30 Months & 25 Days Later…

I am fickle-minded. There is no denying the fact. My moods are prone to oscillations so wild that they often tend to shoot past the frame of a wall clock! The best part about this vicious cycle is that sometimes, even I am caught unawares! This impulsive temperament combined with a lemon-squeeze worth of restlessness accumulate barely enough things (for the lack of a better word that could summarise it all) to keep me going. I find it challenging to stay committed lest I am treated to something newish each day. That’s true. Every. Single. Day. May be, that is one of contributing factors to the self-restrained introvert that I am today. May be, that is one of the reasons I am so bad at relationships, both in their making and sustenance. May be, that is one of the reasons I choose to refrain from voicing out my opinions orally, especially when in a groupie. And may be, that is why I find it so tricky to dedicate myself to anything, whether a materialistic possession or otherwise. To cap it all, I can be quite lazy – without second thoughts, depending on my mood.

A large chunk of the profound theories and laws discovered by remarkable founders in their respective eras are subjected to certain exceptions, similar to a (set of) Rule of Thumb. The concept of my moodiness is no different, for there apply certain exceptions. Pachai and a job – much to my surprise, I have managed to hinge onto them longer than I thought was conceivable!

And then, writing happened.

There comes a point in time when the lows hit rockbottom and the existing highs seem comparatively microscopic in its face, much so that they are taken for granted. There was one such phase at my workplace, when the reason for all jargons that one associates with the ‘corporate world’ came into play: low morale, zero vision, barely any team play, lack of motivation, undervalued … I guess you get the gist. I wanted to move out and on, and was all set for it. Writing came to my aid, and it was in this period of joblessness that I realised I could play around words. That is how Shades of Grey was born with its first post. With a then narrow thought process of what-goes-into-a-blog augmented with confounded logistics of maintaining the space, I was not convinced about the subject or the layout of my next piece.

And then, I was introduced to Chennai Bloggers Club by a dear acquaintance.

A platform borne by interests of diverse beings seasoned with varied spices, all connecting to a single commonality – the city of Chennai – shackled free the contemplative reflections that could potentially contribute to making a public journal. From a fiction to a poem, a Haiku to landscaping, from DIYs and fashioning, to movies and books reviews. From expressive elaborations of one’s day to being hypnotised in time with a moment, from discussing a nitty-gritty to sharing planning diaries. Anything can be a part of your blog space. It need not restrict to a specific theme. It need not restrict to a specific type or style of writing. Your space. Your decision. As long as it ignites a spark inside you. It is in fact, that simple.

Had it not been for this group, a chunk within me might have still yearned for matters to pen on. Had it not been for this lot, I may not have had those Mentos Moments – courtesy, a random discussion – prompting me to add a footprint to my space. Had it not been for this niche circle of crowd, I may not have been in the zone to think differently when it came to each of my pieces. For the initial spark, for the silver lining in the wide open horizon, for the gazillion viewpoints, and more significantly, for a bagful of flavours so myriad that they are no less than a thought wave, a heartfelt gratitude, CBC!

30 Months and 25 Days. 50 write-ups. I know this may not be a great place to be in considering the smarting observation of having a writing average of just-above one post per month. Nonetheless, given a chance to rewind, I might not have done it any other way.

On a more sober note, I also tip my hat to those who have constantly encouraged me to trudge down this path, for the journey may have long discontinued had it not been for you bunch of handful.

In an attempt to imply a note of closure, one of the recent most discussions that trended on CBC was to resonate with the blogging goals of 2015 – in case there were any, and if they were fulfilled – and plans for the new year. Well, they say, karm kiye jaa, phal ki chinta na kar. (Transliterated: Keep working, do not worry about the result.) Blame it on my traits, the mindset or the thought processing mannerisms, but then, that is how I will want to approach writing. May be, always. Tathastu.

That Rainy Evening | Part 2

Read Part 1 of the post here.

