Another Sunday that was heavy

Days go by
Some heavy, some light
Some dark but none bright

Breathing is a task
Hidden behind a mask
With iron lungs
And a breaking heart

Most have had it rough
My heaviness is not heavy enough
I cannot cry, I hold my tear
I have not lost someone dear
(and may it stay that way
although no one can really say)

How did we even get here?
Wasn’t it just moments ago,
We said a light goodbye,
Until we meet again
Until we meet again.

2020 Fashion Trends that I can get behind!

2020 General trends. Photos from Pexel

Keeping in mind my environmental goal of 2020 (to consume less), I am trying to replace my excitement of buying new things with things that provide the same excitement without causing any additional burden on my carbon footprints.

I have read, watched and listened to everything that is out there on the fashion forecast for this year. I am now gearing up to bring those trends into my life, without buying anything new. How will this turn out? Only time can tell.

What will trend in 2020?

Categorising most of the information that I collected into three segments – General trends, clothing trends and Accessories trends, I hereby note down my findings:

General Trends

  • Polka Dots – possibly my favourite print of all times but only when the dots are fairly small
  • Pleats on everything – top, bottom, jacket. You name it, you pleat it. Not a big fan of pleats as they tend to add bulk. The only pleated thing I can like is a pleated skirt
  • Leather/Coloured leather – No leather for me
  • Logos displayed prominently – Not for me. I am afraid of getting robbed if I flaunt expensive items.
  • Denim on Denim – The only denim I own are jeans so maybe I will wear two jeans in one go
  • Crochet – I am split. I cannot think of anyway this would look good on me, but at the same time I do think crocheted things are lovely
  • Neon/Colorful/70’s prints – I am a big fan of prints but do not like them on myself. So this is a pretty easy no.
  • Pantone colour of the year: classic blue. Expect to see a lot of blue this year (fashion or otherwise)

Clothing trends

  • High waisted, wide legged jeans – yay! Who doesn’t like high waisted jeans?
  • Bermuda shorts/ Short suits/ mini skirts – Basically business suits but with Bermuda shorts or shorts instead of pants/skirts.
  • Trench with a twist – Classic trench with a twist – could be with statement sleeves, colour blocking, zipper details. Think uninhibited. I live in a tropical place, so there is no place for a tench coat in my wardrobe, but we shall still try to get creative with this.
  • Billowy dresses/ Statement Sleeves – Again, not a big fangs they tend to add bulk on my body
  • Tank tops/ braletts – Hooya! To tank tops! Not a fan of braletts
  • Polo neck, mock neck & turtleneck – Not for an apple shape like me
  • Waistcoats – I will see if I could borrow something from my husband. Although it maybe several sizes smaller and he may hide them if he reads this. Fingers crossed!
  • Oversized blazers – Not for an apple shape like me
  • Cargo pants – bring it on. There is no way I am travelling anywhere this year without wearing my cargo pants, which, yes, I bought from Men’s section last year!

Accessories trends

  • Bold jewellery – Large Gold hoop earrings, chain necklace Etc.
  • Combat boots – Big, big fan of these
  • White sneakers which look used – you mean I never have to clean my shoes and call it fashion?
  • Belt bags/Fanny packs – Nothing I love more than bags that free up my hands. But since I don’t have these I will have to give it a skip
  • Square toed shoes – bring out the super high heeled pump that I bought in 2013 and wore only twice
  • 90’s shoulder bag – basically small bag with a small handle that will not fit a single book
  • Pillow bags – Really looks like something I will definitely forget on the train

How will I be fashionable if I am not shopping?

