Notes to 2020.

Death to 2020 @ Netflix was sheer sarcastic brilliance. Much like a lot of what I saw on social media this year was.  I laughed more than I should have, at both on-screen and off-screen drama and yes, am grateful that I had the comfort of a couch and some popcorn to up the entertainment quotient while some real shit was happening outside. Needless to say, none of it takes away from the seriousness of the curveball life threw at us this year and many others who weren’t as fortunate.

This was the year I saw activists emerge in full glory on social media. I still for one, can’t understand the logical reasoning behind all that aggressiveness. How is liking 20 tweets or posting 20 things of the same kind starting from a gentle nudge to hardcore accusations going to get people to even remotely listen to your perspective? Besides, what even is the point of just loud armchair activism? What am I missing here?

This was the year I saw trolls emerge with zero pretence whatsoever on social media. Being deliberately nasty at a time when people are just doing their best to get by on a day-to-day basis, you have got to be really twisted in your heart. I have no words for you.

However, this was also the year I saw kindness and quiet strength emerge in the way people coped with the shit-show around. Resilience won the day time and again.

Final words on 2020, because sometimes even we give in to the hype around writing notes to the year that was. No, 2020 was not a year of reset for me. It was the year I rested.

Halfway into the year I lost my job and while it was very disappointing initially, it gave way to a long due break. The first three months were spent in the sweetness of not knowing what I wanted to do next – from one hour to the next, one day to the next, one week to the next. I cooked, I baked, I went for long walks, I clicked photos of anything that caught my eye, I read books, I read blogs, I experimented with making cocktails, I learnt about wine, I shifted preferences to white wine, I read about my industry, I read about interesting people not from my industry, I watched loads of shows and movies, I wrote bits and pieces whenever I felt like. No agenda, no purpose but just pure zen and therapy. After close to 13 years of working our asses off, upskilling and networking could wait for a while.  I was even lucky enough to land a project for the next 3 months, one that pushed my boundaries of thinking, while still giving me the space to continue my other interests.

It was most definitely a year of feeling and expressing deep deep gratitude for all I have, especially family and close ones, and good health. Touch wood.

So, to wrap what has been an unusually fulfilling year personally, my top three’s:

  • Cooking and Baking – Momos (steamed, pan fried, soups), Patra (stuffed colocasia leaves), Focaccia (normal tomato, cherry tomato, heirloom tomato)
  • Books – Remnants of a Separation, Park Bench, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed
  • Gen entertainment Shows – Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix), The Morning Show (Apple TV), Street Food Latin America (Netflix)
  • Movies – Little Women (Netflix), If Beale Street Could Talk (Netflix), Unpaused (Amazon Prime India)
  • Cringe Binge shows – Indian matchmaking (Netflix), The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives (Netflix), Emily in Paris (Netflix)
  • Blogs – A Cup of Jo, LaTonya Yvette, Apartment Therapy
  • Wines – L’etincelle Pays d’Herault (Chenin Blanc, France), Villa Loren (Amarone, Italy), Maria Camilla (primarily Sauvignon Blanc, Italy)
  • Homemade Cocktails – Negroni, Paloma, Sangria
  • Instagram handles – @words.and.other.comforts (shameless plug), @saffrontrail, @newyorkercartoons
  • Twitter handles – Sayantan Ghosh@sayantansunnyg, Pomp@APompliano, Wine Folly @WineFolly

On that note, 2020, we were okay. 2021, may the force be with you but for now, continue to wear a mask please 🙂

The Heart asks Pleasure First

Raw emotions, pages and pages of it…treated gently, treated wisely. This should feel heavy, with the imagery and the metaphors and the poetry. But it does not.

“A flight of yesterdays.”

Words definitely don’t do justice to the depth of everything i’ve just felt, overwhelming and a bit unnerving.

“To love. All kinds of it.”

Daya (mercy) and Aaftab (sun), their love too much to fit in a divided world.

“Now she wrapped up her dreams.

Now she folded them into a paper plane.

Now she aimed for the wastepaper basket.”

Then there’s Wasim (the brother) and Colin (the friend) and Asha (her mom) and Gyan (her dad).

“A pan of food critics.

A float of dancers.

A clutch of families.

We are all the same. Bones, muscle, souls, blood, shame, hate, joy.


Read, it’s beautiful.

The Covid Life – Emotional Distance.

How do you do the long distance love? Parents, cousins, friends.

Yes, we do the video-calling and the normal calling and the whatsapp messages. But these are not ordinary times to just keep in touch in a passive detached way. Every thing seems to be tangled up in every thing. News, moods, love.

