Sunday, 28 December 2014

Did You Notice? 2014 Is Coming To An End?

And while the year end crept up on me, I realised so much has happened since I last wrote here. Most of you who do keep track of this blog know that this space was created as an experiment. To count gratitude over things that invariably tend to go wrong because what you put your attention on, grows.

Just to remind myself,

- I reconnected with lots of friends this year. I am so glad I did, taking time out to meet people, making an effort to stay in touch with people that make me happy. Haem, Urmi, Reena, Andy, Shamika, Ramya, Maddy, Sadie, Poornima, Ashrita - you guys are precious. In so many ways.

- I stopped cribbing about how horrid Windows is and finally got myself an Android phone (again, what a relief!) and got a Macbook Air. Blew up a bomb but worth it.

- Got sick of wearing Indian clothes after a four year long phase of somehow, inexplicably converting my entire wardrobe to an Indian one. The casuals are back and the wardrobe is a healthy mix.

- Realised I was getting superstitiously dependent on things I wore - signs of being married - the sindoor, the toe rings, the Mangalyam - and in some corner of my brain, I realised I was scared of not wearing them because I was constantly told that if I did not, bad things would happen. How odd - I was never like that so why was I allowing people to condition my brain? So I consciously stopped wearing some of those things. All I now have is an innocent looking bangle, which I like and which does not get in my way. And the ring P gave to me when he asked me to marry him. I am glad I could break that conditioning. It was unhealthy.

- I started actively weight lifting! I mean, I have been doing it for a while but I got into hardcore training only this year. It did give me injuries on and off but you know, if you are gonna eat, you are gonna poop so it's okay. I know how to work with them and I am getting stronger everyday!

- I went white water rafting. I thought i'd hate it because I do not much like water sports but hey, I loved it! Would I attempt level 2 rapids? Hell yeah!

- I went para gliding again and this time, I leapt off a cliff that was 7500ft tall, and was airborne for thirty minutes. Wow! I do intend going back for an hour long flight soon!

- I ate lots of good food!

- I bought some very pretty bags and shoes!

- I spent a lot of time with my brother - this was not planned, it happened but I got to know him a lot more. Sure, we know our siblings but I did miss significant parts of his growing up years. Getting to know him again was good. He has grown so much and I am secretly very proud of him.

- I found this most amazing woman (or maybe she found me, but hey, how does that matter?) and I managed to spend some amazing time with her. I do not want to call her a best friend because that would be labelling. She is vitally important and beautiful and smart and I am more myself with her. Ramya, thank you.

- I have never really wanted to be a parent and often, it has been labelled as child-hate. Children are a lot of work and trouble and I do not have the patience for that sort of nurturing but I met a little girl who absolutely stole my heart this year. She's a star; quite literally! Tara, you are the most adorable child I have ever met and Reena, you are so, so lucky to have such a gorgeous child! But much as I love Tara, you are always gonna be the most gorgeous woman I have known. And I miss you like a stomach ache. How is that possible?!

- I went to a baby shower and did silly things and had fun and now, this beautiful, beautiful girl has an even lovelier daughter and the father? The father is an annoying git of an elder brother that I adore like mad. And I am so thrilled for him! So many daughters this year, so many evil plans must be hatched with said daughters to annoy their awesome parents!

- I decided I am not going to buy any more plants. They are like children - they demand care and it sucks when I travel and have to worry about them. And what's worse, I feel horrid when I have to pluck leaves from them to cook. I apologised to my basil plants ten times when I took a twig out for the leaves. And I almost wept when I took leaves from my curry leaf plant. I am hopeless.

- I quit a soul sucking job where my experience was not acknowledged, in words or in remuneration. It felt so good to say 'I quit'. I am now doing lots of things I love to do and couldn't be happier!

- I decided to go easy on myself, one step at a time. Excruciatingly demanding jobs? Goodbye. Extremely draining relationships? Tone down. I was always good at saying no. This year, I got even better.

- I bought a house with the man. We have a roof over our heads we can call our own, where we do not have to be what the world wants us to be, where we can be who we are and everybody else can go and take a hike.

- I started wearing skirts again! Yeehaw!

- I finally found the design I want for my tattoo - which means I am that much closer to actually getting one.

- I decided that if I cannot handle plants, I sure as hell cannot handle animals and that's okay.