Ah! Here comes the truly exciting part. First I made a list of trends that I actually would love love to participate in. Then I figured out which of those trends can be fulfilled by things I already own, which I can take creative liberties with and which I will have to let go of. The results if you are interested to know are as follows:

  1. High Waisted Wide legged Jeans – I own one though it may be going through its last few days
  2. Mini Skirts – I own one that I love but have worn exactly 0 times. Time to bust it out!
  3. Combat boots – Favourite type of shoes, own one that I bought last year. Although now that I think of it, it is possible that it was in stores purely because it is a trend piece. #FastFashionmistakes
  4. Unclean Sneakers – who doesn’t own one?
  5. 70’s prints – my husband owns a lot of shirts in these prints (and may I add, looks fabulous in them). I may occasionally borrow. Though, I may not get to borrow if he knows it was per-meditated
  6. Pleated skirt – would love to get a black one, but I think I may have to pass this one
  7. Polka dot – would love this, but I don’t own anything. I am thinking of maybe hand painting something I already own. What do you think?
  8. Trench with a twist – can I wear one of my shirt dresses over complete outfits and call it Trench with a twist?
  9. Tank tops – I own a couple of them but never wear them outside the comfort of my home, it is time to show them the world
  10. Square toed shoe – Own one pair of high heels from 2013, I may end up wearing these shoes a couple of more times

What do you think about the trends this year? Would you be excited to try some of these trends from pieces you already own? Let me know!

Baby Steps towards Sustainable Fashion

Keeping in mind my environmental goal of this year, I have come up with something that will help me buy fewer items of clothing. Last year, I bought nearly 30 articles of clothing. This does not sound like a lot, but when you take into account the amount of effort that goes into making a single piece of tshirt (it can take upto 2,700 litres of water to make one) and add it all up, it starts to seem like a lot.

So, this year, my goal is to buy nothing that I do not absolutely need. Ideally, 0 article of clothing. Keeping this in mind I wanted to make some changes in the way I dress and the way I shop.

I know from experience that wanting to do something is not the same as actually ensuring you do it. I am a big believer of processes. So I knew that I needed to come up with two things to make this work:

  • Ensure I am not tempted to buy into new trends
  • Ensure that I actually look forward to wearing the clothes that I already own

To ensure that I am not tempted to buy into new trends – I researched upon the incoming trends for this year. Then I picked out the trends I actually would love to try. Out of these I picked out the trends that I could pull off from the clothes I already own. The rest I just put a pin in it for now. I will write a detailed post about it soon.

To ensure that I actually look forward to wearing the clothes I already own, I borrowed from the concept of ‘Capsule Wardrobe’. I call it ‘Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection’ or MRCC. Capsule Wardrobe was something I actually wanted to try for ages, but without getting rid of all my clothes.

For the uninitiated, Capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe consisting of small number of items (say 30 or 60 or a number that works for you). These items should be of good quality(I am going to start with whatever quality I currently own) and such that they go well with each other thus optimising the total number of outfits you can wear.

I decided upon a Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection keeping in mind the following requirements:

  • I did not want to get rid of all my existing clothes. It would defeat my goal of being environment friendly as it is unlikely that all the clothes that I give away will be reused or recycled
  • I want to be slow and conscious about downsizing. I want to run experiments and be 100% sure that there is no way I can use an item before giving it away

At this point I should probably note that I did undergo a purge session last year before my wedding which means most of the clothes I currently own are not very old and are of decent quality (or so I believe)

How does a Monthly Rotating Capsule Collection work?

At the beginning of every month, I take a stock of everything I own (clothes, shoes and bags) and plan a wardrobe of around 33 pieces. For the rest of the month, I will be making use of only these clothes and getting creative with them. I have not placed any limit on the jewellery and scarves to ensure that I can keep my outfits interesting. I keep the rest of the items away in a big suitcase until the next month.

At the end of the month I classify all these 33 items into – things I want to keep wearing, things I do not want to keep. Things that I do not want to keep will be given away (where and how I still need to figure out – recommendations welcome).

The next month I repeat the cycle with next set of 33 items (some of which may be same as last month).

This way I am hoping to get through my entire wardrobe in 6 months to a year. After which I will only keep those items that work for me and give away the rest.

