September Sundays

There are days when you wake up with eagerness, then do nothing with it. You sink into the cushy bean bag in the balcony, settle back with your mug of coffee frappe, throw your head up and stare at the freshly washed blue of the skies, sight a single silken thread woven by a decidedly unconventional spider who must have laid aside all notions of the customary splayed cobweb.

Nothingness is delicious. Il dolce far niente.

In a while, after I have had my fill of a botanical book that smells and looks wonderful — apart from filling my head with stories of the lives of plants, of dicotelydons and monocotelydons, of gametophytes, of sporophytes, during the course of which I quietly slip back in time to the early years in school — I start rifling through my cache of freshly gathered leaves.

You see, autumn has tiptoed in.

The air has softened, the sunbeam ripened to golden loveliness that feathers its way through the canopy of trees, the sky a freshly washed shade of blue, and as daylight fades, the sinking of the sun into a riot of flaming oranges and reds above the waters of the bay. The fallen leaves are curling with pleasure and anticipation of the days to come, it seems. Some are green. Others have begun the march towards death. In their brilliant shades of yellows, reds, purple and pinks, mottled with green and brown, they do not look like they belong in the world of the hollow men. They belong in my world of dappled sunshine, of reading books in the park, of swaying lilac weeds and clovers, of clever squirrels who hasten to stow away their booties of nuts before the advent of winter, of the wetlands where the silent evening visitors are the night heron and the blue heron who spend the hours stalking fish.

So to September, with the early bite in the air, I raise my glass of cider.

Scrambled August

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Just like scrambled eggs, yes. Clouds of disintegrated thoughts and distended grump.

August was to be the year of our Spanish road trip. An epic journey lasting nearly three weeks to mark the year of my fortieth birthday. This would be the time we would have been sat making endless lists, marking places on the map, totting up a rough budget for the trip, looking up our hotel stays all over again and thrilling at the thought of basking in the view of the Andalucian mountains, desolate sierras dotted with pueblos blancos, the roll call of limestone villages that turn up perched upon the high mountain roads and clifftops like whitewashed visions.

We would have found seats in a small corner cafe in some town of exquisite medieval beauty and breakfasted like kings on plates of crisp churros and dark chocolate, and I would have shut my eyes to savour the pure pleasure that jets through the body when you have fried dough at your disposal, and a meal you have paid a measly four euros for.

A litany of would-haves.

A litany of memories from the winter of 2016 when we had an apartment in Barcelona, a hotel in Malaga, and later in Madrid, because Adi had an ongoing project in Spain. An entire February spent taking trains by myself at dawn, of roaming the atmospheric alleys of cities and towns that made me feel like I was walking the pages of a book not yet written, seeing cities with strangers, and returning bone-tired to Adi, who along with his colleagues would meet me at night for dinner — the Spanish eat so terribly late.

Sticking to my customary dinner-by-seven routine, I used to meet my husband and co. for post-prandial drinks. They meanwhile ordered up meat-heavy dinners that made my stomach churn, especially at the sight of rare-done meat, blood oozing from thick slabs of steak. Our Spanish friend was in charge of picking dishes for the night from menus everywhere, and I marvelled at his ability to put away all that meat. Loved seeing the passion with which he fell upon his plate of food, for no matter what our likes and dislikes, when it comes to our gustatory preferences, what matters is the singular passion for good food. Be it vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan or fruitarian, raw food or paleo. What matters to me ultimately is the way your eyes light up when you see a plate of food, see the world in a grain of food, to riff bravely on Blake.

Adventuring and misadventuring, I swooned over the moorish beauty of Malaga, walking all over town under the hot midday sun till the legs screamed in protest and I almost missed the train to Madrid because I had been ambitious enough to slog up its hills to the castle called Gibralfaro. There was Granada, the old lanes and bylanes of which I sighed over with a German woman, Sonja.

In Girona, I thought I was in another time and place, stood upon Emperor Charlemagne’s walls and staring at rows of cypresses guarding cathedrals and monasteries. I must have been.

