9 years, and an engagement.

Dear Zonk,

I got engaged yesterday. Officially. An actual ceremonial affair with 20-ish people in a lounge with a chunnar and tilaks and rings and everything. The rings were fucked up and have now been sent for repair. The lounge was nice. The people were lovely, and everyone had a nice time. And C and I blundered through the whole thing like the awkward, ungraceful, over-sized children that we are. We figured that we really aren’t built for this stuff. So we went to Hamley’s when it was done and bought ourselves things – I got a skinny monkey named Murphy who looks kind and sad and flops around, and C got a cheap looking tank to assemble and practice his painting on.

And then I came back home, and I thought of you.

Here’s something I realised right away –
I’ve been writing here for almost a decade now.

I was 19 when I started this blog – a skinny, whiny, morose little person who wanted to be a copywriter and played guitar for several hours at a time and drank copious amounts of DSP Black and Old Monk.

I’m 28 now. I’m not a copywriter. Not in the terrible advertising kind of way, that is. I no longer make drawings on Microsoft Paint. I’ve forgotten how to play several songs that I’d spent ages learning. I’ve gone from not-really-painting to painting for a living to painting once a year or so. I’ve been broke, then less-broke, then sort of rich – and I’ve still not managed to figure out where all of my money goes. I’ve taken up and abandoned several things – the violin, the Irish tin whistle, a bullet journal, a blog (which is not abandoned, no it’s not!) I’ve learned to stop panicking. I’ve become a decent designer – accidentally, perhaps. I’ve made a best friend on this blog. I’ve gained 10 kilos, at least.

I’ve won some, I’ve lost some. Not a bad 9 years, all in all.

But the point is, that for 9 years now, I’ve pretty much been talking nonstop. And some of you have been listening nonstop. That’s really something, Zonk. It really, really is.

If I invite you to my wedding, do you think you’d come? I really hope you do. Because you’re as much a part of my life as anyone can ever be. I’m glad I have you around.

Thank you for listening. 

Love always,
K.

 

Notes from my first ever longish trip to anywhere at all.

Dear Zonk,
I didn’t blog at all while I was away, but here’s an unedited stream of things I thought at various points over the last 15 days.



Philadelphia
October 31st – November 4th

It’s cold here. Not a biting, bone-chilling cold, but a thrilling this-is-pretty-cool sort of cold. Philly is way colder than the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced and winter is not even here yet.

Si’s house is lovely. It’s large and warm and the floors are wooden and it has a charm all its own. Not at all like the bare bones decor-less dwelling I imagined he’d keep. He has things. Quite a lot of them. And everything is sweet and comfy.

This city is beautiful. The buildings aren’t all boxes. The Free Library is free for all and completely amazing. The roads are wide. The sidewalks are wide. The bike paths are wide. Every pavement slopes down to meet the road at the corners. If I lived in Philly I’d own a bike and I’d ride it everywhere.

These museums are inspiring. We used to make things once. What gave?

If we lived in Philly we’d meet at a park or sit on these steps and just hold hands and be. We’d walk everywhere. We’d cycle a lot. If we lived in Philly we’d do so much more.

There’s no food here though and it’s only 10 in the night. Americans eat early and Philly shuts down early as fuck. And also everything is non-vegetarian. And all the portions are massive. I’ve eaten only fries for too long now.

I love this pottery studio-shop-thing. I need to start a studio-shop-thing of my own someday.

People are nice.

I’ve saved a leaf that looks like Autumn. I’ll frame it when I’m home at some point, some day.



New York
November 4th – 8th

Holy shit we missed our bus.

Holy shit we missed our check-in time.

Holy shit we only get our keys at 7 now and we’ve got to ride the subway and a bus to Jersey City to get our keys and dump our stuff and come back to Manhattan and Shashank is waiting and we’re late and my birthday’s almost here but this day’s been so stressful and I’m beginning to freak out now a little and also what the fuck. This city is windy and fuck and I feel like I’m walking around in a freezer and do you think you can warm my hands up a little.

Cafe Wha is nice. This cover band is nice. Times Square at 12 o’clock feels new and exciting and different from every other birthday I’ve ever had so far.

I’m sorry I fucked up. I’ll try to be more in control now and less lost in my phone and less… flappable.

This city is insane. All tall buildings leaning up against each other in a hundred finishes and textures and trees everywhere and more buildings peeking out from behind them. It’s…something. I get it. I get it, but it’s not me.

This morning we are aimless a little. It’s afternoon and I’m freezing. The High Line is beautiful. I’m freezing worse now. But it’s worth it. And fuck everyone else all around us it took until today for me to remember that we are a whole small universe all our own and that no matter where I am, you are a whole entire person who’s all my own. And thank you for making this birthday so birthday and so special. How do you do it every single year?

This is who we are, you know. We are cup noodles and pajamas and cheap wine. We are giant t-shirts and rings that do not fit. We are comfy and we’re warm and to us we’re always home. And yes, of course I will. As though there was ever any doubt at all.

I’ve told them all now and nobody was surprised. Nobody. And this is going to be weird when we get back, isn’t it.

