Tag Archives: Summer

152: Homeward Bound

1 Jun

I’m off to Bangalore for a short while, dear friends. It’s a break I have been looking forward to, naturally, and now that it’s time to leave (yes, I’m writing this after my successful book hunt at the airport – I picked up Maharani Gayatri Devi’s memoirs), the wait has become even more unbearable. What once used to take us days to reach by train, now takes us not more than 3 hours – we’re fortunate; but now even these three hours feel like a lifetime. My check-in was smoother than I’d imagined at this hour – and everything went off with a happy, genuine smile from both sides – from the lady at the check-in counter to the lady at security check to my coffee waitress. It’s a great way to begin a day, that’s for sure.

I hope to be able to write regularly, but there might be more cheating involved during this period than I’d like to acknowledge. I’m referring to blog cheating and food cheating, of course. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between these secondary forces that pull me to Bangalore – is it the food, the weather, the memories, the walk back in time?, because the one thing I focus a lot on, is food. I’ll write more about memories on a later post; but food really seems to take precedence. Going back to what I was saying is that I hope I can maintain this venture while I’m busy stuffing my face with the madness Bangalore has to offer.

See you on the other side, dear reader! Have a pleasant and colourful June! :)

151: Magical May

31 May

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

Hot. 

Relaxing. 

Experimental. 

Filled with debauchery. 


And just plain amazing!

113: Sundaze

23 Apr

We’re beating the heat, the blues, the madness, the chaos, and everything else that falls in and around this realm with beer, biryani, and popsicles.


We’re taking Sunday one lost Saturday at a time.

101: Summery Sights

11 Apr

where the grass remains dewy, soft, poky, yet accommodating

where the sky hypnotizes you into exhausted surrender

where birds frolic, trees dress up, and animals gather

where we’re all one, under this scorching scorching sun.

85: Spring Sundays

26 Mar

The weather’s changed too fast, too soon. It’s like we just wrapped up with winter when summer stepped in without giving spring a chance.

It’s not even been a month since we stashed away our winter clothes and before we knew it, we’d to bid adieu to our blankets too (we’d done away with our quilts already). Then came the equinox and I’ve never seen this extreme fluctuation ever before. The fan’s on full swing and the AC was given a trial run too. We’ve also started witnessing a shift in appetites too…warming, hearty foods just don’t appeal to us anymore. Where once a cup of tea brought us comfort, now just feels discomforting. Needless to say, my trials with setting curd have ended thankfully, which means we get to have more cooling curd-related drinks. Yay!

As if to acknowledge Spring’s presence, carnival was held complete with food, clothes, and game stalls. The weather in the evenings is addictively balmy and perfect for a sitdown at the lawn, complete with light chaat. 


And that’s just what it was, indeed.

80: Refreshing Like The Pop Of A Chilled Limca

21 Mar

Sitting here, nearing the end of yet another day, almost done with a fraction of the things that I’ve put on my board to do, and wishing desperately for Friday to come by, the only thing that makes my mind feel a little bubbly and chirpy is the image and thought of this – the pop and fizz of a chilled limca. Something tells me it has to do with the chilled lemon honey drink I made myself earlier this evening; a treat my senses blindly chose over a cup of tea, which now seems too overbearing thanks to the weather.

The further we proceed into March, the hotter it is becoming. The call of a chilled anything automatically gets bumped up the list, just like how I almost automatically walked to the fridge and made myself this drink which materialized with absolutely no thought or even debate. Summer has just stepped into our lives and promises to be a demanding one on each of us. Let’s just hope for that stock of cold water and lemons to remain perennial.

There’s nothing significant about today’s post, as you may have already gathered. But today isn’t about being any of that. It’s just about me effervescing in this thrill of cool comforts, and of you sharing that experience with me, should you wish to indulge in the freshness it invokes without too much effort.

Cheers! :)

Just Saying

24 May

Yesterday began with quite a bit of zeal, freshness and a kick that only Mondays can give me. My day began quite well and proceeded to look pretty good too – I got a lot off my check list – with productivity being the star of my day. However, one of my goals was to get here and write but there seemed to be a block going on. I entered this space with a neat and rounded 100 drafts and left with 104 and a good two hours washed off my ticking clock. I’ve no idea what’s feeding this block and for how long it’ll last. However, one thing was clear despite all the effort I’d put in (read: create conducive writing environment, play appropriate music should I like music, open all those openable doors and windows, focus on what you want to write about, among other significant and not so significant considerations), and it was that there were no words willing to make sense of what I wanted to make sense of or to help me put them on paper this blog, in general. No words.