The molten silver waves lapping up the deserted beach near the castle of Altafulla in ancient Tarragona. The haunting Islamic-Gothic loveliness of Zaragoza, the magnificent standalone Benedictine monastery at Montserrat, utterly charming Madrid where I walked in the footsteps of Hemingway, and then Barcelona naturally. With a start I realise, I have not written posts on some of these wonderful places and I intend to remedy this oversight in the next few posts.

After exploring all of these places on my own, I was delighted when Adi and I walked the streets of Ronda and Mijas together. It felt complete.

So, this was to be our summer of seeing places that live in my memory. Old for me, new for Adi. And I was bloody keen on him looking at them through my eyes, me looking at them through his, gaining fresh perspectives. I am gutted at the falling through of our plans, but there is no self-pity, mind you. I cannot, will not stand for it.

No, I am not your dealer of self-pity, wallowing in that self-absorbing emotion which gets you nowhere. I am simply your dealer of words, looking for a way out of discontented moments through a flapping horde of moods and memories.

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Girona

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Granada

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When sat in a churreria, talk less, scoff more. Easy, when alone.

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Montserrat

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Zaragoza

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Malaga

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Slipping in a cheeky one of me from a cerveceria in Madrid. The waiter insisted on taking it, with the Hemingway poster that he took off the wall. He was, I imagine, amused by my enthusiasm at bagging this dark corner seat where the author once sat and drank beer while people watching.

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Fav hangout in Madrid

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Ronda

 

 

 

 

Oh Fish

A bird came by yesterday. I was in the kitchen cooking, when I heard a splat. Fairly distinct sound as it was, simultaneously I heard the husband’s voice, and then, I saw his face and mouth gaping with surprise. Next I looked at the glass door on our balcony and what do I see but a strange sight. A skeletal bird clinging to the net screen, its long beak open, its eyes focused on Adi, who in the meanwhile had started having visions of Tippi Hedren swamped with attention from a thousand relentless homicidal birds (The Birds). Having asked him to stop the caterwauling, I had a good look at the bird, wondering if it was unwell. Did it need water? I have very little experience of taking care of birds, you see.

The last time I had rescued a baby pigeon was as a English Lit. student in college. I had taken a cab from college with an injured pigeon perched on my shoulder and the poor mite was shivering. By the time I reached home and put it in the library room with a bowl of water and another of grains, it must have been in a state of shock. It being a fledgling thing, had not fed itself as I had expected. When I visited the room in a half hour, expecting it to feel revived, it lay dead. It left me shivering. Haunted by the death of that baby pigeon, I could not go up to my beloved library for days on end.

Naturally, I am averse to repeating such an experience. I might know a little more than my teenage self, but I do not mess with wildlife because I have limited knowhow. So we mulled about what to do, Adi more concerned with getting rid of the “creepy thing” and me mulling on who to call — for, was its claws stuck on the net door? Then I hit up the Net to identify the bird and it turned out to be a Northern Flicker. A woodpecker. Its brown colouration with the bright crescent of vermilion red on the nape made my job easy.

My food, in the meantime, had turned to cinders on the hob, so I had to give it more attention. It took a good half hour before the Flicker unhooked its claws and took flight. If you have more knowledge of bird behaviour, pray shed light on this. I am curious, for it is not everyday you see a bird paste itself to your door and stay put there.

But to come to the title of the post, quite so literally, I have been introduced by Adi to the world of river monsters. Now, I find shows on chasing gigantic tunas monstrously boring, okay? Imagine then my consternation at finding that I am hooked by a white-haired, leathery cheeked British zoologist exploring killer fishes in the far-flung rivers of the world. And he pursues it with the seriousness I accord to the hunt for serial killers in Scandi noir.

A detective of all murky dealings that transpire in the underwater world? I was open-mouthed as I watched him go about his business with single-minded passion. And, I was in splits too. Then to my horror, I realised I was enamoured of this zoologist-underwater detective’s journey as he fishes for killer underwater monsters with teeth like shards that impale intruders and traces changing behaviours of red-bellied and black piranhas in the Amazonian river waters. Maybe now I have seen everything, now that I find myself furiously drawing fish (below is an illustration of the Golden Dorado, a large predatory fish with jaws as powerful as a pitbull’s found in the fresh waters in South America), a person off the rails wondering at the wild transformation in her telly-watching choices. Could it be the singular power of passion paired with the art of good storytelling?

