Blogmas Day 5 | My 2020 Favorites! The year that was!

Ushering in the new year watching Mirzapur in bed (truly grateful <3). I had one more new year plan which didn’t quite materialize – put a besan (gram flour) face mask on with Rahul – this Rahul refuses because it’s cold. So, well, Mirzapur it is.

I don’t want to end this year without doing a roundup of my favorites, because it would be a nice recollection of the year that went by:

Favorite movie
Cannot say that I watched too many, but still from the limited ones, I don’t have a favorite. In fact, I would rather link this list of my favorite re-watches. I watched most of these in 2020 as well.

Favorite Show
I watched quite some shows online this year, especially with the lockdown. I know I am still far behind what with people consuming every new show on Netflix these days (something which you may have guessed because of my watching Mirzapur in end of Dec!) but by own standards, I watched quite some. Among these, Panchayat was my favorite, simply because it was a refreshing concept.

Favorite Food
Well, well, well. This is a tough one, because I love food too much to pick just one favorite. However, I am going to pick an unexpected one – Momos is one of my most favorite things on Earth and I didn’t expect to find them in Surat, but forget finding them, I got to sample some of the best ones I have ever had here in Surat. There is a ‘Darjeeling Momos’ stall right next to where I live and the people selling the momos seem to be from North East, some of the best ones I have ever had!

Favorite Outfit
I scored a pair of Zara formal pants at Brand Factory on great discount and it was everything I have ever wanted in a pant – well fitted but flared bottom and that steely Grey color! I love it and am itching to wear it to work, except that I don’t want to go to work, I am quite happy with wfh now!

Favorite Skin Care Product
None. I tried a lot of new stuff this year and I was so looking forward to chemical exfoliation changing the game for me but nothing really worked. As in, nothing bad happened, but nothing good happened either. On the other hand, this was an year of all the random make-up purchases working awesomely. The irony is that there were not much occasions to wear them to. 😀

Favorite Book
I am going to pick 3 here because I enjoyed all of them equally – 1) A Man called Ove – endearing & emotional, I have logged down my love for this one here at Instagram, 2) I’ve Got Your Number – nothing new here, it never happens that I read a Kinsella and don’t enjoy it to the core and 3) Shoe Dog – this was an unexpected one. Phil Knight’s autobiography on how he set up Nike was one of the best stories I read this year and a lot of people will relate to this feeling. So well written! As the testimonials on the book say, Phil is a great storyteller.

Favorite Event
One of my closest friends got married this year in November. This was a wedding which I was waiting for since the beginning of the year because it was the last wedding of my friend circle of post grad. We were really hoping that it doesn’t happen during Corona, but it did and while we were in extreme dilemma about attending, but since the beginning we knew it will be a huge regret if we skip this wedding. Hence, we went and it was truly one of the funnest times of my year. I just realized that even the other two of my friends from my post grad group got married to each other this year as well, in Jan, when Corona didn’t exist for us. Aside this, small joys like watching random things on tv with family when lockdown had just started counts big time too. I have always enjoyed watching Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana and it started airing like a proper show on TV during the beginning of lockdown. We recently went to a beach resort here near to Surat and it was a lovely experience too. I also want to give a special mention to an amazing product that I bought this year in the middle of lockdown – it was my first non-essential purchase after March. The below lovely Parama blouse.

While typing out this post, the new year has just begun. I wish you a very happy, healthy and successful new year! Hope this new year brings tons of luck and happiness for all of us! I couldn’t be more thankful for 2020, even though it was the oddest year that we have been alive for but still there’s a lot to be grateful for – being near to your parents more often, a healthy life, food and roof, a fulfilling life. Truly grateful.

Blogmas Day 4 | oh what an year!

Blogmas is allowed till 31st Dec in my books, so this shall continue.

Saying that this year has been a whirlwind of challenges, emotions and events for anyone is an understatement, because everyone around the globe felt this emotion this year.

I write this with a lot of privilege that I work in a job that allowed me the same kind of growth as I would have expected if it was a non-corona year and my life was much easier than a lot, lot of people in my country.

Besides, I honestly love working from home. Even though it means super stretched working hours and a loss of personal life, I like the idea of not rushing to an office and working in a typical work setting. The only aspect I miss of that is dressing up for work.

