Monday, January 25, 2016

Off day

K is in Dubai for work, I have 4 days of classes this week and monday is my usual day off. I mentioned to amma who is nursing a terrible cold since 5 days that if she felt better, we could use the day and go to the farm. I dont know if it was the promise of the open space or the excitement to see the place again, she got better over the weekend and we set off this morning post breakfast. 

Landed there by 12 pm and the spinach patch is making me cry with the amount of fresh spinach ready for plucking. I cooked a quick lunch of khichdi and some tomato curry, we ate, overate actually, amma took a nap, I walked around my fiefdom with Sage in tow. 

In the evening after chai we harvested palak, chillies, tomatoes, brinjal and some bottle gourds. I set Sage loose and he played and tried to mount Buddy, the lab owned by another family who lives on the farm. They ran in circles pissing all over the lawn. Got home to a completely traffucked gachibowli and I kept telling myself that one day soon, I wont have to battle this traffic. 

A lovely day, so different from my off days when I simply vegetate at home in my PJs

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

things .... little and big things

Its 20 days into the new year 2016 and I still haven't had a chance to write about the year that went past. 2015 has been eventful to say the least. A lot has happened in this year and if you knew me in my previous avatar then you do know the intense internal pressure I feel to document atleast the highlights.... Here is where the most significant shift has happened. 

2015 was a year where I was addicted to the internet for reasons I know, but don't want to acknowledge. It was the year that I spent more time online, via my phone, telling myself it was solitude. I lied to myself repeatedly that it was down time and yet deep in my heart I called that bullshit. Not out of my own genius, but because I was so fatigued by the end of August of all the information I was consuming but was unable to process. FB, Instagram and twitter, three parts of my poison, of which FB was the most cluttered. Combine inane updates from more than 650 "friends", auto play videos and articles, likes and shares. Soon FB became the only bit of internet real estate I was consuming on an hourly basis. There was so much information - good, bad and insignificant and I had nowhere to process or use it. For all those wise people who were naturally able to see this and call off this before it became bullshit, I commend you. For mortals like me, it took so much more time. Till I began getting so annoyed with the people populating my TL and myself for mindlessly consuming it. It was like sitting on a couch in front of brain dead TV and eating through a 5 kilo bag of chips and wondering why you felt like you sucked on an oil slick. Yes I pare my friends list each month, I change and alter my privacy settings to filter my TL, but that is just a small step. Then there is instagram and twitter (which I still don't get, but I am hanging onto). 

Add to this a growing personal fatigue, in part because we hadn't taken a vacation in 20 months and forced financial goals that put a considerable amount of pressure on us. 

We took a vacation in october finally after a week when I snapped in my head, had a mini meltdown which as always ends in a puddle of tears and snot. It was one of the best vacations we've had. I felt calm and relaxed and most of our time was just spent reading and sleeping. For the first two days, K and I were so exhausted, we slept more than Sage who usually clocks about 16 hours a day! I felt no compulsion to photograph or document digitally our time and I have such few pictures from the vacation, it is shocking to me. I documented it old style.... with a notebook and I loved that experience. The shift was very refreshing and it reinforced the fact that everything that was actually important to me was with me in that moment. 

Blogging suffered as a result and my cooking blog saw such few recipe posts that it was something I was not happy about, but not enough to do something about. This space has always been my personal diary and except for a few instances this past week, it has remained just intensely personal where I write without grammar, syntax and coherence even. I use Social Media for work, but I am less inclined for now, to share too much personal stuff. There was an intense marriage of chaos and calm in my head and the clarity was a bulb aglow in the dark! hahaha

However in total contrast to the above passage, I need to tell you that one of the greatest and most intensely joyous things we did in 2015 was to purchase a farm, I haven't been able to write about it at all for all things silly and insane (ahem like the evil eye!). It has been a dream for K and me to have a space which is a green lung and offers refuge for us, the family and Sage to forget all our city worries and walk on wet loose earth. We began this journey in April 2015, scouting for something nice and I had the most beautiful advance birthday gift given to me in June with a sealed and signed deed. Cutting a long story short, we have built a really tiny and rustic cottage and rang in new years in a circle of love and a giant bonfire! I am excited to be growing vegetables and fruit and my heart can explode when I think of this gift. Also it usually ends in a pool of tears. 

I know that my documentation of the year and its events is my way of reassuring myself that I did good, that I did something significant in the year. In which case, the good and happy far outweighs the sad and annoying parts of 2015. 

In 2016, I want the shift to be from from counting my accomplishments to being able to feel gratitude for everything even if I failed, made an ass of myself and looked silly. At the end of this year, I want to look back with gratitude and grace. I wrote on instagram (I think) that 2015 was equal parts painful and fabulous and that I am carrying forward the fabulous. I hope I remember this when I am not feeling that courageous. 

Grace is not something I offer easily to myself and therein lies the real struggle for me. A recurring theme this week in my life has been grace. I want to  be able to give to myself what I so easily give to everyone and everything else in my life. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I wish I had practiced it. When every cell in my being told me to practice restraint, I wish I had. On the days when I yelled my lungs out at a guy who cut me off at a traffic signal, when I needlessly got emotional over leaving a job I hated anyways and cried my eyes out and literally gave the feeling that I wanted to reconsider my decision, on the day when I said more than I had intended to say only because I was overreacting....a million other instances where I allowed everyone and myself to tell me for posterity that I need to practice restraint. 

When you tell someone more than what you intended, and you reveal more than you wanted to, you see it so clearly in hindsight. When you should have just counted to ten, to speak, to yell, to write back, to return a call.