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Mon cahier botanique

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In the summer of 2019, my sister-in-law (@mydreamcanvas) came visiting us, and at the end of a few glorious days of swanning around the city, she left me with this beautiful journal that I lost my heart to at The Strand bookshop. It might have been merely a year ago, but at the present moment it seems so very far removed from the summer this year, around which hangs a haze of unreality. Yet it is an idyllic summer, which I cannot deny, of pottering in our small garden filled with cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, aubergines, lemon, chillies, radishes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, and basil. The fern is growing lavishly like a child borne of love and I admit I am terribly fond of it.

It is entrancing to have a ringside view of the lives of plants. Watching them sprout from seeds, transform into seedlings, shoot forth fresh green and tender saplings, and keep growing without a care in the world – it feels therapeutic. I do not mind even the tiny caterpillars and aphids that start showing up as perverse guests.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I have started to pick fallen leaves, berries, and blossoms. I carry them home with care and proceed to press them dry within the pages of the heaviest cookbooks. When they are suitably papery in texture, I insert them into mon cahier botanique and fill in the rest with botanical notes, watercolours, and poems that refuse to fade from the mind.

P.S.: This is for Cathy with her love of journalling.

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Author’s Recognition Award

Church Cove

I am not yet a published author of books. I hope to be. When this award nomination cropped up, courtesy of Sheree of the blog View From the Back, I thought, why not. It would push me to write about this project I have been working on for the last five years. What masterpiece has she been writing for that many years, you might cackle. And really, I could not take offence — this routine of writing and re-writing is a scourge. I have not known when to stop, somewhat like a dervish who abandons himself to his rhythm of whirling and looks for all the world as if he might never stop, then drop like a consumed fly at some point . More about the project in a few ticks, but to begin with, do hop over to Sheree’s blog for a peek into the world of an avid cyclist with a cracking sense of humour.

About the Creator of the Award

Beverley at Becoming the Oil and the Wine Blog. I popped over to her blog and found that she has a compelling story to tell. Her idea behind creating this award was to support fellow bloggers who have written and published books or who are in the process of writing a book. You are free to write as much as you’d like about your book and/or the reasons why you decided to write one.

About my Book

As I mentioned already, I am in the throes of seeking an agent — and simultaneously in the process of writing the proposal for the book. Nobody told me that writing the book would be the easier bit.

The book is about my dippy-dotty travels through Cornwall (in the UK), complete with hand-drawn sketches that are as imperfect as I am as a person. Featured as a logo for this post, is one of the sketches from the book featuring the village of Church Cove in the Lizard Peninsula. I wish I could tell you that this is the one book you need to own when it comes out, but that would be an utter untruth. I would however appreciate it immensely if you did. And that is as much as I can bring myself to talk about my labour of love.

Nominees for the Award

If you have recently published a book or are thinking of writing one, please consider yourself nominated and tell us all about your work. Meanwhile I’d like to nominate the following bloggers:

Virginia Duran

Sarah Angleton

Annie Earnshaw

Stefania Hartley

Award Rules

1. Create a new post on your blog using the above logo or create one of your own.

2. Copy and paste the Purpose of the Award and The Rules of the Award on your post.

3. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

4. Include the links to the creator of the Award and the inspirational post: Celebrating and Supporting our fellow writers.

5. Write a brief description of the books you have written or the book you are currently writing.

6. Include a link to your published books or the potential date of publishing.

7. Nominate at least five bloggers who have published a book or who are thinking about writing a book.

8. Support at least one of the bloggers you have nominated by either purchasing one of their books or sharing the links to their books.

9. If a nominee has not written a book share one of their blog posts.

And that’s that folks! Have a great weekend. Ours has started with a steady rain and the promise of a tropical storm.

