If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you that Bubboo went on to recover from her bout of cold and cough, only to lose her appetite completely. For the last week or so, she has just been refusing to eat. She just doesn’t eat anything, which has put all of us in a panic. We have tried everything we could – changing her meal times, giving her different types of food that taste different, giving her different textures of food, feeding her at different places, feeding her with other kids, and so on and so forth. Nothing has been working. We have even consulted a doctor, who says she has just lost her appetite and needs to find it back again, and that there’s otherwise nothing wrong with her. This is the third time in a row that she’s unwell – first the loosies, then the cold and cough, and now this. All of us are tired to the bones. It feels like we haven’t slept in ages, thanks to Bubboo not sleeping well through the night, and being super duper cranky and clingy these days. It is painful seeing her so tired and distressed – she has never been sick this long. I just wish things get back to normal soon!

… I’d tell you that I feel drained of energy, which is understandable given the repeated bouts of illness that Bubboo is going through. My exercise and healthy eating has taken a backseat, consequently. I so want to get back to proper eating habits and my daily walks. I feel so unhealthy now, on top of being stressed out. Not a good place to be in, definitely.

… I’d tell you that there are a few events coming up in Bangalore that sound super duper exciting, and which I’d love to go to, provided Bubboo gets well by then. First, there’s Dastkar starting on August 6th and then this very interesting event at Lahe Lahe on August 15th. Fingers crossed!

… I’d tell you that I am finding it tough to believe that it is August already. August! The eighth month of the year is already here! Didn’t 2016 just start? Just where is all my time going? It is actually scary when I think of it.

… I’d tell you that I have been thinking of all the good times that we have to look forward to, now that August has started. Independence Day is going to come up, and Janmashthami and Ganesh Chaturthi are not far behind. I hope our apartment’s management association has something exciting in store for us this festive season as well, just as they had last year.

… I’d tell you that we have been considering schools for Bubboo. We are still not sure when to put her into a school, and what type of school to put her in either, but we have been reading up, asking around, just generally researching. We have come across some interesting options for kids.. I think we need to do some more researching, and then we’ll be ready to take a decision regarding her schooling.

…. I’d tell you that it has been almost a year since we shifted to this place. A year! I am happy that it has begun to feel more like home now than it used to in the initial days after shifting. We are discovering new places and things around us, finding out favourites, getting to know people and making new acquaintances. I have had a ready topic of discussion with the other mothers around – Bubboo. We have been talking about our babies and what they do and what not, and it has been quite interesting. It has been fun, eye-opening, and informative. 🙂

… I’d tell you that I have been trying to stick to my habit of reading a little bit every day, in spite of all the hullabaloo that is a part of my life these days. That said, almost all the books I have been picking up lately have been, sort of, lacklustre, even the good ones. They don’t seem to have that magic that I used to find in books earlier. I am so waiting for me to discover that mind-blowing read that will stop me in my tracks. Ideas, please?

… I’d tell you that Bubboo is going to turn two, come October! Two! I have been looking forward to her birthday, all the shopping and planning that comes with it, too. 🙂 We aren’t yet sure what kind of celebration we’ll be having for her birthday, but we’ll be having one for sure! I have been checking out dresses and cake designs, but haven’t reached a conclusion yet. Do let me know if you have any ideas on these two fronts, please!

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones, as to what you have been up to, and how has life been lately.

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For Weekend Coffee Share, a very interesting meme here. Do check it out!

 

 

Shocked

I wrote this just yesterday, proclaiming my love for balconies that are open and not grilled in, ones that look onto a road. And, today, I get to know of a toddler falling from the second floor of an apartment and meeting his death. It all happened in a matter of seconds, apparently, while the mother was preparing breakfast in the kitchen and keeping an eye on the child. Theirs was an open balcony, and the curious child somehow managed to jump over the railing. The news has shattered me. I am upset ever since I read it.

