A Down Under Dream

I’ve wanted to move to Australia for a long time. If there was a place I’d love to live in permanently other than Dubai it would have to be Australia. I really don’t know why, considering I’ve never actually been there. It is an urge, like a compass needle compulsively pointing North. Maybe it has something to do with the tourism Australia advertisements. If so, they’re doing a fantastic job aren’t they? Forget visiting, I want to embrace your country and live there for the rest of my life. Maybe not quite what they had in mind.

But that is what I want. I want to work there and make friends. I want to have pets and a garden and a window with a sill wide enough for me to sit on, wrapped in an afghan and read a book. I want to get together with neighbours and have barbies (barbecues, not the plastic dolls). I want to have a cosy little café where I can bake and write in the morning and throw open the doors to happy customers in the evenings for coffee, tea and baked goodness. I want to paint and sell my paintings in my café. I want to say things like arvo and mate and not sound weird. I want to speak with that unique accent after a few years that so many find strange.

I once went to a immigration agency with my husband (who was just humouring me, he had no intention of moving anywhere with me and was probably even then planning to leave) and found out a bit about moving to Australia. I was counting on him to be the rock as you know my career wasn’t doing too well. The cost kind of put me off, I don’t remember how much they had quoted exactly but I believe it was around INR 2,000,000. That would be around AUD 37,735 approximately, given today’s exchange rate. Is it really that expensive? I wouldn’t know as I haven’t checked elsewhere but I have heard that it is easier to go through an agency than to wade through the paperwork and applications solo.

It is almost two years later since my meeting with the immigration agency people. Costs will surely have gone up. I have been unemployed since last September, not something I planned to stretch for this long sans bun in oven. I have no savings anymore. All these things are probably conducive to me remaining put but I really don’t want to.

I’m writing my second novel (the first is an unfinished fledgling but not abandoned) and plan to take it to completion with this NaNoWriMo. I then plan to start the process (tedious, I hear) of getting it published. When I was away last month I gave a few interviews, only one for an architecture job. Just being in an architect’s office makes me have an almost physical reaction, like falling down a dark endless hole I know will end up in the infernos commanded by Lucifer. So that is a no go then. I then tried for a graphic design job where I was offered an unpaid trainee position which I did not take, looking for greener pastures and all that. I tried wedding planning after that. Again an unpaid offer to work for three to four months and then if they liked my work they’d hire me. Needless to say the unpaid bit was very off-putting. How was I expected to live in a metropolitan city where I would have to rent and use public transport (which isn’t cheap) and in other words survive without an income?

Spending long hours wallowing in my friend’s house after she and her mother had left for work, calling up people for job vacancies threatened to send me back down into the despair I’d left behind a few months back. Once back home, it didn’t seem so bad. But the nagging thought is still there, I need to earn, to be independent again, to support myself and my family when they need me. It makes me feel a bit of a failure every time my mind registers that I’m living on my parents’ charity though they wouldn’t think to call it anything other than love.

There are so many questions. How do I begin rebuilding a career path? Should I put all my eggs in one basket and hope my writing will earn me the title of novelist and shower me with enough money to live comfortably? I know I don’t want to work for someone else any more. I think I have it in me to give it a go alone. But in what field? Will practising architecture seem less repulsive if I do it alone? Or should I give more importance to my art and designing capabilities? I also have a love of baking and the café idea is very appealing but do I take a loan and put myself in debt to pursue this or do I wait for when I have a comfortable cushion in my account before attempting it? As you can tell, I’m not confused at all. It doesn’t help that I’ve found talents in me that were hidden before, like the drawing, painting and designing.

I know I should be thankful that I am blessed enough to be good at not just one thing, but many. I am. And I don’t mean to sound boastful at all, usually I am the last to admit it and compliments are still hard for me. Knowing what I want to do in life (writing, painting, owning a café) is not that difficult. It is learning how to make those things start earning me a living that I’m grappling with. And how will these things lead me to Australia? Any kind Aussie man who wants to marry me and take me with you? No? Oh well, it was worth a try.

