This is a labour of love. Plants. Books. Accumulated. Nurtured.
I couldn’t find a ‘snazzy’ (as described in the photo project rules) background in my home. So, here is my nesting nook next to my bed with the pale early morning light and fog as the background. Also the giant Ghibi-esque trees outside my window.
My nesting nook comprises of two large storage boxes, my day bag, a hot/cold water bottle, my ‘essentials’ pouch, medicine kit, a small ganesha idol, dried ginger candy and wireless headphones.
One of the storage boxes is for soft linen including few pieces of mustard and rust coloured work-wear from Uniqlo, two checkered pattern kaftans for lounging around at home, few handkerchiefs and a piglet soft to from three decades ago.
The other storage box contains the books I am reading (simultaneously), my Kindle and iPad, rice crackers and a box of mixed dry fruits for early morning and late night snacks.
The ‘essentials’ pouch contain travel sized vials of a face serum, an eye gel, a lip mask, prenatal vitamins and essential medicines, a small notebook to keep track of budget and also double as a pregnancy planner.
Everything I need on a daily basis, is right within my reach, all at one place.
Yet, every morning when I wake up, my nesting nook is silhouetted against this milky, foggy blur of the early morning with my favourite trees barely peeking through in the background.
And this ordinary background of my mornings is what I want to highlight today.
I have numerous appliances to make my daily cup of coffee, and even more mugs to drink it in. But I often come back to this simple percolator, this old and hand-painted mug and ground coffee from ‘Devan’s South Indian coffee’ in Delhi. Morning routine. Before bed routine (yes, I drink coffee before sleep!). I find this routine very soothing. Something I look forward to every day. This is a contemporary still life portrait of everyday objects I treasure.
Orange-gold flush of evening light against a slowly darkening indigo sky. Like tea swirling in my favorite navy blue ceramic mug.
These are days of the lockdown. Roads are (near) empty. Anxiety is palpable. Numbers and curves are scary. Touch is forbidden. Gloved. Masked. Wrinkled, dehydrated fingers. Dead people. Sick people. Hungry people. Jobless people. People away from home. It is too much to take in if I stop and think for a moment. About the enormity of this crisis.
Yet, for those of us privileged to have a roof and a job and access to food, the experience is surreal. Dream-like. Slow. Days blur into one another. The air is clearer. More stars are visible. Solitude is the new normal. A dream-like existence. In between. A familiar past and a very very different future. The world has changed. Is changing. The one we came from is not where we will return to. Friends call up more. Families talk more. Conversations are back. Long ones. Plants are tended to, leisurely. Cookbooks are recovered. So, are board games. Puzzles. Some days are for vegetating on the couch. ( Obscure) Movies are devoured. So are books. Reading and rereading. Consuming less- media, shopping ( what did I even use to buy?). Colours fascinate me. So do my partner’s every movement. Afternoon naps, with the blinds down, are a thing.
Routines have become vital. Drink water. Journal. Read. Chores. Rearrange wardrobe/ desk /sofa cushions/ bookshelf. Cook. Shower together. Breakfast. Work. Lunch. Paint. Lounge on the balcony. Water the plants. Go for a walk. Cuddle. Cook. Study/ webinar. Dinner. Read. Coffee. Maybe write. Netflix. Sleep. Wake up early. Or sleep in. Bake on weekends. Life as usual. But slower.
Apart from my beloved desk by the window, the tiny balcony has become vital for my existence. Mornings and evenings are spent here. Even if for a few minutes. Like coming out for the first gulp of air after a deep dive. My plants are here. And a curtain of vines from the apartment above. Also the spring breeze, the flowering trees, the stars and an occasional glimpse of other people. And yes, it is a space bathed in that magic light at dusk.
There was a thunderstorm tonight. A delight to watch from the balcony. But somewhere, not so far away, migrants are walking home.