Archive | Thanksgiving RSS feed for this section

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

153: The Thrill In The Uexpected

2 Jun

Ever since I got here, I’ve experienced a series of unexpected joys. As I was very matter-of-factly walking towards the bus shuttle after exiting the airport, I chanced upon the first bus in line, which was relatively empty, that I decided to get home by. On approaching the bus, there she was sitting right in the front seat in direct sight – my first ever psychology teacher from back in the day. One really finds it difficult to sum up all the feelings that bubble and gurgle within you…a fine blend of shock, excitement, confusion, joy, thrill, all woven into a fabric of beautiful memories put together. We couldn’t believe our chance meeting – on a bus out of so many buses, at an airport of all places; and after what’s soon going to be 15 years. Of course this count was meant to highlight just how long it’s been, except it also reminds me just how long ago I finished my 10th board exams. It goes without saying that we spent the rest of the bus ride seated next to each other, sharing titbits from our life and experiences, and how the journey has been so far. To say that the ride was too short would fall short of how I felt; where’s that traffic jam when you really need it?!

In-keeping with this, and as if I hadn’t walked back in time enough, I passed my school during functional school hours yesterday for the first time since I’d left it. As I drove past it, I couldn’t resist the urge to get off the car and walk right in, to just perhaps see if I could meet the teachers I’d once spent every single day of my life with. And I did. I still cannot describe the feeling; perhaps the connections run so deep that they’ve remained embedded somewhere within me in a place that’s hard to access. Time really isn’t enough when you’re walking down memory lane. Sometimes words aren’t, either.

It’s a strange feeling, this. There’s always been an indefinable friction within me to go back to where I came from. Notwithstanding the trying times that they were, and not discounting the amazing things that were also happening back then, it really isn’t a road I like to walk down. Things change, people change, everything changes. Apart from this insecurity of not being remembered or being acknowledged like you perhaps once were, it’s this strange tug of war stepping back in time versus watching your memories from the safety of disconnected distance. As I walked away from these two episodes, it only reminded me that as the years pile up, so do our own thoughts and perceptions of the whats and hows. To say I didn’t take away so much from these experiences and in turn give so much to these experiences as well, would negate the actual power of reminiscence, time, and life itself.

151: Magical May

31 May

Here’s what it’s been like in pictures. 

Hot. 

Relaxing. 

Experimental. 

Filled with debauchery. 


And just plain amazing!

150: Zero Going On 150

30 May

I remember when I hit 50 posts; it was sometime in February. It felt surreal, almost like I had achieved the impossible; so low are my expectations from myself. But to be honest, those 50 didn’t come easily – there was a heady mix of struggle, doubt, creative inertia, blankness, and a lack of inspiration that I had to tackle with on a regular basis. That apart, and because blogging somewhere also boils down to the number game no matter how much a blogger denies its importance to them, my numbers were (and still are) not up to the mark – basically my content and blogger behaviour was just not attracting the readership that I desired. (It still isn’t, but that for later). However, (and I also mentioned this somewhere), there were many a time when I needed to show myself the mirror and remind myself of the purpose of this journey and who I was really embarking on it for. Shifting perspectives did help, because here I am, low numbers and all, at 150 posts today.

There are so many takeaways that I have from this experience already. Apart from the ones I have written about here already; where I celebrated one month, introspected a little at 90 days, looked back at a 100 days, and also fell into the pit of self-doubt regarding this concept of overfeeding, today makes me feel all this and more. For example:

I am grateful for me, for the time I have taken out to invest in this, for showing up, and just motoring on irrespective of everything else that tried dissuading me from going further. During this journey, I have realised the importance of genuine and conscious self-gratitude. Somehow this has become invisible, something that was kept on the back-burner for later which was then conveniently forgotten. Being thankful to everyone, everything, and one’s own self is mandatory because we are, ultimately, a part of this scheme of things, works, and circle too. This act of a simple thank you, minus any frills or falsities has made me realise the significance of genuine, ego-less thanks and the necessity for self-love for self-growth to take place. It, I think, stemmed from one of these marriage memes I saw on FB somewhere; something on the lines of “a marriage requires filling before it can be fulfilling”, which I analogised to this for myself “you cannot give if your cup is empty.”