This is something that could have happened to anyone. However much you keep your kids under strict supervision, they have this way of distracting you, of getting into something in a matter of seconds while you go to grab a glass of water or visit the loo. Day by day, I realise this, more and more.

Bubboo has already started doing gymnastics in the balcony. She is very, very curious. She loves the balcony. She loves looking out. I do keep a tight eye on my child, but she still distracts me, frustrates me, shocks me, every now and then. This piece of news, as I see it, is a lesson in parenting. It comes at the right time, telling me to do something that I have long been procrastinating on – cover up our balcony.

I can’t be careful enough when it comes to ensuring a good life for my daughter. I don’t want to keep postponing a task indefinitely, and then regret later about not doing it earlier. Safety comes first, especially when it is my child in the area of concern – our likes and dislikes later. It is probably time to get that balcony covered. I will learn to take it with a pinch of salt.

May the soul of the deceased child find peace, and may the parents find strength.

 

Balcony Tales

Balconies have always been important to me. I love balconies. I think they are windows to the world outside, from where you can look out, all the while sitting in the safe comfort of your own home. They are sanctuaries, where you can grab a few moments of peace over a cup of tea or a plate of bajjis. They are in-between, neither inside the house nor outside, a place where you can escape to when the chaos inside the house gets too much for you, and you don’t really want to get out of the house. They make the house outward-looking, I think. Without a balcony, a house would be isolated from the rest of the world, cut off, very inward-looking – of course, my own two cents only, meaning no offense to anyone else. For this very reason, I do not like balconies with grills – they make a house safe, yes, but they also close out a lot of light and action and air and love and make the house, well, suffocating.

I especially love balconies that do not face dead, overgrown plots of vacant land or the back of someone else’s house. I like my balconies to look out onto a road, possibly, where there is a little action – just enough action, mind you, not too much. My ideal balcony is one where there are plants (flowers and a small patch of herbs and some vegetables), a swing and a little nook where I can sit and think and create.

Considering my love of balconies (thankfully, the OH shares a bit of this love), a road-facing balcony was one thing we always look out for while we are looking for an apartment to live. We had three balconies (three! yes, a rarity these days) in the place we used to stay in earlier, and a long road-facing one in the place we shifted to last year. It took us quite some time to set up the balcony garden in the house we presently live in, but now, I can safely say we are almost 70% done. The garden still needs a lot of work to bring it to the shape I want to bring it to, but at least there is some semblance of a garden now, there is a sanctuary in the house for me to go to, there is a little place that fills my heart with joy.

I am happy to say Bubboo seems to love the balcony as much as I do. It is the first place she heads to, as soon as she wakes up in the mornings. It is where she sits and watches the older boys and girls in our apartment play in the evenings. It is where I sit and talk to her about the different kinds of things that we see around us – from dogs and cats to vegetable vendors and trees and flowers. It is where Bubboo sits and watches the rain. She often eats sitting out on the balcony. I sometimes read to her there. We like basking in the sun on the balcony, on days when it is not too hot. We like watching as our neighbours wave to us in the balcony, and waving back to them. We like watching as butterflies and squirrels run in and out of our plants, searching for food. I could just go on and on and on!

Balconies have always, always been a place of solace for me. Our balconies have seen a lot of action. They hold a whole lot of fond memories for us. They have been a place of sharing our own kind of love, of bonding with each other. They have been places of sustenance for us, providing us with some home-grown ingredients for our food.

This new place is slowly, very slowly, beginning to feel like home. We are apart from the rest of the OH’s family now, very far away, but we are slowly finding friends here, bonding, building up relationships. I hope, with all my heart, that we soon forge friendships and relationships of note here, and that our balcony here goes on to witness a whole lot of special, little memories.