The 6th of November. I’m freezing and I’m feeling sick and can we please just go back to where it’s warm.

The 7th, at last. Dan tonight. Look he can sign this plectrum and then I can wear it later. And I should pick this up because you don’t get it at home and this because Rahul will like it and this because it has that one white plec and I can ask Dan to sign it and then I can get this holder and wear the signed pick around my neck. This is going to be epic.

This is my first good meal in this city! I’m learning to like chicken in more forms now I suppose.

I left all those fucking plectrums somewhere. Let’s go back.

It’s lost.

Let’s buy them all again and I think I don’t deserve it but look. Dan signed it. And holy shit it’s priceless now!



Orlando
November 8th – 11th

So this is what the TSA is like. They’re nice honestly, aren’t they. They’re cheerful and see how they’re putting that lady’s shoes back on for her. What made us think this would be hard?

What made us think we could walk around with these fucking backpacks until check-in time? Did I forget about my frail shoulders and my weak spine and the kilo I lost recently?  Next time, we check in somewhere with better timings. I swear.

HOLY SHIT I’M IN DIAGON ALLEY. This place is like magic. And the theme song is playing everywhere and there’s magical music in every shop and everything moves and creaks and look! I have a wand! I can cast spells! REPARO! Butterbeer is delicious and this is where you buy books for Hogwarts and this is the pet shop and here’s where you get fitted for robes.

I DIDN’T THINK THIS RIDE WOULD BE SO REAL. I didn’t think all of the rides would be so real. And this is the closest I will ever come to flying. I could live here forever and I’d die happy.

I NEED TO STOP TALKING TO MYSELF IN ALL CAPS. BUT I CAN’T THIS PLACE IS EPIC. THESE RIDES ARE CRAZY. THIS IS THE SCARIEST THING I’VE EVER SAT ON AND I FEEL SO FUCKING HARDCORE.

We’ll come back here one day and everything will be very different and also exactly the same.



New York
November 11th

 

We’re 3 hours early for a flight that’s 2 hours late. And there are no buses to Philly till tomorrow and what do we do now? Do we stay out all night? I can’t do it my teeth are chattering fuck you New York. You and your frigid windy weather. I’m wearing only one pair of pants tonight let’s go crash at a friend’s friend’s place. Well go back to Philly in the morning.



Philadelphia
November 12th – 13th

Oh man I love this city. It’s so fucking quiet and pretty and can’t I do a PhD. and live here also? I could do with classes 3 days a week and have brunches in the middle of the week and sidewalks that slop down into the street.

I almost don’t want to go home. But I also do. It’s been 2 weeks and for everything that’s nice about it, this country still has no bum showers. That’s really no way to live. So goodbye Si. We’ll miss you.

We’re early again and that’s a relief and our seats suck and the man next to me flew to Florida expressly to vote for Trump and he won’t shut up about it. I’m reading, can’t you see? Sheesh.



Mumbai
November 14th

I’ve slept okay this time around.

Isn’t it sad when you step out of the airport and realise your city smells of smoke?

Fuck it, though. It’s okay. I think that I’m happy to be home :)


 

Luminous (WIP)

Edited to add: Use headphones if you can.

A long time ago, I told you that I almost finished recording one complete song and that I’m thinking of maybe sharing the WIP version with you.

So, here you go.

Things you should know: This song is called Luminous. I’ve been sitting on it for over a year now. It was almost fully composed ages ago but it didn’t really come together till C collaborated on it. So far, only the two of us have worked on this track. I’ve composed the song (guitar and words), and I’m singing and playing it. C’s done the sound: i.e. the recording, production and putting-together-ing of the song. I’m going to figure out a better way to explain this later tonight.

Things you don’t really need to know but there’s no one here to stop me from going on: There’s a book by Nick Cave called the Death Of Bunny Munro. At some point in it, Bunny Jr., an anxious, earnest, too-old-for-his-age little boy is sitting alone in his dad’s car while his dad is busy getting it on with some woman or the other under the pretext of being a cosmetic salesman just days after his wife’s suicide. Bunny Jr. dozes off while reading  about Quasars. A quasar, according to his book, is the most luminous object in the universe. In Bunny’s dream, his mother puts a finger on his forehead and tells him – You are the most luminous object in the Universe.

The Most Luminous Object In The Universe.

The concept really stuck with me. And the word. And, therefore, this song.

I hope you like it, Zonk. And that we really finish it next week.

Luminous.

You’re careless and weird
You’re still finding your feet
It’s hard to be sure of how
And the road that you’re on
Is likely as wrong as
Right
And regretfully

You’re too old to be young
And too young to be real
You might well disappear.

But when you turn out the light
And just let it all slide
I’m here to be yours
And you
Are luminous.

And older you’ll grow
Still aching to know if
Time will reveal a Plan
With cause and effect and
Maps that make sense and
Stars that will all align

Too late to begin
All over again
You might well disappear

But when you turn out the light and
Let it all slide
I’m here to be yours
And you
Are luminous.

Vacation, flu and a bunch of other things

In the last one week, I’ve been to Bangalore for a gig, lived with both my nephews 24×7 for 7 days in a row, been to hospital to visit C who caught the Swine Flu, and therefore had several cups of hot green tea, washed my hands a million times and gargled at least thrice to ensure that I don’t catch it too.

