Stillness & reflection
Little Finds

Stillness & Reflections in the Days Leading up to Christmas

November hasn’t been too kind to me.

Like every year, I stepped into November holding on to the remains of Durga Puja. I like November because it’s the month of change. You get to feel the warmth on your toes slipping away slowly, you are hit with a fresh cinnamony smell on the streets, you feel a hint of cold air sweep past your ears on tip-toe, you see the daylight fall off the sky quicker than before. It’s beautiful how these little unnoticeable things around us grow like saplings from a seed and then one fine day, sprout into winter.

(In today’s blog, I’m going to share pictures of some of the things I did last winter.)

This was a fun day out with Tathagata and Sanchari. We had a long lunch which made us late for the movies. But our driver was adamant on getting us to the movie hall on time. So he raced and he raced until we were toppling over inside the car. But we made it just on time!
This was a fun day-out with Tathagata and Sanchari. We had a long lunch which made us late for the movies. But our driver was adamant on getting us to the movie hall on time. So he raced and he raced until we toppled over inside the car. And we didn’t miss a second of the movie!

But the temperature fluctuation got the better of me. The flu caught on like wildfire. My sore throat leaped into action. Bacteria, virus, you name it, I’ve had it. It all started on a Monday when my tonsils decided to have a party while I was leaving for work. And they refused to de-swell. For the whole month!

Nothing seemed to work. Medication, caution, happy thoughts – nothing. That’s when I realized that I was in it for good.

Tathagata, Sanchari and I attended our first talk show, Josh Talks in the Jadavpur University campus. They had a photobooth outside and we splurged.
Tathagata, Sanchari and I attended our first talk show, Josh Talks in the Jadavpur University campus. They had a photo booth outside and we splurged.

It’s really annoying to be sick for an entire month, but it has also given me one good thing – stillness. It allowed me to slow down for a bit and notice the tiny good things happening around me. My ill health gifted me a peaceful and slow advent leading up to one of my favourite times of the year – Christmas.

Maa, Mitul didi, Adrish and I went to the BIrla Museum on Christmas last year.
Maa, Mitul didi, Adrish and I went to the BIrla Museum on Christmas last year.

Have I told you how much I love Christmas? I love it to my bones. I usually spend Christmas with my family, buttoned up in warm clothes to my ears, binge-watching Christmas movies and of course, cake. It fills me up with warm, happy thoughts.

He stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

We've also had our pre-wedding photoshoot last winter! It was a special day.
We’ve also had our pre-wedding photoshoot last winter! It was a special day.

Christmas has always been about calmness and reflection. Because I don’t like starting the new year all burned out and exhausted. But this year has been like a chain of domino, tipping one day into the next. I didn’t even realize that we were nearing the end of the year until the tonsils took me out for several weeks.

Long walk is a mandatory winter ritual.
Long walk is a mandatory winter ritual.

Two of these weeks I spent with Maa and Baba and I watched how simple their lives are. I watched how time has slowed down in my parents’ house since I left, how a new and slower routine has taken over, how they are coming to terms with my absence. What hurts me the most is their progress towards old age, their slow but sure inability to do certain things that weren’t a problem before. We, as children, probably can’t accept our parents growing old. It’s something I have been struggling to come to terms with a lot lately. So I turned to Christmas for comfort. And sure enough, there’s hardly anything that can’t be cured with a big dose of Christmas spirit.

Winter is incomplete without a visit to my favourite corner patisserie, The Rouge
Winter is incomplete without a visit to my favourite corner patisserie, The Rouge

 

This was on the day we went to The Irish House and Tathagata decided to teach me how to take good pictures of food.
This was on the day we went to The Irish House and Tathagata decided to teach me how to take good pictures of food.

 

This was also on the same day as above.
This was also on the same day as above.

After I returned home with Tathagata, we had a quick follow-up with the doctor. Another change of medicines, our fun and cheering drawing-room conversations and a heated Arsenal-Tottenham match later (which, thank God, Arsenal won), I was feeling much better.

Our wedding invitation cards were printed, boxed and delivered last winter. This was the first tangible thing about our wedding. After it arrived, the castles I had built in the air felt so much more real. This day will always hold a special place in my heart.
Our wedding invitation cards were printed, boxed and delivered last winter. This was the first tangible thing about our wedding. After it arrived, the castles I had built in the air felt so much more real. This day will always hold a special place in my heart.

Putting on the breaks has given me a renewed understanding of how deeply caring a family I have been blessed with. It has made me see how every person responded to my health, how silently but surely each and everyone helped me become stronger and better every day in their own ways. Recovery has been slow but I’ve had one cool support system.

Every year Bidhannagar Mela Ground hosts a huge fair in December. It brings together artisans and handicraft from all across the world. It's a beautiful confluence of culture, art and workmanship. This picture is of the stall from Persia that was selling lights of different sizes, shapes and colours.
Every year Bidhannagar Mela Ground hosts a huge fair in December. It brings together artisans and handicraft from all across the world. It’s a beautiful confluence of culture, art and workmanship. This picture is of the stall from Persia that was selling lights of different sizes, shapes and colours.

What I’ve realized in the last month is that the way we care for our bodies, minds and souls are closely knit. When one of them is under-nourished, the others will follow suit. So, I’m going to step into the new year with a renewed sense of self-care, a pocketful of happy thoughts and covered from head to toe in an army of warm clothes. But before that, we’ve got Christmas coming up and I can’t wait to wake up with Jingle Bells playing in full volume in my head!

Tathagata and I watched this beautiful sunset at the Prinsep Ghat.
Tathagata and I watched this beautiful sunset at the Prinsep Ghat.

 

The boat ride was exceptionally calming. Water and the vast expanse of sky always has an eerily humbling effect.
The boat ride was exceptionally calming. Water and the vast expanse of the sky always has an eerily humbling effect.

 

No trip to the Prinsep Ghat is complete without a picture of the famous Palladian Porch.
No trip to the Prinsep Ghat is complete without a picture of the famous Palladian Porch.

Hope you have a lovely Christmas! I’ll see you soon.

The cover image has been taken by Sanchari.

Ronita

I love lazy mornings, tea, the smell of old books and oxblood staircases. I can eat red velvet cake (with cream cheese frosting) all day. Over time, I’ve realized that there’s more to Red Velvet than just cake.

2 Comments

  • bitcoin-systems.com

    The Christmases that followed Mam s death were hard but my family remained close and because we kept many of the same Christmas rituals we were able to move forward together. Our Christmas tree always stands in the corner of the living room by a window where my mother once decided it should be. Our Christmas decorations are comprised of random pieces collected by Mam and Dad down through the years. Some of these decorations are beginning to fall apart while many are as good as new after thirty plus years. Unique and vintage pieces, they each tell a different story. We attend Christmas Eve mass as a family, though now I get away with skipping church on Christmas Day, and the hymns sung in both English and Irish take me back in time. Dad lights a beautiful fire and my brother and I  hang our Christmas stockings on either side of the fireplace as we ve always done, our names in red velvet lettering across the tops of each. After Mam died we started going to my aunt s house for dinner. Christmas Day became a different kind of day but it is still one that I love because of time spent with family, texts from friends, decorated trees, warm fires, delicious food, heartfelt conversation, gift giving, candles lighting, crackers popping and time to read and rest. Time for stillness and reflection. And lots of hot tea.

    • Ronita

      Ronita

      I’m so glad you shared that with me. Grief comes to us in waves and it’s awe-inspiring how our minds can stretch around our memories, both good and bad and help us cope with loss. I’m sure she’s up there somewhere smiling down on you and your strength to hold on. Love and light to you.

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