everyday beautiful.

the world is vast. the internet is mesmerising. everywhere i look, there are fascinating stories and unsettling images. but there’s something to be said for everyday beauty. brain pickings, that lovely site that usually tells me with a stocking-wrapped sledgehammer that time’s a-wasting, and i really should be doing more than chasing deadlines past dusk, served up this stunning little nugget today.

in it, an urban red riding hood gathers sidewalk flowers, and leaves them around her. a younger, more cynical me would have quickly commented on the lovely illustration, and gone on to figure whether it would make a great viral or activation — imagine consumers picking up what look like sidewalk flowers, but actually turn out to be a charity appeal by a nature-protecting ngo, for instance. but i’m less young, and even less cynical these days.

i see more sidewalk flowers today than i have in many, many years before.

the dirty white stray dog sitting upright at the end of the narrow lane, his dirty white tail swishing the dust as he waits for the lady who will give him his breakfast. the yawning little girl sitting on her father’s pushcart as he sells knotted bunches of fresh greens. the familiar, tinny sound of a mono ms subbulakshmi suprabhatam — which never fails to remind me of a distant niece named uttishta. yellow and lilac flowers, pink tabebuia, all ingredients in a devastatingly beautiful pollenbomb.

the things we walk past are forever lost to us. no matter how carefully some red riding hood laid them out for you to encounter.

the things we see, we’ll carry forever. and i’m used to the heft of baggage.

everyday beautiful.

december 16.

it’s a date with great personal significance to me, a long while before 2012. and since the 2012 delhi gangrape, well, i’ve refrained from adding to the words of outrage and shock, as i doubt i have anything to add that hasn’t been said before.

it’s been over two weeks since, and while the victim has passed on, and her rapists await trial, i’m left with a single, somewhat selfish thought: all the nights i’ve taken a local train home in bombay, all the evenings i’ve spent watching movies with friends and taken an auto home in bangalore, every single cab ride home from the airport, or from a late night at the office — is the fact that nothing grievous happened to me just a welcome accident?

true, like every other indian woman of my age, i have my share of horror stories to tell. disturbing, upsetting, etc. but these are still stories that i can (and have) been able to successfully shut out, and move forward from. but not like this. and it’s the most sobering thought in the world for me that every single aspect of personal freedom i’ve grown up with, and believed in — every single definition of doing as i pleased, and going about my life under my own steam — was sheer bloody luck.

i remember being bemused by stories i read about life in pakistan, about the divide between the affluent and the ordinary. how one world seemed to live like posh londoners, while the other struggled like residents of a bombay chawl. my reaction was always one of wonderment.

how different are we, if my only sense of public safety comes from being in my dad’s (or my husband’s, or my own) car? aren’t we just as confined and restricted, if we can only go safely to each other’s homes, and places with 5-star security? aren’t we just as removed from reality, if the reality is not being able to take a bus home one evening with your boyfriend, or lending a screwdriver to an autorickshaw driver to fix his vehicle, or going to the neighbourhood grocery store to buy something?

around me, people are talking about a feminist spring. newspapers are filled with prose on freedom and justice. the international press alternates between shock at the all-romantic, all-bollywood india, and a deeper look at misogyny and violence against women across the world. protestors carry loads of outrage and indignation that far outweigh their placards and banners. while i try and get my head around the fact that for the ordinary indian woman — the one who works, the one who drops her kids to school, the one who shops for veggies, the one who goes for a morning walk, the one who goes to commercial street for a haircut, the one who goes for a 3-d movie with her friend — the world outside her front door has become an even scarier, even more hostile place to set foot in.

in delhi alone, women are cutting back on their working hours. all across india, they’re confessing to feeling unsafe, and this includes places like nursing homes and hospitals. they’re trying to buy guns.

i remember reading this piece ages ago, and it’s a terrific reminder that when it comes to women, india stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of afghanistan, the congo, and somalia.

december 16.

quoting seneca.

always admired seneca, and not only for being known through history as seneca the younger, a tag i’d give my firstborn to hang onto. he also wrote something that was translated as “the pumpkinification of claudius” (some translations refer to it as the gourdification, which is just as bad). but i digress. my favourite seneca quote is: “begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” which is a thought so utterly jaw-dropping, that it must at least be attempted. hny!


quoting seneca.

steal like austin kleon says!


via ohonestly.tumblr.com

i’ve been a fan of austin kleon’s work for a few years now, and i was eager to get my hands on his latest book, “steal like an artist”. billed as a “manifesto for creativity in the digital age”, it’s chock full of great quotes, illustrations, and advice on how to follow your interests and embrace your influences. and though the title says “artist”, the material inside is applicable to any medium. it’s perfect for creatively-frustrated creative types (which i know many of you are), and i loved it so much that i want to give you a copy!

what you’ll get

your very own copy of austin kleon’s “steal like an artist”, shipped anywhere in the world, at no cost to you.

the rules

you have until may 1st to enter.
every reblog is considered one entry (likes don’t count, nor do replies).
i’ll use random.org to choose three winners.
keep your inbox open so i can notify you if you win. if a winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new one will be chosen.

good luck!

p.s. if giveaways aren’t your thing, you can always pick up a copy on amazon.
p.p.s. this giveaway is not affiliated with or endorsed by tumblr or my employer, new york media.


steal like austin kleon says!

the past 365-odd days.

countless books. a handful of flicks. largely rubbish music. some vodka. okay, quite a bit of vodka.

veggie wave. interesting people. short hair. diamonds. android. this blackberry. the previous blackberry.

laugh lines. old friends. new enemies. 22, hahahahaaa. a world cup. coty.

admiration. daily disposables. twitter. kerastase. happy endings.

yeah, mostly happy endings.

the past 365-odd days.