Nice, peaceful things

Song of the post: The Day by JJ Project (Jinyoung solo) (link to a live performance)

(Also I’d like to know if any of you listen to the Songs I link and if you do, what did you think of them? I realize a majority of the songs are Korean lol but like, they are what I listen to so I do hope you’re enjoying them! Also, all pictures are taken by me unless stated otherwise.)

I’ve had a somewhat average day, halfway between crappy and nice (but leaning towards crappy). I got off social media for the entire day and I realized how much content I consume through Twitter alone and it kind of scared me. A little bit only because I’ve been told by my friends that I have decent self-control. Which I should now put into action and make sure that Twitter isn’t the first thing I should wake up to.

Which was probably why I wasn’t feeling all that great today.

Which is why, as I’ve been thinking for the past few days, I’d like to share some nice things I’ve experienced in the past few weeks and spread some happy vibes on a random Tuesday. It is the beginning of the work week for me (I work Tuesday to Saturday) which could be a reason why I was feeling so blue.

(In hindsight, I shouldn’t have skipped my morning walk when I had just started again.)

Sometime in late February, my aunt and her family had come over for a few days for a family function that was happening in another end of Bangalore. They were gone the whole weekend and on Sunday, me, Pappa, Amma and Akka sat in the living room, watched some random Kannada movie that we had already watched before and munched on chips the entire evening. I don’t remember who brought them out, I just remember all of us simply taking it and munching on salt-and-khara potato chips and bonda-kadlekaayi (they’re peanuts/groundnuts that are dipped in red, spicy batter and deep fried) and store-bought tiny kodubele (it’s a delicacy that I cannot explain) and other fried junk. I found peace in our harmonious crunches and practiced movements of passing the snacks one after the other.

I had to travel for work and stay at a small town just a couple of hours away from Bengaluru for a few days. And while I’m still salty about the whole experience and how a lot of things were inconvenient for me, especially at the place where we stayed, I can’t deny how beautiful it was. The place was at a small hill top and the second night that we stayed there (after the first night-mare), it was so peaceful that I didn’t want to sleep so early. I hung with with a bunch of people where one of them read out a part of a book (with accent and all; I cried) and then, outside the hall we were sleeping in, there was a porch of sorts so I thought I could sit there for a little while I read under the stars. And it was a hell of an idea. The stars were bright and blue and MANY in number, with not as much pollution around and the moonless sky felt like it had split open a blue and silver glitter packet open in a hurry. It was gorgeous. By that time, J-hope’s Hope World had just celebrated its third year anniversary so a full track of Blue Side had been posted. So I played that, watched the stars and sat there for god knows how long until I felt my heart swell with peace and happiness that had become so alien to me.

The last picture has the porch I mentioned.

Mishel texted me a few days before my birthday asking if I was free on Saturday. I met up with her for a little while after work. Usually, when I used to meet Mishel, it used to feel like a phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime moment. But we found our groove in Bangalore in a way that works for the both of us and meeting her so casually, so suddenly, still feels very surreal. We were little emotional in the beginning but then we settled into our comfortable silences, sharing stories and walking along Church Street, hand-in-hand and evading scammers with practiced trust. I only hope I get to do that with all the people I love.

On my birthday, my childhood friends (friends of nearly 16 years!) surprised me with their presence and an amazing cake (that Akka designed and had it made by one of them, who has a small business!) and so much happiness. I hadn’t seen them for longer than a couple of hours in the entire year, despite living only 10 minutes away from them.

In the beginning of March, I had to work on a Monday. I worked for half a day and spent the other half in a cafe, with my laptop, listening to music and writing. I found a drink that I really liked (iced mocha) and had a sandwich for lunch and spent around 5 hours simply writing. I had dreamed of it for so long (sitting at a cafe, writing) and it finally came true and I have fallen in love. Even as I felt slightly wistful and melancholic as people came into the cafe in two’s and three’s and I occupied a table all by myself, there was some peace in knowing how much you enjoy your own company.

From mid-February, the weather had been getting warmer and it had been raining leaves. The chill still stayed, but the warmth creeped up slowly and the shift in the air was so pleasant. This transition period, like I had mentioned in my previous post, is my favourite.