Aashna had had an exhaustively long but one of the best days. She was drained by the time she was done, and as much as she wanted to reach the welcoming comforts of her four-walled zone, Sir Murphy couldn’t have timed his appearance more accurately. The tediousness of the day had continued to stretch that evening with a similarly, if not equally, dreary journey back home. Moreover, the skies had gone crazy with the rains. Aashna was soaked to the skin by the time she arrived at her residence. She tipped the cabbie generously for he had been considerate enough to drive her safely, especially at a time when other modes of public transport had turned their heads away so effortlessly from this not-so-remote suburb. As her hand rested on top of her head in an attempt to shield from the oncoming rains – an almost vain effort – while the other held onto her suede handbag, Aashna bent into the window to thank the driver.

Despite the noisy background score of the splitter splatter from the earth-kissing waters, Aashna’s pumps made sporadic clicking noises as she walked into the building and climbed the steps up to the first floor. She was scared of sprinting lest the rainwater took her down! The building was engulfed in darkness. Clearly, there was no electricity; the area’s Electricity Board had cut off the power supply fearing any cases of bursting transponders and/or short circuits. It is going to be another dark night, thought Aashna to herself; however, it was a night she looked forward to, for it was her favourite kinds.

As she settled onto the couch with a lit candle by her side and a comfort-sized bowl of blazing hot tomato soup seasoned with salt and copious amounts of pepper and butter, Aashna’s mind reeled back to replay that morning’s course of events. It was about a month ago when Aashna had received the call. Apparently, a personality whose existence she wasn’t even aware of until then, yet a prominent someone to give Aashna her so-called break had displayed an interest in her. Aashna eventually discovered they had located her after a considerable amount of search. They had contacted her from the details displayed on the ‘Wish to Get in Touch?’ section of her web space. An email, a missed call, a call back, a calendar overlap, and few more follow-up calls later, Aashna met them that very morning.

The meeting had gone quite well, thought Aashna as she continued to retrospect, while subconsciously staring through the three-piece that now lay neatly on the seat across the couch, the rudimentary rainwater dripping onto the floor – a solid navy blue single breasted blazer, a matching knee-length skirt pinstriped with a contrasting grey, and a platinum-coloured full-sleeved shirt. As she dunked her spoon to take a mouthful of the steaming soup, Aashna realised one of the reasons she felt confident about today’s meeting was merited to the fact of requesting a follow-up meeting with her tomorrow. The deal was on, provided she promised to meet them with her portfolio this time.

Whether it was the crashing sound of the ceramic bowl, the clanging noise of the soup spoon marrying the floor, or the glaring rays that shone across her face, Aashna could not pinpoint the factor that had caused her awakening (pun unintended). Still groggy, she struggled to redeem herself from the awkward position she was lying in. Her torso, hands, and legs ached slightly from the crooked twists she had put herself through, although almost unconsciously. As she came around, Aashna realised her legs had curled up into a ball and were one on top of the other, and her hands were bent like an angle bisector, the forearm of one resting above her forehead, while the other pressed tightly against her side. Aashna stretched in pursuit of sitting up; in the process, the soreness from her body revived. It took her a minute to feel ‘normal’ and propel her legs to the floor.

After summoning and trashing the broken pieces of the ceramic bowl, depositing the soup spoon into the washing sink, and confirming the absence of any glass pieces by means of a broom – minuscule or otherwise – Aashna tied her hip-length tresses into a bun, and pushed herself into the shower lest she got late for her appointment.

Aashna buttoned up her puffed, half-sleeved, lavender-striped shirt and ran a comb through her ever-knotty, yet soft and dense mop. She decided to leave her hair open, as her hosts were going to be more interested in her works today. She slung the suede handbag across her shoulder, and checked herself in the mirror on her way out. Her feet snuck in a pair of slate grey ballerinas to go with her bleached jeans. Aashna checked her watch and was pleased at having given herself plenty of time to dispose. She anyway had to make a short detour to her workplace, located at the end of the road to pick up her works.

