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

 

SEASON OF LOVE: FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINE CARD

I know it’s quite cheesy to say this, but am going to risk it – Love is in the Air! It is February after all.

While I believe that we don’t need a special day to tell people that we love them, I still like to indulge mildly in this month of pink and crimson. Yes, St. Valentine’s Day is a one of those hyper-commercialized days even in India. But, if we don’t give in to the hoopla, isn’t any excuse great to have special time together? To simply expresses how grateful you are that you found this person. To tell them you are the luckiest person alive to be with them. To just put all your feelings down on paper. And to do it in a fun and special way.

Each day of the year, we express our love through actions – by showing care, by tuning in to the other person’s needs and even by just lending a helping hand. On hallmark days, a simple gesture to express your love tells your partner that you have taken the time to think about them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be surprised with a love note yourself?

Ever since I can remember, I have never really obsessed about Valentine’s Day. That specific date. Back in college, we used to have a ‘Rose Day’ sometime in February. A day celebrating secret crushes and love (because you could send anonymous rose cards). When I started working, my agency used the same idea, but we didn’t make a day of it. A half hour after lunch was spent listening to poetic messages (most were anonymous, again) and swapping chocolates. All through my teen years, it was mandatory for girlfriends and boyfriends to give each other cards. So the point am trying to make, is that for me, the celebration of love is closely linked to messages on paper. An email will just not cut it.

All of this was running through my mind last week, and I wanted to create something that would let us say ‘I Love You’ without being predictable. I saw the abundance of flowers, cute animals, hearts and chocolates swirling around as tokens of love,  but my mind kept searching for more. Like most ideas that pop into my head, the one for this card popped in when I was engrossed in a totally unrelated activity. I was pickling! So bizarre. Red chilies being pickled led to me the image you see above. I refined my initial thoughts to craft a couple of messages that I think will work.

The picture above and a message variant is now available as an art print and on other merchandise like iPhone covers, totes and throw pillows in my Society6 Shop. And just for you, I have created a FREE printable card to tell your loved one that they are indeed the spice of your life!

To download your free printable click on this link: Only You Valentine Card

Can you think of a message that will go with this image? If there is something else that you’d like to say to your sweetheart, drop me a line in the comments section below and I’d be happy to work on a custom card for you!

Hope you have a lovely season of LoVe!

Being Brave: I will NOT be Helpless

To truly understand what this post is, you need to first watch the video at No Country For Women (http://nocountryforwomen.com/)

As I watched this video, I had several reactions – anger, frustration, repulsion, gut wrenching pain and a complete sense of helplessness. I found myself asking, what should we do? How can we change this? Will this ever change?

I was tempted to give into the powerless feeling that was sweeping over me. It is the bane of my generation, this feeling that we can’t do much to change anything. We carve our lives with ambition, hard work and success, insulating ourselves from things that we have no power over. Most days the insulation works, keeping us away from the realities that surround us. On some days like this one, something manages to slice through that insulation and hit us at our soft spot.

But the answers I was seeking, were yet to come to me. Conversations with friends and sharing the link on Facebook wasn’t going to cut it this time around. This wasn’t one of those Social Media activations that make a dent in the shape of the problem. Something had to be done in real life, in our everyday, in our homes, offices and on the streets.

Then my friend Mou shared this video about the History of Wooing Women made by cdza and also this article written by Sarah Hepola. The comments section is particularly illuminating. All this was symptomatic of where our very ‘global’ culture has moved.

Today I read my friend Sonal’s post about this. And she has given me the answer. The first thing to do is to stop being helpless. There is no way we can allow ourselves to shrug our shoulders, draw the dupattas/jackets/stoles closer and promise ourselves that we wouldn’t be in such situations. Because every woman I know has been in this situation where men have behaved in a way that disrespected womankind.

I have been there too, and am guilty of doing nothing more but looking away in disgust. And thinking later, if only I had said something. But pacifying my conscience by thinking that there was no way they would have heard you anyway. Sometimes I’ve been so angry, that I haven’t been able to say or do anything.

Only once have I physically reacted by slapping the first face I saw when a mob tried to grope me on a local train. I was 19 and my mom was travelling with me. The courage of the young and the fact that my mom can smack the daylights out of anyone probably made me actually take action. We travelled the rest of our journey with a imaginary body bubble that no one dared to cross.

From personal experience, I have seen that there are two things that hold us back – Fear and a feeling of Helplessness. Which is why, we must be brave, there is no other way. By pledging that I will Not be Helpless, I am making a choice, to think, speak up and do something. 

If you’re a woman, I urge you to do the same, irrespective of where you live. Take control and do something, anything. Don’t risk your lives, but don’t be passive. Sonal’s action points are a good place to start. Write about it, talk about it and, most importantly, when faced with a situation that calls for you to be brave, be.

If you’re a man who believes that women have be disrespected long enough, help spread the message too.

Feel free to use the graphic above, if you’d like to use it somewhere to spread the message. No attribution needed.

P.S.: You may wonder, what a post like this is doing on a blog about travel, design and spreading cheer. But this blog is all about sharing with you everything that inspires me. All creative pieces shared above urged me to voice my thoughts to you. And I also believe that life just shouldn’t be compartmentalized like that!

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!