Bangalore has now become Pink Bangalore, with these roadside trees bursting with pink blossoms. They were our very own, local cherry blossoms, though they didn’t really smell like anything. And the city was bathed in this pink. It is definitely something I had missed the last couple of years and the all those years before that, I never really had the chance to appreciate the beauty. I’ve been clicking pictures of it every chance I get and I’m not sick of it at all. (I was also wondering-how in Japan the fallen cherry blossoms form a pink carpet on the floor of the parks and when I looked down at the fallen, pink Tabebuia flowers [it’s the name of those pink blossoms-I only just learned it recently], they’re no more pink. They’re brown and dirty and rotten and mixed with the black of the road and brown of the mud. Is this also how it looks like in other countries where cherry blossoms blooming is a gorgeous event? How no one looks down at the fallen beauties that rot away and have been only momentarily appreciated? Just a thought.)

Some of the pink Tabebuia trees that I’ve seen around the city (around my area).

I had been able to speak with my friends more than usual in these few weeks and they have made me so happy. Some of our birthdays fall a week apart from each other and getting gifts from them made me miss them a LOT but I had never felt closer (except that one time last year, just after my birthday, we were all due to leave the hostel immediately and spent the entire night speaking and slept only when the sun rose). I had video called another friend of mine who also happens to be my birthday twin (!!) and even watched part of one of my favourite Ghibli films (Whisper of the Heart) with her. They’ve all happened on different days and on days I’ve had minimum interactions with them are days I’m generally low. I’ve been able to sleep better knowing that they’re doing well, too.

I have been having so much fun writing these days that I’ve fallen in love, all over again. There’s this one piece that I’m working on and the planning went so well. I’ve not finished it and I’m currently stuck in some parts (even with all the planning lol) but I’ve loved writing very single minute of it. I don’t know if I’ll ever put it up but it’s currently my favourite thing in progress.

Yesterday, one of my aforementioned childhood friends called me to ask me something about art supplies. She wanted to try painting so I took her to my regular store and even as I had originally not planned on buying much (gasp) I bought some new stuff to try and got a discount with how much of a regular I am at that store. It was a really hot, sunny day but I had so much fun, just walking around, seeing the happy expressions on my friend’s face. I had missed it terribly.

In the midst of all these, I have had some terrible days. Days when I’ve been so angry that I’ve not been able to think or breathe properly. Days when I’ve been unable to move. Days where I had woken up thinking I didn’t want to face the day. But then, some of these nice things happened on these days. So are they really bad days with some nice moments or do the nice moments neutralize the bad days making them simply average? I like to see it as the former. It makes me appreciate the nice moments even more.

What is it about February

Song of the post: quiet motions by mxmtoon

This is the first song that came to my head when I woke up a couple of days ago. I remembered Arohi painting a scene from this music video and it was just such a nice, still scene that it is etched in the front of my brain. (A slightly aggressive picture of a rather calm scene but that’s how I’m feeling currently.)

The weather’s been quiet lately. It’s like everything is still and even though things are moving and you are moving, it feels like time has slowed down and it’s all slow and muted and calm.

I think February is generally like that.

It’s that time of the year where seasons change. Transition periods are generally on some extreme. Aggressive or ridiculously calm. It’s been ridiculously calm these days and I just don’t know how it happens. One day it’s so cold you’re wearing two blankets and hugging your plushie and the next morning, you’re warm and lying on top of your blankets, plushie on the floor.

And it’s not the hot, sticky kind of warm either. It’s a pleasant, very welcomed warm. The kind of warm that you get when you stand in the sun on cold winter days. But now, you get it indoors.

I’ve been meaning to put it out for a while now. I guess I had more words ruminating in my head but I never had the chance to write them down so I’m getting this down as much as I can. But it’s been nice. I would say that I wish it could stay this pleasant all the time but like always, how would we understand how pleasant this is and appreciate it if we don’t experience all the unpleasant weathers?

2020 in Doggies

Song of the post: Sleeping Beauty by End of the World (Sekai No Owari) and Epik High

There are certain expectations set for 2021 by all of us. We’re hoping for it to be better than this year, for obvious reasons, but it also seems like there is an insane amount of pressure for 2021 to just be. I don’t know why but I’ve been feeling anxious for it and it’s irrational, I know. But every time I think about New Year’s and seeing people wishing for a better year and being happier, I have this urge to just hide. Just hide and hibernate like a bear and not emerge until the world has calmed down and stopped piling on horrible expectations on a certain idea of time.

That’s just me. I do wish and hope for a better year but simply thinking about it makes me feel deja vu all over again. We had these kinds of expectations for 2020 and look where that got us. Can we just, please, treat it like another day? Maybe then, the sins of the human race might be ignored for a little while longer?