The Scent of a Storm

July is tempestuous. July is bold. July is hot. It begins with the slow staining of the blue summer skies. A hint of dirty blue, daubs of smoky blue deepening and darkening till suddenly the world feels like a place bereft of light, haunted by its own moodiness. The wind picks up, rushing through the thick cover of trees. Leaves and lightweight objects fly thick in the whirling winds. The cherry tomato plant, now about 5″ tall, waves its fuzzy-haired slender branches wildly, releasing a sweet, grassy fragrance that lingers on the fingers, long after I have secured the dancing branches to the stake to prevent them from flopping over.

With some fury, hail comes calling. It is pelting mad. Takes me back to a winter’s noon of being caught dab in the middle of a hailstorm in sweet old Bremen and securing comfort within the portals of a plush old café there, a big slab of kuchen and kaffee for company.

July for me has started with thunderstorms and my husband’s birthday. Both beloved and replete with loveliness. The first day of the month itself, I nipped out to the stores for ingredients essential to the feast I had conjured up in the mind. By the time I was ready with my totes filled with fruits, cream, and bottles of bubbly, my heart was quailing and rejoicing in equal measures at the sight of the wall of rain. I was caught in the middle of a flamboyant storm. Purple streaks of lightning followed by thunderous crashes. A flimsy brolly to carry me through this till I reached the cab that ferried me home.

Then a whole afternoon of cooking and baking, till I had half of what I wanted to put out on the table. Visibly overwhelmed, birthday boy exclaimed, “But it is just our two tummies that has got to tuck it all in. We have the entire month.” Clever hints. Nonetheless, the spread was truly enough. Soon we found that we could not plough through half of it without feeling comatose. The sparkling blackberry-laced cocktails helped the cause and we decided to dance off the rest of the evening. It was a strangely lovely birthday.

I have no idea why, but I have been unable to blog. Words have been spare in my head. I am not trying to say that we have been particularly troubled by this whole business of confinement. To be honest, we have discovered good old-fashioned fun in each other’s company. Adi has taken to running and we have been pounding the pavement rather religiously, winding it off with encounters with a big oaf, a malamute who loves to talk and lean on us. There are always sights for those who are keen to see. We have watched girls and boys, freshly graduated, stream through the park in cars, girls standing tall through sunroofs in tulle dresses, proudly swaying, others skulking inside stretch limos.

On quieter days, we have stood in the wetlands behind our home, where near the tall prairie grasses, egrets and herons come to fish. The gentle wading and poise of the white egret, the prowling of the yellow-crowned night heron with its comical, tufted head, that of the squatter and significantly hunchbacked black-crowned night heron. Nature is entrancing and she continues to soothe our souls.

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A Bank of Greens – More Importantly, Our Bank of Greens

The path to getting green fingers is a long, tortuous path, or so it would seem as you begin the journey, foraging in the aisles of your nearby garden centre.

As a child, I would give a hang for the new plants that arrived at home from time to time. They were kind of a given. Anyway, they were my mother’s department, her passion. I had more more pressing matters to deal with. When to meet a friend for sets of badminton; when to scuttle out and grab a scoop of ice cream with my group of friends at the nearby ice cream parlour that was the place to hang; where to hide that jar of berry pickle I stole from a cache of pickles that arrived home; how to sneak a book into the bathroom where I could read for hours uninterrupted before ma came knocking on the door … Such were the pursuits I was involved in.

But when the time came to pluck flowers, there was a solid pep in my step. I would pick fistfuls of shiuli, the aromatic night-flowering jasmine, to weave garlands for my parents’ beloved figurines of various gods and goddesses. There were gorgeous blooms of hibiscus to choose from, heavenly smelling jasmine and frangipani, purplish Madagascar Periwinkle that bloomed in abundance, white crepe jasmines, electric-blue butterfly peas. The memories of others have been blurred with the passing of the years.

There were the regular coconut and date trees, bananas, and neem trees, the last of which were the bane of my existence because my mother insisted on frying them up and made the entire family chew on those bitter leaves like our lives depended on the act of swallowing those god-awful leaves. Neem leaves, for the uninitiated, are numbingly bitter and linger in the mouth long after you have had them. However, they work miracles for the skin. Later, our collective misery was abated when my mother decided to grind them up, make tiny pellets to be dried in the sun. These pellets were to be taken orally daily.

