Posted in Art, Family, Me, Writing

Sam and Pari

Happy birthday, Sam!

When they say “opposites attract”, they don’t just mean it for people who are romantically involved with each other. It also holds good for “soul-sisters” which is just exactly what Sam and I are. Where I am all too-sweet and smiley most of the times to most people, Sam is sassy and sarcastic and real to everyone; she will tell you exactly how you made her feel without fear; I love and admire and also maybe a little bit jealous of this the most.

The day of the orientation is a strange day for all Environmental Science students, with all the students’ faces, eyes wide, lips unmoving, screaming one emotion: what is happening? Prabhakar sir conducts a small “ice-breaker” for us to get to know each other to get through the day. The seniors also talk with us and give us snacks, which is one of the many traditions of the department. After the general introduction — names, where we were from and what we hoped to become— there were two things that we all do in that ice-breaker session: one – stand in two concentric circles, place one of your hands on top of the person’s standing in front of you, look into their eyes, and talk.

Two – A skit. Sir told us two stories. One was about the eagle and the chickens and the other about the caterpillars who went on pilgrimage. And only half of those stories were told. We were supposed to complete it and enact it with no dialogues, as a team with a bunch of people we just met.

It was an awkward situation for all of us. I didn’t know anybody, nobody knew me, so I just slunk into a group which later, I remembered, was with Smriti, Indu, Passang and Sam and someone else— probably Jyothi.

We chose the caterpillar story and somehow, we did it. After the “act”, my seat was gone and I ended up sitting next to this long-haired girl that I hadn’t come across in the concentric circle introduction, but was in the skit group with me. She looked at me with huge eyes, put her hand to her chest and said, “Hi, I’m Samudyatha,” slowly and carefully, so I could get her name the first time — as I understood later. I smiled at her; her accent seemed like mine, laced with Kannada and I knew we’d fit. Everybody else I had talked to all day had accents that seemed different to me; more alien, more high-standard, more spontaneous, more…English-y and I kept thinking, maybe I’m the only one here. And my confidence levels were not too high that day.

Her number was the first that I put on my brand new Nokia 525 that day. I spelled her name right on the first try and her name, till date, doesn’t have “SJC” next to it. It’s not like I’d find another Samudyatha in my life. And definitely no one like her.

Sam and I have lots of mental lists: the “ugh” list, the “how-do-you-know-them” list, the “what-is-she-wearing-and-why-even” list and the famous “hate” list. Up until third year, I would point to someone and say, “I hate that person.” She would laugh and ask why. I would say that I don’t know; or I couldn’t remember. Sometimes, she would agree. Other times, I would agree with her choice of person of hatred, usually someone extraordinarily obnoxious. But if we were asked to write a list, we wouldn’t be able to. I don’t even know half the people’s names and I can’t remember the half that I do know. But if I ever face them again, on the planet or on my screen, my heart would just know.

Orange is her favourite colour, black coming a close second. She and Indu are favourite-colour buddies. They usually go on about how they don’t get clothes of their favourite colour when I try to slink into my desk and go unnoticed. This was true and untrue for me: I don’t like pink but I own a good amount of pink clothes, but I love blue and white, and clothes in these colours aren’t very hard to find and I make it a point not to buy them. Sam wore an orange and black short top over black pants for her first birthday in college. Hers was the first birthday we ever celebrated, complete with a small black forest cake from our omnipresent Surya bakery, and a tiny blue card that I made, with a black and orange cake at one corner. What a coincidence.

The second time I’d ever performed slam poetry was during Pratibha of 2016. The theme was “The World Through Your Eyes”, and I’d written about Bangalore, of course, and I’d written my poem in class a few minutes before and I’d shown it to her. She loved it. Stage fright isn’t all that new to me but when I did freeze up, just two lines into my poem, I looked at Sam sitting right in front of me, two rows deep, with Prince, Arun, Smriti and DJ; a familiar, reassuring face. But it was more than that; she prompted me my own poem, when the only copy was in my hands. Determined not to disappoint her, I gathered myself quickly, and performed without anymore frights.

