Tag Archives: Living

32: Looking Back On January

1 Feb

January 2017 was…

…slower than January 2016

…more peaceful and easy

…more patient with me

…calming

…incredibly productive on many counts

…a smooth ride

…generous

…special.

When the year started, I didn’t have a sparkling, spanking new plan to trail-blaze my new year with. I’m incredibly lazy and unplanned like that. It’s ironic that I love planners, diaries and actually planning things out; everything, except all the necessary stuff that would otherwise help me be a more productive person. Trust me, I go gaga over well-documented excel sheets, notes, and to-do lists. But when it comes down to the dirty work, that’s one thing I procrastinate till the very end. Ugh. So yes, I as usual, didn’t have a plan or goals. The new year came along, and with it, I ambled along into it too. It was only after the year started that this posting a day idea dawned upon me. Be useful, set some goals, do something with your time, I told myself. Lol.

January took its time to leave; I guess it needed to settle things down after the whirlwind that was 2016. It has been a special month on many counts. What highlights itself is that it gave me the time to be kinder to myself, enjoy myself, and most importantly, to learn to understand myself. Back when I was studying, I came across this classic self-actualization theory of Carl Rogers, where he talks about finding a balance, or a congruence rather, between our ideal self and our actual self. By this he meant that all of us have an ideal self (what we imagine ourselves to be or what we want to be) and an actual self (what we really are) which, if not aligned, can naturally cause conflicts about the way we perceive ourselves in general. When one comes across these numerous theories, they’re interesting to dig deeper into and understand; well, some of them at least. However, they come into actual play when applied to real life, no? I digressed and spoke about Rogers because a lot of what he said, especially concerning this conflict and discrepancy, happened to me in January. It wasn’t easy when I looked into the mirror. It was harder still, when these differences confronted me. It’s true.

But I’ve been harping about being more aware and conscious endlessly only so that I can constantly remind myself to work towards it. I haven’t come to terms with this conflict entirely, and it isn’t going to happen overnight. What is happening though, is that the process of smoothing the rough edges out, has begun. I am not my ideal self and my ideal self is not me. There are quite a few differences, naturally, and I’m giving myself the time to figure them out. That’s what most of this month has been about, to be honest. Of course I still don’t know how to be diplomatic, or mask my feelings when they need to be masked. With success obviously comes failure, and this is mine. But one day at a time is the mantra.

But the month wasn’t all work and no play. There was a lot of letting go, doing what I wanted when I wanted and without feeling guilty, giving into cravings especially those of biryani, painting and drawing, being lazy and not folding the mountain of clothes that are just building a wall around me, sunning myself in the winter sun which has gone by the way, gardening, lots of drinking and chilling out at home, and of course, quite a fair share of cooking and baking. Oh, and couch-potato-ing too. I don’t want to buy that weighing scale.

Maybe that will be my goal for February 2017. I hope your first month was productive, engaging, and mad too. :)

27: I’m Lost For A Title

27 Jan

The thing with writing everyday, or attempting to at least, is that the tendency to record the details of one’s daily life becomes a larger temptation. Sometimes I reckon it’s okay to consider this a journal, and treat it like one, but the main reason behind giving this shot of discipline a try was to be more aware, and conscious of what I’m writing about, whether it’s about my daily life or about anything else that strikes my whims and fancies. I did have a journal once upon a time, and in it featured what happened on a daily basis to the boys I hated and the ones I crushed on, the generation of a code language (which I’d become proficient in, I’ll admit), weird art and doodles, letters, stickers and what have you. My diary/journal had a name, and it was that of a prominent Disney character whom I loved ever so dearly. He was an animal, just to be clear, and I still love him, to be even more clear. :P

Moving on, I’m going to dismiss this disclaimer I began the post with, and tell you about the sumptuous morning I had instead. It was spent in bed, snuggled in the warmth of my quilt, well past when the alarm rang. Yesterday was an obsessively rainy day, and so it was the best and most delightful feeling to wake up at one’s own ease, minus any routine, on this overcast and grey morning that followed. It was indeed one of those experiences we dearly wish for, especially when it’s wet and cold outside, and one has to head off to work instead of sleep in. Well, the opportunity made itself present, and was well savoured.

Much of yesterday was spent horizontally, reading. I think I’ll continue the same today as well, for I do wish to finish this book before the month ends. Wish me speedy reading luck, please. Adding to my delight was the awareness that today is Friday, and not Monday, like I imagined. Maybe it’s a mix of yesterday’s holiday hangover coupled with the weather; which by the way, reminds me immensely of Bangalore’s. There’s something about overcast skies that is synonymous with my home city, and there have been countless times when I’ve revelled in exactly those moments, especially back when I’d be bumbling along the way in a BMTC bus. Those memories seem so distant.