But the show stealers for me were the tall eucalyptus trees, the susurrations of which mark the bulk of my summer holiday memories of idle prancing around the gardens, and the shower of pink bougainvillea that cascaded down the four levels of the balconies of our house with great glory. A day came when all three were felled. Great sadness reigned over the heart. The eucalyptus trees were hindering the growth of other plants around them. The main branch of the bougainvillea had grown so stout that it was digging into the railings, slowly corroding them. Still, how do you reconcile yourself to practical decisions when they collide with that sentimental part of you that will not abide by reason? Here was a lesson for life itself, it seems.

Yet, despite the tree hugging core of me, I had no experience of planting a single seed or sapling by myself.

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Seeds of radish in the left container waiting to germinate and a cherry tomato sapling on its right

The stirrings of this need for a kitchen garden came about when I started watching chefs and cookbook writers on the telly wander into their backyard gardens and pluck glossy veg and herbs while cooking. It tantalised the senses. What would it be like to harvest veg and herbs from our own little garden?

In all our years of marriage, Adi and I have been living in apartments, none of which came with balconies. This year however we moved to an apartment with an enviable balcony that looks out onto a green belt, which in turn spills on to the bay and the park. My fingers were itching, no matter that they have had zilch experience in the field of growing foliage of any kind.

The other day we made the trip to a gardening centre. Haranguing a helper there for information till he wanted to be nowhere near us. We came back home with a few saplings, pots to replant them in, and a few bags of garden soil, potting mix, plant food, perlite.

Things started unravelling remarkably as we started our research into the heart of the matter.

What kind of pots to buy, what kind of plants to plant, does the balcony receive full sun, partial sun, or is it completely in the shade, how to cage/stake nightshade plants, what is a potting mix, how to use garden soil, the functions of perlite. Dear god, our minds felt fuzzy. Here was an overload of information and the realisation that we needed way more soil and way bigger pots if we were to get anywhere with our saplings.

In all of this routing around for knowhow of how to get our plants going, we never checked on the most basic thing. Namely, the amount of sunlight which we receive. This, as it turns out, is for a measly number of three hours. Exactly half of what our nightshades and other plants need. Excellent. This means that apart from running around with the pots, mostly on Adi’s insistence, and repositioning them to catch the ebbing rays of the midday sun, we have decided to turn from relying on nature to the machinations of man. Now we await the arrival of lights to assist our plants in the essential journey of their growth (and while we wait, we whisper to them — anything to make them feel better about missing out on their food).

But as the sweet elderly gentleman at another gardening centre told us after he had listened carefully to our woes and doled out plentiful advice, “You know what, just go with it. You will know better than me by the end of it. You will know what to do as time goes. All you have got to do is, just do it.”

And thus we roll, with this process of going bold or going home.

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Training a beefsteak tomato sapling

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One’s gotta have lettuce in the garden

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Hallo you lovely Rosemary!

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Italian Parsley

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The lavender is taking baby steps towards small but fragrant blooms. Next to it is the coriander  that has begun to sprout new leaves. It was deadbeat when we got the sapling.

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Meet the English Thyme

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And here’s a plump Basil to leave you with.

Broodings of a Grey Day

Some days the best thing you can do is go for a long run. The mind trots along with you, and well, by the time you have decided to call it a day and arrived home, you feel brand new. Nothing can dull the edge of an endorphin rush.

On other days, you stretch, stretch, stretch. A spot of gentle yoga to make you feel lissome.

And then, there are special days. When you gobble down cookies you have baked and admire your own handiwork. For, there is a time for everything. Isn’t that what they say? Right, so this be the time for oat cookies, and if you are in the business of details, laced with butter, chunks of espresso chocolate, demerara sugar, cranberries and sea salt.

Now, sat with a crime novel, I feel a bit like an elephant. A contented elephant, if I should have to point out. Guilt can come knocking another day.

So yes, instead of being outside and feeling the cold breeze stir up the cells, I am tucked cosily beneath my duvet, distracted by nothing in particular from this gripping novel, staring at the church steeple and the bland grey skies time and again, idly wondering when the park shall be mine again.

