself this entire month. I’m grateful for it. We had a good day of conversation, a walk about her unbelievably green colony, a really good meal and chai and banana cake to end it all. I delayed my departure by a good three hours over what I had planned. And I do not regret it.

Next week, though not entirely free, promises some quiet. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going home, after all.

Day 284: September

Heaven, let your light shine down

I’ve thought long and hard about how I can sum up September. I’ve written, re-written and written again, this post collating all that happened in the month, and yet the right way to put it together has eluded me. Continues to elude me. It’s odd because so much happened in September. I was busy, the days were long, I was out and about, and then I went away on what can easily be called one of the best holidays of the last decade for me. Somehow, I’ve been lost for words.

This morning, I realised that perhaps it’s okay. That perhaps I must post this anyway, without neatly tying everything up with a bow. September was over-stimulating. September was snappy and brisk. And yet, September has left me silent. September has made me sit down and be still again.

For far too long now I have been seeking this stillness within. The sort of stillness that steadies me even in the midst of bustling action. Suddenly I realise, September was all about that kind of stillness deep within. Stillness that anchors, steadiness that fills a space. Somewhere, unbeknownst to me, that steadiness has crept in making space for a quiet assuredness that makes it possible to rest without my fingers fidgeting to hold something, to flow from one thing to the next without always knowing how or what or why, to be busy on the outside and calm within all at once, and to let go of the answers knowing that I can sit still with the questions swimming within.

Uncertainty, quietude, surrender, unsettling — there has never been a time in my life that I have enjoyed any of this. And somehow, here I am today doing exactly that. So here goes.

***

I had a shit ton of work last month, and the added pressure of finishing it all before I went away. And in classic fashion, I procrastinated a helluva lot before I eventually got it done.

Despite that, there’s been that stillness I mentioned. Peaceful, easy days with emotions running high, thoughts astir.
I feel a deep sense of contentment for where I am right now and all that life has brought for me, especially this past year.
I pondered about inclusion and what it means to evolve and think back wistfully, to older versions of myself.
On distraction and my relationship with screens.
Thoughts on social media, as a result of unrestricted screen-time I had.
Writing every single day this year has been not just exceedingly joyful, but also beneficial.
I’ve also found a new dimension of friendship that fuels me.

HAPPY days of love in September included the Supreme Court decriminalizing homosexuality in India. And our tenth wedding anniversary.

I spent a large chunk of the month in Europe and I posted every single day. Sometimes with words, sometimes without.
Enroute: Day 0
Paris: Day 1: Hello Paris, day 2: walking about, day 3: more aimless wandering, day 4: in love with the city of love
Brugges: Day 5: rainy welcome, day 6: all is forgiven, day 7: lessons in uncertainty
Amsterdam: Day 8: sensory overload, day 9: catching sunrise and sunset, day 10: last day reflections

Gratitude, as always.
For choosing the slow, flexible life that supports my inner being.
For the abundance that has come my way in recent times.
For love: in strong friendship that has grown unexpectedly, for family that comes through against all odds.
For friendship across continents, timezones and life spaces.

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***

One month ago: Day 246: August
Two months ago: Day 219: July
Three months ago: Day 184: June

Four months ago: Day 152: May
Five months ago: Day 134: April
Six months ago: Day 92: March
Seven months ago: Day 60: February
Eight months ago: Day 32: January

One year ago: Things change
Two years ago: Day 284: Escape

Day 246: August

Being still and silent and broken is its own kind of religion.

If I had just one word to pick to describe what August has been like, it would be reflective. Perhaps because I kicked the month off with the third module of the course, and it was by far the best it set things in motion down this very contemplative, perspective-altering, pondering sort of path and through all the shenanigans that went down, that mood has remained. This particular module was a needle-pushing one for me, I had a massive breakthrough that is, I realise now, changing how I feel about every major aspect of my life and slowly pushing me ahead in a very different way.