- I saw some lovely movies. I read lots of chicklit. And it felt right.

I had a fabulous 2014. And I am choosing to focus on that.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

When You Love Something Enough For Yourself

I have a bunch of things I like doing just for my own sake.

Writing.

Working out.

Running.

Teaching.

Is that a bunch? Umm, sort of. Cooking, baking, keeping a house in order, marketing - all jobs or lateral interests sparked by core interests / loves. But those four things up there - all core, major interests.

I am seriously glad I have those four things in my life. Maybe not running, ever since I moved into the new house (rain) and then an injury (knee) plus I don't have a great running track. But I have the other three in my life and they make me feel alive. This is very important for me to know because I realise now that it's only when you love something enough for your own sake will you be able to let it nourish and carry you. I have always wondered at people coming on cooking shows saying they are doing this for their family. Family is important. But family is not you. You are you. Your relationship to anybody was first preceded by your relationship with yourself. And unless you are essentially doing something because you love it for your own sake, it is not going to nourish you. It will make you grow, yes, it will earn you fame, it will take you places. But it will not be your respite.

If you are to live a life that is of your own doing, you have to find that thing you love doing for your own sake and let it become your respite. I am sure the rest just falls in place of its own accord.

So examples? I love cooking coz my family loves eating good food? Lateral.
I love gymming coz it keeps me in shape? Lateral. I love writing because it helps me get published & famous? Lateral.

I love cooking coz when I cook, I am happiest? Personal. I love gymming because when I work out, I feel so alive & good about myself? Personal. I love writing because it's how I best express the stories inside me? Personal.

Do you have a personal love? If yes, you're inimitably lucky. And you must not give that up because so few of us even know this. If you still give it up, give it up only for your own sake.

Been Gone A While But...

I didn't write for an entire week. I am not sure I was in a very good place - I know I was in all sorts of places - some deliriously good. Some extremely bad. But I am here now. And I am posting again from this week. Breaks are allowed, right?

This is my Monday post. I am thankful for a whole bunch of things.

For a free cake that I didn't have to bake. It wasn't very nice but one must never complain about freebies.

I am thankful that I spoke to mum again - rather, she reconnected again. She's in a better place than before and I am glad she's claiming her life back.

I am thankful for the friends I have - one took me out to lunch & for ice cream, the other forced me out of my comfort zone by making me attend a baby shower, and yet another wrote me a letter and sent me a bunch of deliciously beautiful things. And finally, this one bunked half a day at work & we went out for lunch, ate macarons & she told me the name of her shade of lipstick which is at the moment, the most awesome material possession in my life.

I have great friends.

I had a good week.

I also cried my eyes out on my birthday, which just went by, because I was afraid I'd give up too much or take on too much professionally. It's a healthy fear. It's a legitimate fear. And the time I cried, it felt like I would go wrong, make mistakes, find my fate on the path I'd take to avoid it. But here I am. I am okay. I know I will survive mistakes. Because I have done it before.

We have all done it before.

I am thankful that I am a food blogger of sorts so I get to eat some amazing food. I went to a very fancy restaurant & tried one of their special menus last week. So good. It's ridiculous how happy good dessert & bread can make you feel.

Oh, and I went back to my doc who said my knee is fine & gave me a bunch of knee strengthening exercises.

What a relief.

I could complaint about the weather but no...I want to confess to you that mornings are getting breezy and nippy.

I love my house. It lets all that gorgeous wind in.

Monday, 13 October 2014

For Darling Friends.

I began my day with this: http://ideasmithy.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/what-friendship-needs-not-preachy-i-promise/ Ramya, Ramya, Ramya! She really lives up to her name.

I met Andrea, by now, one of those friends who has known me longest, somebody who will always be part of my life and somebody who can always be part of mine. We ate macarons. And we spoke of how lavender feels like home.

For the husband. Because he's why my faith in myself remains intact even on bad days.

For courage. To stand up & say no when you truly mean it.

For AC buses. Really. It's keeping my macarons from melting in my bag.

And for that lady in the train who gave me her window seat. And to all those people who could have protested but did not.

For ticket coupons & the choice I have to not stand in a queue.

For the sudden realization that the birthday is coming up. And all this excitement about having no plans at all!

And for Gaurav, a pesky older brother I can always count on. He's gonna have a baby & I am so stoked there will be one more person on this planet who will have an unparalleled knack of annoying him. Somebody has to do my suffering justice, after all.

