“The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.” — Brian Sutton-Smith
By looking at my life a little bit anew, I am enjoying these nine things very much:
1 – Input and output
The only thing more thrilling than a stack of novels waiting to be read is a stack of handmade leather-bound notebooks waiting to be filled. I buy both with abandon with the faith that I’ll reach the end of both piles eventually and the conviction that one can never really have enough of either.
2 – New creatures
On a recent trip to Udaipur, I was wowed by the beauty of temples in their ruin and splendour. At the Sas Bahu temples in Nagda, I learnt of a mythical creature called Kichak who holds up the roof of the temple to pay for its sins.
3 – Getting bendy with it
I recently signed up for private yoga classes at home because (a) I needed a non-negotiable reason to leave work at a reasonable hour at least three times a week, and knowing that someone was going to ring my doorbell at 7pm seemed like a good one, (b) my bestie’s mother had had numerous fractures due to severe osteoporosis, and was told by doctors she required heavy duty medication; she chose yoga instead, and as a result her bones have strengthened, all signs of osteoporosis are gone, and she can do a headstand at age 70, (c) I wanted something to soothe my frazzled nerves that didn’t involve chocolate, alcohol or medication.
I’ve taken yoga classes on and off for many years with urban hipster-type teachers, and it’s never really “clicked”. My new instructor, however, is proper old school. He is of indeterminate age, dresses in a formal shirt and belted trousers, and has a pot belly – yet can raise his toes to touch his forehead while keeping a straight back, walk on his hands while his legs are in the lotus position, and (this kills me) while kneeling can touch his forehead to the ground directly behind him.
His English extends only to “slowly, slowly!”, “very good, very good,” and “maintain for ten seconds!” He’s fanatical about form and getting me to stretch beyond what I think I’m capable of. At the end of each class, my heart is pounding, I’m sweating and panting, and I feel utterly exhilarated.
4 – Hand motions
I mostly stopped writing by hand decades ago when I realised I can type almost as fast as I think. The thought of reverting to pen on paper never appealed until I saw this diary from interior design shop, Good Earth. In between the blank pages are their breathtaking artwork and thoughts of note (below). To do the beauty of the journal justice, I write slowly, carefully – a different process altogether. Writing personal thoughts has taken on a whole new level of delight.
5 – A stone in the hand
Never having been enthralled by crystals, I have suddenly and unexpectedly become more than a little smitten by them. From my local Farmers Market (which itself is another new favourite thing), I have picked up a few new treasures.
6 – New sounds
I have, finally, started to learn Hindi. I’m far from being able to converse, and I keep muddling up my tenses, but I have learnt to say “are you actually working or are you just talking?”, “don’t speak in such a roundabout way – tell me straight”, and “you’re turning my hair grey” (which I need to say to my directors).
7 – The scale of things
While the women in my city favour bright, bling-y outfits, I wear simple black clothing that veer towards the monastic, though I have generally hankered after bold jewellery. While I do have some very old chunky items I still adore, I have found, to my surprise, that more delicate pieces feel more “right” for me now.
8 – being an organised neat freak despite working crazy hours
I’ve been trying to change the way I eat by doing my best to cook from scratch (Amelia Freer is my new hero). The transition – still ongoing – was overwhelming me. I decided to reorganise my kitchen to make it a place where I want to spend more time. So I did this:
(I admit, the first few days after doing this, I kept opening the fridge to peer with some joy at the handiwork.)
9 – the right formula
I’ve been making my own skincare for almost two years now. Every time I make a new batch, I measure and weigh the butters – mango, shea, cocoa – and beeswax as I strive to find the (elusive) magic ratio to make the perfect lip balm (not too sticky, not too gooey). When the batteries for my kitchen scales died, I made a new batch by eyeballing the ratio and throwing the ingredients in together… and somehow got the formula exactly right. Now if only I could figure out how to recreate it…
“Trust life a little bit.” — Maya Angelou