We consistently find the answer in everyday little things. Good mornings, breakfast photos, a call to say hi, lunch photos, a non-sensical joke forward, sharing a song i hummed all day, sunset photos, sending them reiki healing, daily game of ludo, analysis of the game, jibes over how dad’s always focused on killing us all, slightly heavy goodnights because none of us know how tomorrow will fare but we are hopeful.

It is a hell of a lot of work. Sensitivities are at peak and emotions are swinging like never before. Some days you tick all the boxes and arguments still break out but you don’t have the luxury to be upset for a whole day because none of us know how tomorrow will fare but yes, we are still hopeful.

Then we hunt for ways to keep the connection going in a purely mechanical way. Ludo comes in handy again. Play, kill, throw a six, start again. Hesitatingly share another dinner photo and hope you get a reply or even just an emoticon. Gauging cautiously, you make that call just to say goodnight and you sleep yet again with a slightly heavy heart because none of us know how tomorrow will fare but we are hopeful.

I read somewhere, ridiculous times like these call for ridiculous amounts of love. Yes please, love. Even when you feel like you can’t, LOVE. Baby steps 🙂

Remnants of a Separation

Every once in a while you come across a book that makes you feel deeply. Remnants of a Separation is one where the author takes you on a journey through endings, beginnings and more importantly the chaotic and heartbreaking in-betweens experienced by some of the families who were victims of the divide on both sides of the border. Traveling back to another time with them and feeling what they felt, living their memories through artefacts and heirlooms they carried during the migration.

During these times, it provides the human lens of seeing people as people, emotions as emotions through the partition, without any other biases.

Remnants of a Separation, in all honesty it was the cover art that first caught my eye. Chapter 4: The Maang-Tikka of Bhag Malhotra ♥️

The author has a twitter and instagram account where she shares more, and it has become a morning ritual of sorts to go check for updates.

Wine happens.

So, our kitchen sink has a big leak, possibly water pipe broken and needs a plumber urgently. Here is how whatsapp conversation with husband (on his rare day working from office) went:

Me: so, he’ll fix it tomorrow?

Him: no, assuming wall needs to be broken, will take a few days

Me: my kitchen is a mess, he needs to find an immediate temp solution

Him: may not happen tomorrow

Me: this sucks, I may have wine

Him: nice (sarcastic nice), today is the 17th, may have wine

Him: today is Thursday, may have wine

Him: the sky is blue today, may have wine

Me: it’s my birthday month

Him: october is the follow-up to birthday month, may have wine

And, it went on. My partner in w(h)ine, he does not drink 🙂

The Covid Life – Balcony series.

This tiny strip of land we call balcony.

Home to our plants, our chai dates, deep conversations.

Our connection to the outside. Moving cars on the road providing some semblance of normalcy. Heavy downpours, lightning and cloud drama giving us company on otherwise lonely days.

Our comfort space to go to after petty arguments because living together 24 hrs also takes a toll some days. To shut the balcony door firmly. To go stare outside. The vast expanse of the sea providing comfort to the restless soul.

Our brief escape route from the day-to-day routine with the gorgeous sunrises, stunning sunsets and beautiful dusk settings.


The New Normal.

Given, we are living in the new normal now. While there is no denying the fact that a pandemic as big as what we are currently facing is bound to change one’s way of living, it is hard sometimes to pinpoint exactly what some of these big attitude changes are.

Here are my most evident ones –

  • Filtering the outside noise – Social media has always come with its own dose of ugly and there are now significantly a greater number of people engaging online at a higher frequency than earlier. It has become more important than ever to effectively filter out what you allow to enter your mind space and what stays. I have ruthlessly unfollowed and muted people on Instagram; commenting turned off for most posts. New Facebook connection requests are strongly filtered. WhatsApp group notifications have been put on mute. And no, I have zero FOMO moments, this is pure JOMO. I have reached Marie Kondo expert level 8/10, and life is so peaceful I wonder why it took me so long to get here.
  • A-level prioritization – Never, I repeat, never have I so unconsciously been able to prioritize what needs my emotions and actions till now. It is disconcerting when I think of how some of the most hyped news these days fails to rattle me. It affects me, but it no longer freezes me in my tracks. And while the noise filtering is conscious, the prioritization I have to say is mostly unconscious. It is almost as if very automatically there is a mental system that starts classifying various levels of graveness in my head and does not demand a strong reaction till it reaches red alert level. I do not understand the reasons behind it. Is it the many distractions and escape routes available? Is it the heightened awareness around mental health issues? Is it this need to live every moment as best as possible given and despite the Covid uncertainty? It is like my brain decided to play out Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F@#k effortlessly, 2 years after I read the book. I do not know if I like it yet, but the soul feels clean so far.
  • Mental Health – Suffice to say, very aware of the ups and downs. The big change here is the conscious action taken when I figure it’s a down. Automatically social media is put on hold, chai is brewed, candles are lit, couch is seized, blanket thrown over. Hygge all the way.

