Topical pursuits!… Nisha kartik

It is one thing to walk into a star hotel, being greeted with cold towels, strings of fresh jasmine draped around our necks, and sandalwood paste on our foreheads as a sign of welcome before receiving a fresh coconut… all while flower petals rained down on us from above. Is this real life?!

In this tropical Paradise, I have spent my childhood summer vacations watching the sun rise over rice fields filled with lotuses and watched it set among the palm trees.
It is no secret to anyone that knows me, even marginally well, that I love the sea.I have always been a true blue beach bum by heart (Okay I absolutely love the Jungles too). But, to stay on topic – I love the beach. Period.

There is a relief when I am around salt water. My stress drains out, my senses come alive, and I can block everything else out. ( the sea need not be your thing, any other kind of place that one can go to put the world on pause for a little while and just be alone with one’s thoughts and the sounds around.) It is where I long to go when I am craving to be away from responsibilities and weighing expectations.

It is where I go when I feel like I need to creatively recharge. It is my escape and should I ever decide I want to run away from home, it would not be very difficult for those who love me to locate me. On a lighter note, my personal GPS would guide me there when I need it most. It is where I can just be.

My husband knows (and expects) that there will be a day at the end of each summer or early autumn where I beg to pack up and head off for the routine unsurprising visit. I bring my simple notebook and a pen. I bring my thoughts. And, I sit for a few hours.
There’s something about the beach that always lures me in. Maybe it is the empty open spaces filled with blues. Or maybe it is the sound of the waves challenging the shore each time. Maybe it is the alluring dance of the beautiful coconut trees.
The big vast waters, the beach lined with trees, and the stretch of nothingness brings me enough calm.
Looking forward to the next visit.

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Nostalgia and eagerness, crazy times..

The aim is to be respectful and smart and safe. I miss the outdoors and yeah, the colours of my city, Mumbai…but I am doing my part to keep our community safe, and only going out, for reasons unavoidable. And ofcourse the ones who have to attend to work, with the face mask on. I miss the smell of overworked fuel on the road, walking past people stretched on the packed pathways and giving people way to go first, the honking of cars, people randomly standing to stop autos, the courier boys, the maids sitting around, exchanging greetings with fellow morning walkers, beautiful boys and girls in their playwear, nannies with little ones under the shades of trees, and meditation seekers sitting in the grass letting the sun warm their face.
For now, I believe deep breaths and open windows will give me a boost.
I’ve made a habit of scrolling through my Instagram profile every night, thinking about how bizarre it is that I was standing near my friends whenever I wanted to only a month ago. It already feels impossible that I used to enter restaurants with abandon, drink a margarita with friends and read a book and eat whatever iteration of potato the menu is serving, on the days I went on solo dates.
Someday, I will probably once again tell a friend a secret over a third glass of wine—in person, not over phone. It’s something I have done with an overseas friend several times without really planning to, but now nostalgia is making me want to do it on purpose.
I daydream about the next manicure, pedicure, and all those pampering treatments.
Maybe I would like to stay at home on my bed and write notes all day, but when I have to do it, it is not fun anymore. I lost the feeling that Iam the one who decides where and when I want to be.
I miss that freedom and am thinking of the day I can do my travels again. Yes, destinations with sea views, warm morning sun, and magnificent sunsets.
And that is why this summer is going to be the summer of my life. I will enjoy it more than ever. Every minute of every day. Because I feel it’s going to be real soon.
Perhaps my wishes are not cancelled, only postponed. That classic glass of wine is waiting for me, with my name on it, in some jazzy restaurant.
Will meet soon.

But the breeze has magic..

Thrice a week atleast, I grab a bucket full of wet clothes and spread them out into the sunshine.