Winter has begun its departure journey. The sun has shifted its position and timings, the cold doesn’t bite anymore, the air is frivolous with hints of warmth in it, and there’s just a general touch of springiness everywhere. This winter has also seen me more acclimatised to it than previously. It was up until just a fortnight ago when I started wearing my woolly pyjamas to bed, which wasn’t the case last year. The previous winter saw me warming my bed with an electric blanket well in advance, and hopping right in, woollies, socks, and all. This year was easier, even though it was colder. The things our body can do, and the strengths it has, are beyond astounding.

When I think of being more aware, more conscious, and more observant, it is but a habit I’m trying hard to instil back into my perceptions. I’ve been actively engaging in this change, and it’s made me more humble towards my own self, for starters. It’s overwhelming, almost. And definitely infinitely more peaceful. Perhaps you’ve already been on this journey of consciousness and insight for a while, but for someone who outplays the negatives over the positives, the wrongs over the rights, and who is more critical than necessary, it’s certainly been immensely insightful and calming.

This post has been of sorts; here, there, and everywhere. Even I can’t make sense of where it began and what I came here to write about. That I had no fixed agenda in mind, is crystal clear now. But that’s the thing, it’s not mandatory to have to have an agenda, or to try and prove a point every single time. I’ve to keep reminding myself that this blog here, and writing on it, isn’t a job or a fixture with routines, deadlines, and client inspections stuck to it. It’s mine; and what I choose to do with it, is my prerogative; as everything else that is mine, ought to be. While all this is certainly true and something I look forward to continuing with, something also tells me that this is an overdose of drawing parallels and being conscious. Haha! I’m sorry I took you on this rather long ride. It’s Friday, let’s get out of here, and make merry like Fridays were born to be made. Have a vodka with masala soda! Oh wait, do you love that too? I’ve been drinking this new favourite of mine like there’s no tomorrow; it’s so good, even in this weird, wet, cold weather. :)

Cheers and peace!

The Week So Far

16 Sep

Just like how most things are too good to be true, so was this 10-day stint with my maid who ever so randomly decided to leave and head back to her village. Packed with her 10-day fee and what I think was a fraction of reluctance (to make myself feel better), though overshadowed by her determination to be with her pregnant daughter-in-law (TMI, I know), she left. In these 10 days, she told me her story whilst halfheartedly sweeping her worries away with some of the dust her listless brooming caught. Once a farmer with land and a house to her name, she made her way to the city with no land and some money to help her son recover from an illness whose treatment apparently took all her land’s earnings away. But like most, if not all mothers, she was happier to see her son illness-free than armed with a few bigha of zameen. She’d never worked as a maid in anyone else’s house before, and so these past few days were filled with training her to clean my house. She picked up everything quickly, like most of us women do. Dulari was such a help even though she really sucked so bad at washing the dishes. Anyhoo. She has gone. And I’m back to doing the house work on my own. I won’t deny feeling gratified by my efforts – not that I’m great at housekeeping or highly motivated to keep up a sparkling job; but I also will not deny the effort it takes to keep a place the way you want it to be kept. After some very pumped up I can do this and I should do this because it is my space, I have decided to not genie clean the house every day. Just cannot able to. I cannot express how super grateful I am to have this absent from my list of obsessions.


Somewhere in the middle of all this humdrum and excitement and motivation which evaporated before I could wallow in it, I also seem to have made my back sore. I suspect it was carrying that evil, full bucket of water that did the trick. Back when I used to gym, I was one of those suckers whose favourite days were stretch days. Haha! I still love stretch time the most. It was then that I’d get an added hand to help me work on my back which really made all the difference. I have been craving a back massage ever since not just because it’s the most amazing feeling ever but because I can sense all that tension and knotting bundled together into what has become a rather sore and painful situation. It was just the other day when I was ruing over the years of strength training I’d received back in the day and how it feels like forever since I ran at consistently fast speeds and could lift 40 kilos or more on my shoulders. I’m thinking this is a sign to get my act together.


It has been three days since I began actively going for walks again. I can see the stark difference between then and now, and that’s the grief about breaking a routine. But I’m happy to have started and let’s see how this goes. Day 1 featured some amount of walking, a shoe bite, some leg exercises courtesy heightened motivation and excitement – endorphins!! Day 2 involved a much slower and shorter walk courtesy said shoe bite and the after effects of Day 1’s extra workout excitement. Day 2 also saw some impromptu beer and fries. Clearly I don’t need a designated cheat day. Day 3, which is today, had me wake up in a scramble because I couldn’t switch off my default AM alarm thanks to a software update. With a destroyed AM sleep, I decided to head out for a stroll and I promise mornings are just the best time of the day IF one wakes up to partake in its exclusivity. It takes what seems to be a strong will and perennial motivation; neither of which I really have a great reserve of.