A Time Gone Forever

Just a couple of weeks ago, I woke up as usual and reached for my phone, a safe distance away from my head and tapped the Facebook icon. Yes, that is the way most mornings begin for me nowadays. What I read made me bolt upright and rub my eyes, as cliché as that might sound. A girl who I was best friends with at school more than 10 years ago had posted a RIP to her husband as her status. The pit of my stomach felt hollow as I read through disbelievingly and then reread it. She is younger than I am and though I do not know how young her husband was, he was probably not more than a couple of years older than I. I don’t know how he died or any of the details. All I know is I cried for my friend of so many years ago, unable to place myself in her position and feeling so so bad for her and her four year old boy.

I wrote her a private message wishing her strong support in her difficult time and offering up my time any time she needed me. I got a simple thank you back. In truth there is no support I could offer her. We haven’t had a conversation for many many years, just the yearly birthday posts on each other’s walls. I wouldn’t know where to begin talking to her about something as serious as her husband’s passing. I didn’t know anything about him except what was posted on Facebook.

I don’t mean to sound selfish and steer the boat back in my direction but I believe we, as humans, understand from a viewpoint of self. That is to say, we empathise, we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and try to imagine ‘what that must feel like’ that they’re going through; because we might not have experienced an identical situation. I am separated from my husband, I haven’t seen him in nearly a year, I have spoken to him only twice on the phone in that time, both times to discuss divorce proceedings. It pains me that his voice in my head isn’t as strong as it used to be but I cannot imagine the pain I’d be in to wrap my head around him not being at all.

I remember the last few days we spent together and his telling me to pretend he was dead (so I could get over him) and me tearfully saying that it would have been better to him leaving me willingly. I realise now that it was a childish and also a passive aggressive remark. I’m working on that area of my personality, trust me. It is taking long as I had behaved that way, unchecked, for a long time. It was so silly of me to say what I did then. What did I think, that he’d feel sorry for me and stay? Something apparently he had done before. Had I wanted that, to be loved out of pity? It feels ridiculous now, exactly the opposite of what love should be. I don’t want someone to stay with me out of pity! I want to be loved because the person cannot not love me.

These revelations come to me in bits and pieces. I still feel that awful twang of sorrow and loss sometimes, not as often as before but PMS can be a bitch! But I sometimes also have moments of clear vision where I see that it never would have worked, not the way things were going. I’ve read so much on the subject now, about learning to love myself, to be complete and not search for another to complete me, that I think armed with this knowledge things could have gone differently. Maybe we’d be holding hands 50 years down the line as we watched our children and grandchildren chatting around the table for family gatherings. Or maybe we wouldn’t have married at all. That would involve turning back time, rewriting the past and a whole lot of reading I didn’t have the time to do back then.

That’s just it though, isn’t it? We do our best with what we know when shit happens. We do not have the option of pausing that moment, getting the low down on what’s happening, reading up on solutions and then coming back to un-pause and deal with the situation with our newfound wisdom and problem-solving skills. We don’t get a warning, we don’t get a second chance and we definitely don’t know everything we should when it matters. We also (mostly) don’t get to say our thank you’s, I love you’s and goodbyes because we store them up for a time we imagine will matter. What we don’t imagine is that we might not have time – the most capricious of all, finding great pleasure in remaining indelible and yet too fleet-footed to capture for more than a moment.

A Good Idea And A Terrible One

Yesterday I was reading something deep and ponderous and suddenly, I had this idea for a story. A story that holds so much potential! Before I run with this idea and dream about how a horde of publishers will knock down my door in their desperation to – what else – publish it, I have to do some research and see whether anyone else has ever had this same thought and written about it.

Considering that the check goes my way, I think I have something great on my hands! I usually avoid too many exclamation points but I’m just excited here. I actually have a book that is still in the initial couple of chapters. I have a weird variety of writer’s block that kind of has a one way mirror effect (or is it two way?) every time I think of continuing writing the book. It can see me, from its humble abode that is MS Word but I am blind to it. It is a story I really do want to write and I know I am capable. I am just waiting for the block to melt away. Ok, I just sound like I’m making excuses here so I’ll stop.