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee…

… I’d tell you that Bubboo just recovered from her bout of tummy upset and the loosies and then fell sick again, yesterday, with a bad sore throat, cough and vomiting. She hasn’t been sleeping well, has been clingy and in pain again, and we have been worn down to bare bones. I, for one, really, really need something to de-stress myself. I can’t wait to go on a holiday where there isn’t really much to do, except roam around and laze. I want that kind of vacation, pronto! If that’s not a possibility, I do want a (few little) something(s) that will perk me up instantly. 😦

… I’d tell you about how my resolution to try to get fitter and eat healthier and reduce my stress levels has, quite literally, gone to the dogs, almost since the beginning of this month. I was just beginning to feel the good kind of difference to the rolls of fat that envelop my tummy, when the said difference disappeared into thin air, and I am back to square one, as far as health is concerned.

… I’d tell you that we did manage to go to the family wedding I told you about, in between Bubboo’s previous bout of illness and this one. It was such a simple, homely, satisfying affair that it set me thinking about the grand big hoopla that passes off as ‘wedding’ these days. I wore my mother’s wedding saree to the wedding – a gorgeous golden silk saree with a big, big maroon temple border – and it won me many compliments. The couple gifted me a gorgeous cotton saree, which I just love!

…. I’d tell you that I just realised I haven’t been giving my saree collection its due share of love and wearing of late, which isn’t good. There are so many stories, so many memories attached to each saree of mine, which I would love to relive. I should get around to giving them an airing more frequently than I do now.

… I’d tell you that Bubboo is becoming more and more interested in pretend play these days. She looks into the mirror, kisses her reflection, saying ‘Paapa, kiss!’ She makes imaginary tea and rasam in vessels from the kitchen, and insists on feeding each one of us with her own hands. She’s a darn cute sight to watch, if I might say so myself. 🙂

… I’d tell you that we have been exploring the few parks around our house, trying to find one that Bubboo and we like the best, so that we can be regular visitors and make a few friends. But then, each park has something different to offer – one has a lovely sand pit, one has lovely baby-friendly swings (Bubboo’s love for the swings is something else altogether – she refuses to get off them even after swinging for almost an hour!), and yet another one has lots of leaves and pebbles and flowers that she can pick up and learn from. So, we have been alternating between different parks, letting her get her hands and feet dirty in the sand one day, letting her swing to her heart’s content the other day, letting her explore the world around her on yet another day.

… I’d tell you that I have been reading Marlena de Blasi’s The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club these days, and have been absolutely loving it. Considering how much I loved the author’s previous works, I wonder why I waited so long to read this one! I have been driving people crazy just by quoting passages from the book that I think are charming. (Read my thoughts about the author’s other books here, here and here.)

… I’d tell you that I’ve been introspecting a bit, trying to figure out why I am so stressed out all the time, in spite of having that nagging feeling that I am not really up to much in my life. I think I do have some insights, if not answers. Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking (which I’ve been reading off and on) has helped me figure these insights out. This related article, shared by a mother in a parenting group that I am part of, resonated with me like nothing else, and that is what led me to discover Quiet. I am a through-and-through introvert, and I need time to myself in between being social with people, talking to a child who needs a lot of talking to, taking decisions (even though ones as mundane as ‘What should I make for dinner today?’), and doing chores and running errands. I need that non-interrupted time to delve into myself, and that is how I thrive. I haven’t been getting that, and that is what has been wearing me out, a lot. Now, I need to work on these insights, find out what works for me and what doesn’t.