Have you ever had an emotional breakthrough that feels like after months of trying to tear down and and push through a door that refuses to open, it suddenly gives and comes clamouring down? Where suddenly the only thing blocking you (usually yourself) comes apart, letting you through? It’s exhilarating, because you’re eagerly waiting to be shown the next step, a foot in the door. And finally you’re there, but to your surprise, what’s ahead often isn’t a clear road to freedom, but…a free fall. Into nothingness.

And you have to just leap.

It’s exciting as fuck. But also terrifying. And brings with it this ginormous knot in my stomach, like OMG HOW is that even possible, how I am to begin all over again, where do I take myself from here?

So I was particularly humbled when I read these words in the letter in this Ask Polly edition last month, echoing much the same feelings, even though our situations, context and journey is entirely different:

…feels like I’m standing at a fork in the road, where one path leads to a pit of snakes and the other to a jagged cliff.

How do I begin? Where do I begin?

And these absolute gems, in the answer:

So this is where I would start: Ground yourself in reality.

Because that is just what my pursuit has been these past few months, years. To find reality. Over and over again. Seeking authenticity, truth and real comfort, within and around myself.

I realise this is really the crux of any journey of self-discovery, of coming into one’s own. And the deeper I go, the more I seem to let go of, and the more comfortable I find I am with myself. Exactly the way I am.

Once you ground yourself in reality…then you can finally approach the world as you are. You don’t need to be entertaining or sexy or clever or useful to be lovable. You don’t have to prove your value in order to be valuable. You can simply be what you are.

August especially, has been a time of cutting myself down to size. More shedding, more culling of the unnecessary, more pruning of an incorrect sense of self. But most unexpectedly, accepting uncomfortable and far from desirable facets of myself that exist, that I was oblivious to. Even after all these months of work, it was gutting to realise that there are parts of me that make me a difficult person to be with, to connect with, to understand.

So begins a new chapter. Fresh work commences. And it all begins with that leap of faith, that free fall into what seems like nothingness.

And here’s where the work done so far holds me in good stead. I can stay, I don’t need to run. I can be myself, imperfections and all, without having to hide.

Being still and silent and broken is its own kind of religion.

Because, it matters. It’s where a new me can bloom.

Being what you are looks like this: You enter every room as a calm, neutral observer. You are average. You don’t have an agenda. Your only job is to listen and observe and offer your support. Your only job is to watch and learn and allow room for yourself, even when you don’t say a word, even when you don’t look that good, even when you seem useless. There you are, giving yourself the right to be without running or hiding or dancing. That is grace. It matters.

***

All the healing, and some change
When the burden of the breakthrough hung heavy.
The absolute thrill of taking that leap, left me high on life for many, many days after.
And sometimes when I look back, take stock of what has changed and how much, I see how far I’ve come.
On the privilege of flying back into the nest, enjoying this fleeting time in Bangalore and readying myself to fly out once again.

Probably consequent to all of these shifts, my relationship with my body (that has been another big piece in this journey) saw yet another inflection point. And things have turned in a way that nothing will ever be the same again.
Reclaiming parts I’ve rejected, and finally seeing a glimmer of feeling whole again.
On finding confidence, self-love and how it feels like meeting myself for the first time. Every single day.
I think I may have finally let go of the fitness aficionado tag that formed such a huge part of my identity, and I’m ready to move on to new things.

I’ve had a on-again-off-again pattern going with all things domestic, of late. And several times in the recent past I’ve found it really has me in a rut. As much as a huge part of me wants to break away from the trappings of mindless routine and make time for all the things that I am seeking to explore, there is a sense of grounding that routine and doing homely things with my hands gives me, and I have been trying to find a healthy balance between the two.
I wrote about the how lucky I feel about being in Bangalore because it has given me just the space and time in this respect.
And every time I slip, I have to remind myself not to beat myself up about it, so I can move up and on quicker.

