Saturday, 8 July 2017

breaking the hiatus, and assorted pointless thoughts

So hi there.

i make an appearance after (yet another) prolonged break on this blog. and let me tell you that in the meantime, we moved yet again - the subject of which appears not infrequently on this blog, and which was, in part, one of the main reasons that made the hiatus longer.

if each of our moves has seen a varying assortment of logistical mayhem and messed up timelines, this one stands out with the distinction being the longest time we spent in limbo so far - bunking with friends and family alternately for two months before we could finally get a place and move in.

moving is, always, an exercise in patience and an eye opener in minimalism. you wonder at the amount of frivolous stuff that gets accumulated while you are packing it up, and also on how possible it is to really get by without all those, while you wait for it to get shifted and unpacked at the new place.

with all the expected and unexpected stuff that comes up in these transition phases, routines tend to get thrown out of gear, getting back to ‘normal’ seems easier said than done, and sometimes even ‘new normals’ take up space in your life, surprising you - i suppose that is the one constant about life - its ability to surprise you in more ways than you think (if you are willing to be ‘surprised’, without ruing about it too much).

so in between all that, contrary to popular belief, some habits get broken more easily than they are formed, and i suppose blogging is one which falls into that category. once you go through a break intentionally or unintentionally, you easily fall off the wagon and it becomes increasingly difficult to resume it with each passing day.

a difficulty that is only compounded by thoughts of what to write, and why write at all. the more you ponder about (anything), the more you are convinced that it is all ultimately futile. one can apply this futility theory to anything in life, and to life itself - which is why thinking too much about any one thing at a stretch could be counterproductive, if you are a chronic overthinker. so coming back to blogging/writing, any miniscule attempt by me at writing is often eroded in its path by thoughts of futility, by a ‘meh, whats the point of it all’ syndrome that rears its head often, unfortunately.

so why am i here, why make the effort to write anything ? especially for someone like me who hasn’t found a niche, doesn’t attempt in the least to make a living by writing, or use the blog as a platform to be an ‘influencer’ for anything.

despite all the above, a few reasons seem to make sense. first, of course, is the reason that you dont really need a reason to write. it is like having cake. you dont need a reason to have cake. (also, i like to bring cake metaphors into everything possible.)

more importantly though, when you look back at old posts, old bits of your writing in whatever form they exist, they serve as excellent time capsules. it is a great way to go back in time and look at what was going on in your mind at the time, what kind of stuff that you thought was worth putting down on paper or inflicting on humanity. never mind if it feels like complete nonsense or profound philosophy - if it has crossed your mind, better have it spelled out somewhere for what it is worth. if nothing else, somewhere down the line you have a few memories, something to reminisce about, something that gives you that ‘duh, did i really write that’ feeling. it is all good.

another important reason is the personal feeling of knowing that in this day and age, you are still capable of continuous, coherent thought and have the ability to string together meaningful sentences which consist of more than 140 characters . it is a satisfying feeling, and it is important that we all have something that gives us a feel-good factor about ourselves.

so yeah, i convince myself that it is indeed worthwhile to keep at this every now and then, with or without a reason. with or without readers, even - for what we do for ourselves is more important than falling into the rabbit hole of seeking approval and validation from external sources - which, if you do get, is gratifying, as a collateral. the key is to remember that it should be a collateral and our opinions of our own selves is what should matter.


if you have been patient in suffering my ‘thinking aloud/ gyaan’ so far, my good readers, let me compensate a little by leaving you with a nice little view from the balcony of our aforementioned new place - on a rainy day, no less - when the green looks all the more greener and the world looks more beautiful in general. the little blessings are what make life worth it, isn't it ?

Thursday, 10 November 2016

throwback thursday - TBT #27

Nov 10th was the day that the world famous Hope diamond was donated to the smithsonian museum, in 1958.

the hope diamond is a unique, deep blue diamond which originated in india. it travelled far and wide across the globe, and has a long history of which a large part remains unknown. it is believed to be originally part of a bigger uncut stone called the 'tavernier blue', and after passing through the hands of the wealthy and royalty in england and france, it came to the united states in the early 1900s.

the gem merchant Harry Winston acquired the diamond from its previous owners in 1949, and in 1958, donated it to the collections of the smithsonian. the diamond was presented to the museum on nov 10th 1958, after it reached there by registered mail in a simple brown paper package . the package was insured for one million dollars, and the actual postage fee was $2.44 :)

see the original package in which it arrived in 1958, below -

image from wikipedia, here.

photo of the hope diamond being presented to the smithsonian institutions. 
image source - from the collection of the smithsonian archives here

and lastly, see my own photo of the hope diamond below, taken during a summer visit.
it is on permanent display in its own, specially lit, rotating glass case - in the gem section of the smithsonian natural history museum in washington d.c.  
the entire gem & mineral section is an incredible collection and makes you want to stay there for hours !

the hope diamond is 45.5 carats, and is in a platinum setting surrounded by 16 white diamonds, and suspended from a chain with 45 diamonds. 

do make it to the gem collection in the natural history museum if you are ever in washington d.c, but remember that it is almost always crowded :)

Monday, 7 November 2016

mundane monday - #68

the thing about indian festivals like diwali is that you have a generous supply of sweets and savouries around the house for the next few days. it has been a week (and a couple of days) since diwali and we've managed to exhaust all the sugar overdose. but when you look at the empty boxes it feels kind of sad and you wish there was something more :)

all the sugar craving made me remember that among the heap of photos i took but never released was this one - a bowl of lindt sea salt caramel truffles that we'd got months ago. seriously, this is one of the bestest chocolates ever. so dangerously tempting, it just melts in your mouth smoothly with just a touch of sea salt that makes it perfect.