We are conscious there is a raging pandemic outside seriously affecting many people. I have had a job loss myself and it was hugely disappointing. Politics is a shit-show right now all over. We have parents back in India, where daily case numbers are breaking their own records. All of this is being taken in with the knowledge that 99.8% of it is not in our control. We have contributed where we could and are taking care of our own the best possible way in this situation (and vice versa). There is also an acute sense of gratitude knowing we have the better deal so far by virtue of living in a well-managed small country. As cliché as it sounds, there is a roof over our head, food on the table, good health which we are putting every effort in maintaining, responsible and disciplined family members, a few close friends with whom we can be our cranky unfiltered selves when needed, and the good side of social media to share in the collective pick-me-ups.


It is unfortunate that a pandemic had to be our wake-up call on some fronts, but like the wise ones say – it is never too late.

Lessons in Clay.

That scene from Ghost. Demi Moore. Patrick Swayze.

Movie inspiration aside, my love affair with pottery actually began in Rome, where I stayed at my aunt’s house – it had a warm earthy vibe, an old world mess of pots and mosaics. I’ve always wanted to create a home as a reflection of who we are and our lives… every piece curated or handcrafted…speaking of interesting stories and shared conversations.

Shortly after returning, I took up pottery lessons. It was everything I was expecting and more. The absolute joy of getting your hands dirty, the feel of wet clay and the smell of glazes – it’s such a heady mix and feels like too much, yet just right all at once.

Posting some of my pieces here –

  • Starry Night – painted a dark midnight blue glaze with little specks that burst when fired, to give this tealight candle holder it’s glassy dotted look and texture.

Candle Holder

  • Babyphants – hand sculpted, they have tiny pouches where one can keep the teabag after use or mini cookie bites even. My first creation, dedicated to the husband and his love for elephants. We are a little nervous to actually use it so these two are perched up on the windowsill, being unusually chatty with each other.

Elephant Mugs

  • Potted in Pink – a small’ish pot, the glaze is a mysterious red that turned pink when fired, giving it a much more delicate look than what I was going for. Saving it for a money plant, multi-purposing as a pen stand till then.


  • Lost in Translation – As the story goes, my teacher (T) asked a friend (B) and me to paint our pieces in different layer of colors.
    • T meant – each coat of paint in a different color to give an interesting finish once fired.
    • B perceived – mix a couple of different colors to create a new one and paint each coat with this new color.
    • I perceived – Divide my bowl into three sections/layers and paint each in a different color. I went dark to light, shades of rich blue over the raindrops carved into my bowl.

Needless to say, we had a good laugh over it all and stand proud owners of our pieces, no matter the mix-up over layers.

Bowl Bookmarks

  • Roll me up Pretty – the husband’s favourite, a rolled slab shaped into a tray, stamped in lotuses, painted a dotted blue and deep pink.


  • Sunset in Rome – an ode to the place where it all started, the place where I left a part of me.


Each of my creations have their own little place at home…whether standing nerdy holding bookmarks on the shelf, lying lazy on the coffee-table or shining a dim light during cozy dinners.

The big dream is to go back to Rome for a pottery course (and for the gnocchi, and for the wine). But like they say  – everything, in its own time!

L.O.V.E. is a four letter word.

How many different kinds of love are there – someone asked me. Just the four-letter one, the simple me said. Infinite, the complicated me said.

The we don’t meet often but there’s an instant connect when we do kinda love.

The I’ll always have your back kinda love.

The you give me butterflies in my tummy kinda love.

The you swallow me whole, heart and soul kinda love.

The no words, only eyes kinda love.

The I need you right now kinda love.

The ping hi to say nothing else kinda love.

The no words, no eyes, only hands kinda love.

The lets sneak in a kiss kinda love.

The I’ll learn all about superheroes for you kinda love.

The 3am call kinda love.

The grow old together kinda love.

The I’ll give you my last saved piece of fries kinda love.

The 3am call, come over now and bring me ice-cream kinda love.

The sweet snuggle in on a rainy day kinda love.

The no one dare hurt you or I’ll taser them kinda love.

The I love you but I am too scared to admit it kinda love.

The I need to text you about every little thing kinda love.

The sit on the couch do nothing but toes, fingers, legs, hands curled with each other kinda love.

The possessive needy you are mine kinda love.

The calm secure I know you are mine kinda love.

The look in the mirror – I got you love, kinda love.

