Reflection

Holding on

THURSDAY • 15th Aug holiday: Apart from mourning for democracy, spent grieving for my lost sense of humour and my declining sense of poetry. Which reminded me of what Lekha said once: “One day you’ll wake up and you won’t be able to recognize yourself…”. And how much of what is really worth it. “What is the price of your sense of self,” I ask the universe. “It’s a cup of coffee and a cookie,” says the brown boy.

This one is for Punam and Deepa.

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Books, Life, sketchbook

Although I cannot see your face

Honestly who would have thought that we would spend a quarter of a year in physical isolation from each other. A story to recount in my old age.

And speaking of old age. Umberto Eco once wrote that books are the most robust format of content transmission that we have seen over centuries, and so that if nothing else, my sketchbooks would probably survive till my old age at least, and I will look back on these days and laugh…

"Although I cannot see your face 
As you flip these poems awhile
Somewhere from some far off place
I hear you laughing - 
and I smile..."

Shel Silverstein
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Life, sketchbook

Lockdown diaries

Like most people who draw/sketch I filled up a lot of my time drawing.

Here are my sketchbooks from 2020. The red one is from Jan-Feb, when I wasn’t drawing at all, and I started the green one when lockdown started in March.

Things were of course very worrying and unsettling…

But did you know that these stages are not linear? I was so grateful for being able to work from home, having my favorite people around me and countless other things, when so many around us were suffering…

Anyway the one thing we did to keep a semblance of normality was “always the same little things in the same order and then the day can start”…

like eating breakfast…and finding ways to keep our spirits up.

Ate noodles for dinner and found TS Eliot thinking about home:

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated… …a lifetime burning in every moment…We must be still and still moving

So in the pursuit of stillness…

and birds flying north.

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Food

A new year

What better way to welcome the new year if not with food and drink. I’m sure the Anteater would agree. From the last 2 years I found that food has been such a recurring theme – If I’ve not Instagrammed it, I’ve probably drawn it.

Here’s a “rare” family Friday dinner. My in laws were visiting and we went to Amalfi in GK2.

Here’s the food I ate on a quick weekend trip to visit my family in Kolkata. I always think that love in Indian families is all about food. Most of us didn’t grow up with verbal articulations of love, and we demonstrate our love, especially in families, by cooking for and feeding our loved ones.

Most of the food below was made by my Ma and Chhotoma.

“Whoever eats fish curry with roti?”

Said my mother

I gained 2 kilos with all that love!

This is a drawing I made while eating by myself and reading a poem one day. I forgot what I was eating and I can’t even remember the poem, but I enjoyed it enough to draw about it!

What if I could gather all the people who taught me to love around my dinner table? We would drink coffee and eat pizza.

Antara would be chopping onions because she’s always doing something, and whenever I chop onions I think of her. Snehasis would be listening to his wife and observing the world to make fun of them later. Ananya would be under the table reading because she doesn’t always like to socialise. Lekha would be sitting quietly and smiling in happiness. Atul and Reshmy would be having some long and complicated conversation where they would both not be listening to the other. Viv would be drawing happily. I forgot to draw Orin but he is the one person who forced his way into my life and made me love him.

Dinner of love stories

Let’s hope 2019 is all this, and more.

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art, Books, drawing, Life, sketchbook

From Sojourns in the parallel world

A year or so ago, I used to have a morning ritual of waking up and reading some poetry with coffee. Once in a while I would read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and during that time, I also read White by Kenya Hara. (It’s such a meditative, beautiful book, and it was rather a spiritual and other worldly experience for me.)

One of those mornings, I read this poem by Denise Levertov. Though it’s about immersing our human consciousness in the natural world, to me the last few lines evoked how we continue to voluntarily lose ourselves in the virtual world.

levertov

“No one discovers

just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again

–but we have changed, a little.”

From the sketchbook called Finding Soo • August 2016.

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