Sunday, May 09, 2021

Thakur pujo

 In a year of unrelenting, bone deep, breathless grief, I've discovered that  NOTHING hits the spot quite like Robi Thakur. From wild, untamed sadness to the gritty melancholy -- he has a song for everything. I've spent more hours listening to his music in the past one year than I have in my life. As the world burned, his quiet words soothed as nothing else could. Let posterity record that collective Bengali grief always turns towards this man for relief.


https://youtu.be/6K97zuGWXY4


"একক অখন্ড ব্রহ্মান্ড  রাজ্যে,

পরম এক সেই রাজ রাজেন্দ্র রাজে।"



Friday, January 15, 2021

2020

 1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?


Ahahahaha. AHAHAHA...What can I say. Survived an unprecedented global pandemic and saw our global descent into fascism?  


2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


 No, and no. Resolution, shmesolution. Who has the time when the world is ending?



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yes! First core baby. :) 

4. Did anyone close to you die?


Yes.



5. What countries did you visit?

None.  


6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?

An effective vaccine, dear god.



7. What date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory?

18th March, because that was the day I started working from home, expecting this weird new disease to go away in a couple of months. And well...it's now January and I haven't been back in the office since. And also 29th August, because that's when we came back for good. 


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Not dying.


9. What was your biggest failure?

Fucking up my mental health. 


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yup. Typhoid and fractured ankle and slow descent into madness.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Rajdhani first class tickets to Kolkata.


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Mine. And sporadically S'.


13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

EVERYONE'S!


14. Where did most of your money go?

Books and Swiggy. 



15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


Moving back to Kolkata.


16. What song/album will always remind you of 2020?

Jano kichu mone koro na...

[https://youtu.be/o1v3z2EUgcM]


17.Compared to this time last year, are you:


1. Happier or sadder? Happier.
2. Thinner or fatter? Same.
3. Richer or poorer? Richer.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Walking around Delhi roads when I had the time and opportunity.


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?


I spent Christmas drinking coffee with D and then driving around Kolkata with S. It was a good day. 


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?


Shallow Hollows



22. Did you fall in love in 2020?


Nope.



23. How many one night stands in this last year?


None.



24. What was your favourite TV programme?

This was the year I discovered Korean drama! While the world died around me and I stayed at home for months on end, I wore my mask and watched impossibly good looking people having complicated lovelives and ridiculous problems. My favourites were 'Crash Landing On You', 'Because This is my First Life' and 'Hospital Playlist.' 


25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


Can't remember.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?


One of the most distressing things about this extraordinary year was the fact that it took away my ability to read. I spent hours doomscrolling on my phone or just staring at the ceiling, but couldn't bring myself to finish books. Reading has always been my go-to method to relax, and in a year when I needed it most...I just couldn't. Anyway, all this to say that I didn't read much, but I DID discover Georgette Heyer. Her 'Why Shoot A Butler' was easily the most heartwarming thing I read in a year full of heartbreaks.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Akhilbandhu Ghosh. 

28. What did you want and get?

To quit my super stressful job.



29. What did you want and not get?


Peace.



30. What were your favourite films of this year?


I truly cannot remember a single movie I watched this year. I do recall rewatching 'Asa Jawar Majhe' with S, and being struck by its deliciousness anew. Does that count?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


I was 32. Was just recuperating from a nasty bout of Typhoid, so couldn't eat anything but boiled rice and eggs and idli. But had friends over, fed them good food, and lived a little vicariously. So that was good. This was right before the world shut down,  and thank god for that.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 

A little less 'unprecedented' events please. It sucks to live through history. 


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?

Aha. Ahaha. AHAHAHAHA. I gave away half my wardrobe before the cross-country move, and have solely survived on pajamas for a year.



34. What kept you sane?

Cats. 


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


David Tennant. Neil Gaiman. Riz Ahmed.


36. What political issue stirred you the most?


I ... don't know where to start. Next question please.

37. Who did you miss?

EVERY one. EVERY FUCKING ONE. 

38. Who was the best new person you met?

No new person was met. Everyone stayed put in their homes.


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.

This, too, shall pass.


40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Aur bhi dukh hai zamane mein, mohabbat ke siva,
Raahatein aur bhi hai, vasl ki rahat ke siva...


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Begone 2019, this year of horror

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?

Oh jesus. Nothing, and everything. Does that make sense? Everything seemed old and jaded this year AS WELL AS bewilderingly new and overwhelming. This truly was the year best summed up by the age-old adage of "Well, at least you didn't die..."  
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


 I did, surprisingly. And then I realized that those resolutions were shit in the first place, and keeping them did not make me happy and content after all. So there's that.