Because I have been updating Instagram with these walk posts, Dr. Batra and his team has taken it upon them to start sending me messages and ads regarding weight loss, hair fall and wrinkled skin. Hahaha! I used to once advertise and target innocent people with ads…now karma seems to be getting back at me. Not only do these pieces of junk linger around unnecessarily even after being reported, but they seem to attack you with a newfound zeal if God forbid you even touch one of their ads by mistake. A list ranging from the world’s Pipa Bellas, Zivames – oh dear God, Zivame!, Dr. Batras and other what have yous, has invaded my space and now claims to be a part of my online activity record. The bane of these things is not lost upon me.


In other news, the music I once used to listen to, came right back to me ever since music has begun keeping me company the entire day. My picks used to almost always be minimally worded, calming and easy-flowing tracks which could help me ease into my early work mornings back in the day. Some of them I loved and still love are:

I love the pace and feel of this track, which somehow got lost and stashed away amid newer discoveries.

This one always, always, always made me feel cheerful, motivated and ready to take on the day when I’d cruise to work before 6am.

This piece of art was a joy and still is on my playlist; one that I turn to when I want to slow things down to a pace that feels both easy and promising. I love it. I hope you like them too, my dearest reader!

Hear them more for their melodies, than their words.

But because today is Friday, I’m on these two at the moment:

 

Have an upbeat Friday, friends!

Unnecessary Happies

4 Sep

I don’t think I can blog enough about the woes of not having a gas cylinder at home. A lot of me just wants to shut that part of my life at present out and think about all that is going well for us. And then I feel hungry which triggers the grouse all over again. We don’t have a gas connection and never bothered getting one – yay us. Now that we’ve shifted, I thought it best to get one for the many reasons why a gas connection is a must-have. But it’s taking time, naturally, since it’s government related, I figure. The two of us are caught in a weird scenario, a middle path of sorts…of whether to try and wait it out for some more time or to chuck it altogether and find an alternative. I don’t think we can eat out anymore – apart from the fact that eating out feels like a punishment in more ways than one (thanks to taxes and what not), it’s eating a hole into our pocket which is getting more outrageous by the day.

So yes, I don’t want to think about this or talk about this or have to deal with this…I promise to stop soon.

In lieu of all this adulting drama, we chanced upon two places in a span of <24 hours, places that I’ve keenly noted down.

While on a drive last night, we ended up in New Delhi and around Connaught Place, when we began feeling the pangs of hunger poke our mind and belly. We ended up stopping at this supremely crowded roadside eatery which is a healthy sign we look out for when eating at roadside places. This collection of four shops, all belonging to a Jain Chawal Wale brand, I presume, is where we fed ourselves a plate of rajma chawal and chole bhature. This place is known for its rajma chawal (kidney beans stew on rice) and so I gave it a sceptical try; sceptical because it was also the most reasonable meal I’ve had in my life – a solid plate of food for INR 50. Makes it sound dubious, yes. But I took the chance anyway; it’s a thing I’ve learnt about these big cities especially. It was a really decent meal, I’ll admit, and I was glad to brave it…we do it in other countries, why not ours, I thought. We’ve had better chole bhature, though. I’ve been trying to master making rajma myself, and the husband thought mine was better than the one we had here – so I’ve no idea what to say, really. But if you’re low on the pocket arena and are willing to try this out and are most importantly, in NCR, do give Jain Chawal Wale a try.


Today as the day proceeded, we figured a brunch scene would make sense. We stopped by for a proper English breakfast at this quaint Joint Cafe which plays not only amaze rock music and is very tastefully done up, but also serves some soul-satisfying food. Well fuelled and ready to do some serious work, the husband came back only to snooze, and me to, well, dream. Food coma happened to us, I presume.


Here I am now, sipping on some tea along with a muffin that came along with our breakfast we obviously couldn’t finish. I feel very English in my own way and it makes me happy. Unnecessarily happy, you know? There’s so much of it sometimes that it’s hard to feel grouchy or moody about the sluggishness and general lack of interest that’s hanging around the air like stale, musty air. Speaking of which, I got us some air freshener pouches which mum introduced to my world – the stale, musty air is being tackled literally and figuratively. These pouches have also been life changing.

Unnecessarily happying.

I hope you’re indulging in some of this stuff too.

Have a great Sunday, ya’ll.