Bangalore love
August is also the month VC and I have decided to move on from Bangalore. And so predictably, I had a lot of feels for Bangalore. Through all the annoyances that I don’t stop myself form acknowledging, the sum total of my time in Bangalore has been nothing short of amazing. I have thoroughly enjoyed it for everything it has offered.
Of rain, and missing Goa.
Of rain, and traffic jams that lead to epiphanies.
Of clear skies that turn to rain.

As always, there is gratitude
Nine months in to keeping this habit, I know without a shadow of doubt how much it has impacted my mental health and contributed to moving forward and counting on abundance rather than being stuck in stories and beliefs that are grounded in a sense of lack. This past month, owing to all the feels, there was a lot of gratitude.
For life and how it flows.
For having this opportunity to take make a life of being, and not so much doing.
For opportunities that I could have only had in Bangalore. And the privilege of traveling to Goa again.
For family. Known and unknown, close and extended.
For Bangalore, and the rain.

Rumination
This year of writing everyday, I’ve taken extra pride in not ever missing a day or resorting to back posts as much as I did in 2016. Back then, I also resorted to writing Haiku when I was all dried up and the thoughts wouldn’t come. This year there have been very few days when I didn’t know what to write, and I have actually enjoyed writing every single day. August however, saw a lot of random thought bubbles and pictures, probably owing to days where I was just so overwhelmed with my own inner monologue.
Hot chocolate days.
Pause for a moment.
Driving to Goa. Again.
I read two more books.
Goa postcards. Here. Here. And here.

One month ago: Day 219: July
Two months ago: Day 184: June

Three months ago: Day 152: May
Four months ago: Day 134: April
Five months ago: Day 92: March
Six months ago: Day 60: February
Seven months ago: Day 32: January

Two years ago: Day 246: Wandering, right here at home

Day 219: July

Wherever you go, there you are.

A couple of weeks ago, I came under the axe of judgement passed by an ex-employer. And when I got wind of the statements, the unintelligent assumptions/presumptions, the uninformed conclusions they made, I was riled up way more than I imagined I could be.

Purposeless. Directionless. Unfocused. Seeking therapy. Just some of the descriptors used about me. It’s been on my mind ever since. I’m not offended or riled up anymore, but I have been wondering how and why someone who barely knows the insides of my life, especially what I’ve been upto the last 2-3 years, gets off assuming I’m purposeless. And I can only conclude it is because I don’t have any of the obvious markers of “having arrived”. I don’t hold a job. I flit from one thing to the next, whatever takes my fancy. I don’t have the burdens of a family of my own to tend to.

And yet, I’m happy and satisfied.

It doesn’t compute to the average mind, I suppose. The average mind stuck on the hamster wheel of working hard and having a single purpose as the only means to find contentment in life. Even if it comes at the cost of one’s honour, substance and emotional health. We’re a culture chronically obsessed with that kind of measurable achievement as the only tracker of success or happiness, it really saddens me.

My truth is that my only purpose is to enjoy whatever it is I do. Even if it is an entirely new thing everyday. My purpose is to be happy. Healthy. Stable. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get me there. What the average mind stuck on the hamster wheel doesn’t understand is that this too requires commitment, showing up day after day, an unwavering dedication. Even lesser known is the fact that it requires a far higher level of emotional honesty and vulnerability. And to do it without any form of glory or recognition at the end of the line, confuses and befuddles most people.

More and more I’m finding joy in this path, in this manner. Without the obvious gains I used to look for at one time. It’s erratic, it’s unpredictable, it’s downright difficult sometimes. But it has also given me immeasurable joy — the kind no job or form of employment ever has.

The awareness that this is it has been liberating and humbling. And the awareness that this is enough has been so empowering.

In other words, and to borrow from Seth Godin:

Wherever you go, there you are. You’re never going to arrive because you’re already there.