My Monday has been glorious :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

An Okay Week

I have had an okay week.

I quit my job - what a relief. I have always believed that every job, with no exception, is 80% mundane & 20% adventure. As long as I get my 20%, I'll handle it well. Take that away and I will be first to abandon ship.

My job was becoming just that: 80% mundane. I wasn't enjoying it. The few bits I did enjoy got soaked in drudgery by the people surrounding it. And very much against my usual common sense of waiting for one ship to appear before leaping off the one I'm sailing on, this time I dived head long into the sea. I don't know where I am going yet but I know something will turn up.

My brother is living with us for a while until he gets his own place with a bunch of roomies. It's nice to have him around & he has changed a lot. Hostel has done him a load of good.

Karva Chauth happened, brownies were baked. The husband got me a runner's T-shirt as a gift :D

I bought myself two tops online that actually fit & looked very nice when I tried them on. What a relief! I also tried edamame for the first time and I quite like them!

Mum called. And spoke to me for twenty minutes. As if nothing has happened. And I did just that - spoke like nothing had happened. We chatted about mundane little things. I wasn't baffled or affected. Just, well, mildly amused.

For the last few months, I have stopped demanding an explanation from my family for their behavior. I don't ask too many questions, I do not look for reason/intention. It brings me a certain amount of peace, some amount of freedom. We are all inflicted with various kinds of madness and why people do what they do is a question I do not ask anymore. I am convinced that the answer will add nothing to my life. I let them be as long as they can let me be.

I have realised that people are grey. And so am I. I cannot throw people out of my life because they are not my version of grey. As long as they are not forcing their esteemed presence on my life, they can sing their songs just the way they want to. Fine by me.

A very good friend wrote me a nice long email :) Nice long emails really cheer me up.

And this beautiful girl called Ramya is an absolute source of peace and relief in my life.

My knee feels better than before. The husband's sprain is getting better too.

I am glad for all these things & people.

PS: I just read this post again & realised that although the week felt just okay when I first started writing this post - it was actually pretty darn decent, wasn't it? :D This activity works!!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

For My Brother

I love how you have grown. I know a lot of the finishing touches are still to come. But ever since you have come back from the hostel & three years of college, you are so much more organised, helpful and neat.

You adapt so well!

You have a job!

You are so grown up. And I am very proud of you. And whenever you really need me, I'll be there. In whatever way I can. But I will never cocoon you - because you need to be able to grow to the best of your capacities. And so, I'll be the one tipping you off the cliff edge just so you remember you have wings and you can fly.

Every time.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Hearty

Sometimes, all you hope for is health. Healthy knees, healthy back, healthy eyes.

Just health. And that it remains as you grow older.

Just that.

Of Learning To Cycle

As a child, I did not have much control over my life. This is true about most children. I did not miss freedom too much, not having consciously known what it feels like. But I hated being told what to wear. I hated being told that I had to like certain things.

I remember this one time we went shopping & my mum wanted me to buy a specific set of clothes. I did not like it very much but I was convinced it's really good. So I caved & said okay. The dress was bought. I wore it maybe three times before burying it into the most remote corner of my wardrobe shelf. Mum was busy enough to not notice its disappearance. But she did say it out loud one day, that I barely wear that nice dress she picked for me.

Oh well. She did notice.

So when I learnt cycling, taught most patiently by my dad, I took to it with unparalleled zeal. Cycling was freedom. And I had finally tasted it. Wind in my hair, any road open to me if I had the time to explore it, my ability to escape quickly if an exploration go too threatening: freedom.

Which is why I still have a cycle. I may not ride it as much. But it's a comfort to know I have my escape waiting close at hand.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Mostly Glad...

To have access to a good sports orthopedic surgeon who can help me with my knee injury. And yo not know for sure if the injury happened at the gym (less likely) or while rafting down rapids ( more likely) or because I slept weirdly some nights ago with my knee bent at an angle. Who cares? Plus, one less thing to worry about.

Glad that the doc said I can still continue with upper body workout while the knee recovers.

To give up notions. That I will get a direct us every time I go to the bus stop. This means I hop into the first bus taking me to Borivali. This is a lot less hassle than standing at the stop for half an hour waiting for a specific bus. This also reminds me that sometimes, you just HAVE to leap without being a stubborn little mule about having life handed out to you just the way you want it. Sometimes. Not all the time. Do not ever give over your ability for deduction to a one line philosophy on a random blog.

