Off colour

Still no laptop. No idea when or how I’ll have one again. Still very much in this tug of war between what I can’t and can (hah, I wish!) control. STL trying to not give a shit. Still kind of not always winning at it. Still getting on. Somehow.

The silver lining, and what has made it a touch easier? Many, many days at the beach.

The rain, has come again

Like half the country and their mom burdening the rural health care system here, I am in Goa. It’s been pissing down so much more than I anticipated (or would have liked). And I’m wishing for some sunshine so I can at least get to the beach and sit (socially distant) in the sun. It took us a full day to get the home back to normal from typically Goan monsoon mildew. This morning I thrilled in visiting the neighbourhood supermarket I love and stocking up. We’re already having our first home-cooked meal. Home, so quick. It’s a small joy I’m super duper glad for.

One year ago: Like hitting reset
Four years ago: New eyes

Refresh

We have to dust things off every once in a while, let fresh air in, change the water in the flower vases

— Haruki Murakami

(Thankful for what little opportunity I have for “travel”)

One year ago: Where love and wonder meet
Four years ago: Silver linings

That neck of the woods

Love yourself. Then forget it. Then love the world.

— Mary Oliver

There was something very different about the way in which I observed, enjoyed and engaged with nature this time away. It wasn’t conscious, didn’t inspire any effort and not something that came from a place of deliberation. It simply happened, and I noticed it in retrospect.

There is something very richly moving about being amidst overwhelming nature — whether in the size and stature, or the saturated hues, or simply the awe and power — when it towers over and shelters you. Perspective shifting. Life giving. Steady making. Love inducing.

After years of being drawn inwards, within myself, working on and learning to love myself, I feel a distinct draw outwards. A very real and specific desire to be in love with the world again.

One year ago: On ordinariness
Three years ago: A good life is a life of goodness
Four years ago: A picture

Enough (and then some)

That old familiar wordlessness has returned. I’m beginning to see that it coincides with times when internal processes take over and/or a deep sense of contentment has arrived.

The past eight days has been a mix of both. What words I had, I directed to my family with whom I share this space. And it was enough.

It’s been hard to put in words the mix of feelings that have brimmed over for me. But if I were to be honest, I haven’t even tried. I’ve just been going with it.

Everything has felt just enough lately.

Find a way to be adrift and uncertain, pray your surroundings are beautiful, and hope that someone emerges who offers you some fruit.

— Helen Rosner

I’m getting so used to this cycle of things coming together and falling apart as a part of the very process of life itself. There is less alarm when things go askew, but there is great joy in the moments when they come together. Being with and experiencing my family this past month has been like that. Something came together, even as we coexist in our uniquely different ways, each with our idiosyncratic best sides that get served up only when we are with each other. To have room that allows for that, I realise, is a blessing.

I’m learning that the uncertain times, many times, precede the times when things come together. And so I take it when it comes around. I am grateful, and accepting of it all.

One year ago: Fries before guys
Two years ago: Say, say, say, hey, hey, now, baby
Four years ago: I had to talk about Coke Studio, just a little bit

Seeing upside down, inside out

The stillest waters have the freshest perspectives.

One year ago: Free
Two years ago: One night to speed up the truth
Four years ago: Control issues, part 2

Greens

All the different kinds of greens I’ve seen.

This was lunch one afternoon. Everything on my plate was home grown.

Evening walk pitstop. So green. So chill.

Morning walk abandoned quarry explorations with these two.

Kind of ridiculous that this is our backyard. Alternating between pinching myself to come back to reality and feeling very, very grateful.

One year ago: Mediocre
Two years ago: Take a deep breath
Four years ago: Control issues

Slowly now

Just sitting here, amidst water again, with time passing slower than it has in a long, long time. There is nowhere to go. Nothing imperative to do. Nowhere to be.

Getting my hands dirty in more ways than one. Farming, some. Building, some. Cooking, some. Napping, some. Working, some.

Tasting the thrill of eating off the land.

Having days that begin at 630 am.

In bewilderment that there is a literal crocodile on property that we all seem to have reached a state of happy coexistence with.

Still a little awestruck and disbelieving, from time to time, that my parents made this — a dream — happen. For themselves. And us.

One year ago: Morning joy
Two years ago: Warm shadow, won’t you cast yourself on me

Golden yesterday

Daybreak.