… I’d tell you that I’ve also sort of figured out why a lot of other mothers around me seem to get a whole lot more done in their days (and nights!) than I seem to be doing. I think it is because I am a certain kind of person, a different sort of person than them (no offense meant to these mothers, of course!). And also because Bubboo is a different sort of child than theirs. Many mothers around me resort to screen time for their children, giving them food off supermarket shelves, and just generally letting them run around the house or sleep while they go about their day-to-day chores. I have kept Bubboo away from screen time and packaged food of any kind. I insist on feeding her different varieties of home-made snacks most days of the week, and doing activities with her. Bubboo insists on getting up as soon as I wake up in the mornings or after my afternoon naps (if any), so there’s no scope of getting anything done while she’s not around. She is also not the kind of child who plays by herself – I don’t know whether that is good or bad, but she needs to be played with. I need to sit down in the sand pit in the park and play in the sand with her, for her to enjoy it. I need to sit down with her while she splashes about in her little home swimming pool. Also, I insist on the cook making healthy food for us, and not just make a jhatpat meal with loads of oil and masala. I insist on giving him a lot of feedback (thankfully, he’s been taking it well so far!). I insist on being more present in our everyday chores, too – giving a neighbour a hand-made birthday present rather than a store-bought one, for instance. In between all of this, how can I ever expect to get leisure time or not be stressed out, I realise now.

… I’d tell you that there’s this urge in me to write, again, on a freelance basis, for money. I’d love to write for a few publications that I trust in, about topics that are close to my heart. I don’t think there would be a better antidote than that to reducing my stress levels and making me feel better. I should probably start working to that end. When and how I will get around to doing that are big, big, big questions, though.

… I’d also ask after you and your loved ones, about what you’ve been up to and how you’ve been. Tell me, will you?

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For the Weekend Coffee Share, a very interesting and fun meme!

 

Of A Liebster Award And A Meme

A while ago, this girl passed on the Liebster Award to me, which was a happy and humbling moment, as it always is. Thank you, dearie, for reading me so patiently!

The award comes with a set of questions that I should answer as best as I can. These questions, framed by Babushka herself, are lovely – they made me look within myself a whole lot, and I am happy about that.

Without further ado, here we go with my responses.

  1. What does writing mean to you?

Writing, to me, means speaking my mind. Considering that I am a hardcore introvert, I find it easier to express myself using the written word, as against the spoken word. Words flow much more easier for me when I write, rather than when I speak.

Writing, for me, is also a means of discovering myself. Often, I discover myself in the process of writing. While writing, I find out what I really and truly like and want.

Writing is also therapy, for me. It is uncluttering of the mind. It is the freeing up of mind space. It is unloading my burdens so as to feel lighter.

Writing is also connecting. It has helped me connect with like-minded people, and figure out that all human beings are ultimately that – human. It has helped me realise that I am not alone with my fears, doubts, joys and thoughts.

2. How do you break a writer’s block down?

By letting go and just writing. Whenever I feel blocked, I just let go and write my heart out. I don’t care, then, whether my writing is good or bad. I persist at this for a while, and when I am ready, I am out of the block.

I also think reading something evocative or listening to some music that will make you feel, helps. Clearing out your head via a long walk or long conversations with those you love help as well.

3. What is your idea of a good piece of writing?

Writing that is from the heart, which speaks to you of the author’s real state of mind, as opposed to formulaic writing.

Writing that provokes you to feel and think.

Writing that is evocative, which makes you imagine words and shapes and colours and places and smells in your mind.

It doesn’t necessarily have to have a beginning, middle and end.

4. What are some of the things you look out for when you travel?

Always, experiences that I will remember, which will go on to define our trip. It could be as simple as a conversation with the keeper of the home stay we are staying at, tasting a certain cuisine for the first-ever time, or trying out something that we have never done before. Travel, to me, is not just checking off places off a list – thankfully, both the husband and I don’t work that way. To us, travel is to see and feel a place as best as we can and, in the process, find ourselves, render ourselves transformed.

I also look for unwinding, relaxation, a break from the routine while travelling. I get enough stressed out in our day-to-day lives and, so, a holiday means de-stressing and an unfollowing of timetables – it is not a holiday if it is any other way.

5. What is/who is your favourite/best travel companion?

I haven’t travelled much without the husband – I really began travelling only after I met him, actually. Both of us think we make for perfect travel companions. Neither of us has enjoyed trips we have made without each other, with other travellers. We are just too different a sort of traveller.