Often, I am helped, handing me one soggy item after another so that I could peg faster. Sometimes this reminds me of childhood when mom would hook the line with the wired pole and hoist it high into the roof to keep the sheets off the ground.
One of my fondest childhood memories involves my mother and the clothesline that stretched across our huge balcony in delhi.
In the present times, left to me, the clothes would not have any particular arrangement, even if the sun or wind were positioned differently..but that thought would deprive my little one of direct access to the possibility of dipping his hands in the bucket and making merry.
My mom grew up with line dried clothes. She lived in north Kerala where it was hot and dry. There, like in most small towns then, they line dried the clothes so the cotton sheets and towels got that stiff feeling. I used to participate for years when I visited my grandmother. That’s what I love. I noticed that the towels are kind of scratchy when I get them off the line and I love it! I feel like they actually dry instead of just the smearing water around.
Now, I live the advantages of a high raised floor in Mumbai..in this regard, with vast open space and no adjacent blocks to cover my view..which means uninterrupted flow of breeze as may happen.
Sometimes, when the sun is dipping and I pull a chair to read besides it..I love watching the clothes flap in the breeze and shine in the sun’s reflection. There is something soothing about it.
Its therapeutic.

I genuinely like hanging out clothes to dry. Most of the time, it’s a few minutes of peace with my thoughts, Iam on auto pilot mode and mechanically doing something with my hands. While my body is busy doing something rote and routine, my mind is free to wander.
And of course, in the not so rare situation that my four-year-old joins me, he hangs the clothes in all sorts of artistic ways (which I often re-do when he’s not looking)…he plays an important part in handing me one as needed.

Little Joys- Nisha Kartik

While I find the smell of earth after a drizzle really comforting after a rough day, something I find on par is the smell of a book.
Be it a new one, which fills me with the anticipation of a new plot, an unexpected twist or a comfy happy ending, or an old story to relive some good memories and possibly gather a new insight or point of view which had never occurred.

Also the scent of a baby, kind of a sweet scent.

That smell when you walk/drive past your favorite neighborhood bakery.

Call me crazy, but I just love how these smells drive me alive.

Lemme get a hold of this…hello Quarantine!!

I need rules, and rewards and punishment in my life, especially right now, sometimes I feel like I have no structure in my life during this quarantine and it’s really freaking me out .. I’m so glad that I decided to scoop some houseplants before the pandemic hit! I’ve spent my whole life with few flower pots, but considering how much air pollution there is in the city, I figured having some green friends might help.

Also I see these blogposts which recommend true living, unlike mine, i suppose.They constantly bombard you with guilt-infusing intellectual snippets like… What have you been doing?! What are you into? Have you done your spring cleaning yet? Is there a book you were always wanting to read but never gotten to it? Have you been wanting to work out? You can look up 10-30 minute exercises on YouTube that don’t require weights, you can go for walks (Safely) it’s so nice getting fresh air and listening to music, meditating? Maybe trying new hair styles or playing with make up, learning new yoga poses, looking up new music, cooking something you’ve never cooked before, watching a new movie or maybe baking a new treat, do you have crystals? How about having a super lush bath w candels crystals incense and essential oils if you have any of those?! But then there are days, when I find their edits so beautiful and I love the writers/readers/bloggers of this fandom for giving me a reason to smile during this craziness of quarantine … thanks for doing what you do and brightening someone’s day.
I have been drinking this lemon tea lately, and its become a favourite. For a south indian person, that’s a huge shift from regular tea.

Also finished The Book Thief today! It was so good but so sad!!
I’ve had a headache and did manage to write up a couple of notes today, too.
I hope your day has been great so far!!!

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You and I…My notes

There’s a picture of us sitting in this lovely restaurant . You’re laughing, your head thrown back, hair flying wild in the wind. I’m sitting on a chair right opposite to you, my arms slung across the table, smiling at the you and what you say, a bottle of wine with two glasses, not the oversized one like you find at my place, delicately posing between us, slowly overtaking our sanity. In that picture, during those overflowing moments, everything was easy. We didn’t have dreams pulling us in different directions. We didn’t have love telling us to stay, to go. We were rooted to the same town, the same school. We didn’t yet understand the luxury of lazy summer afternoons eating snacks and watching the sunset, our legs kicked up in lawn chairs. We didn’t know how hard it could be to be so far apart.

I haven’t told you this, but every time I think about that evening there is an indescribable ache, perhaps the nice kind… something I look forward to, again.