I didn’t want to be blah and write about my weekend which was filled with food, chilled beer and tv. So I resigned to the demands of this block and let it be at that. If I had to wait, then wait I would have to.

The heat was damning and has been so for too many days now. My mother always told us not to use to the word damn – she was told by one of her German nun teachers not to use the word – and so I try my best not to use it, unless very necessary. Yesterday was one such afternoon that mandated the use of this word yet again; one that my senses really couldn’t fight and eventually gave into by way of slumber. When it’s really hot and you’ve a whirring fan rustling your hair and teasing your eyelashes, it’s a stressful fight to not give into, you know. And so I succumbed to it all – hard-working fan, cool breeze, rustling hair, inviting bed. But it wasn’t long before I woke up to the confusing madness that was going on outside. I love brightness, sunshine and light. Darkness within my house during daytime is not something I entertain or even acknowledge; and darkness during daytime is exactly what I woke up to. I am one of those creatures who likes a good afternoon snooze but who must wake up quite before sundown just so my nap doesn’t feel depressing and characteristic of having lasted forever; where I wake up knowing that there is more of the day left for me to do something (even if it is nothing) and that I haven’t spent my entire day engaged in a comatose state of sloth. Are you like that too?

So, I guess my senses, which can, and are quite tuned to getting alarmed quickly (talk about the drama, right?), woke me up to a blackish sky which I first thought were my myopic eyes playing a trick on me. But that wasn’t the case as I headed outside, upon which my slumber-driven confusion about a storm approaching, was confirmed. I didn’t pay much heed to it though because, if you have watched the movie Lagaan, you will understand that never have I seen so many ghanan ghanan moments followed by clouds going right past us moments, than I have over here. In Bangalore (which is my only point of reference, therefore kindly pardon my constant mention of it), when it thunders and the sky becomes black, there’s a 98% chance of rain following. Over here, not so much. But I still go bat-crazy when I see these grey clouds and go running outside in the hope that something will happen. Of course, nothing did. I even checked the weather app and it was bright and sunshiney in it. There was a smell of rain that lingered around, but I wasn’t feeling very hopeful.

Big, chunky drops of rain fell pretty lazily to the ground as if this was some sort of joke where God humoured us humans with a drop here and a drop there. But that was enough for the Bangalorean in me to go crazy and open all those doors and windows until I had to run and shut them right back, because hello massive dust storms. I had decided that whether it was to rain or not, I would have what I usually feel like having when it rains – a warm slice of cake. On hurrying (because when it storms, the power goes) to the microwave to get my fix of cake and while juggling to get the entire clothes stand inside without those precious freshly laundered clothes falling all over the place (because dust storms love mingling with precious freshly laundered clothes), the power decided to call a Murphy on me and died out. But my clothes were in, so I’d like to believe I wasn’t completely Murphied.

It did rain, eventually. It rained till God knows when. The bat-crazy person in me, thanks to my family’s ways, opened every possible door and window to get that cross-ventilation going (there was no chance of a dust storm now, thanks to all that rain). Our house was a cool, breezy haven within minutes. Of course there was no power so we shelved our Game of Thrones plan and opted to switch off all the battery-powered lights. We sat amidst a criss-cross-channel-current of a furiously happy, (and refreshingly) cold breeze going berserk inside the house, as our simple dinner of grilled paneer (cottage cheese) rolls and chilled buttermilk accentuated the experience. We eventually fell asleep to the sound of lightening, thunder, vigourously rustling trees and gentle dancing wind chimes playing musical chairs. Yesterday, and hopefully this block as well, couldn’t have ended better.

Un-Settled

17 May

Bereft of inspiration, that drive and motivation coupled with my rapidly dwindling capacities to handle the heat here – even my uncle’s car thermometer freaked out a bit when it claimed 49 and 50 degrees C were taking over us – I’m sitting right on the not so cool but manageable marble floor, far away from the sight or temporarily false comforts of my sofa and bed. My seemingly insipid lunch of rajma chawal has long been had and the need to get as much off of me and as little back on to me feels both necessary and refreshing. Off with the constrictions, hooks, buttons and straps and on with, well, the lesser the better, as all my mind thinks of as an add-on is rose lassi or chilled mango milkshake. It’s a tough choice.