I am not going to talk about this year in general. I’ll dive right in. My year had dogs. A lot of the gaps that I had in my heart—gaps left by friends that I couldn’t see, gaps left by the lack of skin-ship, gaps left by the lack of normal experiences of hanging out at a cafe and sipping cold coffee—was filled with these furry friends that I met on the road.

The earliest were Maya and Poser and Totoro. Since I lived on campus till mid-March, I had spent a good two-and-a-half months of this year with these loves and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss them. I miss the spunky attitude of Totoro when there’s someone new but I loved how pliant she went when I fed her and pet her. She was one of my favourites on campus (shh, don’t tell the others!) and on days she refused to eat, I put her face in my lap spoke to her for a little and then she would eat a little. It all feels so magical and like it happened to a version of me that’s barely recognizable, now that I think about it.

Low quality image of a high quality girl- Totoro

Then there was Poser. His pretty eyes always betray his actions. He has big, pretty brown eyes and some nights, I swore I could sense a slight glint of exasperation in his eyes when I tried to feed him. He refused to eat a lot of times so I tired doing the airplane. I would tear off the piece of chapati and mimic (horribly) airplane sounds and moving the food all over my head and his head and then put it near his mouth, where he would reluctantly eat. I bet you he was thinking, “If I eat enough, maybe she’ll leave me alone,” and it worked. I was naive enough to believe that he has eaten enough and then I would move on. But towards the end of the year, when I went to speak with him without food, he always got petted a few times before haughtily walking away. I can imagine him going, “I’ve had my daily dose of affection from her, time to move on,” That was enough for me.

Those pretty brown eyes will definitely melt you

And then Maya. I’ve written a lot about Maya already (a full blog post!) but I feel like I’ll always want to write more. But at this point, the thing I miss about him the most is his presence. On most days, that would just be enough for me and looking back, I can’t remember for how long I’ve relied on him the way I did. If I hadn’t seen him that day, I would feel unsettled till I saw him. I didn’t even need to pet him or scratch his bum. I just needed to see him from a distance and I would feel all right. Even if it was for just that moment. And I guess it left a huge gaping hole in my heart when I moved so hurriedly. I did get to say goodbye to them. I took a break from packing the night before I was to leave (sometime past midnight) and I spent a good half an hour feeding Maya and Poser from the biscuits that were left over in my room and telling them to be good and that I will miss them terribly. But mostly, I just fed them in silence while they ate, while I scratched their ears and bums, while I tried to memorize how their short, spiky fur felt under my fingers, while I tried to blink tears out of my eyes.

After March, there were months where we were all at home so the hopes of meeting a cute doggo out on the street were zero. Sometime in August or September, when the rains had calmed down, Amma made me go walking. At first, I didn’t like it. It was a bit annoying, being told to go for a walk so that I can “stay in shape” (ugh) but I went anyway because I felt really nice. The air (through my mask) felt nice in the mornings and that’s when I met Rambo in the road behind my house. He was a bratty little thing and I had only met him for the second time when he refused to leave me. I was so exhausted trying to run away from him. He lived partially in one of the houses where I’d first met him and he was all in for following me! For that little while, it felt like all was right in the world. Before I had go back to my bleak reality, of course.

The first picture was the first day I met him. He sat in the middle of the road, mindless of the traffic so I lured him to a side of the road and petted him a little. The second picture was taken probably a couple of weeks later by Akka. Rambo was teething, I guess, and my leggings and leg and my sandals probably were the perfect texture to ease his pain. But I found him a nice little stick so I distracted him and ran away.

After a few more weeks, I found a different route to walk, a little away from home but in the same area. There, sitting on a tree stump, were 4 plump, cute puppies. When I approached them, they growled at me. Their mother was also fiercely protective so I didn’t bother them that much. But whenever I go walking, they’re always there. Someone made a little resting spot for them behind a wall and they are usually around, playing. They’ve grown big now, but it feels nice to have seen them in the process.