By the way, I don’t know if anyone noticed but I wasn’t present here for a while. I was off travelling in search of something to pay the bills and feed my tummy. No, nothing so far. So, I had a new phone connection by the name of Idea. Most of my readers (assuming there are any) probably don’t know about this cellular network, it is an Indian homegrown one belonging to Aditya Birla. And frankly, it sucks. I have been a loyal customer of Vodafone and other than their lousier-than-believable customer care I had no complaints. But this, Idea, it caused premature greying and frayed nerves. One fine day, the service just decided to up and quit. Only emergency calls. I did all the usual, turning the phone off and on, turning the mobile data off and on, nothing worked. I had to go find an internet place and pay my (undue for another 10 days) bill to regain service.

Considering I only opted for an Idea connection out of neighbourly pity (not love) because my mother asked me, very nicely. Our neighbour has an Idea showroom and wanted to meet sales. If her agenda and mine were lines, they’d be parallel and never meet. I was given a plan I didn’t want and a postpaid connection when I preferred prepaid (because I like to put a limit to my phone spending). So my paltry 1GB data allowance runs out in 7 days approx. and then I’m paying for internet when I don’t even download anything to my phone!

Anyway, the saga is too boring for me to type out. The neighbour arranged for her store manager to call, I complained about them leaving me without a connection while out of town and said once I am back home I’d change my connection. Apparently my rudeness was so unparalleled that he refused to call me again when I complained to neighbour lady about my net speed being down to 10kbps. They adamantly refuse to acknowledge anything wrong with their service (while everyone fool enough to have got an Idea connection in the first place is undertaking a mass exodus to other networks as we speak) and refuse to address a customer’s complaint. Kudos. We Indians do have a winning work philosophy!

Long story short, I am back on Vodafone and my nerves are smooth again. So that was my explanation of my absence for around three weeks. Blame it on the internet service provider! I missed reading everyone’s posts and I’m having a grand time catching up with all I’ve missed. Happy reading to me!

Turning Point

I just started reading a book called One Day by David Nicholls and it begins with this quote from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations: “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a long moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that memorable day.”

It is rare for a book to speak to me from the very first page. Usually it takes a little warming up to and a couple of chapters for me to get used to the style and language. In this case, I have read only a few pages before I had to stop to write this post. I never judge a book by the first few pages because many books I have loved and hold dear to me have started off in the most drab way. I admit, I had never heard of David Nicholls or his book(s?). I had however, seen ads for the movie titled One Day on Romedy Now for many months without ever coming across the movie itself. It looked interesting and the other day while I was browsing channels it was on, almost to the end, but it was on all the same. I watched the last few minutes and it intrigued me. When I watched the credits and found out it was an adaptation from a book, I switched on my Kindle and a few minutes later, I had it in my hand. 

Don’t judge me for my Kindle please. I have been an avid reader all my life and I have no qualms about admitting how much I love my Kindle. It was a gift from my husband at a time when I thought I was the love of his life. It was the most thoughtful gift I have ever received in my life and even though I feel a little weird inside for keeping it when I have returned everything else, I can’t help myself. It allows me to read anywhere, anytime (as long as I remember to charge the batteries every now and then) without worrying about ill-treating my book in my bag where it’ll suffer as it gets banged around all day, all books weigh the same on a Kindle and I can read in bed without disturbing the person sleeping beside me, namely my sister. Don’t let your imagination wander too far in my case, if there is any change to the bed sharer (maybe in a decade or two) it’ll be formally announced here.

Back to the point, we do all have that moment, that day which leads to a series of decisions and events good or bad or most likely a mix of both. I can remember mine as clear as day. It was my first date. The first time a boy had asked me out to dinner in a restaurant and come to pick me up. The first time a boy had expressed exclusive interest in me, self-labelled wallflower. I was flattered, I felt grown-up and there was a crackle in the air between us as we sat opposite each other at Turning Point. I kid you not, the restaurant was called Turning Point, an avant-garde (unintentionally I believe) building reminiscent of the Flatiron Building of New York. It was there that the whole story of him and I started, one rainy, damp evening in June of ’05.

