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
As mentioned above - this newsletter began as a way to distract you from the doom and gloom of the news-cycle; a little inbox gift that would be day brightening and mood lightening. But it behooves us, considering how the other side of the Atlantic is burning in rage from systemic racism - to write a few words about our own lands. We would like for all of us to acknowledge and be grateful for a moment: for our privileges, for our ability to stay safe at home, and protect our loved ones. There are millions who do not share this precious privilege, but instead gathered their meager belongings and their children and made the difficult journey home, in quiet dignity. We hope as we go forward, and pull through this extraordinarily daunting time, that we show up for each other and our fellow citizens with empathetic hearts and cease taking anything on this magnificent, sparkly earth for granted.
And with that, we get back to the serious business of the unserious. Here are some of our most loved links of the week, that had nothing to do with the news:
To Read: You might be familiar with one of our favourite words at The Wishing Chair studio; The Danish term: Hygge, which is that cosy feeling of fuzzy well-being you get when you're in a pair of shlubby PJs. But the concept seems rather indulgent in these tough times, while this Polish phrase, 'Jakoś to będzie' might be more appropriate, as its beginnings lie in grit and creativity. In India's context, it loosely translates to a "jugaad optimism". Read more about this fascinating phrase and its origins here.
To Watch: If you have to watch one thing this weekend, then let is be Hannah Gadsby's electrifying stand-up special: 'Douglas' that takes you from witty musings to gut-punch emotion as she talks about autism, anti-vaxxers and art history. Gadsby grabbed our attention and our respect with her searingly clever, though-provoking, standup phenomenon 'Nanette' that dropped on Netflix in 2018. If you haven't seen the latter yet, then we highly recommend getting comfy on your couch, with tissues and popcorn, and watching both of them.
To Marvel: Here is another example of how the constraints impinged by the coronavirus have fostered bursts of unusual creativity from people with ample imagination and skill, and even more time on their hands. Artist Ida Skiveness has been creating adorable, edible works of art on a plate using toast, cheese-spread, fruits and vegetables. Check out some of her cute little plates on her insta-feed here.
To Listen: During this lost summer of 2020, we've been reminiscing about our holidays and travels from years past, and wondering when we will go back to indulging our wanderlust. Pico Iyer, assuages our yearning for travel in his TED Talk - The Art of Stillness, as he beautifully argues the case for the unexpected pleasures of “sitting still as a way of falling in love with the world and everything in it". Iyer is a travel writer who gave it all up to live in a village in Japan. This talk is a pertinent listen in times when we are all forced to stay put. Iyer adds, "Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.” Give this wonderful exploration of presence and stillness, a listen here.
To Cook: The pandemic's lockdown of hotel chains and fast food joints meant that for most of us, access to some of our favourite foods gets locked behind their walls too. But many of these establishments have decided to release the secret recipes of some of their most requested dishes, so us amateurs can enjoy the memory of them at home. This week we tried a couple of recipes for the "Best chocolate chip cookies ever" - and we have to say that both of these turned out stellar. This recipe by Doubletree that was served at Hilton hotels, was a secret for years and is now available for you to enjoy as a perfectly chewy, comforting treat. (Oats and a pinch of lemon are the unique additions). Remember Subway's deliciously gooey, double chocolate cookies that hit the spot after a BLT sub? Their recipe is available too, here. Enjoy them straight out of the oven while they're hot and melty!
To Hack: As WFH is going to become a day-to-day norm as opposed to just a pandemic-specific abbreviation, we have an evil little hack that might save you from those crushingly tedious zoom calls you have to attend a gazillion times a day. This article details a sure-fire method of looping yourself into a zoom-video so you can zone out and perhaps take a nap or coffee break, and none of your colleagues will suspect a thing. We found this idea deliciously cheeky - please do let us know if you tried it with success.
Before we peace out, we have a thought bubble for those of you suffering from anxiety: So much of our stress lies within one truth: we don’t know when this will end. Yet, until then we can’t live our lives as we normally would. During the lockdown, the one adage that we had to learn was - the art of letting go. By focusing only on the day in front of you and the choices you have, you release your grip on the things you can’t control. It's a thought ritual that we are trying to incorporate into our daily routine and find the idea hugely liberating. It's helping us build trust that the future will unfold as it was always intended.
We sign off with this lovely thought and wish you a restful weekend.
Take care of yourself and each other,
Vivita and Avneet