Aashna lifted the cream-coloured shutter of her office and fished out the key from her bag to undo the lock on the door. She switched on the lights of her office and glanced around. Yesterday’s rains hadn’t affected this place all right. The space was intact. Just the way she had last left it. Aashna trudged around with caution, unwilling to knock anything off from its rightful place, and approached what seemed to be the room’s centre. A high window towards the right reflected the sun rays around this spot. In front of her eyes lay Aashna’s latest creation. With almost a caressing caution, Aashna lifted the veil and basked in the glory of her work.

It had dried. And well. The knife work was intricate. The textures shone through gradually and distinctively, not unlike the fresh cream piped onto a just-out-of-the-oven cake. One of the immediate idiosyncrasies ushered to the naked eye was the vivid red – a shade of blood that not only stood out, but also dominated a large part of the evocative picturesque. Aashna stood rooted to the spot with widened eyes as she grasped the magnitude of what her weeks’ worth of efforts had transpired into. The exclusive sessions on palette knife and knife painting had certainly come in handy while she had worked on this specific piece of art. She extracted the work from the canvas that was fixated at her eye level and inserted it carefully into her art folder. Irrespective of the feedback, Aashna wanted to show this piece to her hosts. She inserted five other pieces of oil pastels into the folder, the ones that were handpicked after considerate deliberation, locked her studio and trod off for her appointment.

As she strode on, Aashna’s mind went into a flashback once more to relay the streak of thoughts she had been through when she had worked with the palette and painting knives initially.

The cherry red body-con … The black peep toes … The cobalt blue umbrella … The terra cotta-stained lips … A rapidly flickering streetlight … All in the pesky rains … Who was it? Rather, what was it? Was the item that she waited for of precious importance? Or, was it a friend or a foe? She was the lone source who could have reclaimed the bystanders with an answer.

The Twenty-Seventh of October

Some days are crabby; you wish they’d pass by if only, faster. While some days are easily forgettable; no matter how hard the brains are racked, you are simply unable to recollect its incidents. Then there are days that can unrelentingly be categorised under ‘Worst in the First of the Orders’; given a chance to look back, you possibly wish they had never occurred. And then there are days that bring you alive. Irrespective of when they may have happened. A week, a year or a decade back, and their memories are yet as pristine. The details of those days no matter how petty, cling on. And these selective memory(ies) chaperone that feeling of elation topped with an intoxicating fondness. Just like that welcome smell of the damp earth after the first showers. Just like carving out that snowman successfully from the first bout of snow. Achieving that milestone you remember penning in your diary since forever, or cooking your first meal to be reciprocated with a spotless vessel even before you had gotten around to scrubbing it, signing your first autograph for that someone whom you do not even know recognised you from somewhere, or visiting someplace that made an impression on you no less than a lasting one…such days not only bring in us the alive-n-kicking, but also shape a meaning to our existence. A hope in the name of living that we look forward to.

Weddings – there is something special about its aura. The moment a wedding is on the cards, there settles an ecstatic air. More specifically, the soon-to-be groom and bride are known to do all sorts of unbelievably nutty things while sheltering under the going-to-be-a-new-beginning-for-two-lives umbrella. From planning the seemingly unceasing guest list to working out their logistics, and from the incessant shopping to acquiring that pre-wedding facial glow, it matters. Not in a mocking way. But in a sense of wanting way. In an extravagant and exorbitant way.

Pachai and I got married on October twenty-eight. However, more than our wedding day, it is a day back that has brought us those swaying-just-an-inch-above memorabilia. October twenty-seven is one of those days that has handed me a few ‘alive-n-kicking’ times. They say some of the best moments come to us when we least expect them. Needless to mention, such moments easily find their way into ‘one of those ultimate ones to be cherished in years to come’. The souvenirs of the 10/27s are stacked in a somewhat similar fashion. Not in a manner of impeccable planning, but just because the way they turned out. Just because the experience transpired into something more than I bargained for.