Hopefully the next time I will remember this lesson clearly and on time.... hopefully I will be less of a fool. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Of letting go

I've learnt yet again that it's important to let go no matter how hard it seems to be.  That it's not important to prove a point to anyone including yourself at a cost far greater than it's worth  

The words of a friend hold so true to me today more than ever 

'live each day with grace and dignity'

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Of friends, holidays and foot massages

Readers of this blog know that I never leave my house unless necessary, definitely haven't left town on my own outside of work (which is once in the last 6 years) and have never done holidays or things for entertainment without K. Not that the opportunities did not exist, or that he or I prohibited it, they just did not happen. Then 4 years ago we got Sage, for the first one year I was stuck to the house caring for a high maintenance puppy, later he turned epileptic and to cut a long story short, I've never left the house for more than 4 hours at a stretch in all of this time.

Each time my friend N comes to India we think of a girls holiday, twice we cancelled, it has been a sore point. My namesake moved to Singapore, had one baby and then another and all this while I haven't been able to see her in that country because, well, read above.

Sometimes I look at the lives of other women my age and how they take off, some of them often, some very rarely, but take off they do on holidays.... they cross the city, the state, sometimes the country to spend time as just themselves, sans their other roles, with friends, family or people they've just met and I sigh, sometimes too loudly.

So what started as a random statement on our school girls whatsapp group, finally took shape. A friend was going to be in India for a few weeks, and we thought it was a good time to take a trip somewhere. Amidst hysterical fits and madcap texting, spread over 2 months, most of the time it looked like "its a great plan and it wont materialize". I never mentioned anything to K because I know for me it is impossible to make any such plans with Sage's condition. I haven't been able to go anywhere "for fun" guiltlessly, leave alone making an overnight trip.

Anyway, last month, I randomly told K that the girls were wanting to do a weekend trip and had asked me, and he just as casually said to me "go, I will take care of Sage". I will admit that I booked my flight tickets a bit too quickly after that statement.

Plans were made, we chose Goa (duh) and picked a decent hotel in the middle of absolutely commercial Baga, to ensure there would be ample entertainment options and we didn't have to spend half the day commuting from one end to another. 

I was giddy on the day I had to leave, with excitement and guilt. Sage realised I was going someplace without him and he was not very happy. 

My friend S who's a doctor in the USA and I went a day ahead of P who works in finance in bangalore. We had some weird flight schedule which meant we would barely spend 22 hours in goa, so we chose to go a day earlier. P joined us on saturday morning. 

Friday was hot and sweaty as we landed, we checked in to our nicely rustic (and overpriced) hotel and took a walk to have lunch. Satiated, we headed to the stores, stopping at almost every one of them to pick up something. I had to literally peel S off from a few shacks to walk ahead. 

We walked some more, got a fish pedicure, walked along the sandy and crowded beach shacks trying to spot some good ones and then headed back in the dark through some really scary narrow and stinking alleys when I almost broke my ankle when I tripped!

Back in the hotel, showered and dressed up to enjoy the evening out. The place we stayed at has a live band playing on fridays and it suited us fine to just hang out there. We drank (a lot!), ate some really good food and caught up, all the while I couldn't believe I was alone and away on a holiday. The thing about goa is that it can be midnight and one can still quite safely walk around the shacks, we went to the beach which was rowdy and loud and resembled one big party with all the lights and people and vendors. Its a different kind of goa from what I have been used to the last few years. But it was one that was a welcome change for a weekend break. We sat at a shack and drank some more! then got back home to sleep. 

I woke up at the crack of dawn, with barely 4 hours of sleep and yet I was happy to have a morning of solitude. Two cups of self made hotel kettle tea later I realised I was too anxious not to call home. I spoke to K, mom and mil, imagine how much I missed them! All of them including K told me to calm down and have fun and not call back so often. 

P arrived around 9 which was when S woke up and we ambled along for breakfast, catching up on 25 years, filling in each other with details of life and such stuff. It was fun to talk of rubbish boys in class and needless heartaches, of lecherous PT teachers and crazy tuition teachers. The rest of the day went by in a haze, gifts were given (by them, I went empty handed - chee), we bathed and dressed and headed to the beach after atleast 10 stops at random stalls to buy (I already have too much of this stuff was the refrain) stuff, we had a couple of drinks on the beach bed and headed back. S and I wanted to have a fish thali and the girls were spoilt sports only in one thing, they didn't know to drive / ride a bike so all my plans (armed with sunscreen) to hire scooters and drive around were thwarted. We had a real epic fish thali and then headed back to rest. 

We got out again in the evening and headed out to Thalassa where we spent a major part of the evening, enjoying the amazing white wine Sangrias, the food and the vibe. One genuinely hot guy did a shirt open (non) dance and we squealed with delight! When we wound up from here, we headed to the night market, which turned out to be a big disappointment, we then went to a couple of clubs before finally heading back to sleep past 3 AM. We did a conference call with our other girl friends and squealed through it completely incomprehensible. I don't remember when I finally fell asleep. 

I was up again by 6 AM and decided I didn't want to toss and turn in bed waiting for everyone else to wake up. I headed out to the beach and walked up and down before finally settling for a beach bed. The friendly guys who rent them out are also masseurs on the cheap and I had a glorious foot massage. All that walking deeply appreciated the rubbing and pressing and though I was a little squeamish about a strange guy pressing my legs without the privacy of a pedicure tub, I finally calmed down and just enjoyed it.

To me this trip was much more than hanging out with school friends. It was just being able to finally pack a bag and leave home. To be able to deal with the guilt of leaving Sage bewildered, but I just had to do it. I think this is what they call 'Mommy guilt' only, in my case, since I feel it for a dog, it is way more weird.

When I got back home on sunday evening, I was grateful for the strengthened friendships, that I was able to comfortably negotiate a holiday with very different people and not have a bad moment, but most of all for the peace and quiet of just being with myself.