I think back and how apt it seems. The turning point of my life started in a place of dining named so. Oh yes, there is the small detail of how the journey derailed 8 years down the line. Shall I foray into that oft-trodden path again? Not tonight. Tonight I want to remember without tainting my memories. That evening in June, he sent shivers down my spine the way he gazed at me as we asked each other preliminary questions and learned a bit of one another’s stories. I had never felt that way with anyone. Like I said, the air crackled. I wasn’t at my most comfortable because it was my first date with someone as good as a stranger and that is the recipe for awkwardness but he seemed to be at ease as he teased me a little and made me blush. He seemed to be interested in me, this might sound pathetic but I kept waiting for someone or even him to suddenly pop up, point and laugh at me – the victim of a practical joke. That will tell you all you need to know about my self-confidence (or lack of).

Despite all my doubts it was a beautiful night for me and I will assume it was for him as well. It spoke of many more meetings, of getting to know each other better and left open the windows through which I feasted on the vistas of my ripe imagination. No, it wasn’t love at first sight for me as he claimed it was for him (not the date, the actual first time he saw me, at college) but I could sense with my female intuition that this man would play some key role in my life. I knew I would always remember that night because it was my first date, it was my first time dining in a restaurant alone with a boy and it was the first time I felt that warm toasty feeling when someone pays you undivided attention, even though it was raining outside and the air conditioning in the restaurant was cranked up higher than necessary.

There was so much possibility hanging in the air, so much left unspoken. By the end of dinner, during which I only nervously picked at my food, I knew he found me attractive. It was a strangely intoxicating feeling. This without alcohol involved, I was underage and in India we don’t usually drink on the first date. Maybe I’m wrong and things are different now, I wouldn’t know. I was a very simple girl back then (I haven’t changed much except that I now know various ways to apply eyeliner, can do basic makeup – though I prefer barefaced and my sense of style has evolved – thank God!), I wore glasses, I had my hair in a ponytail and dressed exclusively in jeans and t-shirts. I never considered myself the girl guys notice (still don’t), I usually fit into the ‘friend of the girl guys notice’ category. It was all new for me, the attention of someone as great as him. So many years have passed since then. I lost his love a long time ago and didn’t know it. If I am honest with myself and you I still love him. I know I shouldn’t but it has come to be an emotion tied to him. Maybe I won’t ever find love again (I positively exude the “committed” vibes men run away from) and that’s okay.

I won’t ever forget that night. Because, you know what, that is the one day/night that would have changed the course of my life if struck out.

My Hormones Have A Sense Of Humour

Yes, you read the title right. My hormones control my life to a huge extent and they seem to enjoy taking the piss, unlike most other people’s, which are well-behaved and just carry out their assigned tasks in a timely, monotonous manner.

Everyone has those pesky neighbours whose curtains twitch every time your doorbell rings and who lurk as close to your house as possible when there are raised voices. Now imagine these neighbours live inside your head. Joy of all joys. There is no conversation I can have with others or myself, audible or imaginary (Come on, we all talk to ourselves! You do, don’t you? Is it just me?! Oh, you do. Thank God.) that will get past my hormones. They are the most compulsive eavesdroppers ever. I’ll look in the mirror before bed and whisper to myself that I haven’t had a pesky pimple on my jawline for a while and the next morning my hormones (to be known henceforth as ‘Enemy of the Body’ or EOTB in short) will have worked all night to gift pack and deliver one in the exact place I had in mind.

Another thing EOTB takes immense pleasure in is aligning zits in a geometrical practical joke. Right now for instance, I have four starting from the center of my left cheek, running in a straight line down to below my lips. I couldn’t have arranged it better myself if I used a ruler and a pencil! I wonder what goes through its mind, is it supposed to be a testimony to how much time it spends trying to ruin my life? Like the thoughtful girlfriend who gets her boyfriend as many gifts as his years, but turned on its head in this instance, of course. Or maybe it is making fun of my artistic tendencies, I’ve had circles, diamonds and triangles on my face too.