Since May, things have been astir in our lives. Not in an obvious, tangible way. But I’ve carried around a buzzing ball of movement within me, like I’m on the brink of some change, for weeks now. I’ve been edgy with excitement and anticipation because things were beginning to settle in June, showing some sign of what direction they may move in. But it was in July that everything peaked, and suddenly my life has made an unexpected turn again. We’re looking at yet another move.

And yet, looking back now, I can trace a pattern in the events. It makes sense, in retrospect, of course. Not so much when we were in the midst of it, getting from one day to the next. I will always remember July for being the month of a peaceful churn that has gently nudged us towards the next milestone in our journey, while also throwing ample opportunities to rest, travel, enjoy Bangalore and bond with my friends — building a strong foundation of love and comfort that is so needed in the months to come.

And so, we journey on. Throwing ourselves from one experience to the next, borrowing from SG again:

There’s no division between the painful going and the joyous arriving. If we let it, the going can be the joyful part.

More and more I’m finding joy in this path, in this manner. Shifting focus off the elusive goal/destination, and enjoying the ride instead. If this makes me seem purposeless and unfocused to the uninitiated and woefully unaware, so be it.

***

Rest and Recreation
There were naps. So many naps.
But I made the most of rainy Bangalore days with brunch
Before I ran off to Kerala
Returning to rainy days spent in coffee shops
Before I jetted off to Goa pretty much soon after
Where I worked for a few days and then resumed the R&R

Rumination
On gender, discomfort and self-hate
On the 5 books I read
On returning back to normalcy after a whole lot of fun
On friendship and happiness in Bangalore

Travel
Kerala is so frikking greeeeen in the monsoon!
It was also incredibly wet
But the silence was impeccable
Goa was green. And wet too.
And invariably gives me reasons to breathe and flow
And overwhelms me with the good energy and contentment
There were dog pics. Lots of them.
Because they’re serious distractions
A good trip is one that makes you feel like you’re back in your skin again
And leaves a happy afterglow

Gratitude
For family, friendship and for food
From journeying with my father
For Goa, for friendship, for dogs and where my life is today

One month ago: Day 184: June
Two month ago: Day 152: May
Three months ago: Day 134: April

Four months ago: Day 92: March
Five months ago: Day 60: February
Six months ago: Day 32: January

One year ago: What coming home feels like: kinship, quietude and becoming

Day 184: June

Have the courage to change your mind

This past weekend, I found myself at a hip and happening party spot in the city. This is not something that happens often at all in my life. The music was loud and pounding so hard, I could hear it all the way in the basement parking, as I drove in well past 10 pm. I was immediately taken by how Bangalore’s general style statement has changed over the years. Party clothes are definitely more striking, bold and out there. As I waded through the flurry of shiny, shimmying young ones, in my torn jeans and full-sleeved tee (what?! – it was a rainy night and I’m easily cold), making my way to the open air restaurant area, I thought to myself, Wow Bangalore has changed sooo much. Until I stepped into the quadrangle, within mere metres of what is obviously an exceedingly popular weekend spot to dance the night away, and I had to halt that thought right in it’s tracks. Because loud and thumping music, with the crowds interjecting at appropriate spots, I heard the lyrics: HEY Mambo, Mambo Italiano! GO, GO, GO! Because it was nothing like had changed at all. And I was back in Urban Edge in 2001.

Nothing has changed — it’s a recurring thought I have as I go through life in Bangalore.

Sure, the clothes have gotten shinier, the kids are more out and about, the curfews have been extended, we have cabs so hopefully less drunken driving. But aside from that it was like being sucked into a bad time warp, sliding back to a dark and dingy night club 15 years, where two extremely fun boys convinced me to smoke a cigar that I pretended to enjoy.

I felt so confused, simultaneously cool (because I knew the entire playlist because it was from when I was in high-school) and uncool, and suddenly so aware of my age. Because I was curling my nose up at it and avoiding the crowded noisy spots, going in search of ice cream instead.

