In April, we - Vivita and Avneet, the co-founders of The Wishing Chair, released the "Delights of Distraction" newsletters; a grab-bag of some of our favorite links across the internet that lent some diversion, inspiration and solace during these unsettling times. We hope to continue this weekly correspondence as long as it resonates with you, our readers - our true sources of joy and delight.
Some of you keen-eyed peeperkins would have noticed our sender name has been docked by a couple of letters. That's because a reader pointed out an inconsistency; Viv & Avneet features a nickname and a full name. Viv is short for Vivita, so it made sense to replace Avneet with her nickname - Ami (rhymes with Miami) for a more symmetric vibe. It's the names that our friends and family have coined for us and now what you know us by:)
Speaking of friends; this edition is special because it's a list of links recommended by various well-wishers of the newsletter. We hope the recommendations keep pouring in - so we can plug this baby on auto-pilot. It would open up more free-time to allocate to the watching of the entire seasons of Fleabag... for the third time:)
So here we go with some of our favourite reccos for the week:
To Read: Shout out: Pooja K.
As we are all ground-hog daying it in our homes, the repetition of the same routine within four walls; the days stretch-out long, but the months' whizz by. Half of us don't know what day it is (It's Fri-yay! Though every day may as well be Fri-yay, as weekends don't exist anymore). The virus has created its own clock, and this article looks at how the pandemic is affecting our sense of time.
To Marvel: Shout out: Pri KM
The much-too ubiquitous visions of face masks, sanitizers, toilet paper, and other germ-killing essentials have become synonymous with precaution and staying indoors. But the innovative miniature artist, Tatsuya Tanaka managed to subvert this every day sanitized imagery into tiny sets of outdoor adventures. A folded mask serves as a small tent, and swimming pool while a thermometer outfitted with wheels transforms into a speedy race-car. Scroll through his insta feed for more spunky mini portrayals.
To Watch: Shout out: Jiten S
An exquisite stop-motion animation, a heart-melting father-daughter story made with impeccable attention to detail - this astonishing 14-minute video took 8 years to complete and is a visual delight. It's called Tokri, check it out here.
To Listen: Shout out: Neha K
There are not enough superlatives for the relationship scion that is Esther Perel, who consistently provides the antidote to the paradoxical, frustrating nature of connection, in searingly intelligent, eloquent soundbytes. Here's her conversation with Tim Ferris on tactics for maintaining relationships in Quarantine. With every challenge, she finds a silver lining. For example: Despite the anxiety and grief, you will experience a new level of clarity. This is a moment of mass reprioritization. You’ll assess your finances. You’ll assess your health. You’ll assess what’s been working well in your life and what hasn’t been. What do you want? Where do you want to be? Whom do you want to be with?
To Cook: Shout out: Omi M
During lockdown, every self-declared foodie seemed to turn into an artisanal survivalist, eschewing modern inventions like yeast, and making their own sourdough starters. Our whole city seemed to thrum with the burbling of lactobacilli, luxuriating in the attention of under-occupied bakers. Despite our best intentions, we never managed to bring our jarred pet to life - referring to recipes that drew from experience In Western countries where the climate and temperature were vastly different. However, this recipe is tailored for Indian climates, and produces a bubbly, fragrant slurry, waiting to be kneaded into sour-doughy deliciousness. If you still consider yourself a bread head, check it out.
To Ponder: Shout out: Mary T K
Please do soak in this Shel Silverstein short story, rendered and explained with lyrical loveliness by ever-favorite Maria Popova. "It's a minimalist, maximally wonderful allegory at the heart of which is the emboldening message that true love doesn’t complete us, even though at first it might appear to do that, but lets us grow and helps us become more fully ourselves." The friend who sent it across posted this message alongside - Every time I feel lonely and unloved, I read this and I feel better. We hope it does the same for you.
Stay safe, make good choices and keep that light on,
Viv and Ami