That little on scared me off XD

More recently, when I went walking, Amma gave me a couple of left over chapatis from the previous night to feed some of the dogs on my way. There were plenty. I chose a place at random and tore up the chapatis into smaller bits and left it for a couple of dogs here and there. They didn’t eat while I was there so I walked on. After a while I noticed I was being followed. It was one of the dogs I had fed and refused to eat the chapatis. I had to cross the road at one point so I crossed it with him (yes, I had known by then) and he walked with me. For all the 40 minutes of my walk, he was behind me. Except, at one point, he refused to go further. I think it was an unfriendly territory, by the looks that the other dogs gave him so I changed my route and we walked in the same route for a while before heading back. When we reached the spot where I had met him, he didn’t care. He just followed me. I stopped by a store to buy biscuits for him and I broke some and fed some and then got up to leave while he was eating. And he still followed me! He followed me all the way home and then I went inside my building. I didn’t want to leave him but he wasn’t made to be indoors (even if I was allowed to take him in) but when I came out to feed him, he was gone. I never saw him again in that route.

He was so nice, not demanding anything, just following me around

At this point, I’m pretty used to feeding and even petting stray dogs. The dogs in my road are still very wary and I’ve almost never seen them. But we do keep them food a few nights a week so I don’t feel too bad about not interacting with them after nearly 8 years of living in this area.

I like that I had so many little fur balls in my life, for however little time. I’m grateful for all of them and will carry this feeling of safety and bliss and pure love around in my heart for as long as I can.

A toothless old woman

Song of the post: I’m Serious by Day6

TW// Dentist, mentions of blood, slight anxiety, needles, injection

I’m being dramatic. I got one (1) tooth extracted and I am mourning its loss by saying I’ve become a toothless old hag. It’s funnier in Kannada, I swear.

I know nobody likes Dentists but I’ve always been more or less indifferent. The first few times (like years ago) when I had visited a dental college, they never addressed the issue that I had. They always went on to saying how I needed more fillings or braces or some stuff like that. I stopped going. I didn’t even have a lot of tooth problems.

Until a few weeks ago. My right jaw hurt too much. I kept thinking it was probably the cold and I kept downing hot coffee (since I needed to warm myself up, hehe) and wrapped myself in a warm shawl and walked around the house in rainbow patterned socks and faded, fluffy pink house slippers (with eyes like in the Simpsons). I didn’t realize it was a toothache until one day that it hurt so bad that my right cheek was swollen. I pressed a hot pack to my cheek that day and I understood a different kind of pain.

Pappa had identified a new dentist. One of his “connections”. Akka and Amma had testified that he was really nice and wonderful and I finally got Pappa to get me an appointment. I took a sick day off of work (this girl is earning money people! More on that later, promise) and that night before, I had a conversation with Akka that went something like this:

Me: Akka, what if they have to remove my teeth?

Akka: It’ll be fine. You won’t even know.

Me: But what if they remove all of my teeth? How will I eat chicken and chakli and-

Akka: *glares* Please sleep.

The following morning, when the doctor came and he took a quick X-ray of the part where my tooth hurt, he declared it was my wisdom tooth growing and said it’s best to remove it. He said it would be better to remove it and Pappa did his signature face tilt that said, go ahead, no problem.

He also did not lost the opportunity to make a joke. “Let’s take the wisdom out of my daughter,” (implying that I would lose whatever little wisdom I already had. Dads, I tell you.)

I signed a form and as I lay back almost horizontally on the reclining chair, my legs vibrated with an intensity that I had never felt before. I clenched on a piece of tissue I had gotten earlier while the doctor injected the anaesthesia. I asked him if it will hurt and he earnestly said, “If you feel anything after the anaesthesia, I will not remove your tooth,”

I did not feel a thing. Even when he put in a couple of different contraptions to remove my tooth, I felt nothing but the pull of his movements. When it finally came out, a small pool of blood in the kidney bowl, I did not even feel the loss of the tooth.

I was told to eat ice cream once (eye roll, but then again, throat issues if I ate too much UGH) and take medications and Pappa paid and then we were out. All of this took less than an hour and to say I was surprised is an understatement. I’ve known people roam around to the dentist at least 3 times before they got a tooth pulled out. To celebrate the loss of my tooth, I made Pappa drive me to the art store so I could buy watercolour paper.

It’s been a couple of days since, and I’ve been feeling the loss slightly more and more by the day. It’s more that I feel the loss of the pain that came with it than the tooth itself. And now that I can eat pretty normally, I’m using the “toothless old woman” card to get out of eating things I don’t like. And I have backup for it (AKA Akka) who has taken it upon herself to personally call me a toothless old woman when I refuse to eat something.

Amma has had it enough. She might shove food down my throat if I play this card again. Until then, I shall push.