Glad to find a little carton of cherry tomatoes at the supermarket. For 23 bucks! And a stash of basil too! Pasta shall be made :)

Super thrilled that buses exist. Like, seriously.

Very glad that railway stations in Mumbai sell chikki. I am glad I can pick that over a packet of chips if I'm hungry.

And finally, supremely thankful I do not fall for sales. No, really. Moving homes has taught how easily & unconsciously we collect clutter and my life is now all about decluttering.

Some Weeks Are Wonderful

This week was spent in Udaipur. Eating delicious Pujo fare that was truly authentic - keeping up to the code of a family Durga Pujo, playing with the most amazing dog in the world.

It also brought to me mum's voice over an unexpected phone call - after two and a half months of silence. Whatever she is going through right now, I am choosing to be thankful about this little thing.

It brought collapsing into tears over the agony that family brings. Thankfully, such meltdowns are best had in the presence of somebody you can depend on and look up to, for guidance and solace if nothing else. It felt good to release that into the universe as against shouldering an impossible burden alone.

It brought me my brother, and as crazy as he is, I am sort of glad I have this time before he finds himself tossed about in life's many currents. He has grown so much. It makes me feel proud of him. And ridiculously old.

It brought me a knee pain too. I hope that heals. It makes the man concerned and much as I hate worrying him, I am so glad he'll be with me when I meet the doctor. I could live with it, of course, but my primary cause for worry is my inability to do weighted squats. This also tells me what a gym slave I have become and that makes me proud.

I know I am late in submitting this entry but better late than having given up.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

To Mickey

Mickey,

I really think you look the Big B. Majestic.

It makes me laugh every time to think that you are scared of newspapers. It makes me so proud when you leap into the air to grab a catch mid-air. It makes my heart melt when I tell you to get up & follow me out so we can play ball - and you do.

It annoys me when I ask you to not lick me but you still do while you pass me by. It also makes me smile a little. It sort of scares me but also makes me sad when you come & place your big head on my lap & make weepy sounds to get me to rub your belly.

It breaks my heart to leave you behind. Every time. It breaks my heart that you & i both lost the most amazing man on this planet to something as mundane as death.

I am sorry I go away.

Also, please have more baths & roll in the mud just a little less?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Hoping To Leave Things Behind

Unfollow a bunch of food bloggers.

Face up and tell people that I don't agree with their choices but that doesn't mean I won't be friends with them. Leave the rest up to them.

And finally, stay in touch with family members a bit more regularly. I may not make sense of them but that does not mean we cannot reach out to each other in times of need. And that's okay. Sometimes, all people want from you is a bit of listening.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Knowing the difference.

Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them ~ Richard Bach

So when I refused to leap into the river and swim about along with every other person that went rafting at Kolad, I had enough time to think long & hard about it. Was I scares of leaping into the water? Was I afraid of drowning? What was stopping me?

The same thing that's stopping me from having children. The same thing that's telling me I do not like backpacking, hitchhiking tours. The same thing that's telling me I do not want fit into anybody's definition of cool but my own.

I don't enjoy it.

Is it my limitation? No. Limitations ought to cripple your ability to submit to a situation. Can I jump into the water? Oh yes. Do I want to? No.

No limitations kept. I love rowing and kayaking, bouncing off rapids. And no, I do not want to swim with the fish :) Soaring with eagles, well yeah, that's another story altogether!

Monday, 29 September 2014

For Friends

I have been one of those people who has always felt she can live without friends. I never had a best friend, just a few very good friends. It never, even now, occurs to me that if I have a problem, I can reach out to a friend. I try & solve my own problems & at the most, the husband gets to hear all the dirty details when I really need a sounding board.

Which is why it's unusual for me to be writing this. In the last few months, I have consciously tried to reconnect with old friends & have somehow, also ended up making new ones. I have made an effort and included them in my life, shared details, confided and asked for advice. I have listened, I have heard their version of life & living and found that although we may hold radically different point of views on world issues, we still want to be part of each other's lives.

This is a relief for me. I still haven't reached a place where friend are indispensable. But now, they sure are important. I am glad I can say this now. And for those two friends who were my sounding board today, I am grateful. You may not know who you are but I love you both, all the same. I am thankful for y'all.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Reviewing The Week That Was.

