The Delights of Distraction No.36

Hello to you, in the bright new era of 2021!
 
We're writing this newsletter from a languorous position in Goa, where we came to take a break for a couple of weeks.. and it looks like everyone else in India had the same idea, which means we're mostly chillin' like villains at our villa. #lockdownlife 
As you know, we're not one for new year’s resolutions. In the face of what we just went through in 2020, it feels kind of futile to make any long-term plans, just the act of surviving through life seems enough! But if we had to pick a theme for 2021, it would have to include more appreciation for the many things we took for granted. 
 
Let's face it, we are different now. We eat slower because we know the value of cooking and sourcing food. We have learnt to build better boundaries. FOMO has been replaced with JOMO. We have renewed respect for sleep and our bed. We've learnt to be less anally retentive about schedules and have learnt to embrace fluidity. We're more thoughtful about how we spend our time and the people we want to spend it with. We are working on patience and acceptance. We are kinder to ourselves. We're better at maintaining long-distance relationships. We realize we really should know our neighbours. We are trying to come from a place of curiosity rather than judgment (an act that we seem to fail at everyday, but we're trying!). Things are very bad and sometimes they are very good, but most of the time they are both. 
 
For 2021, we are mainly clinging to hope, and we mostly hope that it's a less fragile year for you too. 
 
To Read : Mark Manson, the bro-dude of self improvement without the woo-woo BS, reached out to his millions of subscribers across the globe to ask what they learnt from 2020 - and condensed their replies into 10 practical themes
Also read this rhapsodic article by Tishani Doshi, on loss, death and what it means to grieve in a year that was defined and hollowed out by grief.
 
To Ponder: Those of us in relationships, suffer from an ignorance of what other people’s relationships are really like. It might do us some good to recognise that episodes of difficulty and ambivalence are not the exception, but rather - the norm.
 
To Joy Scroll: These are a series of beautiful images transporting us back to a blissful time of hope for digital technology’s ability to create a better future for humanity. Back in the early 90s, the worst thing a computer could do was corrupt a text file on a floppy disk. Sigh, good times. 
 
To Listen: David Whyte provides his inimitable dose of lyrical wisdom with how to bring the magical possibilities of our dreams into our mornings and enmeshing ourselves in the beauty of becoming, "That moment of waking is an incredible opportunity, and it’s quite a tragedy if you go straight to your to-do list.”
 
To Watch: There is something delightfully mesmerising about watching miniature versions of things, especially if it involves mini crockery and cutlery and rustic kitchen to cook up a storm. Like watching Gulliver being a giant Masterchef in a Lilliputian kitchen (that happens to be in an Indian village) this Youtube channel of Tiny Foods and its utter cuteness helped many of us through Lockdown blues. Watch how you can make Amristari Chole and Bhature here and the rest of the series on their channel. 
 
To Discover: Rather than read what everyone else is reading, by going through Best books of 2020 lists that tend to form one confluence of books that thought leaders end up recommending, this feature uses AI and crowd-sourcing to recommend good reads specifically for you, depending on your favourites, whether classic of guilty pleasures. 
 
To Cook: Chef and restauranteur Manu Chandra details the roller-coaster relationship we have had with food in the past and how we went from home-comfort bingeing to revenge eating at restaurants. Writing from sultry beaches of Goa, we can assure you that revenge eating has definitely come to our shores, as cafes are spilling over and it's hard to get a seat without a booking. In the spirit of our current home's Portuguese heritage, here's a recipe for Pasteis de Nata (ie. Egg custard tarts) that are so yummy and delicate they can be gobbled two at a time. 
 
Over the last few weeks, here are a few quotes we collected that seemed apropos:
  • If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — Robin Jones Gunn
  • The reward for good work is more work. — Tom Sachs
  • The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. — Paul Virilio
  • If all I’d ever wanted to do was make money, I’d probably be really poor by now. — Brian Eno
  • Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. — Rumi
  • On average, bad things happen fast and good things happen slow. — Stewart Brand
  • Find out who you are and do it on purpose. — Dolly Parton
 
And finally a short note from Albert Camus:
 
My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
 
Wishing you gentleness, warmth and sweetness - and a new year as cozy as fluffy silk slippers, 
Viv & Ami
 
P.S. If you are still working from home, here's a few things we recommend you can use to zhuzh up your home office.