Day’s end.

One year ago: Special 
Two years ago: Fickle and changeable

Returning

My sleep cycle is totally and fully back to normal. I have hesitated to accept this sooner, because I was so sure it was just another blip in this up and down year, and that it wasn’t going to last. But it has been about 7 weeks now, of having a more or less consistent (but loose) daily routine that involves sleeping at a decent time (read: pre-midnight haha) and waking up at a time that allows me to get in a morning workout of some kind, and still have time to tend to chores and have a full day, if I so choose to.

Some return to “normal” since everything went upside down in March. And it feels good. For many of us, daily habits and routines are essential keepers of rhythm for life. Making sure there are enough nourishing elements to every day has always been important for me, but when I began to approach this with a consciousness that was previously missing, I have gone full circle from being a slave to routine, to breaking it completely, going very very off-track, and coming back to some normalcy, but with balance.

You know habits have changed in a deeper way when they remain, without much effort, even when you’re on a break.

One year ago: True
Two years ago: You’re still young and that’s your fault
Four years ago: Moarrrr books

Be water, my friend

Clearly, there’s a theme emerging this week.

And I love it when this happens — all roads pointing to affirming one thing, one message. Reinforcing something new that has just found its way to me.

Two years ago: My heart is abloom
Three years ago: Joyful
Four years ago: Off the saddle

 

Wanderlost?

The promise of a getaway looms. And it got me thinking of the last time we traveled. It was at the end of last year, which honestly feels like it only just passed us by.

I think wistfully of the amount of travel I had the privilege of last year. Thinking of the ease with which I made umpteen, nearly monthly, visits to Goa, four mini holidays across the year three of which were in the last three months of 2019, I can’t help but feel what a distant reality that now seems like. Forget travel, even a trip to one of the city’s favourite bars to get a drink seems remote right now.

How and when will we go again? Move, travel, spread ourselves in corners of the world.

And what will become of the idea of travel itself?

Where will we go to quench our neverending desire to explore, photograph, exploit, destroy, flaunt the miles to which our restless feet and beings will take us?

How will the industries that stem from this need of ours transform, and how quickly? What will it mean for travellers like us?

I have a special dislike for what’s become of the word wanderlust. But today I think wanderlost, might be a modification I am willing to allow.

One year ago: Plain joy
Two years ago: Shine a little light on me

Rosé

In all my dreaming about being outdoors, for just a tiny bit (not even far, just out will do, for now) I have been having visions of being outdoors. I dreamt of being on a farm the other night, uprooting a gigantic cauliflower from the earth, satisfaction writ large on my face. I’ve been daydreaming of picnicking — recollecting intensely happy memories from my childhood when we’d go off on picnics a lot, without a plan or too much thinking. VC and I have considered driving out of the city, a flask of chai and some sandwiches in tow, just to go out to be amidst trees, take our masks off for a bit.

And then yesterday, I had this very deep ache in my chest, thinking about this afternoon in Paris from nearly two years ago.

Suddenly, this right here, perfectly captures what being outside has come to mean to me right now, in this moment. Open, green, lush, fresh, cool. FREE.

This was a couple of hours we spent on the banks of the Seine, when we picked up wine, by the glass, at a bar whose very purpose seemed to make available wine by the glass for people to drink by the river. We walked in and everyone else got beers, but I asked for a rosé. It was that perfect weather for rosé. A crisp nip in the air, but the sun shining sharply, breeze from time to time — perfect 4 o clock wandering weather basically. I saw the bartender casually chuck a couple of ice cubes in my glass of wine.

I know absolutely nothing about wine. But for some reason I remember thinking I’m pretty sure that breaks some wine rule somewhere, but HOW COOL that he thought nothing of doing it.

Want chilled wine, but the wine isn’t chilled? No problem, here’s some ice.

Wine snobs everywhere might have turned their noses up at me. Rosé — that somehow always feels a touch finer and presents more delicacy than red or white wine — running dilute as the ice that keeps it cool also melts away into it.

But it was perfect.
Flexible. Chill. Improvising on the go.
Going with the flow, not letting warm wine get in the way of a delightful afternoon hang — just what the moment needed, really.

Quite like me, I remember thinking then.

