Loving the Sea

Hello! Been a while hasn’t it?

It’s good to be back after my long sabbatical from this sunny nook. The sabbatical began as a forced leave due to medical reasons. We were expecting our first offspring, you see. And somehow, I wasn’t ready to share the news until…well, until I had said offspring safely tucked into my arms.

But once that happened, my life, it sorta stopped being my life. I was transformed into a 24-hr snack bar and thus began my zombie phase… Being a new parent, it is a job that is difficult to prepare for. I am so grateful to my family for being the most amazing support system in the world. Couldn’t have done the first leg of this journey without them.

So, in short, priorities changed (duh!). This blog was my baby until a real baby came along demanding my complete attention. I put on my training floatie and dove into my new role, focussed on bonding with my wee panda. And here I am, a year later, trying to rebuild some semblance of an adult person’s life.

My toddler is a fount of joy and life has never been as fulfilling for me. My little man K keeps me busy all day…and when he naps, I read. The blog has been on my mind, I have a couple of unfinished posts sitting as drafts. Somehow, I never hit the ‘publish’ button. After months and months of consuming content – books, articles, blogs, ad campaigns, movies and music – I feel I’m ready to share again.

What better way to start than begin at home?

We moved two cities in the interim. From Porbandar to Kochi and now to Visakhapatnam aka Vizag. All along this cross-country tour, the sea has been with me. It is the one thing that has instantly soothed away the feeling of being in a new place. I really is a kind of a home for me. Given the choice, I will  always want a holiday by the sea, choose to breathe salty air instead of crisp mountain air and would rather buy a tropical island than a log cabin (ahem…once I have the dough, of course I’m buying an island).

This is the first time I have lived on the East coast of India…so I’m pretty excited to glimpse the Bay of Bengal everyday from my balcony. This quote I found on Pinterest explains my addiction better than I can. I added it to my favourite click of the morning sea in Porbandar. Perfect inspired creativity for my muse – the Sea.

She loved the Sea

 

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Infectious Creativity: Neil Gaiman Made My Monday!

This January I cut loose from my previous life as an account planner with a very important advertising agency, with very important clients and insane deadlines. It’s not that I hated being chained, it just felt like the time had come to swim solo. To give my creative urges an outlet. You know, just hang with the artistic crowd.

There are many things that are awesome about this life change. I may have reached a place where I may end up sharing more about the freelancer’s lifestyle/workstyle. But today I want to share the best thing I’ve earned from my decision. I actually enjoy Mondays more than I ever did!

I wake up without the fear of being late for work, or staring at an endless job-list (I look at one voluntarily around noon). I sip on my of tea while basking in the company of my lemon tree and stare out at the wind mills in the distance. When I get to my desk (which is actually an ironing board since it adjusts really well with my chair’s height) I look forward to immersing myself in the inspiration that has poured in over the weekend.

Today I stumbled onto Neil Gaiman’s 2012 commencement address at the Philadelphia University of Arts. And it is so full of wisdom, so perfect for anyone who’s a freelancer, an artist or aspires to create art, that I had to share it with you.

It’s an absolute pleasure to hear his thoughts on creativity, courage and strength – things that any artist needs to inculcate into their very being. No matter how difficult life may be at the moment, he urges artists to create good art. The great advice has now been made into a delightfully designed book Make Good Art

I felt like he was talking to me. Every once in a while, it really helps to know that you’re not the only one who doesn’t know the rules of a game. And it’s even more reassuring when someone so smashingly talented as Neil Gaiman tells you that you’re actually better off without any rules. That way you won’t limit your creativity and what you could ultimately achieve, he suggests.

Listen to his speech here. Like, now!

xoxo

 

BOOK HUNT FIND: HOME BY STAFFORD CLIFF

Have you ambled into a book shop without any particular title in mind? Just given in to the bookworm instinct, prepared to pour over book covers and blurbs, to discover a gem quite by chance? That’s exactly what happened to me a few moons ago on a trip to a mall in Delhi. They (Landmark) were having some sort of a sale, and books were piled almost from the floor to the ceiling. What joy!

I pottered about and found this simply brilliant book – Home: 50 Taste-makers Describe What it is, Where it is, What it Means by Stafford Cliff. I loved the cover, the title and a quick flip through revealed that this was worth having on my bookshelf. However, it has never made it to the bookshelf since I brought it home. I love having it within easy reach just so I can flip through the pages, stare into beautifully captured homes, get lost in childhoods and the different interpretations of a home.

It’s one of those books, that teach us so much about personal style, photography and the meaning of spaces we create. A home is so much more than a place to park your stuff. As my world-view evolves, I see my need for a place to call home change.

There are so many things that endear this book to me. As the taste-makers talk about their homes or special places they reveal so much about who they are, how they think and sometimes, it completely changes the way you have perceived them earlier. That is an exciting promise, don’t you think?

Kenzo Takada’s home in Paris

The photography is a different trip altogether. Some pictures add visual elements to enhance a narrative while some spin a new tale all by themselves. Designing is always subjective, but the sheer personality it imbibes from owners or designers is enchanting. Just looking at the pictures gives you so many ideas to transform your home into a reflection of its occupants.