Teaching has to be a pointless sort of joy every once in a while. Like, absolutely pointless, do it coz you love it sorta joy.

Sometimes, you must avoid looking at the price tag. Buy pretty shoes.

A cup of hot chocolate can do wonders for your mind. Yes, with real whipped cream.

Why are there no slides for the grown up side of the pool? So many subtle ways of reminding us that we aren't meant to have fun. Still go have fun.

There are little joys that don't seem like much on their own but together, they keep you sane. Like getting a bus that doesn't take detours. And getting a window seat. And the relief of finding that one rupee coin at the bottom of your wallet to give to your pissed off bus conductor.

Showing off, once in a while & just a little bit? Good for your health. So, umm, enjoy it when you do it.

Gender stereotyping among children is everywhere & easy to succumb to. So even if they mean pointless gift buying, go forth & prove a point. Coz I did. Unisex toys for all.

Broths are ridiculously easy to make & perfect for dinner as long as you have good bread, cheese & fresh herbs. And butter.

And finally, to remember to live absolutely selfishly. Thank you, Don Shimoda.

For Tree

I am late in publishing my entries but here I am, nonetheless.

Dear Tree,

This one's for you. You make the best soup-in-a-cup with noodles. And you give the best head massages. You write the most amazing emails & letters.

You are also what ties me down most to the one place I have loved with careless abandon: college.

But mostly, I love you because we do not need conversation fillers. You are my only proof that old age does not mean people have the leeway to go batshit crazy, that they can be funny, wise, loving, childlike and constant. Like a very reassuring presence. I hope I can be that when I am old. Because really, if there's any more chaos in my future, it will be that much harder to go on.

That's why I call you Tree :)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Knowing What You Don't Want.

I absolutely could not write yesterday. Tons of work. So I have two posts for today. This one's about the future. And I'll keep it simple because I did think about this. I'm only writing it in a bit late :)

I know now that sometimes, it's wise to wait until you have a grip on your solid reality of today before you're able to trapeze into the nebulous possibility of your tomorrow. We all like to play safe. But sometimes, your reality is large enough that you're gripping with both hands. Sometimes, to launch yourself into a future that is waiting to happen to you, you need to let go.

With no promise of a tomorrow. Not a dependable tomorrow at least.

But live with passion doing things you really want to do. And spend time finding out what really calls to you. Most of us don't quite know. But if you do, you're already miles ahead of the crowd.

I recently came face to face with what I do not like. At work, I hate being disorganized. I hate lack of process. I hate chaos. I hate start ups. With a deep, ingrained loathing of all things chaotic. I need to have a pattern that at least I can see, that assures me things will self-align.

It's a big step - knowing what you do not want. And hopefully, that means I'm on my way to finding what I do want. My hope is for that future. One where frustration isn't an everyday occupational hazard. And where I can be fired up about contributing to something I really believe in. In an orderly, answerable manner.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Physical Pride

I got my twenty kg dumbbells today. So thrilled! Even more thrilled that when the courier delivery boy asked "madam, yeh heavy hai, main andar rakh du?", I nonchalantly said, " no, thanks", and took the pair from him. Yay!

I remember when I was not a big fan of working out in the gym. I worked at Google then & used to go for aerobic workouts five days of the week. An hour every evening of back breaking aerobic workout, interspersed with weights & steppers. I got so used to the group energy, rhythm and pace of the thing that it took me a lifetime to figure why people would opt to go to the gym. Mumbai made that option impossible - I had to gym. Not a single decent aerobic instructor in sight & no infrastructure to boot.

But almost three years down the line, it's a distant memory. I am glad I adapted. Adventures often come disguised as adaptations. And when you know something really well, it's very likely you'll fall in love with it.

Finally, to that guy in the gym who pointedly told another girl in the gym that "weights aren't for women", try lugging a steadily growing heavy dumbbell inside your tummy 24/7 for nine months; women gave birth to weight training.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Coz Things Can Make You Happy

Yes, intangibles are the best sort of happiness. But sometimes, handy little things that make you lfie easy are amazing too! This post is about acknowledging that.

I am thankful for:

- An epilator that is absolutely water proof - god knows how much of an extreme lone runner I am and this absolutely removes all my dependence on parlours and their inefficiencies. And much love to the man for letting me pick my gift this Pujo.