I did not catch it. I am somewhat proud of my immune system for having fought it off. And also somewhat worried about developing a Lady Macbeth type OCD. Meanwhile, C has moved out of hospital and is almost safe to be around again. Almost.

In other news, things are beginning to look up around here. My sofa sort of broke recently and that means I cannot put off the next phase of the House Makeover Project much longer. Which in turn means that I get to spend a lot of time on Apartment Therapy while simultaneously feeling purposeful and productive. I’ve started to get carpenter quotes et cetera again. And I’m really wishing I felt rich enough to just go for it right away. But I don’t. Fucking carpentry. It’s ridiculous how expensive these things are.

And because I’ve neglected this place for so long (honestly, who let’s a sidebar fall off a blog and do nothing about it?), and because I did not come back yesterday for my second post like I promised, I will be coming back with another today.

In 5.

That’s all, Zonk.

See you in 5!

April Twenty-Two

A long long time ago, about three or four whole years ago, I’d composed a tiny, quarter-finished, whimsical ghost of the beginnings of a song. And nothing would have come of it, except I happened to record the riff with C and he happened to do some of his electronic musical things to it and he happened to turn it into something slightly strange and, in my opinion, something really really  nice.

A little bit later, C’s comp crashed and he lost the file, and we never finished the song. We can’t really ever record it again and get the same vibe and the same sounds because we honestly wouldn’t know how to do it. There’s inverted guitar sounds in there, and voices talking and laughter and random ambient sounds and just.. things. Things that happen randomly with no practice or plan. Things that fall into place of their own accord when you’re not looking and just all quietly make sense and sing together. Like music.

I thought of it recently and dug it out from within the debris of my downloads folder and listened to it a couple of times. And today I let it play on loop and got my violin out and tried to play along with it a little bit. And it worked! It worked quite nicely, to my surprise.

I can’t play nicely enough to let you listen to it yet: a violin is no joke and I think I will be 50 before I can play it good. But, since I’m not singing in this song, and not playing anything but a guitar and not sucking at it either, I thought I’d put all half of it up here.

I think this is the first time I’m actually putting up a song of my own on this blog. I think it’s partly because I’m less shy now than I used to be, and partly because I understand WordPress better than I did a few years ago. And also, of course, because it’s not a song that involves singing.

So listen to it, Zonk, and if you happen to like it, remember to let me know. And also remember, I only made the original riff and recorded some guitar pieces. C did the rest of it.

Love always,
Kitu.

PS: Also let me know if the link is broken or something. I have my doubts about it.

WordPress WordPress

Buy domain – check
Get  hosting – check
Get theme – check

And so it is that I begin to work on setting up my own website (Don’t bother to go over to look right now, there’s nothing there. Just some friendly text..)  I do have a little bit of something else to finish off first, but I think I’ll take a break from it today and work on WordPress instead. I love WordPress, Zonk. And I love the theme I got. I barely need to login to my ftp at all..because everything I could possibly need is already on my dashboard and in my theme options. And the widgets! There are a gazillion widgets with my theme, Zonk, and I don’t know about you but widgets and plugins and apps make me really happy. Even if they are things I’ll never use.

I can’t believe how many years this blog spent wasting away on Vox. I can’t believe I didn’t even know how terrible it really was. And when I switched to WordPress a year and a half ago, and it blew my mind, I can’t believe I thought it was just a place to set up a blog.

I feel so much smarter now. Thank you, C, for giving me WordPress.

On a completely different note:
My comp is in a corner of my room, near two windows. And sometimes, when I work, a butterfly flits in and flutters about near my face. It’s happened three times now, and it’s always the same butterfly.

:)

1:10

(I wrote this post last night in bed, but gmail sucks on my phone, and I don’t do word limits too well. So I’m finishing up and posting it today.)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So it’s time to stay awake at night and talk to you again. And this time, I’m here to tell a story.

A few months ago, I was in C’s car playing music on my ipod, and he told me to play some ‘JC Stuff’ (JC stands for Junior College). So I played Wonderwall. And Drops of Jupiter and Coldplay and Maroon 5 and U2. And when With or Without You came on, and the track skipped where it always skips, he said wow, how come all of us have the track that skips at 1:10. And then we both said, together – ‘because we all got it from Nikhil.’

 
And we did. Really. A whole bunch of us. We were regular kids from regular suburban families and we all grew up on Bollywood. We knew the Boy Bands, of course, and the standard hits. But we only really discovered Music sometime in 2003 or 2004. Because sometime around then, C went over to N’s place and took a lot of music home. All the Rock 101 tracks. And he burnt CDs for all of us at some point. And we played the shit out of those CDs for a long, long, long time.

That was then. We’re all a whole lot older now, and we’ve outgrown a lot of U2 and almost all of GNR. Most of us aren’t even in touch with each other and nobody burns burns CDs anymore. And still, every time any of us listen to With or Without You, it’s the same track that C took from N all those years ago and put on CDs for us, and it Always Skips At 1:10.

:)