Alternately flimsy and knobby, an amoeboid dosa splattered on the frying pan; with a little batter running down the ladle and crusting on my arm. Comic-strip sweat beads glistened on my forehead. Few of the dosas I could cradle in my palm, while others occupied the entire pan. Size notwithstanding, the aroma and the taste were familiar; making the whole effort worthwhile.
The batter was homemade.
The Dosa Batter 1 part brown rice, 1 part urad dal, 1 part moong dal, 1/2 part Chana dal, 1/2 part masoor dal, 2tbsp flaxseed powder, 1 tsp salt; soaked for a couple of hours, ground and fermented overnight. Served with onion and tomato chutney.
Oiled my hair.
Sharpened my pencils.
Ate a spoonful of butter and died happy
Wore my favorite t-shirt; it features a typewriter.
Read Optic Nerve for a while.
Listened to songs from Studio Ghibli’s ‘My neighbor Totoro’
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.