January 2020 – observations

I already tried this experiment for the month of January, and I am happy to report that:

1.      My room is tidier than it has ever been

2.      I found ways to wear the black blazer that I bought last year (and could never find an occasion to wear) at least 5 times this month

3.      I feel more put together, since I now plan my outfits and everything goes with everything anyway

4.      I notice that laundry needs to be done at least once a week

5.      Found out that a shirt dress can also be used as a duster (which is when you wear it as a jacket over an outfit)

Would you want to try MRCC for yourself or have you ever tried drastic downsizing of your wardrobe in one go? Let me know! And watch this space for how the experiment fares in the coming months.

On New Year Resolutions

Photo by camera_trails

I have thought long and hard about this. I analysed the promises I made to myself last year and did not keep. I also analysed the ones I was able to make good progress on.

As a result, this year, I decided to keep it simple. I made three categories in my life that I wanted to either see a change or growth in. Here are my main goals for this year:

1. Career: take one huge risk in my career. I am okay to fail just as long as I dared to dream. In my life so far, my career is something that has happened to me rather than something I actively went out to seek. As a result, even though I am in a very fast growing career and doing well in it, I can never tell if this is something I actually want to do for the rest of my life. So, there is a risk waiting to be taken

2. Arts: Master Gouache as a medium and get comfortable with painting realistic looking portraits. I have had no formal training in arts and hard as it is to admit, I am just not as good at executing my creative ideas as someone who has had a proper training. As a result a LOT of my ideas remain un-executed. However, I have also come to realise there is no dearth of resources out there. And I really cannot use the lack of professional training as a crutch anymore

3. Environment: Reduce 2 things – number of Uber/Auto rides I take and number of clothes I buy. There are at least thousand other things that I want to do. But we have to start somewhere and this is where I am taking my stand for this year.

I hope to make progress in each of these goals every month, I will keep this blog posted with the progress I have made each month.

What resolutions have been haunting you this year? Let me know in the comments!

Letter to my BFF on her wedding day

Illustration by thepreetidas

Dear S & I,

Congratulations on your wedding!

After this much sought after and very hard  earned achievement, you must take out some time to relax and really enjoy it. Visit us in Bangalore if you need a break 🙂

After being married for nearly 5 days, we feel qualified enough to give you guys marriage advice. Our advice is this – smile and nod, do all your poojas and be glad that you won’t have to do it again!

On a serious note, I really love how you guys bring out best in each other and use humour to navigate difficult situations. We (R&P) have never had to struggle to keep our relationship, but should a situation arise I hope we show same strength and determination as you guys! You faith in each other is the stuff love stories are made of.

I really missed out  on being there to witness your relationship begin. I hope to be there to see you guys really grow into a family!

Here is wishing you a life time of love and happiness. Take good care of each other. Laugh often, for – “a day couldn’t possibly be a waste if you have made each other laugh”. Don’t laugh at each other because as R has to constantly reminds me that’s not nice.

Lots of love,
P & R

Is being polite making me fat?

Throwback to nearly 10 years ago when I joined college. I was living, for the first time ever, in a hostel. This however, was no ordinary hostel. This was not a hostel where you could chill, drink with your buddies and chat all night long. It was not a hostel where you could spend all your time studying either – there were certain activities from 7-8 pm that you compulsorily had to attend. This was not even the hostel where you could call up your family in case you got home-sick. Phones were not allowed. This was a very strict hostel and rules were there to be followed.

One of the rules, as I discovered on my very first day when I was made to eat two spoonfuls of poisonously sweet jams, was that you simply could not waste food. The rule in itself was not bad. It actually made a lot of sense. Lots of kids were likely to take a lot of food and after discovering that it was inedible (as it always was) waste it. It was of course a better habit to take less and later if you discovered you wanted to eat more, get a second helping.

This rule actually did a lot more for me that it seemed on the surface initially. The habit repeated over the course of 4 years became a lifelong one. To this day I cannot leave any food on my plate without feeling excessively guilty about. I feel guilty irrespective of the fact that the food was uncooked, expired or that I am too full to eat. And so, I eat until my plate is clean. This habit combined with my politeness, I now realise has got me into a lot of trouble.

When I go to anyone’s home and they offer me a second helping of anything, I say no. Then they insist and to be polite I accept. After having accepted, do I polish the food off my plate? You bet. Does this prompt them to offer me another helping? You bet. You see where this is going?