EOTB has also taken it as its sole duty to prevent me having a positive face image. I try to look past it but you know how it is when you try to avoid something, it is all you see. Any job which requires me to have a clear, blemish-free face is off limits. Sure, I can feign indifference and go for the interviews anyway and then inevitably return home and cry into my pillow like a child. It makes it quite impossible for me to take a compliment about how I look, the fact that I find it tough to take any kind of compliment is a different story.

The only time EOTB lost its potency was a few years when my dermatologist blasted its supply center with a particularly strong variety of vitamin A. I thought he’d tamped it down for good, taught it its place and subdued its trouble mongering. But no, it was lying dormant, in wait, much like Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, plotting and planning its revenge.

You know why I’m not addressing EOTB directly? Because frankly it scares me, it scares me a lot. As I said before, nothing gets past it, even now it is peeking over my shoulder, reading, as I write, edit and rewrite. I know it has a lot of anger to get out. I tried to rob it of its power while it was probably trying to warn me to start living my life differently. What I’m trying to do is come to a compromise. I have cleaned up my eating habits, giving up sugar, refined flour and milk was not easy for me. I rarely cheat on my resolution. I work out at least four days a week. The last couple of weeks I’ve been living out of a suitcase and that has made it a bit difficult to stick to the plan. Can’t I be given a break once in a while though? I’m trying my best.

I’m proposing that we meet halfway. I’m alright with a couple of unwanted guests a month. EOTB has been the bane of my existence for upwards of 15 years, haven’t I done my time? Or is this a life sentence? I just want to know so I can accept my fate. I cannot walk down every street in fear of EOTB lurking around dark corners poised to jump out and reveal the contents it hides under its shady trenchcoat. Really, I just want to be adults and sort this issue out.

A Place And A Person Changed

I looked out at the traces of memory left in a beautiful place. Anyone who watched me might say I was contemplating the waves, the awe of a body of water so big that the end merges with the sky. I was in our place although they was no longer an ‘us’. The air pulsed with the remembrances of a love gone by, the waves brought crashing back thoughts and feelings I hadn’t given myself the permission to ponder for a while. The questions remain unanswered, the slam of the finality of a decision involving only one of the two.

Once this place was our happy place, our free place, our little getaway from a world in which responsibilities pulled us in different directions. We were happy once. The thought makes me sad now. How did two people go from making each other unbelievably happy to living like prisoners sentenced to some sort of twin torture?

I’m experiencing a new side of this place that for a long time had an exclusivity for our love. Surrounded by crowds from all over the world we felt like we were alone in our little web of love. It was the most wonderful way to be, as anyone who has been in love will tell you. To feel like only the two of you exist in the world, the rest a blur, to have your world beside you and be content. A few years later, the story flipped into a grotesque twisting of the ‘alone in the world’ feeling. This time, it was the feeling of loneliness despite being seated next to the person who was once the only one necessary to dissipate any sense of being alone.

The ocean is still in motion, waves frothily teasing the beach in a rhythm universally soothing. The crowds are still a mix of rowdy students, honeymooners, men out to ogle any feminine sliver of skin, lovers, and families. The shacks still serve you local and continental fare alongside a variety of cold beverages. The sand still feels the same under your feet, soothing away months and years of stress you didn’t know you’d been harbouring.

But, for me, it is all tainted, coloured with a wash of wistfulness and regret. I feel, more acutely than the people beside me, the shape of him who is missing. I’ve felt like this before when I have spent time with friends when he was far away, however that was with a sweet ache and the knowledge that we would be reunited soon. I still find this place beautiful, with the ability to reflect back at you the inner workings of your mind. The ocean still has the capacity to make me gaze in awe and restore a sense of well-being; a trick of the infinite sea that has existed from the time the first person stood transfixed by the cosmic timekeeping of the waves. Everything is still the same, yet I am changed.