Some things have changed, though.

Thank god for that.

***

I’ve been thinking about ageing. Growing up. Evolving. Moving on. And I suddenly realised mid-conversation the other day, that most of the disdain and angst about time running out has faded. I told P the other day that this decade — the 30s — are proving to be far, far more enjoyable than the last.

It wasn’t always the case. I still often wish for some of the simplicity that was my early 20s (everything was really straight forward, and I had far less fucks to give than I did in my late 20s) where I just went after most things without a second thought, high on a misguided cocky confidence. It had its advantages and disadvantages. But, this, here now — to be in this wonderful twilight zone between knowing what I want and having a quiet confidence that I feel from within, and feeling far less apologetic about chasing each one of those goals without justifying them — is far, far more enjoyable.

In my 20s, I had a very rigid sense of self. I was far too certain of too many things. Today though, my sense of self is far more fluid. Far more forgiving and open to figuring it out along the way. Even as I have eaten all the words from my twenties, and come to a point of realising that virtually nothing that I held to be true and absolute, holds good anymore. And that has been one of the most freeing realisations of recent time.

Suddenly, there is so much more space to let go of all the barriers I have created in my mind. There is far less self-doubt. There is also a lot more faith in myself, and a sense of surety about letting older parts of myself go without feeling like I am disappointing myself somehow. This has been a defining aspect of the last four years of my life — allowing myself the permission to soften up, loosen the grip and grow out.

I have enjoyed trading in my cocksureness for this far more confusing and uncertain process of bumbling along and taking everything one step at a time. I am slowly getting better at being okay with not knowing it all, being open to learning all the time.

Most of all, I think the thing that has changed my attitude to life is understanding that I need to have the courage and space to change my mind as I go along. And this courage doesn’t have to be fierce, loud or in-your-face, or even proclaimed and shared. It has a soft, graceful and very gentle feel to it. All qualities I never thought I would embrace.

So yeah, things are changing. All the damn time for me these days. And May and June have really shown me what is possible when I open myself up to all the possibilities that are waiting to turn my inner world upside down.

If May was all about unsettling everything and throwing all the balls up in the air, June was about making space for things to settle again. Not actively settling them myself, but allowing them to settle in, in their own time and pace.

June has been all about the resettling. And it came with a massive amount of thoughts because resettling has it’s own energy. It’s not an instant state that gets flicked on at the push of a button. It has been equal parts slow in it’s unfolding as it is energetic in what it is throwing up.

I am psyched for what the next half of the year holds, and if the last two months are anything to go by, it’s going to be interesting to say the very least.

Let’s reflect!

Rumination
The more life persists, the more rumination it brings. I’m just glad I have the time and space to allow it to find its way out, because it makes for very useful reading when I look back. (I’m sure I can’t say the same for you, though!)

  1. A whole month too late, but I finally wrote that letter to myself, that I had promised I would
  2. Serendipitously, I found yoga, once again
  3. Self-care and emotional literacy; and how it isn’t a fancy, unnecessary and expensive proposition
  4. Acknowledging moments of guilt and grief is crucial
  5. Weekend blues, chance conversations and surprising moments of friendship

Happy days
Looking back on the month I realised it was a mostly happy month, because without realising it, I have chronicled a lot of very small, everyday little happy occurrences.

  1. Little happy things that stuck with me on week 1
  2. Happy days of very little work and endless nothingness
  3. The happy occurrence of making it to a 6 am yoga class
  4. Happy breakfast conversations that work as timely reminders
  5. Happy with the Bangalore rain
  6. Happy meets contentment meets fullness
  7. Days spend doing nothing but reading make me oh sooo happy
  8. Home days that make me happy
  9. Brain-worms that trigger more happy thoughts
  10. Happy (temporary) reconciliations with Bangalore
  11. Proof of change also makes me happy
  12. Choosing a happy day

Gratitude, as usual
Because I will get nowhere without this.