Definitely making more resolutions for next year, though. 



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yes! Multiple friends had multiple ickle babies this year! 2019 was full of progeny!


4. Did anyone close to you die?


No, thank god.



5. What countries did you visit?

Vietnam! But that was a continuation of my December 2018 trip -- so it probably does not count. Within India, we went to Gushaini in Himachal for Holi, and then for a surprisingly calming trip to Bangalore in June. There was a kinda awkward, but okay work trip to Nainital in July as well. And of course the obligatory Kolkata and Benares things happened. We're also set to go to Shimla for a quick year-end getaway. Looking back, this year was very VERY low in travel. 


6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?

Work-life balance. Oh dear God, some work-life balance would be good.]



7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?

7th June, I think. I left a long and dearly held job for newer horizons that day. It was a disorienting time. 


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Changing my job
  • Starting the side thing
  • Not losing my mind completely



9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting the side thing off and running, like we thought we would. Not sticking to the health resolutions. Really not paying attention to friends and family, and pouring all my energy into work instead. 


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yup. Brain completely melted, taking my mental health with it.
11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to Bangalore, I think.


12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Pnuti's.


13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Most of India's.


14. Where did most of your money go?

Flight tickets. Food. Cats. Books. 



15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


Nothing. Not a single damn thing elicited any sort of overwhelming excitement. It was a shitty, shitty year, Watson.


16. What song/album will always remind you of 2019?

Cold/Mess - Prateek Kuhad



17.Compared to this time last year, are you:


1. Happier or sadder? Sadder.
2. Thinner or fatter? Same.
3. Richer or poorer? Richer, but not happier about it.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Just chilling. Staring at the skies. Walking around the city. Pottering around the house. Essentially, anything that's not work.



19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?


I spent Christmas watching a movie, and then drinking spiked hot chocolate with old friends. There was pasta and chicken too. 'Twas a good day.


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?


Office people. (Blergh.)



22. Did you fall in love in 2019?


Nope.



23. How many one night stands in this last year?


None.



24. What was your favourite TV programme?

  • Killing Eve
  • Fleabag
  • Russian Doll
  • Queer Eye Japan
(TV was quite deliciously good this year.)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


Yes.


26. What was the best book(s) you read?


Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air" made me publicly bawl in a metro. So, that was something. I was also introduced to Patrick Rothfuss, who provided my yearly fantasy fix quite satisfactorily.


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Prateek Kuhad, I think. Though that was hardly a new discovery. I just listened to him a lot this year. Also, all the old comforting Faiz songs were played on loop.
28. What did you want and get?

The new job.



29. What did you want and not get?


A work-life balance. Peace.



30. What were your favourite films of this year?


Marriage Story was absolutely delicious. I loved Lady Bird too. 


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


Quite disappointing birthday all around. Even the birthday dinner was kinda shit. Hoping this next year is better.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 

Just figuring out the thing that would provide me the most mental peace.


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?


Corporate slave, but forgot to comb her hair.
34. What kept you sane?


Books and therapy and cats. 


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


Neil Gaiman, in perpetuity.


36. What political issue stirred you the most?


Oh God, so many. I went to so many protests this year. Marched so many times. This world is going to hell in a handbasket, and I have decided to not go silently into the night. Kashmir was fucked, and so were minorities in India. 
BJP won an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha elections. Boris Johnson became UK's PM, and it looks like Brexit is a done deal. But maybe it is true that it is the darkest before dawn. (Fingers crossed).



37. Who did you miss?


My friends, all in one place.



38. Who was the best new person you met?


M, maybe? But the bar is rather low.



39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Be careful, for what you wish for might just become true.



40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

I wish I could leave you my love,
But my heart is a mess...

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Work has been crazy, for both me and S -- so much so that last week we saw each other 30 minutes tops each day. 30 minutes awake in the same room, before one person had to go to bed or shut themselves in a room with more work.

So we decided to go out to dinner after work on a weekday, to spend that elusive time together. The food was lovely, but it was after work, so I spent the entire time wishing that I could take off my bra. (My Pavlovian brain always goes: End of work day = No bra). And we were so hungry we barely exchanged a word once the food arrived. And when the meal ended, both of us felt EXTREMELY sleepy. So we quickly cabbed it home and fell asleep.

These middle-aged bones are not meant to go out on weekdays, is the moral of the story. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Life needs reboot, pronto. How long can one live half a life, really.

Monday, January 07, 2019

2018: going, going, gone...

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

2018 was a garbage fire of a year, a dumpster engulfed in flames that refused to go out. Now that I look back, I legit did not do any single *new* thing this year. I grinded away at the same old, same old. Thor bori khara, purono pajama...