Today

31 Aug

We woke up to what was promising to be a grey, rainy day even though the app said there was a 30-50% chance of rain. And sure enough, just as my husband was packing himself up to leave, it began to rain, and has been pouring steadily since. I’m not a fan of grey, rainy days. In fact I woke up thinking that I am probably the quintessential moth whose life forces and energies revolve solely around light (and ventilation, since I am human I figure. Haha!). Darkness is depressing and oppressing; dark spaces are downright morose. It’s one of the reasons why I was immediately drawn to this house – it was love at first sight. The light that streamed in from every room made my senses sing, quite literally. There’s something about open windows, rays of sunshine and crispness. I’m certain I’ve blogged about these things before.

photo 3

I gathered whatever guts I could and tried very hard to shove my phobia of thunder especially while having a shower, aside. Apart from the fact that I feel centre stage in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, there’s something about those random shatterings of thunder that I’ve always disliked about rain. I use the cues lightning throws my way, to compose myself. If there’s anything else you do to comfort yourself during thunderstorms, do let me know.

So here I am, doing what is synonymous with rainy days – sipping my second cup of chai and writing, with a lamp on. Setting, you see. I’ve obviously kept more important assignments aside, just so I can soak in this moment. I think I’m loving it. Hopefully the internet won’t vanish now, just because I professed my love for this moment. There have been many, many times when it has rained that romantic rain (rain, in my opinion, is most romantic to me when I’m indoors and warm, far from getting wet or stranded) and I’ve been stuck to my laptop, chasing a deadline, or just unable to leave it all and curl up with a book or just simply watch it rain. That’s a small win for the day, and I’m thankful.

My body has been yearning for comfort food of the homely kind – simple dal, chawal, sabzi, raita. I don’t really want to despise eating outside food, but it looks to be heading that way. Hopefully it won’t be long before I sink my soul into a big bowl of hot dal chawal and ghee. Mmmm.

Speaking of eating out, Subway took 2 hours to deliver my piddly salad for lunch yesterday. And it came minus any cucumbers and all soggy, naturally. In trying to get some vegetables into my system, that’s what had to be dealt with yesterday. Never did I think I’d chase eating vegetables like I do now, and I only have biology to thank. Thank you for keeping the natural, biological, animal-being inside us alive.

On another note, I tried my hand at a thupka (Tibetan noodle soup) yesterday after what feels like almost a decade. Being a loyalist in every sense of the word, I only ever used to dive into thupkas if I was at Taste of Tibet in Dubai Plaza (God, typing that out made me feel old somehow). Last night saw me just too tired and so I settled for a chicken thupka – because I believe in the magical powers of chicken soups, I really do. I guess circumstances compel you to make certain changes, certain shifts, if I may say so. It obviously wasn’t the same thing one can find at ToT, but that dish healed me and how – it was hard to fall asleep till much later. Chicken soups are powerful things. Chicken soups with noodles and vegetables…well, that’s the bomb. I was mighty pleased with its effect and so I do recommend a good, hearty soup when you’re down and out. If you’ve to eat out, especially.

In the middle of all this chaos, hernia-inducing, strength-training (if you may) work, there are pockets of joy and satisfaction that shine through. I’ve been trying to actively find positiveness in whatever I can; it makes all the difference. Except when the doorbell rings. I just can’t handle doorbells, especially when they’re unexpected. Quite a few have been left unanswered (muhaha!), but that apart, there’s this proactive effort towards not only finding zen, but feeling and being zen too.

I hope you have a zen day today. And I hope no doorbells ring.

The Thing I’ve Learnt About Dieting Is

14 May

…that it needs an iron will in the areas that I’m farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr from iron-willed. Hats off to the ones who can turn away, stay steely-willed and say no, really!

To contextualize, when I write the D word, I imply these rather strict and hugely obsessive regimens that are followed worldwide, in the hope to get whatever it is that these diets are out there to help us all get. The relative and focal point here are the words strict and obsessive which sort of nail the ghastly image of diets that I have in my mind. I’m not a fitness or a nutritional expert by paper or even by confession to pass judgements or remark at the efforts of the millions whose main purpose in life is to look and feel a certain way.

This post is about my views on the subject and my jet-speed brief encounters with them. I am overweight and my body type does not (and has never) fit the standard norms of what magazines and media portrays to be fit/beautiful/insert appropriate adjective. Therefore, like the millions out there, I figured a diet could help me become a little more healthy and I decided to give it a shot; except it didn’t go past Day 1. Like I said, this sort of stuff needs an iron will and in the specific areas where my iron will is wholly absent. Call me lax, lazy, incapable or just not hard working enough, but my trials or lack thereof led me to learn a few things, some of which are as follows.