I clearly recall the four 10/27s I have spent in Pachai’s company. One of them of course, was the day we sealed the deal to make our bond a legal pact. This was the day I was officially engaged to be married to Pachai (yep, we were engaged just a day before we got hitched). The next twenty-seventh approached with a breeze similar to the streets of Koh Samui, an incredible and commercially isolated island about 800 kilometres from Bangkok, Thailand. While this getaway was a planned surprise, we roamed about the island’s streets on the twenty-seventh to finalise plans for our big day. Hopping on and off from countless restaurants to figure out our dinner place while being accommodated with a slightly customised edge – being vegetarians, we are not fans of fish or fish oil – was in particular, an experience. It helped us distinctively perceive the extents to which the locals’ hospitality reached out. And it turned out to be an absolutely carefree, breezy and a cracker of a day. We ultimately landed up trying a massage followed with a candlelit dinner by the beach. All of it done the Thai way, proving to be one of our firsts 😉 Now that was newness.

Came the next twenty-seventh by when our marriage had matured slightly, so had we! And strode with it another stunning getaway to Tulian, a lake on the outskirts of Pahalgam, Kashmir at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level. Indisputably, an immaculate beauty, it is not only the sight of the lake that makes your heart beat (or skip) faster, but also the day and effort spent to get to and back is an experience enough to last a lifetime. The pony that treks you up until the base of the valley, the deceptively uncomplicated-looking it-is-just-a-2-kilometre-trek-to-the-lake, the altitude that snatches the oxygen away as you tread up, the six hours each way on the pony resulting in unbelievable saddlesore towards the end of the seemingly never-ending-end, and the cold weather that eventually grips you, so much so, that even walking is no less than a handicapped endurance, are all worth the discomfort once you get to the lake. It takes about a couple of minutes to merely digest Nature’s wonder at having created something so pure made accessible to mankind. The mountains surrounding the lake burst with snow in October and also, the lake’s upper crust is coated with a layer of ice so thin, it can be broken with bare hands (God, our hands froze too quickly!). Taste the lake water once you have managed to scrape off the ice or slide them over the lake only to be immediately recalled of the slick slithers King Kong made in the movie! What. A. Day. That. Was.

While a twenty-seventh brought us to an island retreat, the other brought us ever closer to Mother Nature. As charming and captivating as these spots may have been in their own quirky fashions, who knew the succeeding (and the recent most) twenty-seventh would transport us straight to the Eiffel Tower in the City of Lights!

One of the most marvelling wonders of the world, when it comes to the Eiffel Tower, the hype does not disappoint. Did you know the scenic view on the Tower top that needless to mention, is breathtakingly gorgeous, can also be enjoyed with a bit of finesse, for it is aided with an exclusive champagne bar!? Talk about comprehending the aerial view of Paris and much beyond while taking a sip from the stemware in style! Cheers indeed, to concluding the visit with a festive moment!

Had it not been for us two blood-borne travel freaks, I might have still hung on to the presumption that Koh Samui is a tricky paradigm to beat. Had it not been for Paris, I might have continued listing Tulian on top in my so-called list of ‘favourite moments and experiences’.

If only, I had sooner understood him. If only, I had sooner comprehended how easy (or dilemmatic) would it have been for Pachai to break that fool’s paradise of mine. Every. Single. Year.

For this only makes me wonder what’s in store for the next twenty-seventh 😉

The Brighter Side

Colours – a significantly influential aspect of a person’s whereabouts, tastes and likes, and sometimes even reflective of one’s moods. Waver it, splash it, mix it or fill it. Temper it to create one of those unique shades you didn’t even know existed a minute back, quell it to result it into something warm, or dull it out to get something dark. The best part about colours is the fact that its creation is your call, for it is your palette! Just as no two places are the same, no two colours (primary or resultant) are similar. Its ubiquitous distinctiveness is quite something … just like the music you would want to listen to when you are in a specific mood. Three primary colours. Oodles of shades and hues. Dye it, thread-work it, artwork it, observe it, travel in it … in other words, do whatever the hell you want with it. How better can this get?