And my God, how strongly that vision came back to me yesterday. That day, that afternoon, sitting by the river drinking my rosé from a non-plastic glass, ice cubes and all, I remember feeling so seen and understood by the moment. For giving me just what I needed.

And I am quite like this. Even more so these days. As I have leaned so much into the side of me that can roll with fewer plans, that’s okay to break some rules, that’s willing to do what’s needed to be happy.

Even if it is put ice cubes in wine.

It thrilled me no end to make that completely obscure, even contrived, connection. For a few moments there, looking at this picture, I lived vicariously. I imagined being outdoors. I saw iridescent greens from the treetops, pearly limpid blues of the river gently lapping by, and me sitting amidst it, wine glass in hand, feet dangling off the edge of the bund, along with literally scores of others doing the same.

Open, green, lush, fresh, cool. FREE.

The whole day dream made me curious about the rules around putting ice in wine, and so I googled it. I didn’t learn a thing about the “rules”, but guess what?

Ice in rosé? IT’S A THING!

La piscine, it’s called. A refreshing glass of rosé, made further refreshing by being poured over ice.

La piscine literally translates to “the swimming pool” — which I think is just the most exquisite description of a drink that was literally like swimming in a pool of freshness. I don’t think I have ever felt so thrilled, or found so much meaning in an alcoholic beverage (or any other beverage, for that matter) in my entire life.

I have to say this reverie soothed the impossibly itchy need to be outdoors quite a bit. But it set of a whole other spiral of missing this afternoon, and being with these peeps.

Soon, soon.

One year ago: Time out
Two years ago: What about sunrise, what about rain?
Three years ago: Books-shooks

Bombay meri jaan

So. Bombay. It was surreal, fascinating, exciting, new. And a little saddening all at once. Yes, there was the work. Some exploration of the city, for possible future ventures there. Some one-on-one sessions, some powerful tarot sessions that moved me, and hopefully moved clients too.

And a visit to a restaurant I have been tracking and wanting to visit ever since it opened, almost four years ago (I think?). And there was vada pav.

And there was hanging with my cousin in a way that I haven’t ever had before.

And there was the happy coincidence of catching the memorial days of my great-grandfather as well as grandfather’s death, which takes on a whole other significance when you’re in the business of doing work around families and family dynamics.

It was fun. And it brought up a host of feelings from a host of different experiences. I’m still processing all that happened over the four days that I spent there. But it is hard to ignore, like with most other experiences lately, the fact that my way of seeing things has changed dramatically. It’s not sudden or new. It’s been a slow turnaround, but when I encounter certain experiences after a long time — such as being back in the company of my family in Bombay after so many years — the difference is accentuated.

For the first entire day there I kept wondering what’s different, what’s changed. Until I realised nothing much has in that world. Things are as well as they can be. And they’re largely the same as they have always been. It’s my eyes, my ways of seeing, my perceptions, my radar and intuition, that has changed.

The sense of a change was once again, not without that tinge of sadness. Sadness for the very distinct feeling of having left something very fundamental about how I used to relate and be a part of this family behind. As much as there is joy and liberation in working through old patterns, healing old trauma and moving on, there is always (repeated) grief about letting it all go. And being around my family, spending time in my grand parents home, reliving old times, brought it all up for me.

Internally, I felt very distant. Like I am in a faraway land, looking at that world from a distance. Intellectually, emotionally too, and in terms of where my life is headed, it just seems such a different world from the one I had stepped into there. It was oddly freeing, because I experienced so clearly some of the old bondages no longer holding me down. But it was also disorienting because I saw so clearly what had changed. And that process is never without a hint of guilt and shame, for somehow “caring less”. Once again, I had a visceral experience of this duality. And how the two poles most certainly can co-exist.

One year ago: Weekend highs and lows
Two years ago: May your feet always be swift
Four years ago: Blush

Maximum city

Back in my grandparents home after close to five years. This city, and this home, always fascinates me. Everything always feels so large, loud and in your face here. The rules of engagement always so different from everything I am familiar with. It is just the right amount of unease and asks for some stretch while also kindling a really old part of my brain that has memories of so many fun holidays and trips made here.

Human memory is such a fascinating thing, a muscle almost.

One year ago: Mini thoughts make incremental change
Two years ago: January
Four years ago: On creative happiness