While looking for something, I chanced upon a set of diaries I had stacked inside a drawer. Moo has a habit of scribbling her name on the first page of every diary/ notepad she sees since she learnt to write and then give it back to me. I don’t know what joy she gets out of it. If she is in a good mood she will use the first two or three pages and forget all about ‘owning a new diary’. I have close to ten such diaries over the past years that I can’t get rid off. I value stationery and every unused page makes me feel privileged.
Set behind those diaries I found the only ever journal entry I had ever made in my entire life. I had received a daily journal for the new year as a secret Santa gift at work in 2016. And I wanted to put it into good use. I did miss a few pages here and there but for most part of it, it has chronicled my daily life as it happened in 2017. At the time of making entries I used to think it’s a mundane task, I remember I used to jot down as soon as I was out of bath, before I made headway into the kitchen at 5:30am. And it’s not even free from, just simple bullets on what happened during the day.
I flicked to April entries and read what happened four years ago. And I was transported into those sights and smells and emotions. Life is strange – it keeps moving ahead yet feels it is standstill in some aspects. Nothing changes yet everything does. I had a smile on my lips while reading the journal when Moo asked what was I doing perched on a stool and reading something ( I was searching something, remember? ). I replied I was putting away some diaries and checking if it’s new or used. She bought it and went away. I am suspecting she was hungry.
And then another thought flashed by me – someday she might read this journal, and if she did, could she possibly imagine what a scene it must have been when the journal entry said ‘Huge tantrum by kid on the way to daycare, both of us in tears, missed my train and got late to work’. Probably her reaction will depend on her age I guess 😆
I am spiritual, but not a devoutly religious person. As a young girl I used to visit the nearby temple in the evenings because of you went just after the aarti they would give the prasad. As a teenager, there was a newly constructed Ayyapa temple I frequented where the incense sticks would smell heavenly. The priest would also give pure sandalwood paste which I would bring home for everyone. As a newly wed I had a habit of cleaning the prayer room every Saturday morning and reading the Vishnu sahasranamam. I would fast until then. My inlaws never questioned why I started this habit, neither did I find any support from them. I discontinued the fasting when I was pregnant with Moo, then Saturday prayers took a backseat once I was busy raising the child and managing our life abroad. We make sure to visit the temple regularly for all birthdays and festivals, sometimes just like that when we feel we should go to any temple.
All these temple visits have one thing in common since many years. It is a time of self reflection and a ‘talk’. I hardly chant any prayers. I will admire the way the Gods have been decorated with flowers, jewels and clothes and take in the beauty. I will find a spot to sit and close my eyes. The scent of the temple room will hit me first, then the sounds and then I will start internalising and reflecting on my work and thoughts in the past few weeks.
I follow the same at home as well. With a slight difference. I light a lamp and seek comfort in praying for the well being of my kids and family. Since having another child the health and well-being of the kids has become the first and foremost thing I ask. I don’t have any other customs or rituals which I do for the Gods. If for any special occasion there needs to be some rituals done, I ask my MIL and do it accordingly – in all these years it has been only once, which was Boo’s mottai ceremony.
Each one of us has their own way to pray and seek comfort. Zack’s way is different than mine, his is a little fear based – if I don’t do this, bad things might happen, so I have to do it the right way only. While I don’t follow that, I don’t oppose it either because this is something which is very personal to each individual. As long as it doesn’t affect another person however one wants to pray ( or not pray at all ) they should be able to do so freely.
Minimalism is the concept which I got completely wrong from the word go. Heard about it last year and dismissed it after reading few experiences online and what it entailed. Though for some reason it stuck in my mind for God knows what reason. I feel I kept comparing it with the Marie Kondo concept of keep only if it sparks joy thingie which we need to do for all things in the house. Now Konmari didn’t work out well for me, I started with the folding clothes method and it stayed all pretty in the drawers and wardrobe only till until the next morning rush. I accepted I could never have an organised kondo-fied area anywhere in the house and moved on.
With the packing of the apartment looming over soon after getting the house and me starting to declutter left right and center, I came across the minimalist life page in Instagram tagged in a story I was watching. Intrigued by the handle name I saw few of the posts and was hooked immediately. The more I went through the grid the more I saw understanding the concept clearly. I am still learning to implement minimalism fully, haven’t been completely successful yet, but reaching there.
In simple terms – only have things you use.
If you have 50 shirts and use all of them then keep it all but if you use only 10 out of 50 it’s time to dispose off the rest 40. That’s minimalism.
I started decluttering to start living the minimalist life at the new home. Spoke about it to Moo and Zack and they came on board pretty soon to my surprise. While both have started giving me a hard time off late by accumulating stuff I am confident I can get them both back on track 😈. Once I figured out what we will actually use I saw the number of boxes going drastically low. The irony of it was we had more stuff in the small apartment while we have much less stuff in the competitively bigger space in the house.
The biggest benefactor of minimalism has been my kitchen. Takes so less time to put utensils back in its place once dry. We have sufficient cutlery and plates for entertaining which are kept aside in a drawer. For daily use what all is needed is at easy reach with a designated place for each item, right from the ladle to the pan. Makes time in my kitchen very efficient.
The only area I haven’t been able to do anything is the gardening and tools section. Zack has heaps of stuff of all kinds – seeds, manure, fertilisers, pots, soil, watering cans ( 3 ), spades, etc which are SO important that we can’t live without him or each other for even a single second. The fact that I have zero knowledge in anything related to greenery is making me keep my nose out of his business.