The other thing I have learnt is that narrowing down my focus to a day at a time really helps in the long run. It has helped me get less overwhelmed by the large and looming fear of a three-digit number when I focus on just one. I hope I can imbibe this in the rest of my endeavours too.

On looking back, the road seems seamless, faultless, and just so smooth. Of course it doesn’t take a fool to realise that this wasn’t, in fact, my reality. But what I am going to take away from this is that no journey is hard if you show up and decide to take it forward; that roadblocks were made to make you slow down either to take in the view better, or to bring you back to humility that we might have not seen flying out the window.

I have become more observant, more fluent in my channels of expression, more comfortable with the way I express myself, less perturbed by comparisons and numbers, more confident in my own capabilities, and definitely more patient with my faculties. If it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t have come this far. Now if only I can keep this drive and focus going.

Lastly, it has made me feel more secure about myself. When I bring the mirror to me, I am reminded that this is something I am doing for my own self – irrespective of the numbers it may or may not garner as per my desires. This has reflected in the smallest of things which have brought me joy – that my readership is stronger than a promotional hit on a social media platform, that I have a dedicated bunch of faithful readers (with my mom taking the cake for this), and that I feel purposeful, almost humble as a writer/blogger for being able to achieve this. Quality over quantity, I remind myself. And that is exactly what we have given each other, dear reader. I wouldn’t have come this far if it wasn’t for this collective effort. For that, I do thank you, most genuinely and consciously, too. :)

149: A Day In The Lives Of Most Of Us

29 May

I woke up very early for a Sunday. Given that I had to go in to work as well, it felt oddly fine to get out of bed before 7am; after all, there’d just be more time to do the things I’d wanted to do. Sunday mornings, according to me, ought to be spent savouring the best the weekend has to offer – it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, it’s pleasant, it’s the calm you need before the rush of yet another week begins. Therefore, in order for my Sunday to be perfect, it needs to be hearty in a subtle, non-overpowering way. For that, I have always imagined either sipping my tea whilst inhaling the aromas of a freshly baked cake rising in the oven or while digging into said warm cake as I have my tea. There’d also be the ambient sounds of chirping birds, the rustle of a newspaper, the crack of a biscuit or two (though they don’t really feature in this act when there’s cake around), minimal conversation, and perhaps the subtle seduction of a guitar playing in the background as well. I achieved some of this yesterday; except there wasn’t any cake fluffing up in the oven because I’d run out of baking powder and hadn’t bothered remembering to get a new bottle. I sought the company of my blog instead, when I still had tea to drink and was done with my papers.

Today was a different set-up. It did involve the appropriation of my Sunday morning fantasies, except, it looked and felt a little like this; something that may be all too familiar to you as well.

Please note that this is the dream I was trying to achieve – sipping on my cup of tea with A, while reading the newspaper in the ambience of chirping birds and the aroma of a cake.

I woke up and by default put on some water to boil for tea. In the meantime, I got the ingredients for my cake ready, and was just about to start on this process when; and I will use the now atrociously common phrase “but first let me…” (not take a selfie, but…)

…add milk to this boiling water for my tea.
…scoop this cream that’s collected on top of this bowl of milk and keep it aside.
…gather all the cream I’ve been collecting and make some ghee (clarified butter) out of it, since I already have the cream at hand.
…turn the tea off (it was done by then and was listlessly boiling away and becoming too strong for our liking)
…get the process of ghee-making started
…put my cake batter together
…oil my hair so I can let it rest while I have my tea, leaving me with enough time to wash it once tea is done.
…turn the tea back on (it had cooled down by now)
…wake A up, because I’ve become his alarm clock now.
…get our tea and biscuits on the table (the cake was in the oven)
…say hello to my plants which are now outside my house (as A opened the door to get the newspaper)
…read while I have my tea
…but wait, let me Instagram this perfect moment
…skim the ghee off the kadhai (wok)
…enjoy my tea-time. Babska, enjoy the present moment, always.

This is endless. This happens to each of us. This has become a regular feature of my life which, if given precedence over everything else, takes over my ability to do one thing at a time (is that necessarily a bad thing?!, you’d ask), or anything else that I might wish to do (like sleep, for example).