  • Diets are not meant for me.
  • I love food too much.
  • Call it a mental block or a psychological hindrance, but meals that stray too far from my dal roti sabzi are seldom meals to me, thereby rendering me hungry in absolutely no time again.
  • When I do feel hungry again (while on these diets), I cannot, for the life of me, have dry fruits or something of that equivalent, to distract or evade my hunger.
  • Try as hard (or hardly) as I have, just salads do not cut it for me. I need some protein or carbs as an accompaniment because my meal feels incomplete otherwise.
  • Not having a substantial meal, and by substantial I do not mean heavy, makes me feel a hunger that knows no rational or even control and often is a hunger that makes me binge later in the day or at another time, thus undoing whatever effort I may have put into this so called “discipline”.
  • I love my potato chips ya. Especially those hot chips.
  • I’ve absolutely no intention of fitting in with the so called norms of how a person should look/be or into a pair of jeans that’s meant for a 15 year old.
  • Besides, have you noticed how majority of clothes meant for adults look like clothes for teenagers?
  • We’ve got one life and while it’s good and we’ve earned that spending power, its rife with all sorts of illnesses and you never know when your turn arrives next. Soooo, after having sounded absolutely cynical, I’d like to say that I believe in eating anything and everything in moderation because you have no idea when you won’t be able to savour xyz in the coming years.
  • I cannot diet because if you give me fruits and vegetables (which I love), I would also like it if you passed me that bacon and cheesecake (which I love as well).
  • I love rice. I love fried rice, steamed rice, dosas, idlis, rice kheer, akki roti AND sticky rice (zomg!). Civilizations thrived on rice and we do too. It’s just that we move our butts less, which is most definitely the culprit.
  • In my opinion, the healthy consumption of meat is underrated and quinoa overrated; but if a healthy salad floats your boat then that’s what it is and good going for you! Btw, I’m sure we have our own tasty and much more easy on the pocket variants of quinoa, no?
  • I cannot spend a week eating just fruits and milk or just greens or just juices. Balance is my key and it’s been serving me well.
  • Which brings me to – are diets balanced meals in the first place? These fad diets seem far from, though.
  • Deprivation makes me sad and sadness almost always induces stress eating. So I’d rather just have that bite of chocolate and be happy than have the entire bar and still remain unhappy.
  • Diets, in my not so vast knowledge centre, come across as very cruel and nasty ways of punishing someone by depriving them food instead of helping educate and making people conscious of what healthy, balanced eating habits are.
  • Speaking of balance, I firmly admit that good health comes not just from the food we eat/avoid but also from keeping negative factors/stressors at bay, and of course, the ever faithful, exercise/physical activity.
  • Diets are especially mean when you’re the only one on it at the table/in the family; especially given that it was this very same environment that contributed to your haphazard eating habits in the first place.
  • I have a massive problem with society and its ideals on beauty because we’ve made a scary portion of our population conscious about the way they look, forever. It really is nobody’s judgement call to decide whether someone looks good or not, whether someone is thin enough or not, whether somebody needs to be validated or not…though sadly, a lot of us have grown up learning that our true validation comes from the absence of cellulite and the presence of an hourglass figure…a lot of us have grown up believing we’re abnormal, strange, not good enough. It’s a ginormous problem.

Personally speaking, the idea of calling a healthy balanced meal a diet is something I would love but which I know is not the case. I came across this write up about diet trends and I couldn’t agree more – our standards are just leaping fads as and when the winds of whim change and make themselves present. It’s obnoxious at so many levels. We’re caught in this barb between the massive knowledge store we have and what the west thinks is right, and our self-doubt has only led to what our country’s alarming statistics in this matter are. Of course there are various contributors to what has led to this situation, which is a separate discussion all by itself.

However, what I came out to speak about – which was solely what I learnt from diets – is what this remains at. I’m a believer in education and the choice to just live a life that deems you, your body and your mind healthy. Stats, numbers and sizes are just token indicators to imply that you’re one among so many who is just a figure out there; a figure that may not even be liked, appreciated or validated for all that you are and more. While I personally do not recommend going on fad diets or depriving oneself of the things we should be careful about eating, the key remains in how we manage to strike a balance, and I guess we all have our own way of thinking we’ve found it, one way or the other.

The Small Things We Do

12 May

The idea, and fact, that some of the biggest joys in life come from the simplest of things has, almost out of habit, been reinforced time and again. It’s the small things, the calm in the hurriedness of a single day, the gentleness of a moment caught in the rush of time, or even a simple act, that I try to find and float in and make a part of my day regularly, if not every day. I’m a creature of habit and it works so well to discover the smallest of instances which add that extra colour, that touch of satisfaction, that comfort of peace which blend so magically into each day.