apart from this past diwali week binge, of late i've been trying to reduce all added sugar, eat my vegetables, and do such adult things. so for now, i'm able to look at this pic and remember the time i ate them, without feeling the need to rush to the store and grab a bag. good job, right ?

in some parallel universe i think chocolate is the most healthy superfood there is. till such time we can all find that universe and migrate there, lets make the best of this one. sigh.

have a good week ahead folks, wherever you are.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

throwback thursday - TBT #26

the last time i made a throwback thursday post here was in march. two seasons have gone by. huhh.

this weekend (saturday, oct 29th) will be diwali, and i thought there's no better time to pick up things again. so here i was, searching the internet for vintage pics related to diwali or deepavali, india's most popular festival - and by the happiest chance i stumbled on some archives of chandamama.

chandamama was a popular children's magazine in india, published in english and many indian languages. once a fond part of many a kid's childhood, it has sadly ceased publication now.

here is a diwali special issue from november 1955 - the cover art has two ladies holding lamps, children setting off fire crackers, and a temple in the background.

you can see the entire issue here, as well as many old issues uploaded by some kind soul. i was so happy to see them !

you can also check out my throwback post on last year's diwali here.

wish you all a very happy diwali/deepavali, have a great weekend !

Sunday, 25 September 2016

fall is in the air

the first weekend of fall has rolled by already. fall (autumn) is no doubt the most beautiful of seasons, but it inevitably feels like the beginning of the end of the year. you start with seeing a little yellow and orange here and there, and before you know it, you are bang in the middle of winter and piling on layers of clothes just to take out the trash.

that being said, it is no doubt the season when nature is at its best, becoming a great artist and painting a giant canvas of colours. 

if the thought of approaching weather is, well, less than pleasant, at least fall is a good time for tv & movies, since there are always new seasons and new releases lined up. sitcoms are my personal favourite. i'm not that much of a movie buff and rarely make it to the theatres, but two movies i'm hoping to watch this season are inferno, and fantastic beasts.

as of now, i dont have any travel plans made for fall yet, but we had some beautiful day trips last year. the photos above and below are from last year, taken quite close to where we lived. aren't the colours great ?
also, you can see that i've watermarked the pics. no big reason, just something that i've been meaning to try for a while. ( have no idea if i'll find the patience to keep it up for every post though - i don't trust myself that much :) - let's see.)

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

a minor blog update

i decided to go ahead and make a tiny little update to the blog - nothing major, just a simple new header and the addition of a new colour.

i made the previous elaborate change a couple of years back and the details are all here - this time, i've just removed the previous border in the background, since i felt it was getting to look a bit dated and old. (i like vintage in a lot of things, but when it comes to blog/web design, i like modern minimalism a lot :) )

so i quickly did this new header image in google drawings - it is a handy tool if you want to make simple graphics, images etc... if not anything very fancy, it surely does a great job with the basics, with a bunch of options for adding shapes, images, text, with different colours and font options. try it out sometime if you haven't. (you just need a google/gmail account, and you'll find it in your google drive along with docs, spreadsheet, etc.)

the font for the blog name is called 'lovers quarrel'. i wanted a bit of 'gold-ish' colour, and chose this one - the hex code is #bf9d31. i've also used this colour across some of the other elements in the blog now.
the font for the description below is josefin sans, and the colour is one that is already being used on the blog - #1fb7c4.
(one little issue is that as of now, it doesnt look as good on a mobile as it does on a desktop.)

so thats all for now, hope to be back soon... summer is drawing to a close, and i do have a bunch of pics that i took in august, i should try to post them sometime. lets see. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

on this and that...

sometimes it feels like thoughts and ideas are waiting to burst forth from your head. and then of course the moment passes and when you do actually sit down, you cant think of a single word to write, or even why you pulled up your chair and opened the laptop. happens all too often.

it makes me feel i shouldn't keep waiting for the best ideas to show up, or feel too bad about hitting publish on anything that is less than stellar.
maybe it is not a bad idea to round up those commonplace thoughts that flash through the mind from time to time, instead of sitting on some lone idea and wait for it to hatch into that ideal post you want. because lets face it, that rarely happens.

on that note, this is going to be a post of a bunch of random stuff. nothing fancy, just things that have been happening around here lately. feel free to read or skip.

first off, we've been having more rain, on and off. it is like there is one sunny week and the other is rainy and cloudy. which makes me very happy. rain makes the whole world look better, honestly.

next, i have to make it known to the world that i managed to make a two-week trip, with all my things fit into a single backpack. yep, achievement unlocked. i'm giving myself a pat on the back for both the minimalism and the packing skills involved here, so umm, excuse me this one time, for bragging. maybe i should do a separate post on what i packed, but im not too sure at this point. theres nothing interesting about my stuff though, it is mostly plain and boring, i should say. 

also, on coming back home, i found the ikea 2017 catalogue and some magazines waiting. and of course the aforementioned rain. so all in all, it has been a good week so far. 

ohh, and most importantly, sometime back i had stupidly messed with the blog's template by mistake, and that changed a lot of things. i managed to restore most of the template settings, but somethings may still not be alright. mostly photos - they might end up wrongly sized, spilling on to the sidebar, or links may be broken. i've been trying to go through most of them and keep fixing, but there might be still some that are left out, especially among older ones. 
i havent been doing the regular posts lately, and meanwhile this happened, so i was kind of torn between going ahead with some of the posts i had in mind or fixing the old ones. i had been saving some stuff to post in august, so lets see how the rest of the month goes. 
till we meet again, au revoir, folks.


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