En Route to Bhaderwah. The river Chenab

It has been more than three months since I have written a month note. I have not really felt up to it. But i guess I need to commit to memory at least some of the things that have happened over this year.

I am in Canada now and going to go into a two week quarantine self meditation retreat. I have not seen much of Canada other than the various airports and the AirBnB I plan to hunker down in. But the last five months were spent in Jammu.

The weather in Jammu for the entire time I was incommunicado went from monsoon to winter. As I was leaving it was getting much colder and the songbirds were out. The river basin had also gotten really busy. There were goats, horses, peacocks, eagles, and the usual suspects - dogs, monkeys, cows hanging around. I guess this signaled winter. It almost looked like those dioramas you make as a kid of zoos and villages.

The various climes of the river basin with sheep, horses, buffalos, and cows in no order. Black Kites, Red-Wattled Lapwings, Yellow-Bellied sunbirds, peacocks, monitor lizards, and the river overflowing in monsoon

The pomelos (चकोतरा), apples, Bengal Quince (बेल) and Indian pears (Nakh) were in season (most of these, I was eating for the first time) and we bought a new coffee grinder and a full coffee making set-up just in time to leave the country.

Quince, Pomelos, Nakh pears, Oranges

I have been feeling constantly overwhelmed and largely un-tethered. I have not done anything in almost two months outside of work. Largely, because the pandemic is a strange thing. It feels as though your life is on hold even when it really is not. It is difficult to make plans and even harder to follow through with them. Work seems to be the only constant and there were days (maybe weeks) during these few months when I did nothing other than that. My life’s rather simple routine of breakfasts and meditations and exercise completely unwound itself until there was nothing except me on the bed in front of a laptop. There is a strange existential angst that comes with this as I sit in the same 7 feet of space that I have spent 99% of my last two weeks in. A strange tension/tightness that begins around my throat until the base of my neck and I cant seem to move.

Anyhoo, I am going to a shrink now to ease this feeling. She says I need to regain some control in life, even if it is just for five minutes everyday.

Taking back a degree of control, however small makes it easier and this works as a nice little feedback mechanism until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, until of course they fall apart again. And you rinse and repeat.

Activities that help with above mentioned control are as follows:

a) Sitting out on the balcony in the mornings with my coffee looking over the now familiar sight of the the river Tawi. I seem to only read fictional books these days.

b) Listening to LeVar Burton read short stories by Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin (and other writers) while i make supper.

c) Embroidering something mindlessly

There was this video by CGPgray called spaceship you where the analogy is that you in the lockdown is like you on a spaceship and to retain some humanity, you split these different areas for different activities in your life and it feels like over the past few months, all the lines I put in place to separate out the different parts of my life keep disappearing until there is just this one big big blob and it gets hard to pries any of it apart. I feel a little swallowed up. And then things change, slowly control returns. This has been repeating over and over again with varying frequencies and outcomes. I guess my aim to be gentle with myself when I do falter and dust myself off and get back in the game.

To that end I have put down all things of note that have taken place over the last two months:

  • We visited Badharwah with Pop and her family in the beginning of August. It is situated in the foothills of the himalayas. We spent a large part of that holiday in the car but it was a beautiful, sleepy, hill city.
Images of Bhaderwah
  • I ate a few kinds of Kashmiri breads and biscuits
  • We celebrated a few festivals with Pop and her family including Canadian Thanksgiving.

Books Read these Past Few Months

The Fifth Season (Broken Earth #1) — N.K. Jemisin

Blood Child — Octavia Butler

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) — V. E Schwab

Conversations with friends — Sally Rooney

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue — V. E. Schwab

Pachinko — Min Jin Lee

The Three Body Problem(Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1) — Cixin Liu

Indica: A deep natural history of the subcontinent — Pranay Lal

The Roundhouse — Louise Erdich

The Death of Vivek Oji — Akawaeke Emezi

Transcendent Kingdom — Yaa Gyasi

My Sister the Serial Killer — Oyinkan Braithwait

Vicious — V.E Schwab

Normal People — Sally Rooney

Bashai Tudu — Maheshwata Devi

Imago — Octavia Butler

Reinventing Organizations :Illustrated — Frederic Laloux

Puttering with data science. Thoughts are mostly derivative.

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