The just a four-letter word kinda L.O.V.E.

Shit! I am a strong independent woman.

My husband sent me this, as a joke. I responded with a lengthy piece on how the concept of an independent woman or a woman with feminist values is often misconstrued. Sorry to the husband but also thanks for getting me to re-start my blog.

Dear fellow men,

When I bring up a feministic/independent viewpoint, what I’m saying is not that “I am one of the boys” or that “Women are stronger” and I’m definitely not saying “I hate men”…unless you’ve given me a solid reason to dislike you…which would not change even if you were a woman.

Here’s what I am in fact saying:

  • I (we) do not need a man’s approval, just as much as I would not need another woman’s. However, when I do ask you, it is because I value your opinion and respect your feelings.
  • The actual words you are looking for is “gender parity” or “gender equality”, critical in areas where we put in equal effort e.g. similar kind of work. Also critical for basic human rights e.g. the right to vote, the right to education, etc.
  • I (we) like being pampered, doesn’t matter if it’s self-pampering or otherwise. Not because I’m dependent on someone or simply because I’m a woman but because everyone likes to be spoilt silly sometimes. Affection is very gender-neutral, wouldn’t you agree?!
  • A No is a No. It is about respecting boundaries and comfort levels. We do have a sense of humor but disrespect disguised as a joke is a No. There’s a difference.

Basically – “There are areas of expertise where men may be better than women and vice versa. That doesn’t make anyone of us any less equal. If anything, we complement each other. That being said, a No needs to be respected on both sides.”

If you feel anything otherwise, then that would be your assumption. Come talk, we can agree to disagree over a drink or coffee 🙂


P.S: These are my thoughts. Any resemblance or similarity to any other thoughts/actual events & situations is purely coincidental.

Home – the feeling of it.

I read a beautiful piece yesterday on how one is not 100% happy all the time. Rather joy or the utter feeling of it comes in moments and it’s these moments that stay with us a while. Here’s some moments that belong so completely to me, they are absolutely and wholly mine :o)

  • Waking up to the pitter patter of rain on my window…
  • Stealing 10 minutes of us-time with my hubby in the morning sipping Pudina chai , no words spoken…
  • Discovering $10 in the back pocket of my jeans…
  • Hubby surprising me by buying Coca Cola cos I have cooked Pav Bhaji and it is my absolute favorite combination :o)
  • Noticing another couple dunk their croissant in coffee in a fancy Paris café, I smile at my hubby and then we proceed to do the same…
  • Reading a Nora Roberts and thinking I am exactly like the female lead (prettiness and the works)…he he he…
  • Tipsy happy conversations around math and philosophy…after two glasses of wine…and the memories of it the next day :o)
  • Simple words of appreciation from my boss or a co-worker on work well done…
  • Discovering by fluke that the awesomest bagel shop in all of NYC was bang opposite our hotel…
  • The innocent toothless grin from my friend’s 2 yr old, especially while she clutches my hand…this one just topples my heart over :o)
  • Wearing matching Wonder Woman and Supey tees with the hubby to comic con…
  • Front row seats on the upper deck of a double decker bus roaming around the city, especially when it rains…
  • Rains!!!! Anytime of the day!!! Rains!!! I love rains, it washes out every little bit of low and negativity from my soul…
  • Co-incidences, the good ones, like when I am missing someone, and they ping Hi…
  • Hugs!!! I am big on hugs, not the sideway ones, the really big warm bear hugs that squash me with love…I can proudly say I have received some exceptional ones…
  • Seeing snow for the first time!! I will never forget that feeling! Ever!!
  • Exchanging knowing glances with a bestie, Oooooo…the secretive ones :o)
  • Having an aha! Moment where all the jumbled up, messed up thoughts just sort of fall in place, in a jiffy…
  • Super sweet and sugary icing on a cupcake…yum…
  • Pure unfiltered love in any form – a friend filling my wineglass with his own in the split second my hubby looks away, another one mussing up my hair in like a protective big brother way, cutiepie of a girlfriend massaging my head seeing me in severe sinus pain, another one pushing her hubby out of the room to sleep with me cos I used to be scared sleeping alone (ghosts!!!), an out-of-touch college friend pinging to say she misses our sitting-on-the-roof-with-a-faraway-look deep conversations, yet another sort of just-got-back-in-touch friend saying she will buy me organic natural soaps (I love!!!) from her trip to Morocco…this is an endless list…

These just fill my soul with waves of happiness and a sort of glowy contentment, like feeling immense joy, safety and love all at once, kind of like how I feel resting my head in my mum’s lap. That’s what these remind me of – Home, the feeling of it, in random places, with random people.

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