20 Jun

I want the padmasana.

That’s it. That’s the post.

9 Jun

Yesterday I figured out how to make a Dutch braid and was mighty pleased with myself. I had always assumed it would be too difficult, but an internet tutorial showed me how it is basically the inverse of a French braid. If you can make that, you can make this- the only difference lies in what order you move the three sections of the braid. I love the internets, have I mentioned? 🙂

I’d hit a bit of a slowdown in dissertation progress since mid-May. Same culprit-I was beginning a new bit, and was temporarily clueless about how to go about it. This in-limbo stage, I see, historically frightens me and shuts me down. Lack of belief in the self etc etc. The ideal thing to do is to continue to stare at the open document anyway, for the path ahead does reveal itself. But, because I shut down, I can’t do that and have to let nature take its slightly longer course. This is something I’ve been working on addressing, and had made a fair bit of progress between March-mid-May. More (progress) will come. Intense inner difficulties do not get resolved instantly, most of the time. Re-making deeply ingrained thought patterns is very hard work.

The only thing that helps me is being able to return to a state of consciousness where I remember where everything comes from-including my thoughts and the way to approach lit review for the second case study B-) From that higher consciousness of the Universal Set, so to speak. In that consciousness I remember and know in my bones, again, that that greater reality is much, much bigger than the reality of my incompetence, if that makes sense. It helps me get myself out of the way, which is the only way out for me.

The slowdown seems to be easing now, though it took a few weeks. I wish I hadn’t lost weeks, but it is what it is. I can see what needs to be done, so I know the tempo will increase again.

I had hoped, in this year of many, many changes, to take myself off for a spiritual retreat after submission. However, now that I shall be submitting towards the end of the year, rather than this month, I can’t wait that long. One phase of my life ends this year, another begins, and I need guidance and clarity.

Do I act on the insights that have come since 2020 or not?

So next week I am off to one. The opportunity came, and I took it. I have many things to figure out in terms of what next, including giving consideration to a curveball of an option that came out of nowhere, but is refusing to vacate my mind. I’m reminded of the career counselling that our school arranged in Class Ten, before we picked out subjects for the final two years of school. I thought I wanted to study medicine, loving blood and gore and guts (I kid. Sort of. I could not get enough of those emergency room programmes on Discovery Channel and I was fascinated by the inner working of the human body). But the career counsellor looked at my aptitude test thingies and said yes okay, but have you considered this, and changed my life. ‘This’ being film-making because he noticed that I had a propensity for creative expression across forms. I never became a film maker, but I did choose to study literature for my undergrad and have been airing out that side of my being and personhood since then. (Going into science and tech would have been like existing without 3/4th of my self, in hindsight).

I’ll be carrying my work with me because no choice. However, since my work is not different from worship at the moment-in both and for both I’m trying to equally inhabit that higher consciousness, with urgency-I don’t think that should be a problem.

31 May

The extension was approved. And I am so, so relieved. Now to up the writing pace.

30 May

The Seine is the size of a waterlogged street in Kolkata during the monsoons. Maybe even smaller (like, seriously.) (Yes, Parisians- I am indeed throwing shade at your pride of a river. In Delhi, the Najafgarh nala is bigger. ) How on EARTH does an orca even fit in it? Like, how??

Also, have you ever seen brawling mynas? Mynas as in myna birds. They are loud, and very much like humans. The unusual noise drew me to the balcony, where I saw two of them locked in what felt like a serious difference of opinion. They were rolling round and round on the ground, while two of their mates stood around, egging them on.

Also, also, I had Thums Up for breakfast. And have cup noodles lined up for lunch. Why? Because I’ve been on a downward spiral since 10 May (though March-10 May is a good streak!) and today is an especially loaded day, because I will learn the fate of my deadline extension application.

23 Apr

How many overpriced plates of momos are too many overpriced plates of momos? Not three, said she, certainly not.

In other matters, I submitted around 100,000 words to both my supervisors, a short while ago, of what I have so far. There’s still more to add. Stuff will be edited down. But we all needed to know how and where things stand. It is already kind of big. Neither of them will be able to properly read it. There isn’t time enough for proper, multi-stage revisions, like I did for the journal article. Just the fixing of glaring faults. Oh well. I’m also going to need a final extension. Applied for it, but I don’t know how likely it is to be granted. Oh well. That is not in my control. I control how I work, and on I go working.