- For online shopping - I just got my exercise wheel, a back rowing attachment and a pair of twenty kg dumbells is on its way - I am so thrilled this is possible! Now to take weight lifting to another level!

And now for intangibles:

- For this writers' group that I attend on some Sundays - it's great to meet people. Read stories. Listen to the thoughts your words can inspire. Watch people's thoughts weave into words. Over extremely pretty and affordable martini glasses of creme cold coffees. Yum.

- For this part of my brain/mind that is absolutely accepting of foods people eat. Absolutely. And still knowing what I can make my peace with.

- For whatever forces of humanity and superhumanity let me become a Google Regional Trainer - it's so good to be be in touch with that space and the minds that make it what it is - it reminds you that all humanity isn't running on mediocrity.

- For the most delicious meal the man and I ate during the Gourmet Week - at Levo, in Andheri West. Delicious, delicious and the man loves Porcini mushrooms! I am so stoked!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Looking Back

Fridays are for looking back. This week was quite a hectic one but I am glad I got a chance to make it count.

- To begin with, I started this blog. It's a great place to reflect, remember and relive. Perspectives always alter slightly in retrospect. This blog also gave me a chance to reconnect with some dear friends & it's great to hear back from them! Second best to written letters are nice, long, detail-packed emails :)

- I met two very good friends. Over some seriously delicious food. Gourmet Week is on in Mumbai and the food is deliriously good in places. It's great to dine with friends & so food to call a chef out & compliment them generously. It lights up their faces!

- I love Google. They are my past employer and by far, the best. I am also a Google Regional Trainer which lets me conduct SEM trainings on behalf of my ex-employer, for new agencies that are about to plunge into search marketing. I am off to conduct one such training today. This is the best part of my job - teaching & meeting people & learning amazing new things!

- I am organizing a blogger outreach programme for one of my clients & its a slow, long term, paced activity. I have total freedom to tailor & do it well. It feels so good to enable this! And make real use of the opportunity social media & content marketing offers!

- This week, I realised that I really look forward to going to the gym. I have always been a Yoga & Aerobics person but because I have not had access to decent trainers & a space where these can be practised, I settled for the gym. Almost three years now & I am finally at a stage where I cannot wait for my rest day to pass! So awesome & insane!

- Thank God for canned cherry tomatoes & passata. Because putting together a quick spaghetti lunch is no longer a difficulty.

- For those Kayani's Shrewsbury biscuits that the man's colleague got from Pune because every time the man travels, he gets something to eat for his team. So somebody decided to get something for him this time. And I think I have eaten more of those biscuits than he has. I guess. I must say he gave half of them to his team before he got them home. I think I have had seven this week. Eeks!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Because This Is Our Fuel.

Thursdays are for affection. Of any kind.

I could be affectionate about the most amazing Tiramisu a human body could ever experience. Mostly because I ate one today. But that's probably for next week when the memory of that dessert will be far more dear to me because it will be far more away from today.

But this one's for Ramya.

Dear Ramya,

I just want to tell you how glad I am that we met. I can talk to you about everything. You really listen. You turn into this big ear when you are listening. That's so difficult to find these days. You are funny, wise, charming, beautiful and I would have known none of those things had I not said yes to meeting you on a whim. Time flies when we talk and I always come back with brand new perspectives later. Do you know how rare that is?

I hope you see this. Because we all must know how ridiculously amazing we are every once in a while. Over cutting chai glasses of Mithi river water.

Reema

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hope

Today, the book asks me to project a future that I envision for myself. It doesn't have anything to do with willing things into happening - or maybe it does. But the idea of this post is to hope for all those things that I feel are part of what's ahead. The key word, obviously, is hope.

- I hope for a future where what I do contributes to the dynamic times we live in. To be a part of a larger picture consciously, to feel alive and happy when I wake up, knowing that I'm part of something exciting, something that's making the planet a projection of the total potential of the human consciousness.

- I hope to go back to work, in the total sense of the word. And love it. With people who live up to what I mentioned above.

- I hope that eventually, humanity will align itself with what's life sustaining.

- I hope to have next to no dependency on tangibles for my happiness while absolutely and graciously accepting that they have great capacity for comforting me.

- I hope that at 100, if I live to that age, I'll be able to walk upright, be in good health & never be a burden. To anybody.