6. When was the last time you were mesmerized, and by what?

By the charms of this little being, I think.

7. Describe happiness in a picture.

Tough question, because the definition of happiness keeps changing for me, every now and then. At the moment, happiness is a bowl of gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Via Malaysia Ramen at The Fatty Bao. We visited the place a few months ago, and I was charmed by this dish. I’d be thrilled if I could get my hands on it some time soon (Husband of mine, are you listening? 😉 )

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8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would love to be less of an introvert, but then I’m working on it. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

9. If you could give one thing about yourself to someone, what would it be?

My ability to put my best into the things I do. I don’t do things by half-measures, which is both a boon as well as a curse. I can do very few things in a day that way, and that often frustrates people around me. But then, that is an essential part of who I am.

10. What is your go-to stress-buster?

Talking to the husband. Playing with the little one. Reading. Writing. Music. Cooking. Going out for a walk. Going out exploring the world around me. Lounging around the house and doing absolutely nothing. Gazing out from the balcony, uninterrupted. Being in the midst of nature without a timetable.

11. Where do you go to to find peace?

Home. Family. Inward. In the midst of nature.

Not necessarily in the same order.

Thank you so much for this, Babushka! I had a lovely, introspective time taking up this meme!

 

Taking Baby Steps Towards A Healthier Lifestyle

Roughly two years ago, I was too lazy to get up and get myself a glass of water whenever I wanted one, I am sorry to admit. I would fill up a couple of huge plastic bottles with water first thing in the morning, right after I made us our morning cups of tea, and would leave the bottles here and there in the house. I would sip from this bottle or that throughout the day, and wonder why the water never refreshed and energised me the way it used to, back at my parents’ house in Ahmedabad.

Then one day, suddenly, it hit me – I was missing drinking water from an earthen pot. That was what we used to do in Ahmedabad – we have never been big fans of refrigerated water, and the high heat in Gujarat would necessitate the meticulous filling up of water in earthen pots throughout the year, most of all in the summer. I haven’t seen many earthen pots in Bangalore, I don’t know why. I was sad when the OH told me his family had never really had water from an earthen pot. I gasped at just how much of plastic dependence we had been fostering, directly or indirectly, by drinking water from plastic bottles all the time and decided to put an end to it. An earthen pot was bought from a roadside potter, and we started joyously drinking from it.

It was a huge pot, though, tough to clean and fill up, especially with a toddler around. We didn’t want to revert to plastic bottles again, however. So, on our recent trip to Madras, when we came across a potter selling an earthen surahis on the streets around Mylapore, we were quick to get our hands on one. Almost three months since we bought home our surahi, neatly packaged in a carton with newspapers stuffed in, I am happy to tell you, we are absolutely in love with it.

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The surahi is just the right size to clean and refill, and it ensures that water doesn’t get stale by being left in it for a long, long time. The water from the earthen surahi is gorgeously fresh and revitalises us like nothing else. It carried us through this summer, when the temperatures in Bangalore peaked like never before. Occupying pride of place in our kitchen, it ensures that we do not have to resort to too many refrigerated juices or packaged fizzy drinks. The surahi has made a happy man out of the OH, too. It has reminded us that we are old-timers at heart, though we might have adopted a sort of modern stance to life.

We gave away the big plastic bottles that we owned to whoever wanted them, and the very few we still own are lost somewhere, in the trash, in the kitchen cabinets. We hardly find use for them any more. We invested in a couple of Milton stainless steel flasks, and fill them up with cool water from the surahi whenever we go out – the water stays cool and fresh for quite a few hours and we don’t have to buy packaged drinks wherever we go. We never loved the packaged drinks anyway – we would occasionally buy them out of desperation (because we would be too thirsty!) or for their novelty factor.