Ouran High School Host Club

Song of the post: Tango Brilliante for Orchestra (from the OST of the anime)

I like to categorize anime like this: a) the ones that I discovered; b) the ones recommended to me during my early anime years by seasoned Otakus; c) the ones that were more recently recommended to me; d) the ones that I ignore because I am too lazy to commit; e) the ones that need a season 2.

Ouran High School Host Club belongs to the categories b through e. Usually when an anime is lighthearted or small (one or two seasons) there’s a lot more to it in the manga so I think, I’ll just read the manga.

I end up never reading it. It’s happened plenty of times. Alice Academy, Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama! are some amazing, cute and hilarious anime, which only has a season or two but I’ve heard that the manga is more brilliant. I start it but I end up having no patience to read it. Ouran High School… was one of them.

But recently, (as I don’t seem to shut up about it) I have dedicated myself to fanfiction. My friend Nat (you may know her as the one who has made me some amazing mood boards, found here, here, and here.) wanted me to read this one particular fanfic of BTS set in the Ouran High School World. She strongly suggested that I watch the anime first (at least the first episode) before reading it and I did.

And I was hooked.

And I chastised myself for being an idiot to dismiss this anime as some lame, shoujo romance.

This anime’s weapon is to play with your feelings. Humour, predominantly, laced with literally everything else on the emotional spectrum. The animation was exaggerated at times and it felt like we were in a comic book, with all the reactions in a box at the bottom of the screen, the constant arrow marks, the dreamy undertones during certain scenes, the questionable antics and the characters. It was an absolute delight to watch it.

It probably doesn’t seem like it but the characters have good back stories to them. Each unlikely as the next, but perhaps the most surprising one was Honey-senpai’s and Kyoya’s stories. But the Hiitachi twins, Kaouru and Hikari’s story moved me to tears. Tamaki’s was also pretty well-thought of. Haruhi’s story, as cliched and plain as might sound, was also nice. They each have their own thing to battle, each with a past of their own, each with sorting out their own feelings in their own. It was a very refreshing aspect in general, even though that’s how most character-driven plots work. I think it’s more about the eccentricities of the characters that made me like it so much.

Overall, it was a complete delight to watch. I had a blast laughing and crying and face-palming and cooing and oohing and wondering where all these rich people live and how I can casually run into them. But that’s just me. Maybe you’ll not like it and maybe you’ll love it more than me. Either way, the boys will definitely steal your heart and refuse to return it because they are stubborn assholes like that. But they will be your stubborn assholes, that’s for sure.

9/10 recommended, purely based on how entertaining it was.

A sort of self-portrait

Song of the post: Ocean by Even Of Day (Day6)

If you’ve known me for sometime, in real life or online, you would probably know about my fascination (read as: obsession) of hands. I have written about it a few times, one of which is here. I’m here to take it up a notch.

Ever since that first time I had asked Akka to paint my nails for me, I’ve been applying it now and then, in a similar fashion. My ultimate goal in life right now is to find the perfect shade of glitter–no, shimmer– nail polishes for my nails. And once, on a boring night when Amma, Akka and I had simply gone out for fresh air and impromptu shopping at one of the nicer brands, I found one of them. The shimmer nail polish. Naturally, Akka bought it for me.

It’s in a grape color, violet, not green and even with the shimmer, it dries off leaving a matte-finish, which for some reason, I found it to be oddly satisfying. And with the combination of a regular, pink glitter one that I had once bought from Miniso, it went well. Too well. Well enough for me write this post, actually.

On one particularly nice and sunny day, my hand felt really good out in the Sun so I asked Akka to take a picture of my hand, like that. Basking in the sun. I wanted to make a dramatic pose, but I don’t think my hand was ready for it. Everything I tried in front of me looked too shaky, like my hand was nervous, and the beauty of the nail polish was lost. So, I went with what I knew best: simple and straightforward.

The picture of my hand that I wanted

And it’s a regular hand. Nothing very glamorous about it. I don’t have inch-long nails, or long, slender fingers, or even toned skin, or even straight fingers. It’s just a hand. But it was my hand. Overworked, less-loved, side-lined and overlooked, like the older dolls you’ve had forever and decide not to keep them for Dasara. Except, there is nothing new or shiny that has replaced my hand. I’ve never loved my hand like it deserves to be loved.

When I saw this picture, I immediately wanted to make it more mine. What better way to do that than to paint it myself? So, I painted it.