- I hope to have enough money to be able to provide for myself & the people that matter to me - and splurge on them every once in a while. And not throw a hissy fit if I lose 500 bucks.

- I hope the nomad in me isn't left restless for too long. And that I eventually get myself a dog who is allowed on public transport, restaurants & malls. Then we can be nomads together.

- I hope I can live in a place where I can kayak. And para glide. And cycle.

- I hope I never forget the healing, nurturing, comforting power of a good, baked Philly cheesecake.

- I hope the man stays with me through this journey. It gets terribly quiet without him.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Reliving Adrenaline Rushes

In 1998, I was in Manali. It was an eight day long camping trip and this was in those days when Manali wasn't the crazy place it is today. It was cleaner, simpler and not as dang crowded. One of those days during the camping trip, we went to Solang Valley. To paraglide, of course.

I wanted very badly to go paragliding on my own, although I was also mildly petrified at the idea. It took me forever to convince my folks to let me go. Finally, I went with my dad and we para glided from this super lame altitude. Plus I wasn't allowed to go on my own. I was very miffed.

A few years ago, the man and I decided to go to Manali - it was his first time and I wanted him to see all the places I had been to and loved. We stayed in Old Manali, away from the desi tourists. We rented a bike and did most of our exploring. We paraglided too. From a 1000ft altitude. There was an option to paraglide from 2000ft but we decided to take a middle path - this was the man's first time and I wanted him to like the experience. At Solang. He went with his instructor and I went with mine.

He landed smoothly. And my craft crashed. Into a heap, on the hill and I bruised my elbow and sort of twisted my ankle. And I do not remember feeling happier. Crazy, insane and borderline nuts sort of feeling. At that insane height, you are pretty much deaf. You can only hear the wind howling in your ears even if it isn't that windy on the ground, you have goosebumps and it's freakin' cold. You can't feel a thing, you have no body, you have no identity, you are just one huge being packed with the rush of flying for the first time. You can see the tops of pine trees, you can see an eagle flying parallel and while it's just 10-15 seconds of being airborne, it feels like an eternity.

If I am ever rich enough, it's what I am going to do: take para gliding lessons and spend time para gliding. I am not sure anything feels as amazing as being airborne does. I am glad I even know feeling that way exists.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

I Am Thankful For...

...several things. But mostly, this post is about three things I have tremendous gratitude for.

- The husband: And I am seriously lucky to be able to stake such a solid claim on this person. I would be equally thankful if this person were a friend or a colleague or a relative - but I am so glad he is not. I am so glad he is related to me the way he is because that means I get to spend most of my time at home with him. I can make unreasonable demands like "stop doing that and come talk to me" or "please scratch my palm until I fall asleep". I am not sure friends, colleagues and other relatives put up with nonsense like that. I am grateful for him because I am an angry person - and he calms me down, absorbing most of my fury like a sponge and waiting, waiting until I have calmed down. Had it not been for him, I'd have, by now, done something pretty drastic. Of course, he irritates me too but I will take that a hundredfold. My life as I know it today makes no sense without him.

- Mumbai: I am an individualistic person who mostly never gets bored, even if she is left to her own devices for weeks on end. I can be at peace with myself in crowds, and I love this city that I was born in - because it fits who I am perfectly. Mumbai lets me be who I am, at my own pace and lets me drown in a sea of anonymity. Anonymity is comforting - you can do what you want to and nobody pokes their nose in your business coz you are anonymous. Yes, there's other awesome things, like the incessant rains during the monsoons, my favourite part of the year. And there's the crazy, thronging crowd, which won't let up even at 2am in the morning. All other cities feel like they have a curfew thing going post midnight. That makes me nervous and shifty. I love this city. It's the best you can get in India if you are a self-focused person.

- The gym: This looks like an odd entry but there's very few things I do for my own sake as of now. I love cooking coz the man loves to eat good food. I bake for the same reason. I write because it's the easiest means of communication for me. But going to the gym? I do that just for my own sake. It makes me feel alive, it makes me feel like a superhuman. As I gradually go from lifting 7.5 pounds to being able to sort of scoff at 25 pounds...I can see my body changing, morphing, becoming more powerful and it makes me delirious! I don't much care if it's going to make me fit into the world's image of a perfect body - but when I do something strenuous and it does not tire me out? It makes me thrilled. And proud of myself.