The Rewards Of Half An Hour

Who has ever used the word ‘tomorrow’ in relation to ‘working out’ or ‘losing weight’ or even ‘getting up’? Who screamed “Yes!” for all of the options? Yeah, I know where you’re coming from. I was like that too. Something about hunting for the workout clothes, dusting off the shoes and rolling out the yoga mat puts you off even getting off the couch. We prefer to sit there and set very lenient timelines for that elusive washboard tummy and the ability to walk up multiple flights of stairs without huffing like the bellows. Not that that ever happened to me. No way.

I’ve never been overweight. My BMI has always stayed in the normal range but I miss how fit I was during my school years. College and work (where there isn’t a time set aside for sports and games) somehow trumped any physical activity. I am also notorious for avoiding getting up early in the morning. It may be due to waking up at 5 am for years at boarding school. The only things that can get me up early are catching an early flight and special occasions. I did have a friend who used to drag me out of bed to go jogging and stretching in the park nearby where we met the cutest pug puppy by the name of Rocky. After work life happened, every once in a while I’d get spurts of motivation to do some physical activity, I tried zumba and surya namaskars. Even though I love dancing (and am good at it), I found zumba tedious. Also I didn’t like how the instructor could make me feel like a lump with two left feet every time he swivelled his hips in a samba move.

Fast forward to a month and a half ago. Don’t ask me how it happened, I don’t know myself – I got up enough enthusiasm to work out. And I did it, day after day. My muscles were screaming their protest, making even the simple act of sitting down and getting up again seem like a gargantuan task. My hibernating ab muscles started to wake up and boy was I happy to know they hadn’t disintegrated away into nothingness from years of neglect!

I kept at it, nothing too onerous, you understand. Half an hour daily of a mix of moves I learned from the internet – Hail! I do not have any fancy equipment, no dumbbells, no skipping rope (well I do have one but I don’t use it), nothing. I do squats, leg lifts, a variety of ab work, some arm exercises etc. It does get easier with every single day. I confess I do get lazy sometimes and there are times when I’d rather take a nap than jump up and down but I don’t give myself too many days off. I’m a strict boss.

We don’t have a weighing scale at home and I’m not marking my progress in inches. My family have told me how I’m looking trimmer. I feel better too, even though it sounds like a cliché. My aim isn’t to attain a certain dress size or become a waif who’ll get blown away at the hint of a gust of wind. It is just to be fit and not have any loose bits. The only things I like on me that are loose are clothes (comfortably so). I’m using only half an hour out of every twenty-four I’m blessed with and I started seeing results within the first ten days! After less than a month, I successfully zipped up a dress I haven’t been able to get into for more than two years.

I am setting up the way to get back into the professional world again and hopefully that will happen soon. I know it will get a little difficult setting aside that half an hour again but this time I will do myself a favour and just do it (Nike, are you listening?). My advice to fellow lazy bums? Well, if you’re a morning person, it’s a no brainer – just jump out of bed 30-45 minutes ahead of your usual time. If you’re normal not a morning person, just skip one of those half hour soaps you think you can’t live without. No, not Masterchef Australia. You never skip Masterchef Australia! What’s wrong with you?

Seriously, do yourself a favour, take care of that body of yours. The keystone to loving yourself is taking care of yourself. And only you can do that. As for rewards, I don’t need medals and accolades, just putting that dress on, I felt like a winner!

P.S. How does everyone like my new header? Yeah, that picture at the top of the blog. Like it? Let me know because I had so much fun creating it! Have a great day all!