Being grateful for a comfortable existence, there is still a major part of my daily life that corona changed. On 19th March 2020, we had just started working from home when offices started taking the work-from-home route due to Covid. A friend of ours was staying with I and my husband as well, whose parents coincidentally live close to my parents place. As the weekend came, we thought who knows what happens in lockdown so let’s go to our respective parents places and off we went. Then, bam! it was lockdown and 4-5 months passed away. I think lockdown was a very good opportunity to be near to your parents as a routine and that felt so good but eventually we also started itching to be at our own place and it felt distant to be able to do so. Finally we managed to travel to Gurgaon to my and my husband’s place. The plan was to stay at our place for sometime and then travel to Rahul’s parents place in Surat (again, so that we can spend time with parents in this wfh scenario). We came to Surat on 8th Aug. We had planned to stay here for 2-3 months but my father in law was diagnosed with a critical disease and with the fluctuations in his condition every now and then we were in two minds in November whether we should travel back to Delhi or not. Actually it was a very close friend’s wedding in November which we didn’t want to skip (we were really hoping that it doesn’t happen during the covid times), the uncertainty to book or not to book delhi tickets continued and finally we went off. Within 2 weeks of being in Delhi, Rahul’s dad’s condition got worse and therefore we had to immediately travel back to Surat. So, now, here we are and in this entire ‘Corona kaal’ or the corona time that began from Mar’20 in India, we have lived in Gurgaon for a sum total of 20 days maybe. There is nothing I actually we miss more than being able to spend some time in my home, life as we used to know it. The worst part being not knowing when this uncertainty is over. Given the work from home situation, it’s also difficult to make parents understand the need for us to be in our own space. They don’t realize that this is what we maybe wanting.

I just thought I’ll log down here few things I miss from my life. Strange that this was our home for less than a year but still it feels so difficult to be away from it. I guess it’s because it was our first home together as a married couple –

– I miss being able to casually stroll in Galleria. It’s one of the cutest markets ever, and it’s right next to my place. It has a very fairytale setting.

– I even miss browsing Milkbasket, a grocery app in Gurgaon which delivers stuff at your doorstep the next morning. It always has some or the other new launch and it’s fun to browse and try out a new bread or some snack the next day!

– Coincidentally some of my closest friends happen to be in Gurgaon and I miss our casual as well as planned hangouts.

– I remember how much we liked chilling or having breakfast in our balcony under the winter Sun last year. I miss being able to do that!

– I miss just being. Plopping on my couch and watching tv with Rahul. We lucked out on a really nice apartment and I feel like I haven’t used it all that much yet, and it may soon be time to find another place due to x or y reason. 😔

I miss admiring my beautiful bookshelf and dresser and dining table.

I know all this is nothing compared to what many had to go through. Wishing health and happiness for all!

How has 2020 treated you? Share your silliest as well as your deepest thoughts!

Blogmas Day 3| Bedtime Tales

Wanted to acknowledge the privilege and the boon of having a calming, fulfilling and happy bed time. Reading my book, browsing through Instagram and two of my most favorite things remain – slowly and mindfully doing my skin care routine and cuddling with the husband. Now the skin care routine can just mean applying coconut oil on my arms on some days and 2-3 step face care on others but what matters is how soothing this process is and just how happy being able to do it makes me. Also, nothing can beat midnight (and right after waking up) hugs.

Blogmas Day 2 | December Rains

I have never been a rains person, you know the kinds who get excited about rains and rainy season. But if it’s a rainy day where I don’t have to get out of the house, then I do start enjoying the rains. The idea of just savoring the good looking skies with a mug of your favorite hot beverage in hand and doing the cosy things you love doing. The tip tap outside the window also feels very calming and adds to the cosiness.

It rained in Surat today and the fact that a North Indian like me would least expect rains in December added to the unexpectedness and therefore the sudden change in skies uplifted my mood so much! Rains are known to bring a sense of general gloom to people, as compared to, say, sunshine but it worked quite the opposite way for me today. I guess because a)it wasn’t raining since a long time, it was the first time rains happened after 3-4 months , b) I didn’t need to step out.

Whatever it was , it made me happier. I shot this small video of my work situation while in the balcony.

Blogmas Day 1 | My Favorite Movies of this ‘era’

Here’s a little insight into how my daily routine of 2020 can be extrapolated to an entire year – basically be doing office work the whole freaking time and finding pockets of time throughout the day to do other stuff like having lunch, cooking, being a potato & instagramming (coz a day seems incomplete without it just like it would without pooping). Needless to say, this means my reading has gone for a toss! I entered the biggest reading slump with my 12th book of the year and I can say that I haven’t read more than 20 pages since last 1.5 months. I also mentioned here that I realized most of my reading happened in my pre-pandemic commute.

What I am trying to say is I have no life left. And, no, I am not going to blame work for it. I need to reform myself and it hit me the hardest when I realized we are already in December. So here I am – picking books again, writing here again – even trying out blogmas (whatever that means seriously). Also should mention that I am typing this all up via the WordPress phone app because too tired and lazy to pickup the laptop again. I need to do a post on what a whirlwind of changes this year has been (don’t we all?) but this post is a fun one for me to get into the writing vibe and for you to savor.