Beautiful kitchens, the bottom one is Donna Hay’s. So very her, isn’t it?

A busy living room wall, with great character

What I have learnt, from this book so far:

  1. Things that endure through the years, the many abodes and phases of your life are the ones that serve some purpose with an element of delight to the eye. So I’d suggest you don’t buy things unless you see yourself living with them for a long, long time
  2. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to include a few things that aren’t functional, but have an emotional connection for you. So that recipe your grandma gave you, can be printed onto parchment paper and framed to inspire wholesome meals in your kitchen
  3. Experiment, blend, get inspired by the trends and the design rules of your era, but leave some room to add your personal touches. A bottle filled with sands from all the beaches you enjoy may not come for a heavy price tag, but is a delightful reminder of fun times
  4. Bring in the light, let it dance around. Most beautiful rooms become even better when you throw in a good mix of light, natural or arranged
  5. Find a place for things that you love doing, make time to personalise it. Enjoy the after-effects. Donna Hay’s kitchen, Paul Smith’s office, Kenzo Takda’s pool in his living room all inspire to carve out spaces where happiness is easy to find

I’d definitely recommend this fat little book of treasures, in case you like the stuff I’ve been raving about in this post.

If you have any thing to add to this list (whether inspired by this book or elsewhere), I’d love to hear about it. Share with us, your go-to inspirations for building a home that you love.

Infectious Creativity: A-Z of Unusual Words

I stumbled upon The Project Twins thanks to a couple of friends on Facebook. James and Michael Fitzgerald, the artists who run The Project Twins – a graphic design and illustration studio in Ireland – have a wicked imagination. Their A-Z of Unusual Words project is described thus: Bold graphics and visual wit are used to interpret and represent a collection of strange, unusual and lost words.

The one on top is a illustration of Acersecomic – a person whose hair has never been cut. The one below is my favourite, Tarantism – disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to dance. I definitely connect with that one!

You’d love their entire collection of illustrations on this one – fun, quirky, solemn, dark – the whole gamut. Go check this out and also the other projects this talented duo has been creating here.

And on that note, have a groovy weekend!

Vintage with a Twist: A Class Act

We’ve all heard the age-old wisdom of when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I thought of taking a shot at it, and came up with this art print. Why not be classy, stare life in the eye, and make some lemon tea? Surviving a challenge with grace, charm and style makes me feel much better while am trying to get through it. The key of course is to remember that you will get on the other side, it’s the middle that sucks, but is going to pass. Hang in there buddy, you’re gonna make it.

 

This Time That Year: The Big Two

Today, we’re leaving from Porbandar and heading back home to Kerala. Today also happens to be our two-year anniversary. We didn’t have a traditional Indian wedding, we don’t really have a traditional Indian marriage either. We exchanged our vows in a registrar’s office, and celebrated the occasion with an intimate party followed by a large reception in Mumbai.

Did I mention we got married in Goa? By Goan law, I now own half of everything that N has! I don’t think it works the other way around though.

Why this picture you ask? It’s been quite the proverbial ride, these past two years. We’ve moved four houses, 2 states, travelled to yet another one, camped in a hotel room for four months, and visited two beautiful countries. Not to mention the countless trips from wherever I was to Bombay. We’ve moaned about the weight gain after marriage, walked kilometers along beaches, talked about the mundane, the interesting, and pretty much everything in between. Experimented with diets, attempted to recreate classic cuisines, made to-do, to-buy and to-gift lists. Run amok in malls (we’ve lived in tiny hamlets for a while now), exclaimed at the rising prices of milk and eggs, given up on saree shopping for the mothers since we’re both clueless there and discovered the joys of online shopping. Who doesn’t love stuff arriving in brown packages that can be ripped open?

There have been a few downs too, sneaking up suddenly. Just like you come down on the Ferris Wheel and think you’re going to crash to the ground. Why are they called Ferris Wheels? In India we call them Giant Wheels, yes, even the little ones are called that. And Indians love their Giant Wheels. They’re a rarity in the cities, just like the dwindling population of sparrows. That is something to talk about in another post though. The downs, well, while they last they also hold the promise of an upcoming high. So we’ve mostly managed to get by.

We’ve rationalised how we can’t have a dog if we move around so much, and yet melted into a puddle every time one of us finds a picture of a cute pup-we-must-have. I’ve coaxed N out of his digital dinosaur phase and he’s given me tips on driving. I will soon qualify as a woman navigator who’s as good as a man navigator (yeah, apparently there is a bar to rise up to there). Meanwhile he’s learnt to toss omlettes into the air like a chef at a breakfast counter.

I’ve discovered that the secret to marital bliss is lots of ice cream in the freezer and he knows that a morning without a cup of tea can bring out the grizzly in me! (That rhymes, I think I’ll make it into a poster. What say?) And he’s also realised that all those art projects I begin are not always going to get finished. While horror movies are his thing, crime series are my thang. When I say “You’re my lobster,” he just shakes his head and smiles.

It’s been a mad two years. Am grateful for them and for the love of two families instead of one. I think I may have grown up a little bit too, against my own will. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. This business of growing up and growing old together. I look forward to it now.