  1. A serious kind of something new
  2. Come on, keep me where the light is
  3. Nobody really likes us, except us
  4. Did we fly to the moon too soon?

Books!
I wrote a lone book post (featuring 1 book I LOVED, and 3 I didn’t) because things have been slow on that front. My brain has been otherwise occupied. And I’ve decided that’s okay.

One month ago: Day 152: May
Two months ago: Day 134: April

Three months ago: Day 92: March
Four months ago: Day 60: February
Five months ago: Day 32: January

Day 152: May

Call it magic, call it true

I’m tired of repeating (even to myself) how utterly odd I’ve been feeling this month. Even as the days zip, the in betweens have stretched and made the four+ weeks seem inordinately stretched. I almost can’t believe it’s June today, and we’re at the edge of the halfway mark through this year.

All month long I waited for inspiration to strike, so I could write that one spectacularly articulate post that would sum up all the epiphanies, moments of clarity, positivity and inner strength that have kept me afloat and sometimes thrust me forward, even through the cloudiness that has shrouded the past few weeks.

But, it never came.

Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best month, as far as clarity goes. And it’s shown all over my blog. I’ve stayed with writing everyday, never missing a chance or putting it off, resorting to pictures 90% of the time. Sometimes hoping they’d do the talking, and sometimes not even that.

Despite all of that, it has been a significant and special time for me. For one, it was birthday month, and that always puts a shiny, brand-new-again spin on everything. And it was also a month of frenetic activity. Because there were two holidays — one to Goa and another to Thailand. And in between it all there was family visiting and lots of outings and get togethers. Somewhere in the midst of all that was also my inner self bobbing up and down, nudging me, constantly reminding me of the unsettled, unanchored way that I was feeling in my core. Like something is astir and change is in the works, yet again. It was a month of many of life’s firsts, each one remarkable and memorable in it’s own way.

One would think this would leave me with much to write about. And so I waited, all month long, for that perfect opportunity — where inspiration would strike and set the words in motion, just at the right time out from all that was going on around me.

But, it never came. And somewhere in the midst of the waiting, while also making do with the little juice I had going, I realised there was a little lesson to learn. To really just keep swimming. Even when the waters may not be perfect. Even when my arms are flailing uncoordinated. Even when I’m tired. Sometimes even when I don’t really want to swim too much.

This shift — recognising that not everything has to be perfect, or excellent, or enjoyable, or remarkable and that sometimes it just has to be, happen, exist, move on — has been the theme of the month.

Like Austin Kleon says about shitty, imperfect first drafts, whose entire purpose is to just get the juices flowing, the writing muscles loosened up, and the mind ticking, I’ll take this as practice to just get through the plateaus that hold promise of change at the edge of the horizon, to build the patience to make that journey to the edge without feeling like a leaf thrown in a storm, to hold my place and hang on to the small everyday joys even when all about me is a circus in full tilt.

It’s possible. Essential, even. To know and experience the meh as much as I crave and aspire for the woohoos in life.

I’m beginning to think of May as the first draft of the rest of this year, because I’ve just felt the immensity of how much this applies to life as it does to art like a flash of bright, bright light.

It doesn’t matter if it’s good right now, it just needs to exist.

***

Right, so if you’re interested in seeing what seemed like a picture album of the month gone by, let’s get on with it:

Birthday month!

I turned 34. And I feel convinced I may never really feel my actual age. I had a love-filled birthday that was somewhat perspective-altering.