The sort of self-portrait of my hand

It’s a bit exaggerated. The lighting of it is all wrong and the nail paint on my ring finger is barely seen. But when I painted it, it felt like I was pouring all my love into it. It felt like I was trying to show my hand how much I love and appreciate it, for doing all that it does. So, I promptly fell in love with my hand.

I call it a “Sort of Self-Portrait” because, apart from the technicality that it is my hand that I painted, which counts as a self-portrait, it’s also such a vital part of me. Hands can tell you the stories of people, if you look closely enough. Just like each scar on your body has a story of its own, each line, each wrinkle, each scab that has closed and opened numerous times, each bump on the skin, each irregularity in the skin tone, has its own story.

And since then, I’ve tried and listened to my hand more often. Sometimes, when I sleep wrong, or when I just need to take a break, my hand starts hurting. My fingers tremble with the effort of lifting a spoon and that day, I know. It’s been too hard. I apply some oil, massage it a little (myself or someone at home) and then straight to bed. Scrolling through Twitter or catching up on my fanfiction on AO3 or reading a few chapters of the Percy Jackson book I was currently on is a big no-no. My hand deserves better. It deserves rest. So the rest of my body rests, too.

I keep thinking about how, if I just spread this kind of wonder and amazement to the rest of my body. It took me 23 years to figure out how to love my hand and I figure it’ll take me longer for the rest of my body. But I’m hoping, maybe one day, sometime in the future, that I’ll be able to. Until then, I will shower my hand with all the love and care it deserves, even when it’s not screaming for it.

6 Years.

Song of the post: Thanks to by Day6 (Even of Day)

Every year, I prepare mentally in advance as to what to write in this mandatory, yearly post. And every year, I never write what I think, or want to. So I don’t know how this post will go. If you stick around for long enough, maybe you’ll find out where it’ll go.

I can’t remember when I began writing but it was at a young age. When I hit college, I fell in love with writing. The words, the ability of them to make me feel so many emotions in a single sentence, the power the writer holds when they write these words, all of it and more. And that’s when I got serious about me being a “writer” in whatever sense because back then, all I wanted to do was write. I didn’t have a specific focus on what I wanted to write. I just loved stories but I wasn’t very good at them. I learnt a lot in college and even though that helped me immensely in the non-fiction aspect of writing, AKA by blogs and my thoughts in general, I guess I’ve always leaned towards writing single bite stories that makes you feel all kinds of things and leaves you satisfied. And I have been trying, for the longest time but something always fell flat. So I hadn’t, in some time.

Until recently, I picked it back up. It began with me reading a BTS fanfiction (I’ve been reading a LOT of them and let me tell you, when I say they inspired me, they INSPIRED me.) and having a slight daydream about someone going on dates to find out the one they were looking for had been here the whole time (Did you sing it in Taylor Swift’s You Belong with me? Don’t lie). Then, the ideas rained on me like Bengaluru’s rains. There were times I woke up from sleep to jot down ideas for my existing, ongoing projects from forever. I also have a bunch of very supporting friends who have always read my stuff and gushed their appreciation to me. It has kept me going.

I know a lot of talented artists (painters, sketchers, writers, artists of all kinds) are very wary of showing their art to the world. A lot of people I know write very well but their words are for them. On the contrary, I’ve been very wary of putting my fiction out to the world. Writing out my heart and soul has never been a problem. It’s a bit strange, even for me. But I think I have finally gained enough confidence to put my fictional words out of my head and into the black void of internet.

On my other blog which was originally meant for all of my fiction work, I have begun posting again. Every fortnight, I have been posting a completed short fiction that I’ve recently written. And even though the reception is just regular, I feel lighter. It feels nice to put myself out there and not worry about being scrutinized or criticized. I do that enough myself anyway. And I can’t believe it took me around 6 years to figure this shit out.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. And it feels exhilarating when I finish the first draft, when I finish the rewrite, when I hit publish. I’ve been going at it for a couple of months now and I’ve had a lot of ideas and yesterday, as I was jotting down an idea, out of nowhere I thought, “What if the ideas stop?”

Then I calmed myself down. It might happen, not going to lie. What if this is the break I get and exhaust all of my abilities? But that’s not how it works, does it? The more you use, the better it gets. I took a deep breath and continued.

I think that’s sort of how I feel with this blog sometimes, too. I don’t think the human kind can ever run out of words to things to say but as individuals, churning out words and ideas can and will burn you out. So, it’s okay. If you feel drained, take a step back. If you feel tired, take a step back. If you feel uninspired or unmotivated or overwhelmed or simply not enough, take a step back. Breathe. Things will be okay.