During second year, our zoology practical labs were very easy. We studied the same things in theory also. It isn’t anything new; it happens all three years, but this particular year was different. Three hour labs were stretched to the point where all of us were asleep by 4. Including the teacher. We decided to take utmost advantage of it: Sam began learning photography. Prince used to carry his camera a lot back then, because of some or the other frequent events; either he was asked to cover it or he simply brought it on a whim. On Wednesday afternoons, during lab time, after our half hour lecture on the topic, and another half hour for our records, we were forced to stay at least till 3:30. Prince goes over the basics and she clicks whatever she fancies. Sometimes, I model for her. When I had received my first ever physical book for reviewing, I had taken it to college — to take pictures of it, of course — and she took it with me holding it, all smiles, my hair coming undone with that flimsy clip that I was wearing but not caring anyway. She still uses that picture for my caller id on her phone.

One particular Friday during February in our third year was very nasty for her. She’d come only in the second period and when I looked at her face, something was wrong. I felt like we had reached that level where we could gauge each other’s moods with just one look.

In zoology classes, the most unfortunate thing of us sitting in the first bench happened all the time, from the first year till the last. One day, sometime in the second year, Sam, Prince, DJ and I snagged the last bench in one of the “strict” (read as: fake-intimidating and spiteful) teacher’s class. When he didn’t find us in the first bench, he called us front, with a disapproving look on his face. Sam and I hated it. We couldn’t take another class but somehow, we had to survive the rest of the year and the next year. We bunked that teacher’s class the next week. Sometimes, even the goody good ones need a breather. Sam hardly ever bunked classes, but she never missed an opportunity. She and I bunked the same teacher’s class in third year; just that class, which we hardly ever did. Prince and DJ refused; being boys, they couldn’t afford to fall 0.1 % on their attendance. She just rolls her eyes and we walk down towards the quadrangle, to our adda.

After a few initial shocks, she has gotten used to mine and Indu’s bouts of fangirling. At some point, after I was introduced to Colleen Hoover by Indu and fallen in love with her books, it was Sam’s turn. She fell irrevocably in love with CoHo’s books and writing, especially the book Confess. Soon, she also joined our little “fangirling” sessions wherever Colleen Hoover was involved.

Whenever I’m stuck drawing, in my record or in any of the Christmas cards that I make every year, she draws them for me, without a second thought. She point-blank refuses to draw for Darshan, even when he flashes his “charming” smile. She was the first person that I thought of when the idea of keeping an arts and crafts stall during Nirvaan first, then later Meta. She and I made the perfect team: we shared ideas and did some of the crafts not-so-secretly in class.

Besides sharing love and passion towards saving the environment, there was a mutual love and penchant for the arts and crafts and cribbing about people and boring classes. Third year Tuesdays were the worst. After a whole morning of classes, without breaks, we had our dissertation lab right after lunch. That lab was all thinking and not much working because in the initial days, our group hadn’t gone sampling yet and all we had to do was sit and read up or get long lectures by Prabs about how we’re lagging behind.

She’s my tea-coffee partner; my advisory; I can burn food for her and she’d still eat it happily because I made it for her. She’s the one I go to when I’m really happy or really sad. There’s an open honesty about her that makes you want to trust her. The first month I met her, I barely knew her, but deep in my bones, I was right: she is more than a friend or a best friend even. She’s a sister to me.

This is the first year since the last three years that we haven’t celebrated her birthday together. She has this smartness to her, like a sniffer dog or a metal detector; she knows when we’re hiding something. It isn’t easy, the hiding, since we’re almost always together, but we make it work. One of my biggest dreams is to give her the perfect birthday, and I hope I can do that when we’re not studying together.

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Posted in Art, Me, Writing

Time-off

Lately, whenever I sit down to paint or write, feeling all motivated and pumped, the feeling is quickly dampened by one huge negative thought: why am I doing this?

And more than the question itself being negative, the answers are. I am not good enough at painting. I don’t make good enough art. I don’t write well enough. I feel totally and utterly useless and worthless.

I know we all have these phases. I have them quite often and I’ve put those “episodes” of creative block up here on my blog. But this time, it feels worse.

Every time I sit down to paint, I look up for some inspiration, I think that I shouldn’t make art anymore because I will never get there. I will never inspire people through my art and I think, where will I end up? Even if I keep practising to get better, what is the use of all of this? Why am I moving forward? What’s pushing me?

I don’t know. I honestly have no clue. I’d lined up a few ideas for my blog posts here and I can’t type beyond the first few words. I’m falling behind in so many things it feels like my life is going backwards.

There was an episode of Jules and James where Jules had a sort of a creative block. James suggested that they do things apart from their passions; James had to avoid painting and Jules had to cease from writing or reading for a week. And I thought, huh. Will this actually work?