But I did exercise semi-regularly for the first time in my life, and started a new, potential sidegig-y thing that got okay reviews and is still under production. So I guess ... I adulted?  


2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Nope. Yes.



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Nope. But 2019 promises to make up for the temporary lull in procreation in my social circle.



4. Did anyone close to you die?


No, thank god.



5. What countries did you visit?

Vietnam! It was a surprisingly great vacation, where we wandered the length of the country, eating delicious food and walking aimlessly through pretty streets.  

Within India, I went to Kalpa in Himachal, and the usual suspects of Benares and Calcutta. Maybe 2019's resolution can be to travel a bit more within the country. 

I also visited the Nizamuddin dargah for the first time, after living in Delhi for 8 years ... does that count?


6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

Money money money money....MONEY. [Please sing along with me]



7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?

Hmmm...maybe 31st December? But frankly, that's probably because that's the freshest in my mind, and I really did have the greatest time that day. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Exercising semi-regularly
  • Going on that much-awaited trip
  • Staying contentedly alone for long stretches of time

9. What was your biggest failure?


Not getting out of the rut at work, I think. Change is terrifying and HARD, y'all.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, a badly timed horrible bout of fever that made me partially miss a much-anticipated wedding, and several horrid cases of food poisoning. In retrospect, maybe stress really IS the silent killer.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to Vietnam!



12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Mine. Without a shadow of doubt. Maybe S' too, but the jury is still out on that one.



13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

No comments, because remember how I'm adulting now? Responsible adults do not crib in public.



14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Food. Cats. 



15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


Vietnam trip! The business-y sidegig-y thing *fingers crossed*



16. What song/album will always remind you of 2018?

Sakalbana - especially the Coke Studio version

This was also the year I discovered podcasts, and I *could not* be more of a convert. They make household chores and errand running 100% better. My current favourites are Potterless, Harry Potter And The Sacred Text, Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, and Spirits. Maybe 2019 can be my year of discovering Indian podcasts. 

Podcasts for president!


17.Compared to this time last year, are you:


1. Happier or sadder? Same.
2. Thinner or fatter? Fatter.
3. Richer or poorer? Same.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Go outside. Shut down my computer and go for walks/picnics/runs. The amount of time I spent in front of a screen -- either working or trying to work -- is ridiculous.



19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastination. Sitting on my ass, scrolling through the social media hellscapes.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?


Christmas was spent in Vietnam -- exploring caves in Halong bay and then coming back to Hanoi to walk around the city, visit a local church, and ingest Banh Mis and many cups of delightful Vietnamese coffee. So it was all good. :) 


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?


The Americans from work. (This answer is the same as last year, which is a truly depressing state of being.)



22. Did you fall in love in 2018?


Nope.



23. How many one night stands in this last year?


None.



24. What was your favourite TV programme?

  • GLOW
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Queer Eye
  • Anne With An E
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
(TV was quite deliciously good this year.)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


Yes.


26. What was the best book(s) you read?


Hmm...let's see. "Ones Who Eat Darkness" by Richard Lloyd Perry and "All That Remains" by Sue Black were both stunning works of non-fiction. This was the year where fiction really did disappoint -- Katherine Arden's "Girl In The Tower" being one of the few exceptions.  

I also completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 36 books. So that was something. 


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Nothing at all. All the old comforts were played on loop to keep real life at bay.



28. What did you want and get?

The Vietnam trip.



29. What did you want and not get?


Job satisfaction.



30. What were your favourite films of this year?


Mukkabaz. Manmarziyan. Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


I turned the big three o! There was cosy lunch party with few friends the weekend before. Many gifts from S and colleagues the day and day after. Spent the day chilling at home with cats, reading happily in bed -- and went out to fancy dinner with S in the evening. Best goddamn steak I've had in Delhi -- which is a true birthday miracle.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 

Less procrastinating, more doing. Maybe a little bit of therapy?


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?


Boring corporate slave with red/green hair a remnant of rebellion.


34. What kept you sane?


Cats and books and yoga. 


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


Lin Manuel Miranda. Ranveer Singh. Neil Gaiman [WHO REPLIED TO ONE OF MY TWEETS AND MADE ME DELIRIOUS WITH JOY]. David Tennant. Hasan Minhaj. Riz Ahmed. (My list doesn't change much, does it?  I am loyal towards my celebrity crushes.)


36. What political issue stirred you the most?


Scrapping of Section 377 from the Indian penal code! Yeah babeh!





37. Who did you miss?


Didimoni



38. Who was the best new person you met?


No one



39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

As I recently read on the Interwebz -- DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.



40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Wahaan kaun hai tera,
Musaafir, jayega kahaan?