Typically, when we are glued to a visual, one of the primary reasons is owing to the colour series (aside from the background score and/or the ‘baby’ factor). There is something about the permutation and combination of the optical palette that appeals to the naked eye and makes us want to experience its pleasure over and over. Yeah, that in other words, could be a cheat code to favourable marketing. However, clearly there are brands that pay significant importance to colours based on the segment of market they probably target – such as Red Bull with its bright and jumpy red and yellow background, or Apple with its mystique, classy and (un)sophisticated grey. Some brands inculcate colours based on the symbolic effect of its product line such as Google’s Picasa, a logo that represents a camera shutter in the negative space amidst the myriad colours. A few other brands tend to customise colours based on the personality of their goods such as the pink of Barbie and Victoria’s Secret. Clearly, buyer preferences are influenced at some level as a result of the colour sense and choice.

Set aside buyer preferences, colours also reflect one’s personal choices and traits to a certain extent. Typically, shades of black exhibit a mysterious, powerful, independent and confident air, while white comes across as pure, neat and immaculate. There is something very comforting about the blue skies and seas, and the sights that grey-brown mountains and hill stations bring us. Pink is stereotypically associated with feminine traits, while the yellows and the oranges give out a bubbly, sunshiny and approachable vibes.

Colours are also known to emanate from cultural backgrounds. The French are known to love their monotones, which typically are shades of black, white, grey or blue, while the Italians are more open. The Arabs love exquisite stone work on their hijab, but their dresses are normally a long skirt or a gown sorts along the lines of floral prints or the likes. India is known to be a land of colours. And probably that’s why as a person, the play of colours fascinates me. Love them. I like them bright. I like them whether they are thread-worked or landscaped by nature. There is a joy I associate with colours irrespective of their presence in my wardrobe, the places I travel to, or the snaps I like to shoot. There simply has to be colour play. To capture my interest. To inspire. To give it my undivided attention. Maybe, that’s the reason I would choose to travel and disappear any day. Maybe, that’s the reason I would prefer spending time observing rather than ranting at go. And maybe, that’s what drew me to ART-ery.

12333118_10154351764872995_1020939358_oFrom ethnic anklets to minimalist arm cuffs, classy bangles to embossed, metallic and threaded earrings, from sophisticated neck pieces to traditional and beaded finger rings, ART-ery brings it all. Their delicate floral wreaths and head bands, trendy one-eared ear cuffs and chic belly buttons are some of the unconventional, yet charmingly addictive additions. With a personal affinity towards shades and hues, an aspect of ART-ery that drew my attention is their section on handcrafted jewellery – their beaded neck pieces. The beads, imported after prudent scrutiny, are fashioned and assembled in-house. Aimed at across age groups, this section is not only just about taking its baby steps into its existence, but also offers a quintessential feature that anyone, as a buyer, would love to go all out on. Beaded in a way to suit simple, everyday jewellery, the handcrafted section is completely customisable – whether in terms of length to suit a specific dress piece, in terms of colours, or even in terms of the beads (which, as a way of mentioning, start from regular crystals to coloured ones, on they go to wooden beads and 12315363_10154351772747995_1783209219_osemiprecious collections for those looking for something plushy). If there is an idea, here is where ART-ery helps you build from scratch. For all you know, you may have looked at umpteen places for that one neck piece that you so wanted. Now you know where to find it. Talk about a ‘personalised’ experience and how! And oooooh, need I mention? What colours!

We choose clothes by occasion. Heck, we change them everyday! What if jewellery is given a similar status? Of being something more than a simple piece. A punctuation, if not a statement, that we can make on every single day, irrespective of what we wear. The beauty of a daily routine that still is unpredictable with the many-sidedness an ornament can offer.

One platform. Different avenues. Find them simply. Search them easily. ART-ery.