I’m losing a few days right now because there’s repairs and shit being handled at home by a parent. I’ve been spending my days in coffee shops, blowing up money, because working at home isn’t an option in the chaos. The institutional library too isn’t an option right now for multiple reasons. And now I’m coffee shopped out. So today I’m hanging out in one, drinking caffeine again and bingeing on chicken momos, trying to do ‘spirit maintenance’. Spirit maintenance is THE most important thing right now if I have to manage to keep on writing, without losing days/weeks to the periodic panic and anxiety.

Here’s wishing me luck.

10 Apr

Salads are my new BFFS. (I realise I’ve been changing food BFFs rather frequently recently. What can I say, tis a growth phase…)

I love how cold, colourful and one-bowlish they are. I’m currently rotating between a chickpea based one, a rajma one (kidney beans?), and a sprouted dal one. In them go chopped capsicum, tomato, cucumber, several types of seeds, peanuts, chopped chicken nuggets/cutlet (+ whatever is there-beets/broccoli/etc. tossed in a skillet) and a store-bought Caesar or honey mustard dressing. Sure. store bought dressing is a terrible idea. But I’m telling myself it gets somewhat neutralised amongst the fresh, raw vegetables *shrug*

PS- Paneer, I’m still BFFs with you too.

10 Apr

I’ve been digging out some essays I wrote for assignments during my MPhil, to see if there is anything that can be used in my chapters. And boy is it a pleasant surprise! Some of this shit was cogent and good. I’m surprised and pleased with my younger self. Younger self was a bit too hard on herself. Younger self also provided a good chunk for a chapter subsection \m/

***

What remains of this month will have to be carefully dealt with. My rhythm will need to change because messy construction-ish work is ongoing within the home, and a parent is here to handle it. There was, unfortunately, no other possible time to schedule these urgent repairs. This means I’ll be functioning at 10% of my full self, so I better make that 10% count! Cafes, here I come again.

3 Apr

Wisdom commeth with age.

Now that I’m going out and about a bit, on public transport (buses, I heart you), I’m finding the need to bring out my pre-pandemic wardrobe. Commute clothes, all-weather clothes etc.

Lulz, a lot of things don’t fit anymore.

Off I goes shopping, hoping to find a bunch of cheap but colourful kurtas WITH POCKETS DAMMIT, made of khadi, that hardy handloom cotton.

None to be found.

The most hideous designs fill the showrooms of the market near my home.

(I’m a dissertating student near her deadline-near home is all I can manage.)

Pass.

One shop has something that might do- a gorgeous orange almost handloomy cotton (no pockets, not cheap). It will have to do.

I wear it to the ashram, thankful to ditch the one oversize kurta I had, that I’d been repeating. (Every wash it got two shades lighter.) I find when the sun falls on it, it catches fire-aesthetically speaking. I love it.

I’m unemployed, but I sweat a lot, so I need more kurtas. Back I goes again, and ignoring the shop owner’s exhortations to good sense, I buy another almost exact same kurta.

Because I’m old now, and allowed to do things like this. And wise is wearing orange that glows on fire, setting heart alight.

2 Apr

Those sticky notes from the doors are taking a helluva long time to write up. Glad I put in the labour earlier, because there’s no way I’d have had time for it last month, and writing without them would take eeeeeven longer. Actually, no, I’d probably be faster, because I’d have been forced to distil my arguments from my notes. But I’d have less details. More details is good. Ima hoping.

Also, it’s kind of cool how Lent, Navratri and Ramzan kind of overlap at this time of the year. I wonder if other religions also have something during this time.

25 Mar

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying a new strategy, after my body and mind tanked yet again (looks like covid has pushed my system to a new normal, one which will not accept irregular hours, irregular meals, swiggy/chicken roll for meals instead of home-cooked food, and skipping my exercise. Or…it could just be old age LOL!).

Now that the ashram’s open again, I take myself there a couple of times a week, fill up, and then use that to work on the dissertation. I’ve also ditched caffeine, and have been reducing internet consumption to 1.5 days in a week. Not watching the (home and the) world burn in a constant livestream has been immensely helpful in keeping my energy and focus together. (And surprise, surprise! The news doesn’t change that much between Monday-Friday.) Entertainment is largely offline-Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea books.

I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this going, but I’m going to keep trying. Because deadlines. And not feeling like crap is GREAT!