I miss how it used to be—those sweet secrets in my bedroom, we shared unashamedly, we walked across the road picking up essentials jumping traffic like two teenage girls, walking into boutique shops picking up memorabilia and stuff to carry back, that not so awesome walk on the dirty Mumbai beach, which I know you hated… but you did it for me… my bedroom door which stayed as a guard from perhaps an eavesdropping husband, that was a joke yeah… for he wasn’t allowed anywhere near our vicinity… and all night talking about those boys….you know what I mean? Laugh.. Giggle.. Laugh

Sometimes it feels like you’re half a world away from me.

And honestly, I’d do anything to have you here, right now, laughing at my stupid jokes, sharing some weird details about our secret lives, sipping beers on my front patio, watching the tall buildings across us… feeling the much talked about cool breeze at my floor… and perhaps a sunset, across the sunny sky.

There are miles between us. Airplane rides. Road trips. Hours on a bus. Gas and tickets and wheels on a highway keeping you from easily walking through my front door. There are commitments and schedules. There are work trips and family vacations and day-to-day obligations that remind us our lives are rooted in different places now.

And sometimes it touches my heart, when we call each other a zillion times to share our lows, our own little heartaches and all we do then, is reassure each other through the phone. That when what we really need is a big best friend hug, we’ll have to settle for long text messages and super long voice calls, that almost do the job.

I hate that I can’t see you every day, but no matter the miles and days and hours that separate us, you are never far from me.

You’re on my mind more than you know, and every time I think of you, I’m reminded how lucky I am. And how wonderful it is to have someone who, no matter the distance, no matter the time apart, no matter how far we are physically from one another, will never stop being my best friend.

I love you. And that means more than the miles between us. That means more than the months that have passed between the last time we hugged, or laughed, or cried in one another’s arms. That means more than how far or how long.

Because friendship is not dependent upon distance.

And even if I don’t see you every day, I promise that won’t change a thing.
Stay the same.

Escape Artist

If you don’t want to be ‘somewhere’, just go home. It makes me feel useful. If I have to attend a social gathering I usually sit in a chair in the corner of the room and talk to just one person at a time.

Doing this results in longer conversations with fewer people, which drains me much less than attempting small talk with many people.

This really helps.

Or, I hang out with an extrovert and let him do the talking. I have a collection of extroverts I can call upon.

Or, I find a dog to play with.

I procrastinate in the bathroom for a while or step outside to catch my breath. This helps a lot and is the reason why I love balconies. Sometimes out in a balcony I meet another introvert and hold a conversation that feels real.

We look through the maze of activity and together witness the party unfold.

Or, I ask if I can help: I pick up dishes or arrange things in the kitchen so I don’t have to make conversation.

Reading spells…

Why read the book? When you can just watch the movie. I have a little view in this.
When you pick up a book, there is a commitment you make to it, a promise to not give up midway at chapters perhaps not so interesting, while reaching the end and watching the story unfold at every word. While watching a movie, all you have to do is sit in your seat and take in what the screen shows you.
But, reading a book is so different from this. When your read a book, you are creating the world and characters described by the author using your own imagination. So, in a way, the story becomes a personal experience that you see from the character’s point of view. You are the screen stylist in this case. You feel yourself walking through the places in the book, feeling the emotions of the characters. This is something that can be experienced through very few other mediums.

People who enjoy reading, like watching and observing the world that the author has created. It may be in variance with our regular life process and thought streams and may not be understood all the time, but it can be always interpreted. The most amazing part is the permission granted to enter another person’s imagination, meet the unknown, sometimes unexpected, feel a feeling and get drenched in its newness and freshness.
To me, at times, to be able to take a dive into an intimate and exclusive territory with books-
that is the most amazing thing in the world.

Writing Moods

I have only two writing moods:

1. There’s 2k words down; I can fit another thousand before dinner!

2. I have 300 words left before I hit my minimum count goal and I would rather physically bury myself into the ground and die a dreadful suffocating death than write another sentence.

Like any skill, that ability takes a while to work towards, and some days it will always be hard to write, but the longer you do it and the more you’re able to let go of your inner editor, the better writing days you’ll have.