Time to test it.

As soon as I reach 300 posts, or February (whichever is the earliest) I will cease from blogging. On all three blogs. Poetry, books and life. Every time I get the urge to put up a post, I will write it down by hand and wait for at least two weeks to pass. I will also try to avoid social media, especially Pinterest, because as much as I love it, it also drives me crazy.

I will do what I do best: watch films, shows, paint my heart out, not worry about having pretty and expensive watercolours, not worry about my mediocre art skills and read. Maybe write also, but we’ll see.

Posted in Me

Exam nervousness

I’d almost forgotten how it was to write an exam that your future depended on. Almost.

On Saturday, the Jan 6th, I wrote an entrance for the only university that I applied to this year. And I was nervous.

Two days before the exam was the worst. I studied a bit, but then I knew I was nervous because I couldn’t sleep. I knew I couldn’t, so I spent the first hour of “trying” to sleep by listening to some music. I’ve always done that. It calms me down and distracts me from the ever-present feeling of impending doom.

But on the day of the exam, I don’t feel anything. This is an aptitude test. You’re supposed to be able to solve many of the questions with knowledge from school and a few of them with instincts.

Pappa was with me (as he always is for any entrance exams for me or Akka) and he bought me tea to help me calm down. It did. Also the fact that I made eye contact with a cute stranger helped.

So I took a deep breath, expelling out all those negative notions in me that says that something will go wrong, and got started on my test. I didn’t care that there were more than 300 people writing this test with me at the same location; nor the fact that if i don’t ace this, I don’t know what the future lies ahead. I just read my questions, chose my answers and thanked whoever it was that set the paper that there was no negative marking.

 

Posted in Art, Me

2018 Bullet Journalling

I’m running out of ideas to blog (I know there’s still that 100 things thingy, but not motivated enough to write that) so I am back with another Bullet Journal post! Last December, in 2016, I began bullet journalling, in the hopes that my life may get a little more organized. It was quite organized, but more than that, it was extremely fun and creative. There’s a lot of rubbish, too, but mostly I had fun. I kept thinking of new themes and layouts for every month and week, and my art skills have also improved so much. I’m really proud of it.

But this year, because my old spiral bound book got over and had use a new one, I decided to use a dotted notebook. Dotted notebooks are so much prettier and there’s no limit as to what you can do. I decided to keep a minimalism theme, using just black and little colour here and there. No intricate designs as of now, but who knows in the coming months?

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Namaskara 2018” The Kannada version of Namaste 

The only bit of colour is the front page. I wanted to start off with a positive note, and I was really happy with how the wreath came out. But then I ruined it with the flowers. Anyway, moving on.

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2018 Calendar 

Keeping it simple is not as easy as it looks. The precision is very important, which is why I had to tear out the first calendar I made.

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I made this page last year, too! I kept it the same way as last time, but instead of using colour, I just kept it monochrome, which looks so much better, might I add?

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This is also a log to keep track of all the films that I’ve watched because I’ll be going to BIFFES (Bengaluru International Film Festival) so this will help me remember. Again, really happy with this one.

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It’s a good thing this year started off on a Monday, right? This is the first time I drew a calendar like this, so in February, I’m thinking of squeezing it in width and expanding it in height, so I can have squarish boxes, instead of rectangular ones.

Also my goals seem quite realistic. I will dedicate more time to my baby.

That’s it for now! I’ll probably update on it, every month or so, but lets see.

Do you keep a bullet journal? Do you like organizing? Do you journal, in general? Do let me know! I’d love to hear what you do!

Posted in Bengaluru, Me, Weekend Coffee Share

Weekend Coffee Share #19

Technically, this becomes a weekday post because it is already New Year where I live, so Happy New Year!

This could’ve been 20 or 21 but my lazy bum didn’t feel like typing anything much, even if I did want to reach my mark of 300 posts before the end of the year. Oh well.

2017 was a very unexpected year. The first half just whizzed by because I had college, and man, I miss college. I miss all the cribbing, the lab, the lunch, the banyan tree, the movies and of course, all my peeps. Leaving was hard, but we had to accept it, unless I wanted to study masters there only, which I didn’t.