You see, the park, my park, as I call it bossily, happens to be a county park. Sometime ago, it was decreed shut by order of the governor of New Jersey. This means it is completely off bounds, for all of us. Yet, some have decided that this is the time they shall sneak into the taped-off stretches to stroll, jog, and walk their dogs. This also means that the copper is on his daily rounds, patrolling the park, bearing down upon this errant lot, his wrath released upon them through loudspeakers.

In the last few days, pounding the pavement alongside the park, staring dreamily at the water that sparkles bewitchingly in the bay across the greens, I have been startled a few times to hear people admonished so. Steely words ringing through the air. “Get off the park immediately. The park has been sealed for a reason.” For some reason, it puts me in mind of Mr. Goon and his spectacular “clear orfs”. You must know who I refer to. I miss Mr. Goon. I am feeling a bit random and meh, if you will.

Anyhow, I have a new haunt now. Forty blocks down from where we live, is a small park by the bay where across a slipway boats are launched into the waters, and where baits cast into the waters, a couple of anglers wait for hours on wooden decks. I have adopted this park for me own. It stays so empty that when I first came across it, I felt it was the town’s well-kept secret. But yesterday, lopping down to it, I was startled. It being a day flooded by stellar sunshine, beautiful and liquid, people had arrived in droves.

Answering the siren call of the sunny evening, couples sat on benches snacking on sandwiches, girls and boys ran enthusiastically around the tracks, and families played all sorts of bat-and-ball games on the massive stretch of green. All in all, one big joyride. And certifiably strange for the first few minutes, you know. Like a preview of what the world was like before a certain virus came calling upon us. 

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Moving Day

There was the day I moved my blog. If I thought that was torment, eyes popping out with the strain of staring at the laptop screen for hours at a go, the mind dissolving into the consistency of mushy peas at the prospect of solving more WordPress dilemmas, there was the day we moved house. That was the gobstopper, so to say. But before I carry on, I have a request. In all this slippery business of moving the blog around, I realise belatedly that I have lost my followers. If you are here, and it is not too much of a trouble, may I ask you to follow me all over again?

Now, to get to the exacting prospect of the move (I don’t know why we do it to ourselves, but we do), the day itself was advanced by more than a week. The numbers of people afflicted by the novel virus were shooting up. The leasing offices of the building we were in had already shut down. It was only a matter of time before our new building’s offices followed suit. The less said about the expense of it all, the better.

If living in the terms of coronavirus took time to get used to, for all of us, as we made little tweaks and adjustments to the rhythm of life, moving did not allow us enough time to figure out how to go about it mindfully. We had masks and gloves, but halfway through the move they came off involuntarily. Moving day had in any case arrived all too early. Before the movers popped in, already we had a large number of boxes sat on the floor of the kitchen. Those I had packed beforehand in a lengthy process that informed me that we have too many spices and condiments.

The movers were a trio, their language foreign to the ears and features slightly Eastern Asian. The eldest, a compact man with vast reserves of energy (let’s call him M1) revealed that they were from a place my besties had proposed as a girls’ birthday trip destination towards the latter part of this year. An ancient city central to the operation of the old Silk Route. Samarkand. “The land of Babur,” offered M1, rhyming the word with Namur. He was not off the mark for Babur, the Mongol conqueror, from Fergana in Uzbekistan was enamoured of neighbouring Samarkand. He described it as a “wonderfully beautified town” in his memoirs, Baburnama, and had succeeded in occupying it twice in his lifetime.

Was this a sign that the girls and I should go ahead with our trip after this entire situation dies down? Should we believe in signs?

Anyway, M1 conducted his own mini-interview of us subsequently, and, in detail.

First, he informed us with great pride that his was not the hope to make the big busy city his home. His is to earn money and fly back to his nest. He noted: “My homeland is beautiful. I have a family and a big house there.” And as an afterthought, he added: “Where we come from, we do not believe in renting.”