And thank you for all those who have stuck around for 6 years with me. I always say this every year, I didn’t expect to reach this number. Will I reach 7 next year? I don’t know for sure but I know that I do want to. So, cheers to hope in this dreary and despicable year.

Relaxing? What’s that?

Song of the post: For Me by Day6

It has come to my attention that I, in fact, do not know how to relax and have forgotten how to have fun.

Yesterday, I was pretty productive. It’s one of those rare days where you feel good and inspired to do everything that you weren’t able to do for the past few days. I worked on this fiction piece, I painted, I embroidered, scheduled a post for today, exercised, watched an episode of a show with Akka, spoke to my friend and looked for jobs. It was a rather busy day. And these are all the things that I genuinely enjoy doing (except for the job hunting, that always drains you out). But at the end of it, I was drained and tired. Had I done too much? But it also didn’t feel like a total burn out. More like “take a break, you dumb dodo”.

I have taken up this challenge called the #100heads4weeks where I draw/sketch/paint 100 heads in a span of 4 weeks. I’m doing it with a bunch of people on Instagram and even though I knew it was going to be tough and challenging, I just found it so intimidating that I didn’t even try and put pencil to paper. It was only yesterday, and because of all the encouragement from the people I’m doing it with that I could finish 2 whole heads. I’m rather proud of them!

For a while now, I have been eyeing my favourite pair of jeans to spruce it up a little and decided to embroider a pastel, earthy rainbow! So I went with Akka and bought some threads and began making them. While the whole process of it is monotonous and meant to be relaxing, it has somehow left me drained. I could only finish one colour and my back and shoulder ached by the end of it.

I have a lot of art journal spreads planned and several more in dire need of finishing. But the thought of it makes me want to sit and stare into a wall for eternity. I don’t like this feeling. This feeling of finishing a spread and instead of happy during and after, I end up, “what next?”

So, I had decided that I will take a relaxing day off today. Nothing stressful. I’m not going to do anything that I feel like I “have” to. Only wants today. Then I made a list of all the things that helps me feel nice and relaxing. It looks like this:

  • Read/Re-read: Nothing is more relaxing than re-reading your old favourites and feeling all the feels and wanting to throw your book against the wall. So relaxing.
  • Paint tiny canvases: I will make another clouds painting, but this time of the night sky. I have cute AF canvas that I’m looking forward to paint!
  • Write a blog post: Duh. Always helps.
  • Plan a painting?: No, not today.
  • Finish spreads!: Maybe.
  • Plan a spread: Maybe my September bujo? I really do like the theme I have in mind so I might just make that.
  • Aimlessly doodle: Somehow, I’ve never been a doodler. I always have something in mind that I want to do and it’s never because I like to see the ink flowing on paper. It’s something that I’d like to develop. Will it be relaxing? I don’t know. It’s worth a shot though.

Watching Kiki’s Delivery Service and painting has helped me chill and relax before. Perhaps I should try that. I just want to stay off from my phone a bit.

What does a relaxing day off look like to you? Do let me know so that I can add it to the list of my things!

What a Monday

Song of the post: Moonchild by RM (Because what other way to celebrate the nearly 97 #1’s of this amazing, amazing album, right?)

Days have blurred away for me, not knowing what day is when until the weekend is here or Monday, and it’s only because of Akka (because she works from home) and this ongoing k-drama, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (please watch it, it’s really good so far).

Today morning was just like any other day, but I had to visit the doctor and grab some essentials so I was excited for going out. I have barely left the house since the pandemic so every little outing cheers me up. It’s a chance I get to see my city in whatever state it is in. But that was not the only thing that made my day already in the morning.

Jae (eaJ) from Day6 released his newest song, Pacman, early in the morning. It is one of his finest works yet and it is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. After that, I chatted with Sharanya for a while and she gave me ideas for a painting today (which I will get on to once I finish this). Then, as I scrolled through my daily emails with emotions of a piece of bread, I saw an email from a long-distance pen-pal. I haven’t gone through it yet but it had been so long that I had missed her emails and telling her so many things about my life and learning so much about another person living thousands of kilometers away. I ran a mental list of all the things that was new since I had emailed her and there was so much, given the pandemic and all. That was another thing.

Even the visit to the doctor couldn’t dampen my mood today. I was told to be more physically active but I enjoyed talking to the doctor herself. Then we got the things we needed for home and went looking for poster paints.

