Tag Archives: holidays

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. :)

138: Oh Gosh, It’s Just Thursday!

18 May

A lot of me, if not all of me, has been under the presumption that every single day of this week has been Friday. It first hit me when it was just Tuesday, thanks to the number of absentees my class. I just randomly figured it must be the effect of the weekend; and what a horrible killjoy my reality was. It happened on Wednesday, and now today as well. But at least we’re inching closer towards the weekend that I so desperately want because a) weekend, and b) our summer holidays are almost here and getting to school has just become tediously difficult.

I love summer mornings, the sun is up and out at a peachy time, it’s cool outside, and it’s just the perfect ambience to wake up to. But come 8am and all hell breaks loose. Some classrooms feel like furnaces, where the functioning of ceiling fans is futile. I have no idea how students sit through the entire day of classes in that heat. What a task. I’m certain none of us can wait enough to get to the final Friday of this term. But that’s still a little while away.

Oh man, it’s just Thursday, folks! The time to unwind is here, almost. And we’ll have to just wait.

104: Holiday Alarm Conflicts

14 Apr

I went to bed last night faced with this rather thrilling but inane conflict – should I switch off my alarm or should I leave it on and enjoy the pleasure of sleeping on till infinite snooze-ness. The struggle was real, people. It was. After settling in post the completion of some holiday homework I’d gifted myself, this opportunity was too good to not waste my brain cells on. There’s an unbridled joy in switching off one’s alarms, and there’s an equally incomprehensible joy in defying that snooze and letting one’s sleep take over. It might seem stupid and silly, bordering on wtf, but haven’t you woken up on many a morning wishing you could sleep in indefinitely? Either way, I decided to switch my alarms off and gift us both the joy of undisturbed sleep. So it was, and that’s how I began my day.

Small joys can seldom quantify just what they mean, no?

103: Keeping Me Going

13 Apr

If I don’t already sound like I’m drowning in a pile of my own self-created and self-induced stress, then let me tell you that the only thing which got me through this week was that today was my actual Friday. I couldn’t have cared about anything else – not the storm that’s about to unfold next week, not the mountain of work that’s magically expanding in size, and not even the fact that I’ve to sit with books every single day. It’s a fantastic ostrich syndrome I’m undergoing, and I tell you, the view from here is killer – it’s dark, cooling, and most importantly, it’s quiet, and there’s no one around in this pile of dirt I’ve stuck my head into.

This long weekend is my manna to heaven and I’m going to make it exactly that. Everything else can and will have to wait.

73: Post Festive Blues

14 Mar

I’ve always maintained that the day after a major festival ought to, by rule of thumb, be made a mandatory holiday. It was my firm belief much before I even got married or had this mountain of responsibility land on my head. There’s nothing more dire than the need to put one’s feet up and just not care about the whats, wheres, whos, and hows of life, forget the day. The changing face of how we celebrate festivals now makes sense. Who has the time to dive into the fineries and traditions of festivals, who has the bandwidth to undergo all the madness and then head straight back to work without feeling like a whirlwind stormed past you? It all fits now.

Most of our Holi was spent in getting things together. No matter how hard I tried to be more hands on and organized, I just couldn’t help but enter the kitchen and dive right back into the spirit of Holi’s festive cooking right on the day of the festival. There was a Saturday workday to blame, but I’m not going there again. Considerable amounts of bhaang ki thandaii were also consumed once we’d smeared each other with some colour post which there were sessions of mindless, stupid roars of laughter. This was the first time I dove headlong into the world of bhaang, and it was great fun while it lasted. The next day, not so much.

It turns out that we both felt more bogged down in general, which we attributed to general tiredness. Our day has been considerably long so far, and there’s still some more to go. All said and done, and keeping bhaang aside, my only wish to the calendar gods is this and this alone: we need a post festive holiday.

72: Happy Holi!

13 Mar


…from us to you. :)

Au Revoir

31 Dec

Tempted to wallow in the luxury of catching up on the episodes of Downton Abbey I’d missed all these days versus making an appearance here was quite the challenge, if not conflict that kept running through my mind, carelessly interfering with my enjoying the latest from the Grantham household. So I’m here, albeit for a quick check-in, because it’s the last day of the year and all that sentimental stuff that gets people like me away from the tv shows they enjoy watching.

Facebook, through their casual wall prompt, has given its users the impetus to reflect on what the year has been like and how they intend to bid it goodbye this New Year’s Eve. I was tempted to do the same and even began my reverie when the idea of putting my thoughts into words here made more sense. This isn’t really a very long post or one that is typical of an annual review as such. The sun is on its way to setting on the final day of this year and I can only look back at this year with fondness, love and a laugh or two.

For the year that has pushed me out of my comfort zone more than I would’ve liked or permitted; for the year that made me realise that Time and the Universe have their own way of working and making the world go round despite how much control one may think they have of their life; for the year that taught me about love, respect, honour, letting go, duty, emotion and character in all their absolute qualities; and for the year that held my hand and taught me how to float, if not swim (yet); I owe my heartfelt thanks, gratitude and respect.