And then my unexpected break came. I had a load of things to do in my break and I couldn’t achieve a single one of them. But there were other things that I did, though. I wrote a lot of poetry and did a lot of art. I’m really proud of that. I also read a lot, but there’s nothing new there. I wish I had blogged more, though. I just keep running out of things to say and even when I sit down to write, I can’t.

I also began Freelancing. It’s quite slow and I have only one client, but it pays okay. It provides for some expenses that I can’t keep asking my family for. By next year, I hope to have more clients, and make it a little steadier.

I can’t think what to write about my year, right now, at least. I’m a little tipsy so I can’t think straight, but tomorrow or day after, I will rehash my entire year (and bore you all to death! mwhahahaha). But for now, this week. Beginning from Christmas Eve.

On Sunday, Christmas Eve, I went and met Nithya. She lived on the other end of the city and I had a good day. Nithya and I spent the whole afternoon just sitting and talking. I can’t remember half the things we spoke about, but I had a really good day. Later that evening, I met my family at MG Road, where my mother wanted to see the lights on Brigade Road. It was really nice! The lights were full and very pretty.

Christmas was such an amazing day. Apart from the book I got from the Bookstagrammers annual Christmas Bookswap, I got so many more gifts from my sister. I swear, nobody else has such an awesome sister. She got me this really pretty edition of Emma, a Magnus Bane candle, a Harry Potter T shirt, a Patronus badge and a Totoro mug. She just knows me SO Well. Whereas I got her Alicia Souza’s (a Bangalore based illustrator whose illustrations are very cute) Happy Girls are the Prettiest calendar. Lame, I know. But she also bought an iPhone7, so it is my responsibility to buy her phone covers. I’ll go broke but if it makes her happy, that’s all I want.

After Christmas day, my family and went to Chitradurga, randomly. More on that later.

On the 30th, I met up with Parvathi (my bae over at Queen Talks) and Poorvi for some bookshopping and lunch. It was another great day. Then we went to drop my cousin off at the airport, who was leaving to Malaysia with her husband.

New Year’s eve was uneventful as usual. But Pappa made us a glass of cocktail so that was nice.

This was my whole week. I probably missed some parts, but, eh. Doesn’t matter.

Happy New Year! DO you have resolutions? Do tell me everything!

Posted in Bengaluru, Me

The Black Staircase #3

Naveen was supposed to take a picture of the staircase for me, but he does is fly crows. I also noticed the staircase is a metal framework, painted a nice, dark blue that matches a clear night, with black marble steps. So, technically, it ought to be Blue Staircase, but I like Black Staircase better.

This was also supposed to be #2, but I never got around to writing that one. So this is it for now.

Last Sunday, Naveen and I saw Yeshas for what may be the last time in a long time. I don’t know when we’ll see him again. He’s going off to Indian Airforce Academy at the end of December, for a year and half and then who knows? So we decided to meet. But do what? was the question. Yeshas suggested we watch a play at Ranga Shankara. Yes, why not?

The play was called “The Woman In Me”, directed by Pawan Kumar. THis guy is also a film director and I love his films, Lucia and U-Turn. He is also Naveen’s favourite director.

So on Saturday, I went to the post office (which was un-operational to the public) and bought tickets because I was the closest to it, and on Sunday afternoon, I went.

There was a long line to get into the auditorium. The boys were already there so I joined them in line. We stood in the line for about 15 minutes, and when there was 15 minutes left for the play to start, we were slowly ushered in. We found seats off one side, and the auditorium slowly filled up. It actually looked house full, with a few spare seats off the sides and corners.

The play was not what I expected it to be. I expected something along the lines of a man realizing his own thoughts and how his inner self is a woman and what that woman says and things like that. But that was not it. Totally different. But it was nice. A little too intense for me, but I took it like a champ. The overall story was really sad, though.

Then, like usual, we went out to eat something. I suggested ice cream, but the boys dismissed the idea. Then I took them around to an area where they had a small line of chats. We each had a vada pav and a tikki puri. I went in one direction the boys went in the other.

An afternoon well spent.

Posted in Me, Writing

Winters in Bangalore

I know and understand that ‘Winter’ is cold season and I shouldn’t be complaining, but I’m just noticing how the weather is since I’m at home most of the time, for the first time ever.

Winters in Bangalore are annoying. They’re more than just annoying; they are irksome and maddening to the extreme. They crack your lips and your fingertips and toe tips feel cold all the time and your skin itches if you haven’t moisturized it and if you have sensitive teeth you can’t drink normal water. All through it, the sun keeps smiling and shining.