Here I am talking about my favorite movies of ‘current times’. When I say current times, I mean the times when we have grown as adults and when we are in the age where we love to say “they don’t make good movies anymore”.

Tell me by the end of this post – do you see a pattern here?

1. Piku: what completely seems to be a regular drama feature gradually turns into an emotional ride as it progresses. I have watched this one several times and felt an emotional void, a feeling where I didn’t know exactly what I felt – maybe that feeling of knowing that your parents are growing old, there is a child to parent role reversal happening gradually but you still can’t be done with the fights with them? I was always teary-eyed, always left longing for something I couldn’t put my finger on. Apart from the emotional bit, I love the vintage-style shots of Kolkata and, of course, Piku – Smart, confident, fierce, protective, fearful yet strong and unapologetic! This movie starred Amitabh Bachchan as one of the leads, but if you have watched this, you know late Irrfan Khan stole the show (can’t believe we are writing late for him!)

2. Queen: The coming of age of a ‘homely’ Punjabi girl whose fiance decides to call off the wedding on the wedding day. Not used to stepping out for errands alone, she decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe alone. This movie is better than it sounds and delivers more than it promises. You cannot stop cheering for the protagonist and her wins become your own! I want to say one thing – I don’t watch a lot of movies so I may not be right – but I do feel it’s one of the freshest concepts Bollywood has explored!

3. Dear Zindagi: a movie aptly describing our generation – Kiara – accomplished yet discontent, over ambitious and always being hard on herself. And then comes a therapist who decidedly changes the way she thinks, frees her mind and takes her on a journey where she can face her biggest fears and sets herself free. Every lesson he teaches her makes me emotional and I relate to the feeling of finding it difficult to go easy on oneself and when someone else has to take the onus of making you realise the same. Few of my favorite lessons and lines from this movie –

“जब आसान रास्ते से काम ‌हो सकता है, तो मुश्किल रास्ता ‌चुनना क्यों जरूरी है?” Translation – when something can be done through an easy method, why it’s always important to take the difficult route?”

“अगर हम खुल के रो नहीं सकेंगे, तो खुल कर हसेंगे कैसे?” Translation – if we won’t be able to weep uninhabited, then how we will be able to laugh uninhabited?

Something that everyone who has watched this movie would have noticed – this movie shows Alia Bhatt in some of the best outfits ever for a girl next door role!

Bonus – Band Baaja Baaraat: Now this is a movie with all the typical bollywood masalas but it still stands out for me than the usual fare because its plot is focussed on two graduates making a career out of wedding planning. If you know me in real life, you know I dig this as a career option. 😀 I love, love, love the idea of being a professional wedding planner because I think this is the only profession where I won’t dread Monday mornings! I love weddings, I love helping out friends plan their outfits, venues etc etc (provided I am being asked) and I am excited as hell about wedding planning. Let me know if you want any help in planning yours!😛 Needless to say, this is the reason I love this movie a little extra. Do watch this if you are looking for a fun, light rom-com.

That’s it from my end for today! Do share your own recommendations in comments.

Also, I made a similar list here long ago where I mentioned my most favorite movies of all times (they belong to times I was not born in😀)

Of loss and never getting closures

I love getting closures. I hate that movies/short films and more of such content is increasingly making it a thing to leave endings open & to ‘viewers discretion’. Like, hell no! You tell me what you wanted as an ending, dear content creator!

And what is that one thing that never gives you closure? Death. And more so, if you know just how much the person had the will to live. I broke down today watching a year old memories in my wedding video & everything about this unfortunate happening came rushing. In hindsight (of a couple of hours only :)), I feel such break downs are much needed to become more accepting of the loss. However, loss is one and closure is another. You never get this closure that this person wanted & expected life differently, he was so looking forward to getting better & going back to his life, had not given up & that was the ray of hope his near & dear ones held to. This is a fact that will not change. All we can do is hope that he is in a better place.

This break down is what triggered my post but I also started thinking of other instances of never getting closures, well, not never, but mostly. The most obvious one I thought of was lost friendships. Not the ones where you ‘lose touch’, although those can count too. But I specifically mean the ones where something just snaps off and neither of the parties ever try to fix it. It has happened to me a couple of times and it does hurt a lot.

Life would be much better with closures, but if there was a list of things where it would be nicer to have closures, death would top that list.

I hadn’t expected myself to write back here with a gloomy post, but it is what it is. Quarantine life has been so freaking busy with work life having no boundaries, that the little me time that I get is spent just being a potato. Writing never makes the cut. Monday blues hit harder and stay on till Saturday 😥 and I think I need to have a plan to make things better for myself.