I love my quiet time very much; being home by myself and in my own company is something I’ve thrived on and find very comforting since forever. It’s seldom that I have any agenda during this time which is also why it’s counter-productive to even have a to-do list because my me time is mostly about just being with me without having to entertain any sort of fixed plan. From my experiences, I’ve learnt that having a routine to follow puts that added pressure of compulsorily having to do something in that time; which sort of defeats the purpose of the entire concept anyway. Perhaps it’s that one time when the lack of structure is most welcome; where the freedom to free flow and go with the what I really want to do in that moment, takes over.

I’m slowly beginning to discover the art of loving the small things I love doing and the things I do by default and without much fuss. I guess it’s the idea of finding some sort of zen in this time of doing things, that I’m seeking…it’s the idea of letting the moment linger so you can savour it for what it is, perhaps? I love my morning cup of tea along with the rustle of a crisp newspaper, the hum of silence and the company of two Parle-G biscuits. This isn’t an everyday occurrence, and when a chance presents itself, like today did, I’m more than happy to embrace it.

Making my bed is something that happens by default and without much thought, but I guess there’s peace and love to be found in that act too – I’ve begun caring about how to make my bed and how I’d like it to look rather than just haphazardly sliding a cover over it. The same goes for bath time even though I still haven’t designated its status from being a habit to a ritual. Lighting agarbattis (incense sticks) immediately after my bath is another ritual I’ve only recently come to perform and love; one that happens automatically now. Apart from the fact that the main idea behind it was to have my home smell fresh, welcoming and inviting, it also gives me an inexplicable sense of peace and satisfaction. Saving episodes of the one show my husband and I can watch together is another special one – sometimes we go all out to prepare the event of watching Game of Thrones together right from getting our meals fixed to ensuring the tv’s set up to completing all our chores and getting them out of the way – it is a routine we’re very new to but keep to do together. Another one that’s been a favourite of mine since I was a child was watering plants – I love watering plants and there’s a joy in this ritual that not much else has – it’s a fantastic feeling.

What are some of the things you do on a regular basis that gives you a sense of peace, satisfaction and of complete being?

I guess there’s so much more to discover or start incorporating into my day. It accounts for more observation and conscious action because it’s evident that a lot of what gets done on a daily basis is so habitual and mundane, most often, that it seldom stands out. The wish for exercise and body-time to create a fine niche under the umbrella of ritual is a hope I harbour strongly, but which still falls under the strains of compulsion and necessity (even if I hardly exercise or give into body-time).

It’s encouraging to say that there are so many opportunities to see who we are and learn about ourselves in every single thing that we do and do not do. Of course it calls for a lot of self-awareness, but it’s something I’m looking forward to understanding and learning more about.

The idea of finding zen and feeling good in the smallest of things we do is an idea I love and one that I am seriously thinking about working on.

For now, that solitary cup of tea has been had and the newspaper, read. The news hasn’t really been that great or interesting, but that’s another story. Susie and John Potato are sitting outside my still padlocked gate and I’ve got a sumptuous meal of dal and sabzi on my mind. I guess it’ll be zen till the mercury hits abnormal levels, but I’ve pushed that eventuality out of my cool mind for now.

Have a great day, dear reader!

Today’s Musings

7 Apr

I woke up to a tranquil 20 degree, windy morning today. The sun has begun to appear much earlier than its erstwhile comfortable (give or take) 7:45 am winter slot; now dawning upon us at a crisp 6:15 am, or earlier. Of course I’ve no idea when daybreak really happens because left up to me and my sloth, I’m not an early riser by routine or by desire. Far from, actually. It’s just that summer has arrived sooner than we expected or even wanted, making the slender fingers of dawn reach out to us with a greater sense of urgency, unless one wishes to wake up feeling like they slept through half the day, even if it’s just 8:30am on the clock. Summer early mornings, especially in places with extreme temperatures, are a treat. They are peaceful, chirpy, alive, active, colourful, soothing…till the gripping white sheet of heat takes over and paralyses everything in its grasp into stillness. It’s no wonder summer mornings call out to each of us, coaxing us to come alive, leaving our lazy winter hibernation ways behind.

Today was one of those mornings where I (with the power of magic) rose before it was too late. There is something special about swaying trees beginning their day with a dance and song, with birds and squirrels basking in the peace of dawn simultaneously getting all their work done – eating, pecking, fluffing themselves up, scurrying – just being idle and busy at the same time. It was only natural to share my first cup of tea out in the open with them. Small joys, special privileges…all of us have them, that’s for sure.