Life really does have its own way as it always has been since time immemorial. It’s a strange feeling to let go and see how, really, in this grand scheme of things, your role isn’t left out or forgotten. It’s a point of validation that seldom anything else is.

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Watching the last sunset of this year, I can only say au revoir, 2015. You’ve been a treasure and one that will always be closer to my heart than I had imagined. Here’s wishing you, dear reader, a very lovely NYE and a brilliant start to what I hope is another brilliant year.

Much love and all the madness there possibly can be,

Me.

Sundays

9 Mar

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The pigs were given a bath yesterday after a long time. Now that there are signs of summer aplenty, fortunately (or unfortunately for them), it’s a better time to bathe them and have them figure what ever happened to their dry and filthy fur. I’m more than happy. I like my pigs bathed, groomed and clean. Poppy (Poppins, the first one with a big black patch on his face) is such a pleasure to bathe. He’s the baby of the family and he sits put on the balcony while I lather him. He even lifts his chin so I can bathe/rub his neck, which he really enjoys so much. Fuzzy (the last in the series of pictures), makes bathing her a little more challenging. This is perhaps the only time that she shows me that she, indeed, can run. Because she’s the laziest pig you can ever find. Thankfully she isn’t reading this blog post. But she knows what I think of her, so she and I just have to deal with the reality of it all.

I haven’t seen them clean in such a long time. And now I find it hard to let go of them because a) they’re so clean and white and soft and neat, and b) they’ll go roll around in their cages and become brown all over again. Gosh, it’s such a pain being a parent. I’ve figured that this is as close to having kids as I will ever get. :)

So everyone’s happy this morning. They’ve been combed, their noses and ears have been sponge-bathed and are more presentable, and they’ve been groomed. Fuzzy believes she can run for being prom queen again. But I was telling her that maybe she should give someone else a chance. Vanity, I tell you.

Sunday breakfast of Bombay toast, adrak chai and cake has been had. The sky looks beautiful laden with wispy clouds going their own way, and taking their time to do so. The plants in the balconies are happy because they’ve got their dance partners – the breeze – back. And in the midst of all this, it’s been a good day of reminiscing. It all started last night, actually. It started last night when a friend and I were talking about love and how foolish we are in love, in her words.

Of course I thought I’d wake up late today or at least get up after having spent a good amount of my Sunday morning, reading in bed. Isn’t that the best feeling ever? But today started off early and post all the extra productivity that did its rounds, we continued our conversation. I hope it carries on. We reminisce ever so often. Because we really did have such a lovely time.

In her words, “a few years back when we were in love, we were sooo in love.” And it was true. We were so in love. We were in love with our new-found freedom. We were in love with life. We were so in love with the boys that we were so in love with. We loved without consequence. Or without thought. Or without preconceived notions. Or without fear. We loved with such abandon. We loved keeping happiness in mind. We loved in the moment. We loved without hesitation. We loved with so much joy. We loved without the prospect of heartbreak.

None of us is with the boys that we loved without a care, today. None of us hurries to meet them for hurried breakfasts before rushing to work. None of us runs to the train station in time to see them off. None of us spends evenings with them. None of us stays out late and has the other cover for us. None of us has immense phone bills testimony to innumerable conversations about the infiniteness that was our relationship back then. All of that’s gone. And we made it out okay. Or have we?

Because we’re not the same anymore. We’re more cautious, guarded, afraid. We’re more sure of ourselves, but really, are we? We’re more “grown up”. We’re more “independent”. We’re all that we wanted to be but I don’t know where that abandon went, where the ability to just let go and trust yourself went. I don’t know where the fear crept up from. I don’t know how the years that have passed have made us more fragile. Life is so strange.

But on this particular day, I choose to think of all that we were and of all that we did, without a doubt, without a thought. There’s something about that kind of youth that fades. Unfortunately. But we’ll always be fools in love. That we’re all very sure about. And that’s the thought I’m going to hold on to. :)

Have a lovely Sunday, you guys.

Travel

16 Jan

I’m going to attempt the impossible because I’m crazy and believe that sometimes, it’s good to take a jab at the impossible. Because sometimes it’s good to feel superhuman that way. I don’t even know if that was a joke. Anyway, the Impossible I’m planning to take a bite of is of course something that is extremely dear to me – travel.

How can I sit and write about travel in one sitting? How can I talk about something so innate, so deep, so philosophical, so vast, so enigmatic and so beautiful without prior thought/research or even planning? I don’t know. I’m.just.going.to.do.it because I feel like it. Hop right on and let’s take this journey together, shall we?

Travel is this song to me right now because it hits the spot, completes the picture and makes me feel so alive, all puns intended.