When I go for a walk, though, I carry water with me in a little plastic bottle in a little bag strapped over my shoulder, with a few currency notes stuffed in. I well know these bottles aren’t supposed to be reused, but I don’t know of any other way to carry water with me while on a walk. The steel flasks are quite heavy to carry when you walk, and I don’t walk well (a fitness walk in a park, I mean) when I carry anything at all in my hands. So, the little bottle stays till I find a healthier alternative to it.

The Simple Life – 2

There aren’t many pages in Rhonda Hetzel’s The Simple Life, but the more I near the end of the book, the more I find myself nodding my head in agreement with the ideas that she has to propose. This book resonates with something deep inside me.

Here is one more excerpt from the book that I just had to share.

In many different ways those of us living a simpler life are all walking the path less travelled. We see what is considered ‘normal’ now, we know that consumption is the ‘standard’ way and we have decided to reject it. Instead of buying all that is new and shiny, we are standing our ground and going back to basics. It’s comfortable there. It’s warm oats soaked overnight and cooked slowly rather than cornflakes; it’s home-baked bread instead of sliced white in plastic wrap; it’s ‘come over and I’ll teach you how to knit’ instead of ‘let’s go shopping’. Instead of buying fast food, we have it slow and easy bubbling away in the oven when the family comes home in the evening. Even the smell of that home-cooked food in the air when they walk through the door tells your family that someone loves them enough to make it all happen. It’s sitting around the table, talking about today and tomorrow. It’s really knowing your friends and family instead of just knowing what they tell you.

Your thoughts, please!

Sisterhood Of The World Q&A

A while back, Perspectives And Prejudices tagged me to participate in the Sisterhood Of The World Q&A. This meme consists of five questions, which I needed to answer.

Well, here I am, with my answers!

  1. One beauty product you would recommend to all your girlfriends?

I am not a very beauty-product-friendly person. I hardly use any beauty products, though I do shop for them off and on, thinking I should use them. My beauty-product-buying is pretty basic, though, limited to stuff like soaps, fragrances, lip balms, moisturisers, and, maybe, some eye liner.

If I had to choose one great product to recommend, I would suggest Himalaya’s Foot Care Cream. This is one product that I have always loved, on the few-and-far-between times that I have actually used it. It is apparently made with all-natural ingredients, and I love how my feet feel oh-so-soft after I leave it on overnight. I don’t care for my feet as much as they deserve to be cared for (considering that I am on my feet a whole lot every day – but then, I don’t think I take care of all of my body very well either. No, this is not something I am proud of. Just saying.), so when I do apply this cream on my feet every once in a while, I feel happy from within, because my feet are finally getting some much-needed pampering. I love the fact that the cream is absolutely non-greasy, and doesn’t make my feet slippery after application.

2. Three books everyone must read?

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller – I think this is one of the most sensitive books ever written. I read this one quite a few years back, but I still remember the way it made me feel. I haven’t re-read it for fear of losing that magic. It is that special to me. If you haven’t read it already, please do so now!

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes – This is one of my absolute favourite books of all times. I think it was one of the first books to inculcate the love of slow and deliberate living in me, a book that taught me to appreciate the simple as well as the fine things in life.

The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble – This is yet another all-time favourite book. It is all about the stories of seemingly ordinary people who live right next door to you. I loved this book and found it inspiring for a number of reasons. If you do get around to reading this book, don’t forget to tell me your thoughts about that beautiful character in it called Violet.

3. Favourite online shopping site?

I am not a big online shopper. I love touching and feeling things before I buy them, and the whole experience of wandering through markets and supermarket aisles and finding something unique or something I have always wanted to buy. That said, I do sometimes resort to online shopping for the convenience that it offers. Sometimes, online shopping works out more economically than buying something in a brick-and-mortar store. On such occasions, Amazon is the site that I turn to first. I have been happy with our shopping experiences at Amazon so far, and they seem to have absolutely everything one could need. So, there!