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It already feels like half the day’s over and gone, what with so much already done with. Armed with my mug of filter coffee, which now feels too hot and heavy to drink thanks to the heat, and my two toasts, my day feels like it has a sense of purpose. It feels more productive, especially when you get a lot done in such short amounts of time, minus any distractions. I’m not promoting early mornings given that this is a live and let live space. But since I’ve spent the last four years of my professional life waking up way before the sun at a gloomy 5am, thanks to my work requirements, rising early out of the blue doesn’t feel as alien or harsh as it can be to a non-early riser. It took some effort but felt easier with time. Of course not every day was easy, not when it was raining outside or when you’d had a late evening the night before. But it was a part of my routine – to get so much done by 8am – right from waking up (it is a task!!) to exercising to showering to getting to work – all done…it always left me feeling extremely accomplished on the routine front. If there wasn’t a sense of routine and compulsion, I would never really engage in that sort of cruelty.

I’ve been procrastinating on a lot of stuff and (very unsurprisingly) I feel like I haven’t dilly-dallied enough. I’m great at that sort of stuff without even trying too hard. However, it is a different story when panic sets in and the pressure starts to build. Being a creature of habit, especially when it is more enforced and less voluntary, seems to work for me. I’m certain that everything which needed my attention and its consequent completion would’ve long happened had there been a set timeline, a goal. It’s not like timelines and goals help much on the procrastination front though. Despite trying very hard to instill some sort of order into my life (because it is so easy to have no rules and let laziness take over), there is so much that needs to be done because I’m stuck in some sort of horrid limbo, as if I’m walking on a silly treadmill, going absolutely nowhere.

Speaking of which, distractions are too many. Even though I’m not on Facebook and hardly check Twitter or ever switch the television on during the day or even take an afternoon nap, I’ve no idea what distracts me from doing what must be done. I haven’t finished a single book in a long time which would be a very valid reason for keeping my other work at bay, but since it isn’t that, I really need to fish this distraction out and throw it far away.

I’m leaning towards the conviction that my thoughts and habit of overthinking are the main culprits.

Nevertheless, when all feels incomplete and when I feel unproductive and inadequate, I coincidentally come across these various signs that tell me the things I need to hear; words from someone other than me that come and tell me to slow my mind down. Maybe being too hard on myself is a way I punish myself for being at home all day…to haul my sense of self out and give it beating just because I do not sit inside an office and waste my life away. This sort of unlearning is so hard to do…the unlearning of what validates and what defines us…the relearning of giving time its place and giving patience a chance. I am trying.

When it all feels very gloomy, impossible and grey, I turn to things that calm me down and make me feel very normal once again. It was sometime back when I came across Molly and her Doodles…they are most inspirational and motivating. When I least expect it, they appear and seem to say the exact thing I need to see, read, hear. Here’s one that I’m posting now because it speaks to me and keeps reminding me to follow suite.

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I always dream of doing something like this – stuff that materializes from outcomes of our everyday life and living; stuff that makes you feel fulfilled, complete, and most importantly, giving. Something that makes me feel like a bigger person, living her life and taking each hand she’s been dealt, with confidence and faith.

Maybe if I rein in and hold the ropes of procrastination tighter, this could be a reality. Someday.

Learning: Why is collapse/failure/nothingness so debilitating instead of being healing and strengthening? When did we allow change to make us fearful instead of free?

As Of Today

1 Apr
  • I’ve been off Facebook for over 30 days and with no signs of withdrawal symptoms as I may have feared. I guess the noise and fake social armchairness was getting a bit much to tolerate.
  • I’ve written on my blog for ten days straight; which feels pretty great and like an accomplishment really. Let’s see how long I can keep this going and how strongly the discipline to write can be instilled without stepping on the toes of quality over quantity. 
  • I respect, appreciate and have begun to actually love MS Dhoni. I’m not an ardent fan of anything or anybody enough to feel love…perhaps admiration and inspiration, but never love. But this is new and for reasons already known to the world. 
  • I’ve learnt that people love talking to me and seem to open their conversational doors to me more openly and readily than I attribute to my sense of approachability. I’m not very approachable but once those usually deep conversations start, there’s no stopping. And a sense of catharsis settles in. Strange!
  • The weather has become atrociously hot and it’s only spiraling upwards from here, on the mecury scale. Oh dear!

Learning To Unlearn And Relearn

29 Mar

Isn’t that what moving forward is all about anyway? It’s astounding how these simple concepts are gems we store for later, more intellectual conversations and situations, oftentimes overlooking their importance in being applied to life every single day. I’ll speak for myself at least. I cannot remember a time when the necessity to unlearn and relearn something wasn’t used and just what a life saver the flexibility to do so, is.