PMA Not PMS

The new millennium has found itself to be an unwitting participant in the acronym game. I say unwitting because the majority of us are struggling to keep up. Half the time I think it’s a spelling error (it is widely known that with the advent of autocorrect, all ignorance of spelling can be blamed on this often blundering butler of words we should, but do not, know) and the other half I cannot help lament the laziness of people who cannot type out a complete sentence. There are so many cropping up that sometimes I just stare at the baffling group of alphabets in question and try to work out what it might be. I will admit I am way more wrong than I intend to be most of the time. The toughest one for me, which was a while back, was ‘lmao’. I just couldn’t figure out whether the first alphabet was a small ‘L’ or a capital ‘i’ since they both look similar except for the heights of stroke. So with that confusion and no-one I knew out of cyber space using this expression, I didn’t know what to make of it. It took me a long while to figure out (don’t worry, I do not understand why the power of Google escapes me at crucial moments either!!).

Now that I’ve sufficiently embarrassed myself with my declaration of lack in the acronym slang department, let me go on to say this post isn’t about acronyms at all. Ha, gotcha didn’t I? Even though I’m terrible at deciphering slang code I am pretty proficient at running off on tangents with topics. See, I almost did it again.

I want to introduce a new acronym to you all – PMA. I do not claim to be the creator of this nor am I aware of this being used before. It appeared in a mail my dad tapped out to me and I thought, hey, this sounds so much better than PMS. Now, we don’t need an introduction to PMS, most likely if you bat for the xx chromosome team you’ve been hunted by this particular pain in the: abdomen, back, legs, head – take your pick. And if you are a xy chromosome wielder who is (un)lucky enough to be around xx wonders during that time you most likely know without knowing what I’m talking about. You know, that time when the gentle creature you are used to turns into a chocolate fueled spitfire that sends even Snuggles running for cover. Snuggles is of course the kitten you named before she tore up all available square footage of skin, soft furnishing and upholstery and made Dettol your scent. You now want to name her Possessed Nail Fury In The Guise Of Cuteness but it’s too late. And too long.

PMA isn’t something you are visited by every 28 days or so. Oh alright, I’ve harped on enough without revealing what it stands for so here it is, PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. Something we could all make use of! I admit, it is difficult in the beginning but as with anything else a bit of perseverance pays off. So next time you feel like using another three lettered acronym (hint hint – starting with W), switch track and yell PMA instead. By being angry, holding onto resentment, refusing to forgive, the only person you’re hurting is yourself. Don’t give anyone your power. Only you can choose what you feel, choose to feel good, great even. So next time, along with “Plot Twist”, yell “PMA” too! Psst, it’ll be so much fun if this catches on.

Sew Much Fun!

You all know I love to write and do art – painting, drawing and all sorts in between, and craft. In the last month or so I’ve been learning something new – how to sew. I haven’t gone to a single formal class, just trawled YouTube for tutorials and experimented. It has been so much fun (hence the title)! Really good materials that all of you in first world countries take for granted are just not available in our little town. I haven’t found a scrap of jersey or any other stretchy fabric. The beginning was shaky as I didn’t know how to allow for the difference in stretchy versus non-stretchy fabric. I started off with the usual suspects, dresses and maxi skirts. I slowly but surely gained confidence and have started coming up with my own creations. I’ll share with you what I’ve made so far. Namely they are (clockwise):

  1. Box pleated knee-length skirt
  2. Yellow lehenga skirt (from a sari that I had got made a while back)
  3. Horizontal striped maxi skirt
  4. Sleeveless gathered top
  5. Beach bag made out of a Miss Selfridge dress I bought back in the year 2000.

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In the picture below (from left to right):

  1. Red top and maxi skirt (can be worn together or separately)
  2. Red knee-length dress (pardon the wrinkles)
  3. The palazzo pants that have the same print as the gathered top above. Can be worn together to make a cheat jumpsuit.

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I did also have a failed attempt skirt from an old sari that belonged to my mum. Another one (though not a complete failure) was a pair of pants that shrunk in the wash and so I adjusted them to my little sister’s waist and she now wears them with joy. I also made a little purse out of a pair of jeans that I cut to make into shorts. I’ve made my sister a top and maxi skirt similar to mine, a pair of palazzo pants and a kurta.

I’m quite proud of myself to be honest. I never knew sewing could be so much fun and so easy as well. The sewing machine has been and will continue to be an investment, no more running after tailors for alterations! Yay!