Postcards from Goa:

  1. On sliding into what is, rather than getting caught up in what could have been
  2. I consumed more beer than I’ve allowed myself to in a long, long time. And I found a new favourite
  3. There was so much doggie-love, and warmth and a heart-tugging kind of comfort in their presence
  4. There was some work-related perks
  5. And a lot of relaxing down-time with friends
  6. Some roots dropped and new beginnings of sorts made
  7. And of course lots of pictures and home-sickness

Elusive spots of truth that sometimes made it through

  1. More lessons in boundaries
  2. On staying present in my emotional reality
  3. Leaning in to my wish to being a nomad
  4. Happy moments this month

Postcards from Thailand:

  1. Beach days, all day, erryydayyy
  2. Spectacular sunsets that made me feel overwhelmed, small and insignificant
  3. Affirmations
  4. Pleasant surprises
  5. Some more clarity (holiday edition)
  6. A little basic wisdom (holiday edition)

And of course, there’s always the gratitude:

  1. For food: Like happiness is the truth
  2. For Goa: I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
  3. For VC and his selfless love: We keep this love in a photograph
  4. For Thailand and the privilege to travel: I’ll take a quiet life
  5. For this blog and finishing 12 years of writing it: Days when I couldn’t live my life without you

One month ago: Day 134: April
Two months ago: Day 92: March
Three months ago: Day 60: February
Four months ago: Day 32: January

Two years ago: Day 152: Skies that lie

Day 151: The week ends, the week begins

It’s been a summer holiday like month. Relaxed, very unhurried, travel, mangoes, afternoons spent guzzling books, plenty naps that have shot my sleep cycle to bits. Summer vibes and May feels all round. Some things I’ve loved about this oh-so-strange and up and down month:

  • Another birthday! Another beginning.
  • A whole week in Goa, for the time out, for the realisations that came from it. For the opportunity to do another workshop. For the shifts that came from that. For the dogs. For the week spend with D, and the hangs with Niyu and K and the unexpected girly fun I had.
  • A whole week in Thailand, for obvious reasons — the beach, the food, the holiday. For the opportunity to hang out with R, S and H in a way that I won’t have in Bangalore. For the scuba diving. For the taste of reality, and affirmation of some truths I have known. For getting the family trip done so the pressure won’t surface for a while now. And mostly, for showing myself that I can bend a little, relax a little, let go of my aversions a little, and do things I don’t always like to do but sometimes need to do, and still have fun while I’m at it.
  • A true and complete taste of both VC and I being funemployed, together: ever since VC joined me in my state of funemployment, he’s been the disciplined one taking himself to his co-working space everyday. He’s the man with a plan, even when there’s nothing to be done. But we took May off from normal programming, owing to all the travel and conveniently being between projects. I always imagined we’d be the sort of couple who cannot live under one roof all the time, because we’d get in each others hair (and maybe in another time, we would have did) but things have obviously changed. And I was pleasantly surprised to find myself telling him today that I have really enjoyed having him around. We’ve been sleeping in, waking up late, running off for breakfasts out, catching morning movie shows on Mondays, having impromptu work talk and meetings right in the comfort of our living room, we’ve cooked together, eaten more meals together this month than probably all this year, and somehow managed to enjoy the togetherness as much as give each other space to potter about as we please. This is a first, and I’m glad we had the chance to try it out, and be surprised, before he begins a new phase of work in the new week and new month on Monday.
  • All the time I ended up spending at home. I managed to do some long, long pending spring cleaning, sorting and disposing of stuff I’ve needlessly carried around for decades. Cupboards were cleared and space was made. But it was also remarkably cathartic, in a way that really reinstated how much I’m ready to move on.
  • The unplanned amounts of sleep I’ve got. It’s confused the shit out of me, and left me feeling very lethargic and lazy, but I suppose at this point it is what was needed and I’m glad it was a month free from all else, so I could just give in and rest.
  • The unexpected income.
  • The little bursts of clarity, that have shone through much of the haze. This will be a month to remember, no matter what I say or think about it right now. I just know it’s going to be a month I will look back on, maybe, 6-8 months from now and think oh yes, that’s what it was all about, and that’s where it all started.

One year ago: Changing seasons
Two years ago: Day 151: Waiting (the film)