Some may call it the ants-in-my-pants syndrome; I just call it the this-domestication-gives-two-fucks-about-living-life-in-the-moment. Sigh.

Having said that, I did end up having my (still) hot tea with biscuits, as I instagrammed a photograph and then proceeded on to read, while enjoying the ambience of birds, the rustle of trees, the shuffle of the newspaper, and the smell of freshly baked cake and homemade ghee that was bubbling away, all in the company of A. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and a great Monday today. :)

147: Thank God For…

27 May

Fridays, of course.

And then,

the simple things in life,
family,
friends,
having choices,
liberties,
and a voice.

Thank God for

love,
food,
having someone to share them with,
and then some laughter and sparkle.

I’d like to even thank God for

everything I’ve been given and not given,
for reason, good judgement, for having a spine,
and for being able to be exactly who I want to be.

Thank you. :)

143: The Twists and Turns of Adulthood

23 May

Today just wasn’t the day for me to catch a few winks in the afternoon. The internet guys called me a couple of times even when I’d asked them to kindly call and visit my sick internet connection only in the evening. Then the security guard rang my doorbell to tell me to remove my plants from my balcony, which I already had, and which I pointed out to him as he spoke to me. The painting labourers who are giving our building a facelift then decided to knock on my door with empty plastic bottles, to tell me that two balcony chairs needed moving. And then the maid arrived. So there really were just about a handful of minutes that I could dream during, post which I remained in bed slurping a creamy kulfi and a TedX talk by Shah Rukh Khan sent to me by S. Happy belated birthday, S! I figured she sent me this link because I dig the guy at some level. He really is a witty genius, okay! Anyhoo, I savoured what was left of my afternoon, in the self-obsessed but also tasteful compilation of experiences that were SRK’s.

The one thing in his speech that did catch my attention is something I’ve been becoming aware of off late too. And it is this concept of autonomy in drawing our own definitions of our experiences. It was just yesterday while in conversation with P that I mentioned the exact same thing –  that we’re so habituated to this “unchangeable” and “rigid” concept of authority without realising that we’re now at a place of authority too. Perhaps we always had the right to our own authority, but it remained unrealised and therefore untouched. It’s in the small things, and consequently in the big things; the latent ways in which we accept definitions of right and wrong formulated by others, and make them our own.

We’re at a place where if we don’t respect our own selves, no one else will, is what I said to P last night. It’s a new baton that I’ve come face-to-face with and am intrigued by. I truly believe that you and I are here, because we’re worthy by our own merit and judgement to be here; and that we have an equal hand in setting boundaries and making rules that work for and with us. Gone are the days when I remember standing in school or college, just waiting to get out and take control of my life. But somewhere down the line, and thanks to this humongous baggage of “no questions asked”, it started to feel like I was living by others’ ways and rules. I find this platform especially relevant today when I have so many looking up to me, hoping that I have answers, control, and some semblance of stability. Moreover, I find it an intriguing path to walk down, dotted with sharp turns and ridges that are waiting for me to trip and fall, or to trip and fly.

This is really the best time to be alive because there’s no telling time than this, that what you do is yours and yours alone, in all your selfish and self-obsessed glory and necessities. It’s a struggle, but it’s most real too.

142: Cheating

23 May

Today I’m cheating, and confessing about doing so. Yesterday was one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a long, long time. The school is at its fractional strength what with all the kids, except the senior students, already off. It was quiet, calm, serene, and it had rained. There was no clamouring, no crowding, no shouting, no hurrying. If this is a blessing, then I feel blessed. I even got to walk back home in a faint drizzle and under an overcast sky; there’s nothing more a Bangalore girl can ask for during a harsh North-Indian summer May Monday.

And then my internet died on me just when I was about to ease into some yoga which I haven’t been able to indulge in for an annoyingly long time. Therefore, out went my yoga and out went any chance I had of blogging as well. So here I am, writing about yesterday, today. And therefore I confess.

Yesterday was meant to be enjoyed in its entirety I presume. So there was some uninterrupted tree and sky-staring time, followed by a long conversation with P which ended a good hour later when her baby had a poop-blast situation. Because A also got back home much later than usual and I had time at hand, I did what most self-respecting domesticated wives do – cook. I made today’s lunch, dinner, and perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast as well, last night. There’s so much food in the fridge, A exclaimed, almost in fright. I’d say there’s no better friend than boxes of fresh home food to tide us through days when the last thing I want to do is cook.