Everything has a colour to its tone, its mood and its movement. The day goes from yellow to brown to beige to white and the heat is just telling of a white beyond this current shade…a tone and a mood that I’m unfamiliar and certainly uncomfortable with. But my ringing phone and that mandatory conversation with mom eases things back a little till you hear the click of a mother-daughter’s tête-à-tête coming to an end on the other side of your phone. The hope is that it is for the time being, for today, but who knows? We never really were talkers like how some mum and daughter relationships are. But distance and time have played their cards well and the result is that we are, after all, a normal mother and a normal daughter sharing a very normal and crazy mother-daughter relationship. She nags, I argue, she hmms, I grimace, she counsels, I listen, she listens, I open the floodgates of the many things that have happened and not happened since I last spoke to her and as if I haven’t spoken to her for ever, she is patient -sometimes, I am child-like, she laughs, I chuckle…see, it’s all normal. And in between all this, the white heat is forgotten and kept for the next day to worry about.

Even in this scarcity of inspiration, the newest thing I’ve done just because I needed something new, was to change the blog’s background. It isn’t very different from the previous one, but slight shades brighter, which makes me feel inspired and motivated, weirdly. There are ideas brimming in my head as always, but fail to see the light of day because they seldom make it to an actual platform where they can be worked on. This journey looks lonely and maybe it will be, from time to time, but there’s got to be a start for it to even become a journey.

I was just wondering about the state of being settled as I wrote an email to a friend earlier today. To me it looks like an illusion more than a goal to be reached because it seems just as fleeting; perhaps because of changing priorities or because of that never ending thirst that seldom seems to be quenched or satisfied. Today, not much comes to my mind…there are no exciting details or events to share…there is nothing to crib about, either. It’s a strange kind of limbo – to be where you are yet dream of being elsewhere, to find stillness yet comfort even when you’re always thinking of your next move. And in between all this incompleteness, it’s the achievement of small things that makes a lot of us feel complete.

Like conversations with mum, a glass of perfect cold water, the idea of rose lassi or mango milkshake, emails to friends, and oh, unhooked bras, isn’t it ladies?

My Summer Picks

15 May

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life’s summers in a considerably weather-friendly city or maybe I’ve spent the last four summers cooped up in a large, centrally air conditioned atmosphere or maybe it’s both these facts coupled with my various other experiences of this season that have made me open my eyes towards living a summer in North India.

While I was born in this part of the country and spent a couple of years here, I remember Bangalore’s summers with greater accuracy and with now a tinge of envy as well. While the city singed at scary temperatures this season, that’s only as bad as it’s going to be, thankfully. (However, that doesn’t in any way justify or negate the telling signs of global warming we’re witnessing everywhere). But experiencing life-friendly temperatures isn’t the case with the North which is famous for its extremities. Our summer has just begun to show us his nasty side and we’ve a longish way to go before we see some respite.

This is my first summer here in a very long time and here are a few things that have made it a lot more bearable.


With appetites shrinking, this one’s a sure life saver. Cool, crispy, crunchy vegetables dressed ever so lightly and frivolously are ideal for sultry nights. Adding some grilled meat turns the dish a notch higher and no one’s complaining.


Kulfi. These small helpings of kulfi in various flavours do the trick when you need a little lift. We love the kesar badam ones most and could go back for seconds and thirds.


Open-faced sandwiches. I prefer having a heartier breakfast than a heavy lunch or dinner especially during summer. When the morning temperatures are a little more forgiving, these are great to boost one’s reserves with.


Chilled watermelon/fruit juices. ‘Nuff said!


Tender coconut water only post dusk, since the searing heat undoes the effects of this drink by making it hot and undrinkable.


Night walks; not just because they’re the best but because night walks in summer are accompanied by the wafting and lingering fragrances from gardens everywhere – you’re most likely to smell frangipani, night queen and jasmine – a must for the soothing of one’s senses.


I’m not a fan of alcohol during such extreme temperatures but this is one helluva bomb I stumbled upon in December. Hawaiian Iced Tea – an LIT that tastes of Malibu. What’s not to love about this lip smacker? Of course, this only comes second to my mind refreshingly favourite – mojito.


Easy summer wear with the key feature being ‘the lesser, the better’. Lesser on one’s face, lesser on one’s self and lesser on one’s feet; and it’s a sweet treat to your heat-crazed mind and body.


Lighter bedspreads just to helpslip into smaller comforts that most definitely play a role in how we feel. Avoiding dark colours works best while lighter colours automatically add a sense of lightness and ease.


Lassi, preferably lightly sweetened and beautifully thickened, served in clay mugs and garnished delightfully to make every summer complete.

No summer is complete without mango in it. However, given that summer has just arrived full fledgedly, it’s only a matter of time before we sink our teeth into its magic.

Till then, here’s what’s keeping us cool and sane.

What are your summer saviours?

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?