When I was in school, during PT periods, we always used to play in the sun. If we were in the assembly in the ground, we were glad that we were high school; our lines were way in the back so we got the maximum sun, standing there in the mornings with our thick blazers on, was really nice. We dreaded to back to our classrooms and sitting on the cold metal benches and desks.

Fast-forward to Joseph’s. Every 7-minute break was spent in trying to use the bathroom or find an area to bask in the sun. We hesitated to eat out in the quadrangle under the Banyan tree because it was cold, but we did it anyway. We huddled close together and ate with our teeth chattering.

Another thing that’s weird about the winter: blinding sunlight at 8:AM.

And come January and February, the temperature will increase but your skin will keep feeling chid-chida. Crackling. Ugh.

 

Posted in Me, Movies

From Up On Poppy Hill

I’ve watched this film no less that 5 times, excluding the times that I watched some parts of it and skipped through the rest. There’s something very soothing about this film and no matter how many times I watch this, I’ll always find something new.

My friend Teju’s favourite Ghibli movie is this. At that time, I agreed that this was a very nice film, but I hadn’t “seen” it all that well.

There are several things that I love about this film. The simplicity of this film is the top on my list. Everything about this film is simple: the story, the setting, and the characters. The story might be the least simple of them all, but I loved it. I love the chemistry between Umi and Shun, because it’s a small start and they’re both shy and reluctant but still strong and they don’t have overly loving expressions towards each other, either. It’s all very subtle and so full of pure love that you can’t miss it. I love the dedication that all the students have with regard to the Latin Quarter. It was hilarious and sweet and so, so nostalgic. They work so hard and I’m so glad that they have the Latin Quarter intact and even brand new!

The film has been set in 1964, a year after my father was born! I love historical fiction. I love to see how people of that time have been living and how they managed without so much technology. The town where this has been set in, Yokohama, I think, is so pretty! I’d love to visit it one day.

Can I just say, the music is fantastic! The two major songs, both equally different in nature and the feels that they invoke, are just brilliant.

The only thing I wanted was a first date of Umi and Shun, perhaps? Or just the next day after they had saved the Latin Quarter and Umi and Shun professing their love for each other. Just that would’ve been the sparkle on the big red bow that tied the story together.

 

Posted in Me

Weird tricks

I need to finish this article on the Sarakki Lake, tonight. I’ve been putting it off since last week and I’m doing everything I can to focus. I’m about halfway through, I suppose, but wow, the stress levels are really high.

I can sort of understand what kind of pressure the journalism students under AM sir in college will be undergoing. Since I couldn’t focus, I took quick strides across the dark living room. Then I had another idea: maybe the blood flow to brain is less. Which is why I can’t focus.

I slept on the 3-seater sofa, put my legs up against the pillows, and moved so that my upper back and neck and head were hanging out from the seat. I can’t do shirshasana so I thought this might help.

I actually think it did. Onto the story of Sarakki Lake!

What do you do if you can’t focus when you really, really need to? Tips might someday come in handy.

Posted in Me, Namma Metro

The Escalator

Earlier in March, I made a list of things that I wanted to achieve before I turned 21. Riding an escalator all by myself was one of it. I’m proud that I can at least scratch one thing off now.

I don’t like escalators. Never have liked them. I avoid them at most costs, especially if I’m alone. And this resolve of mine was put to a test when I began travelling in the Metro.

From the station closest to my house, I take the Metro to my classes directly. The trains are generally for every 10 minutes, so I take the train at 2:57 in the afternoon. I have to climb two long flights of stairs, after a long walk from my home, and of course, I’m not fit enough; I tire fast. But I leave early so I can walk a little slowly and jog up the stairs. Great form of exercise, really.

But one day, after the walk from my home to the station, my right leg cramped a bit. I took slow steps towards the stairs, and then without thinking, went to the escalator. Nobody was around, except two guards at the gate, and I took a deep breath, counted till three, and stepped on the escalator.

Till that day, every time I had ever stepped on an escalator was when I was with my sister, mostly. I’d hold her hand tightly and we’d count to three together and step on the escalator. Going up was easy to get used to. Getting was even scarier.

I think this directly links to my phobia of heights. I have no clue why. I can climb stairs of the same height and I can still look down and not feel an ounce of fear. But this? This is strange. Glad I could conquer this.