Have you heard this one before? I think it’s brilliant and so refreshing in every sense of the word. It makes me want to throw every caution to the wind, let my hair loose and just dance in a Phoebe sort of way, you know? It’s that breath of fresh air the music scene needed. Really.

Getting back to travel… my first ever memories of travel are that of supremely long train journeys from the southern part of this country to the northern part; from an adopted home to my real home. That equation is different today and I don’t know where I belong, but that’s what it was to me back then. Bangalore was the adopted home. Those train journeys are stories fit for marvelous novels meant for a dreamer, a lover and a poet. Train journeys meant meeting new people, sharing that space with them for numerous hours over which food, games and conversations of anything under the sun, happened. Also, those journeys have been notorious for germinating secret and not so secret love stories. That’s where my memories of travel stem from. Trains. And there’s a reason why the Indian Railways holds such a special place in my heart. Why they started a beautiful story in my being and I’m ever so grateful for that.

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Travel, to me, hasn’t been about going places. Travel is more a journey that begins in my head, me heart and my soul. It’s the idea of taking off and exploring new experiences as they occur. It’s about opening those doors and windows just so you can be touched in the lightest, deepest and loveliest way. It’s about learning, understanding and breathing…just breathing and feeling so alive.

Have you ever felt freedom? Freedom in your heart, mind and soul? Freedom that takes you by your hand to places you cannot fathom, only to realize you got there by yourself, on your own, by your own terms. It’s that moment which leaves you breathless in the best possible way. It’s that moment when you take a cycle and head out completely unaware of your destination. It’s that moment when you look up your flight tickets. It’s that moment when you submit your visa papers and die of anticipation. It’s that moment when you feel the thunder of a train’s engine enter your platform. It’s that moment when you huddle over cups of tea at 5am in the middle of nowhere and burn your tongue. It’s that moment when you’re speeding during take off. It’s that moment when your shivering hands open your passport and find your visa inside. It’s just that simple moment when you know you’ve made it, done it and seen it through on your own terms. Or giving snails in tea gardens kisses, as it were. :P

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Like I said, more than it ever being about the destination, it’s been about the journey itself because that’s where the magic happens. Perhaps this is why travel is more of a philosophical concept than anything else. Travel is a mixed bundle of free-spiritedness, love, anxiety, freedom and the complete elation of making that move and having arrived. I’m not a fan of traveling alone and don’t believe I need to do it to feel completely “liberated” in that sense. It’s in my head and I could feel as liberated with the most amazing company and feel completely trapped (by my million fears) when traveling alone. It’s just as simple as that. And travel is perhaps one of the (very) few ways in which letting go becomes so easy and doable.

And that’s just about what travel means to me right here, right now, in about…erm…8 paragraphs? Here’s to feeling alive in every sense of the word.

There’s so much to hold on to just by letting go.

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No Man’s Land

20 Aug

I’m back in India after what can only be described as an experience of a lifetime. I’ve never felt contentment such as this and it only reaffirms the wonders of travel and what it means to me. I went with no expectations, heck I went thinking/expecting to miss my flight. So it’s been awesome and great and super and stupendous and bloody brilliant, to say the least. I knew I was ready to get back home (yes, I was surprised to experience a thing such as that while on holiday). The last few days of my holiday were hectic in that we were doing quite a bit of traveling outside London which made that 4 straight trips to and from Heathrow in 4 days. So there was obviously no time to process or allow everything to actually sink in; forget write about it. I really should rethink carrying a notebook around and making notes. A habit, it must become. Either way, so before I knew it, I was back at Heathrow only to realize I was just.not.ready.to.leave.

As you may know or have read before, I am quite the home bird who thrives in her comfort zone(s). And to do something like this was scary in an exciting way. I cannot fathom moving out of the country, yet. However, I will not forget sobbing as my flight was taxiing and prepping for take-off. That’s a new and very alien feeling, one that I have never, ever experienced before. Perhaps it was the realization that this much planned for holiday had actually come to an end. Perhaps it was the realization that I would miss my family there. Perhaps it was the realization that I would never, ever experience the sense of liberty I had over there, here in India. Perhaps it was not knowing when I’d meet my brother next or get to spend the time with him that I got to. Perhaps it was a massive hormonal attack. I think it was all that and more that sort of burst on to me. But like I said, the feeling was completely new. Never have I wanted to stay back and not go home. Maybe it was just the tourist in me talking, having seeing a very, very comfortable side of things which look and feel more romantic than reality might actually be. And I’m well aware of that fact. But I felt quite strange nonetheless.

I did return late evening on Sunday and got back to work early Monday which hasn’t left me with much time to move beyond being in the post holiday blues mood. I miss everything. And it’s but natural. Routine will take over eventually and before I know it, I’ll be back in all my capacities and faculties. However, I’m iffy about getting settled back in that comfort zone and hope to fight it as much as I can.

Maybe it’s the newness of a freedom I’ve never experienced before that’s got a seed lodged somewhere in me. Life is strange.