4. Favourite phone app?

Again, I am not a very app-friendly person. I do own a smartphone, but I am not smart enough to make frequent use of all the apps that can be downloaded on it. At the most, I use it to check e-mails when I am on the move. If I had to choose the app that I use most often on my phone, I would say Pacer. It counts the number of steps I walk every time I am out of home, and tells me the exact number of calories I have burnt. I like the way it motivates me to walk more and use the car or bike lesser.

5. One dish that you are really good at making and the recipe?

The OH says I have quite a few signature dishes that I make really well, and that he can’t bear to have anywhere else. *patting myself on the back*

However, I think my Farmhouse Grilled Sandwiches go down really well with all of our family. That is the dish I would choose for this question. Here is the recipe.

There you go!

Thank you for this tag, Perspectives & Prejudices! I had fun thinking about the answers. 🙂

As always, I am not tagging anyone. If you think you would like to take this meme up, please feel free!

The Simple Life

Over the years, I’ve been asked many times what the key to living simply is. There is no easy answer but there are some things I’ve come to understand as I’ve changed the way I live.

When I set out to simplify my life, my basic understanding of simple living was that it was not a single idea like debt reduction or food production; it was many loosely associated concepts rolled into one. Now I know that the definition of ‘simple life’ is different for each of us and will change as time goes on. My own definition is centred around slowing down to live a life that is focused on family, friends and home while voluntarily spending less, buying local food and products as much as possible, being more environmentally aware and becoming skilled enough to be self-reliant and partially self-sufficient. In my version of the simple life, work plays a large part and ‘enough’ really is enough.

~  Rhonda Hetzel in The Simple Life

She said it. If I were to define a ‘simple life’, it would be almost the same as what Rhonda Hetzel says about it.

The greater the number of days I bumble through life – and the huge maze that is the world – the greater is my craving for a simple life. Not because the concept of a simple life is fashionable these days, but because that is what I crave for from deep within me. The craving is so deep and palpable of late that it seems to be oh-so-often on my mind.

‘A simple life’ is the automatic answer my mind gives me when I tell it I am tired of my stresses, of ridiculous people, of never-ending chores, of unfinished projects, and the demands of a highly competitive time. Sometimes, I think I am slowly getting to the kind of simple life that I want to live. On other days, I think I am too caught up in too many things to ever get to a simple life. As Rhonda says, it is complicated. It is a series of decisions, it is a combination of a lot of things. It takes time; it is not something that happens overnight. Living a simple life in a world that places its bets on ‘fast’ most of the times is very tough; it is not as simple as it sounds – I realise that every single day. It takes a whole lot of sheer physical effort as well as a tough mental disposition. It is especially difficult if you are an up-and-coming young person, who everyone naturally assumes should be hankering after rising in one’s career and in the world. No one really understands this kind of hankering after.

Post 2011 and through 2014, I was determined to lead a simple life, and I did lead my version of one. I can say it worked wonders for me (I got pregnant naturally, something that was just not happening when I was way too caught up in a number of stresses earlier. That definitely says a whole lot about that kind of life, right?) All said and done, I find I am back to the grind now, back to a fast-paced life. Or is it that after that ‘slowing down’ period in my life, even things moving at an ordinary pace seem too fast-paced to me? Could be! Once you have lived – and enjoyed – a simple life, it does render you unfit to really relax into any other kind of lifestyle.

Anyways, I have been thinking a lot about the simple life lately, and doing what I can to this end. Till I figure it out, I will bumble on. I guess.

ETA: Rhonda Hetzel apparently has a blog, and it is super-inspiring. I am so glad to have come across her!

In Other News

~ A lot has changed over the last two months. We have shifted to a new house, nearer to the OH’s work place. He used to commute crazy distances to and from work earlier, and it was taking a toll on his health, as well as on ‘us’. This house makes things a wee bit easier. My parents stay near us, and help us out whenever they can.