There’s a box of black chana stew, dalia (a savoury broken wheat pilaf), cabbage stir fry (made in a mixed north-indian and south-indian style), mangalorean egg curry, leftover rice, dal, one piece of tandoori chicken, and some other essentials – that’s enough no? :P

137: Rooted

17 May

It happened sometime last week when A was working unpredictable and horrible hours which left me home alone longer than I usually am. It was also the week when I fiercely tried making a physical cut between my work and home; when I tried finishing all my work at work and bringing back just empty tiffin boxes and myself home. Naturally I had time at hand to while away, and that’s when it all happened.

I revisited a yoga video series that I’d ditched early this year or late last year, I can’t remember, to make myself feel more physically useful and productive. My evening walks, whenever they did happen, had been stopped as well because of this weird hay-fever I’d developed thanks to the season. Besides, it’s not fun to walk in a 38 degree environment (even post 730pm), so there just had to be a way out when I wanted the comfort of physical movement.

Back then I gave this up because I’d naturally overestimated myself and underestimated the potential and power of feeling, being, and engaging in yoga. Oh, this looks too non-challenging and blah, or, yoga isn’t for me, is what I’d always say, and that’d be that. Basically I guess I was just too out of whack to even admit that I couldn’t even comfortably do something that looked so darn easy; the false ploy of ego, I tell you.

But I desperately needed some grounding, some calm, some mindspace to give myself all that I’d planned to give myself. How could I fathom giving my mind a breather if I didn’t allow it to breathe, and how could I feel energised or even connected and rooted without giving my body that energy it needed? It took a couple of days, but I could begin to identify these minute but very evident changes that slowly took root in me. To feel grounded, rooted, connected, energised, a conductor and channel of positive flowing energy is something my body and mind were thirsty for. Back when I did yoga in school, I’d learnt the power of its mysticism, except I never stuck on with it for innumerable reasons. To understand the supremacy of a single breath and the potential it has in it is quite fascinating. Not that I’m here to get philosophical or yogic with you, but here I am, five days (I started this more than a week ago but it’s been just five days) of yoga later, feeling a feeling that I haven’t a long while.

On the floor, in what I can assume is a yoga posture, and sipping on cold water under a tireless fan, I sit, writing this blog post for you and me. It’s just us, the hustle of these keys, the distant sound of a pressure cooker, and the choir of silence that has me exactly where I want to be.

Namaste.

134: Sunday Specials

14 May

While I stewed a brilliantly fragrant batch of dal, I hopped in for a leisurely shower (just before the water began to heat up thanks to the mad heatwave we’re undergoing), waltzed out, fried us some papads to go with our rice, dal, and salad meal, and had lunch ready for the two of us. A cooled down our hangout room, drew the blinds, poured us some beer, and had Bahubali 2 ready to watch. Little did I think I’d be watching the movie, forget watching it so soon. But watch it we did. I’ll tell you that I enjoyed both my lunch and the movie, but felt more satisfied by the former, and the experience, than the movie itself. At the risk of the many brickbats that have already flown my way, I am glad to have seen it at home, because it went on for longer than I could sit. As fantastical and intriguing as it was, I switched off periodically, especially when the sfx took over more blatantly than my unimaginative mind could stomach.

We had chilled mangoes to complete the experience, and as if that wasn’t enough, I cut myself whatever leftover banana cake I could, and had that with some ice cream as we closed the movie as well. It’s insanely hot outside, and everything has come to a standstill, including the forest that is growing on my arms and face, because we just can’t. It’s making me eat more, and eat sweeter colder things more. I cannot understand this shift in eating habits, but it has me scared because of just how much junk I’m consuming in the name of “light food”.

We watched planes last evening, once it’d become dark and was okay to step out for a drive. Of course a lot of me was tempted to hang on to a plane and get the hell out of this hell hole to a place where the breeze blows cool air and where the signs of rain really do usher in some rain and respite. I am not complaining, as much as I am lamenting the ghastliness that is this furnace we’re living in. And to think it hasn’t rained yet.

But I’m not letting this take away the specialness of my Sunday. Not now at least.