Next he quizzed us about the apartment we were moving to. Was it better? Was it bigger? Was the rent more or less than the current one? This continued till Adi had to head to the nearest burger joint to get us all lunch. The inquisition rolled to an end.

A quick lunch break and the process of packing continued. This confirmed to us, if we had not known it already that our earthly possessions are the proverbial albatross around the neck. Most of them acquired through a mix of desire, want, greed… not need. This, after I have downsized to a considerable degree. I foresaw then a future of whittling them further.

At some point in the early evening, the truck-load of the various components that make up our home, finally reached the new building. Here ended the movers’ toil. Here also started our own portion of back-breaking work. The next four days involved furious cleaning. Wipe everything down, find a place for every little thing, cook, decorate. Drop a few things in exhaustion. The first wall clock we bought in Leicester for our first home together. The spoon rest from London. A magnet or two. A husband tired enough to drop the topic. Then, four days of drowning out the news and exchanging it for the sweet sounds of home. Revelling in the cackling of wild geese, the rhythmic thump of clothes in the washing machine, the whistle of the kettle, the sound of the oven dinging – the cake’s done — the pot of tea after. And at the end of it, a couple of happy roosters.

 

These Truly Hairy Days

Yesterday, I played the barber. Yesterday, I also arrived at the rapid conclusion that for all my sins, I am not cut out to be one.

For some time now, Adi has been whingeing about the mountain of hair that has been steadily foaming above his head. I have been ignoring it for the most part because hoovering up hair, getting rid of those tiny stubborn bits that stick to the nooks — however fond of cleaning I might be — is not my jam. And really, as much as I do adore the thought of my hair being snipped and whipped into shape at a salon, I cannot bring myself to take on any level of salon activities at home. When I want to get rid of the pesky grey hairs that pop up at the temples, I go to the salon. When I want a fringe, I head to the salon. When I want a hair spa, I make an appointment at the salon. I think by now, you have it figured. The gist of my feelings about what came my way next.

We had spent a lazy Sunday afternoon watching a nice film, concluded with double shots of espresso and slices of raspberry pecan coffee cake, when Adi got up and declared that we were going to tackle his hair. “Wha..?” I wanted to faint, which my husband would not allow. He meant business.

Man on a mission, he set up the bathroom. A chair plonked in the middle of it. Fetched the worst pair of scissors one can use to snip hair. Kitchen scissors. But next to it lay an impressive caboodle of hair clippers.

Now, imagine handing a pair of clippers to an individual who has not given a single hair cut in her whole blooming life. The only time I played with giving myself a fringe was an experiment gone wrong. I can tell you about the drawbacks of a too-short fringe till the cows come home. But I think I shall stick to this particular event.

Armed with the clippers, I started at the nape. First, I raised the bottom hairline. Safe to say, it now rests above his lower ear lobes.

“Way too short!” pronounced the subject in tones that would not and could not hide heavy notes of dismay. After I made an allowance for the customary moaning and frowning, I got back to the task. I had not even begun properly, and I was yet ready to be done with it. Sheared the back of the head. For all the world, I could have been shearing sheep. That thought made me howl with laughter. Convulsions that alarmed the subject so that he could not keep turning his head at the mirror from time to time, to keep a check on this very odd barber. Psst: The best part is, he could not see the back of his head. We do not have one of those big rectangular vanity mirrors they use at the salon to show you the effect of the hairdresser’s artistry on the rear portion of the head. What a fortunate thing.

When you use kitchen scissors that ain’t all that sharp to handle thick hair, you end up with hair flying all over yourself. Which you promptly dump on the subject. Because well, it is his hair. He might as well get the brunt of it. He did try to interject the proceedings with, “I am not your dumping ground”. But did he stand a chance?

I will not bore you further with the nitty-gritties of executing a hair cut, the way the scissors flew, the hacking around with no particular aim, or the hot mess in the bathroom after. But I will leave you with this that there are enough bald spots on the unsuspecting husband’s head, a bizarre semi-buzz cut at the wings, not by design, but all happenstance. Today, during a video call, his dad pronounced it to be a punk cut.

But the good news folks is that I am done with it.

Now, there’s only rest for the wicked.