July is World Watercolor Month and I have decided to paint a painting every single day. I generally put it up on my Instagram and I haven’t missed a day. I will not say ‘yet’ because I don’t plan on missing it at all. It also includes water mediums like gouache. But since I cannot afford to buy gouache paints right now, I decided to use poster paints as a replacement. It has worked wonderfully so far but I had some peculiar colors and barely any white. I had gone looking for it around my house for the past two weeks, with no results. But today, I discovered this one store which was literally called Paradise. I was in heaven. I didn’t want to browse too much right then but I found what I needed and SO. MUCH. MORE. It was like that shop near college in Bombay, but a lot better. I got what I needed and dashed out but the person who was helping me answered a lot of my questions and in the end he went, “We can get you everything.” There was so much conviction and belief that I really do believe him.

And then we went home.

I realized I needed to write this down because I will treasure this day for a long time. During the bad days, the spiraling becomes uncontrollable and there’s a certain state that you refuse to leave because you simply can’t. It’s those days that have become more frequent and I want to remember this day during those times. Nothing deterred me today, nothing put me off, nothing disappointed me. I want to hold this day as a sort of example, sort of hope, that there will be nicer days, that this feeling won’t last because even the happier ones didn’t. And it’s okay for the bad days to happen because otherwise, how would we appreciate such a simple, mundane, chore-filled day?

(Getting back into) Reading

Song of the post: Moon, 12:04 AM by offonoff

I need to write this before I get sucked into the 3rd book of the trilogy.

The past two years were the worst reading years ever. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t pick up a book. I did; I read in between classes, I read in boring classes, I made it a point to read something but it didn’t stick for too long. I went months without reading and I didn’t feel a thing. It’s not just the reading I missed. I missed feeling the words. I missed the excitement I felt when I picked up a new book. I missed the book community. I missed adding on to my TBR pile. I missed crying and laughing and gasping as the story went on. I missed looking up from a book and getting pulled back into reality and groaning. I missed living in written words and fantasy worlds.

I thought, maybe I’ll let this slump wash over me. Sometimes the best thing to do in slumps is to let it get to you. I have learned that the hard way. The more you push, the stronger it gets until you have to give in with a much heavier heart. Instead of that, why not give in and take a break in the beginning where you don’t have to feel guilty for it? So I let it, even though I tried to read because without no word input, there would be no word output and that scared me the most. A huge part of me was not worried much, though. I knew I would get back into it eventually but it was a matter of when. I was tired of waiting for the day when I picked up a book and did not want to put it back down.

For my birthday in March, Akka got me books, like she usually does. I had specifically asked for fantasy books because it had been a good, long while since I read a good one (or anything, for that matter) so she had gotten me a couple of Brandon Sanderson books and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I was pretty excited about this one because back when it was released, it was really popular and I’d heard nothing but good things about it. After I had submitted my dissertation, I decided to pick it up one fine day, thinking, maybe I’m ready.

I was not, clearly. A couple of pages in, I paused and picked it at the oddest times. This was somewhere in the middle of April and I remember speaking to Indu about it when we realized we were both reading the same book and we were both struggling to get back into it. At that point I had reached the part where it was just getting interesting so I decided to keep reading. It took me till the end of May to actually become completely involved and overtaken by it. And I have loved every minute of it.

I have always loved V.E. Schwab’s writing, although I’m not very fond of her book This Savage Song. There was something very unsettling about it. But A Darker Shade of Magic was different. It took some time for me to understand the world, for the book itself to build the world and get the plot going. But once it began, I decided it was going to be worth it and I was right.

I was almost towards the end of the book when I decided I needed the other two parts but I didn’t want to order from Amazon during these trying times. That day at noon, I called one of the bookshops that I had heard was doing home deliveries and I had the books in my hand within the next hour. When I went to fetch my book from the delivery person, I was jumping. The road outside my house had been (still is) dug up so there were piles of mud and parts of road all around but I went dodging it and jumping over barricades and some of my neighbours told me to be careful and I could only smile at them in my excitement. When I had the books finally, I hugged them close and felt a sort of peace. I think the peace came from finally feeling excitement at the thought of reading. And I have been relishing it every minute. All of my other art projects are on pause for the moment and I can’t remember the last time I dropped everything just so I could read.

I don’t know how long this will last. I’m not going to bank on the fact that it’ll be with me forever and such. But I will take what I can get, even if it is only for this trilogy.