When I go to a restaurant and order something new, do you think I finish it even though it is the worst thing I have ever eaten? When the portion sizes are too big, do you think there is anything leftover on my plate? You see where this is going?

When I go to Starbucks and order almond milk coffee and they instead get me too sugary regular milk coffee, do you think I finish it?You see where this is going?

To top everything off, do you know exactly when my weight gain problem began? Shockingly, in college.

So, these days I am trying to eat better. I do my best to not get into situations where I have to eat things I don’t want to. I leave food on my plate (and feel guilty about it). I eat at home most of the time and I take smaller portions. If I order a cup of tea and it is bad, I do not drink it.

And while I am doing all of these, I realise that all my friends who do not struggle with weight gain problem have been doing this for ages. They say no to servings when they are full or if it is something they don’t like. They constantly leave food on their plates and drinks in their glasses. All this time, I thought it made them rude but when in reality it was just keeping them thin!

PS: I know politeness is not the leading cause of my weight gain problems, but it is a persistent one.

The Magic of Midnight Pyjamas

Illustrated by Thepreetidas

There is something to be said about a guy who calls you up late at night and says – ‘Come downstairs, let’s go for some ice-cream’. To me, this has always been one of the most romantic things anyone can ever do.

I had always felt that this was the best possible way anyone could express their love for me. It is a very sweet, a very ‘come be my best friend’ kind of gesture. It says so many things:

‘I got your back.’

‘I know you well enough to know that this won’t make you mad.’

‘I really like your company.’

‘Isn’t this what best friends do?’

‘Let’s sneak away and chat.’

‘I don’t care how you look, just come.’

I really love these vibes.

So, one day in June this year, when this exact same thing happened to me it really blew my mind and I began wondering if my then boyfriend could possibly and truly be the endgame. Four months later, we are five days away from getting married. It couldn’t have played out better.

While we are on the topic of midnight, can we also talk about the magic of getting out of your house late at night in your pyjamas and just – go out? Especially in a car with a guy you trust? It feels like all the world is in your favour and the city is your home. Another feeling I never experienced before.

I have to say, this midnight pyjama outing made be feel like a cool girl. The kind who just do things without worrying too much about the consequences. It was quite very liberating to feel that way.

Anyway, here is wishing myself some more good luck!

Who are the nicest people on the roads of Bangalore?

By thepreetidas

Auto-rickshaw wallahs!

I know this to be a very unpopular opinion. Had you told me this few months ago, I would have called you naïve and possibly crazy. But then something changed 3 months ago.

3 months ago, I decided to stop waking up early in the mornings.

I was tired of having to get up at 7 am and get ready for office in less than 20 minutes (I can be really efficient when needed). I was done with rushed mornings offering me no time to day-dream.

This decision, however, was quite pricey. You see, I was getting up at 7 so that I could take the office cab at 7:20 am. If I don’t take the office cab, I need to Uber or Ola. Both of which are quite expensive to begin with and consistently get more expensive as peak traffic hours approach. At this point luckily, I discovered that Ola Autos don’t have aggressive peak pricing and the autos are frequently available. This made my life much easier.

So, for the past 3 months, I have taken an auto to work 4 days a week. I have observed many different Auto-wallahs and have been frequently surprised by them and their behavior.

My limited experience with them in the past have not been very pleasant. This is mostly because when you try to hire them on the go (as opposed to book from an app), they quote high prices and you need to negotiate (expertly, which I cannot do) to get a fair deal. Negotiating with them (or anyone) emotionally exhausts me and so I tend to avoid it as much as I can. As a result, I often felt cheated out of my money. Since that is not a problem with app based auto bookings, this time I was able to come out of my self pity party and notice my surroundings.

In due course, I witnessed many of my auto drivers perform several acts of kindness.Two of the most remarkable incidents are occurred as follows.