But I admit, I never imagined the need to do the same to other more crucial facets of my life, my functioning, my relationships, my perceptions, and my wellbeing altogether. Perhaps it was the luxury of living with family all my life which made me so ignorant, until now, when I’m not living under the same roof as them, and have a lot of my shit to figure out on my own. Where did this shit land up from anyway, I wonder, because the last time I checked, all was dandy, all was fine, all was the opposite of sandpapery, if I may.

I haven’t been hitched too long, but it has taken me faster than I fathomed to figure out that – not everything will go your way or as you’ve been used to, and you’d be foolish to expect it. So here I am, trying to unlearn and relearn a lot that I had conveniently assumed I was a master at. How presumptuous of me.

To be more specific, here are some things I’m currently learning, unlearning and relearning:

Not all close relationships are the same and therefore not all close relationships can be handled the same way. You may want to say du-h! at this point in time, and perhaps you should, because I thought otherwise.

Nobody, no matter how close to you, is the same as anybody else…so responses from x are very highly likely to be different from y, even though you behaved the same way with both parties, at the same time, in the same place and under the same circumstances.

In connection with the previous point, time plays a major factor, as do priorities. To elucidate, person y may not necessarily be forgiving to you for stealing a slice of bacon from their plate the second or third time around, unlike earlier times when they didn’t really care about bacon as much. Perhaps they’re really in the mood for bacon and don’t feel like sharing, perhaps they love bacon unlike their previous preference, perhaps they’re saving it for somebody else, perhaps their bacon sharing priorities have changed – always give room for consideration. Also, point to note – it doesn’t really mean you’re loved any less. It just means that time and priorities change everything sometimes.

(Fine example, Babska. Fine one, indeed!)

Not getting a reply, especially via SMS, especially when you’re used to this form of instantaneous gratification in that category, does not mean you are not loved or cared for anymore. (Big learning!) This may make you want to run back and thank all those lovely people who actually make the effort to respond to you when you want them to, which is usually instantly, right?

Responses to a situation which you imagine are natural and instinctual even, may not really be natural to the actual person whom you’re expecting that said response from. I always imagine my husband to respond to certain things in ways that I am used to because that is how my family responds to me in those situations…but seldom are they the same, or rarely is there a match in these responses. If it matters that much, and as hard as it may be for one’s ego, it does help to spell out how you expect a response to be rather than let the waterworks flow some more and still not get what you want. It’s true.

Your comfort food or ideas of comfort food may not be comforting (at all) to somebody else. Be prepared to compromise on that sort of thing or make two meals or eat alone – whichever is worth battling over. Yes, the heartbreak on learning that my husband doesn’t really care about khichdi too much was a hard one to take.

Again, your idea of cleanliness is definitely never going to be the same as anyone else’s. I think that’s a universal law of absolute crappiness, if you ask me. If you’re used to things being xyz, somebody else may be used to abc, while another person may not be used to the concept of cleanliness at all. Who can say? It’s a tough one.

I guess the basic premise of all this unlearning and relearning is the fact that A LOT of what you imagine or expect or even plan in your head has a 99.90% chance of not being the way you want it to be. I’ve fought many a battle (only to sound dramatic) because when you are so removed from what is known to you, or away from the norm of how things are done, or even disconnected from a certain routine, the friction can sometimes be too painful. Sometimes things go our way, and a lot of the times, they don’t.

Which brings me to this main point:

Learning how to not be so much of a control freak, especially in the many areas I can afford to let go off without much heartburn or effort. It’s some nasty business for a control freak to be at a point where no control can be claimed for a lot of things. And I think it comes with these fundamental building blocks of sanity:

Letting go
Acceptance
COMPROMISE
Being selective of the battles you pick
Demolishing one’s EGO

I reckon anybody who can do even one, if not all of the above, is definitely headed down the road of peace.

Before leaving Bangalore to get married, I went about meeting people who really matter to my family and me – many friends, family friends and some acquaintances. Through these many meetings, I sponged off of them as much as I could – their learning, their thoughts, their advice, their words of wisdom. The most humbling and soulful piece of advice I was given was from an acquaintance whose words still ripple on my consciousness every time it feels like I know nothing at all. Dear reader, his pearls of wisdom are as follows:

Learn to be like water which can flow even around the biggest boulders and seep through the tiniest gap…be like water which can meander, bend, take any shape and form…be like water – life-giving, thirst-ridding, sustaining… be like water who doesn’t speak but whose presence is always felt, forever needed… be like water who when she wants, can make her voice heard the loudest and still be calming. Learn to be like water and you will always bear fruit.

Learning: The treasury of wisdom comes from constantly learning.