We had been thinking of making this move for the last year or so, but everything worked out only now. I won’t say we have the perfect arrangement pinned down but, yes, this is easier on our strained nerves and bodies that are getting older. There, I said it!

~ We are still getting to know our new neighbours, and we still feel like outsiders in an apartment where everyone has been together for over a year. That said, there are more people here our age, many of whom have little ones Bubboo’s age. In the previous apartment that we lived in, there were no young ones – all residents were retired folk. We would sorely miss chatting casually to someone our age, which we are getting to do now. Our new flat-mates are a friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful bunch, from what we have observed so far.

~ Our apartment association had organised festivities for three days, for Ganesh Chaturthi this year. Funds were collected, a big Ganesha idol was brought in, worshipped religiously for three days, and duly immersed in a pond. They were a festive three days, indeed, and offered us a great chance to bond with our neighbours. Day 1 saw a Ganesha Havan being performed, for which I volunteered to prepare kotthu kadalai sundal as prasadam. I was quite nervous about preparing it, as I had never really cooked for people outside of my family before. Moreover, I could not taste it before it was offered up to Ganesha, as it was prasadam, and I had to eyeball the salt and spices that I added to it – something which freaks me out, honestly. In spite of all of that, the sundal did turn out to be yummy, thankfully! It was much loved.

~ There are people from all over India staying in our apartment, and everyone cooked something or the other during the three days of festivities. So, much gorging on festive food happened, and cultural (and foodie!) diversity was much celebrated.

~ I feel lost lately. Lost and uprooted. New house, always being pressed for time, no friends, no real social life, new locality, no work, and no signs of losing all that pregnancy weight – all of this has been contributing to making me feel stressed out and cranky and what not.

~ I have been trying to lose weight for the last couple of months, but haven’t really been able to focus on it. I need to SERIOUSLY buckle up. My out-of-home eating badly needs to be regulated, home cooking needs to get a lot more healthy, and walking needs to get a lot more focused and regular. Sigh! It is hard to believe I am the very same person who lost over 10 kg of weight before Bubboo!

~ On the work front, I have been trying out some things, which is keeping me busy and stressing me out, but is satisfying too. Nothing has really worked out yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I hope things take off in this area soon! Wish me luck, will you? But then, a work life and healthy living just don’t seem to go together for me. That is one reason I quit work before Bubboo was born. I hope I find a balance now.

~ I feel old, too. The attempts at getting back to work that I told you about? They have been making me realise that I am no longer a young woman who can give her all to work, who can commute to office any which way, who doesn’t have to really worry about who will cook her dinner, who doesn’t think twice before logging in to work from home, who doesn’t have to leave home with worries about her baby, separation anxiety, and guilt at having fobbed her baby on her ageing parents in her mind. Sigh! Then, there is my body telling me it cannot take work stress, work B.S., long commutes, sleeplessness, and junk food like it used to earlier. 😦 Steadily working mothers, I salute you!

~ Bubboo is getting naughtier than ever before. She needs to be kept an eye on every second. I lose count of the number of times she tries to stand without support in a day, falls, hurts herself, cries her heart out, and needs to be comforted immediately. It is overwhelming, not to mention tiring. I dread what will happen once she starts walking! I have forgotten how to eat a relaxed meal or sink into a book. My concentration is shot to pieces. Gah!

~ Remember I told you about some things that affected me deeply this Independence Day? Post that, the OH and I have been striving to banish as much processed food and chemicals from our life as possible. We have been experimenting with a lot of organic stuff, some of which is working out for us and some plainly isn’t. More about that some time later.

~ Bubboo is turning one this month!! I must have been crazy to have committed to making the decorations for her birthday party – and some invitations – at home, all by myself. I wanted to do my bit for my baby, and it is now driving me nuts. Absolutely nothing has been done yet. There are a lot of plans to be made, a lot of errands to be run, and a lot many tasks to be finished.

Tell me all will be well in the end, will ya? And I could do with some virtual hugs, too! 🙂