One morning, on a flyover, my auto-driver stopped by to see if he could help one of the fellow drivers who was looking quite helpless. They had a very short chat, decided on something and both of them got back into their autos. And before I know it my auto-driver was sitting in his own driver seat sticking his left leg out and resting it at the back of the other auto. By doing so he was able to push it using the force from his auto. Quite the ‘Jugaad’, if you will. He drove like that for at least 10 minutes till we reached a repair shop. After which with a gentle wave of their hands both the drivers went off on their own merry ways.

Another morning, during peak hours, we (me and my auto-driver) witnessed a motorbike passenger drop his phone on the road. It was a busy road and there was a very good chance that someone would run over the phone before anyone realizes what happened. Not on my auto-driver’s watch, though. He immediately went into action mode (while driving the auto), he put out his right hand to stop a tractor from running the phone over, stopped next to the phone, leaned out to pick it up and then drove to the point where the bike and it’s riders had stopped after realizing that they dropped the phone. He tried to give the phone to the passenger who had dropped it, but the passenger in his panic, paid him no heed and continued running towards the place where he had dropped the phone. The rider, however, accepted the phone with a relief and a thank you. My auto-driver with a nod and a wave continued on his way to drop me.

I have also seen several of my auto-drivers stop over to help people with directions, help manage traffic situations, help out people who got into minor accidents and scold them for being reckless, go out of their way to ensure change is available for me when I pay them in cash, never say no to my office trips just because they are so far away, be considerate enough to let me know they are taking a detour for gas and many other things.

It is a nice thing to imagine, that every day on the roads of Bangalore there is at least one act of selfless kindness being performed by one of the many Auto-wallahs. Perhaps, we should also learn from them and be kinder to each other on the road especially at times when it is easier to not be.

Flowers, Dear!

Photo by camera_trails

One Saturday afternoon, I was rudely woken up by my mother. To my surprise, there was no emergency to report. Instead, she was smiling the all-knowing smile. She was also carrying a bouquet of flowers. Intrigued by the mystery, I decided to wake up after all.

She didn’t know who the flowers were from and there was no card. There was something that resembled a card, but upon inspection turned out only to be food for the flowers. Fair enough.

I mentally went through the list of people who would send me flowers, only one name came to mind. I was very excited and fairly happy. I decided I would arrange the flowers, send them a photo and say thanks.

This bubble of excitement and happiness lasted only till I remembered signing up for a weekly flowers delivery service a couple of weeks ago. Mystery solved. The flowers were from me. To me.

This, reasonably, made me quite sad, until I realised that I could now spend my entire week looking forward to flowers next Saturday.

Saturday is now my favourite day of the week.

Also, I now wake up early on Saturdays.

Book review: Pyjamas are forgiving by Twinkle Khanna

Pyjamas may be forgiving, but poor plot, truly is not. This was not Twinkle Khanna’s best work. Please do not make this the first book of hers you read. You would walk away with the feeling that she is an average writer, but she is not. She is a good one, just not with this book. I suppose, we should allow for some variance in the quality of writing for all authors.

Overall, the book started somewhat promising, then went the way of Chetan Bhagat (read terribly unoriginal) and then at the end managed to redeem itself – but only just so. The only good thing about this book is the protagonist. I, as a woman, could not fully relate to her, but I was very much aware this was a real woman. She is insecure, full of mistakes and unable to let go of her naivette, irrespective of how many chances fate provides her with (plenty). She is real because I know women like her exist. Also, I have been her at one point in my life (and may still be in the future).

*Spoiler alert*

Except for the brilliant portrayal of the protagonist, there is not much else that is going on for this book. The most annoying thing about the book is the ending, where the protagonist blindly and naively (surprise!) trusts a ‘male’ doctor to be the hero and tell her truth instead of becoming a heroine herself. This is especially disappointing because the whole book has been about her journey towards the realisation that she has been blindly trusting (wrong) men her whole life.

However, I suppose this ending is also inherently true to her character. Perhaps, people can never change, no matter the circumstances or the efforts.

Overall, not a bad book. There are better books from Twinkle Khanna that I would recommend instead of this one. Mrs. Funnybone and Legend of Laxmi Prasad were both much better and should be read if you want to know the author’s true potential as a writer.