So when did July arrive and when did it decide to disappear so quickly? For the longest time in my life, July was synonymous with holiday or at the very least, anticipating some sort of travel. I can only think of two or three Julys which I entirely spent in one place (usually, Oman), going about my daily life while simultaneously wishing every day that I was on a plane or train or car and heading somewhere.
This July was fortunately no exception though; I have just returned from a hectic five day trip to Bangalore, where I joyously glimpsed numerous gorgeous trees (Bangalore trees, you have my heart), colonial mansions turned into hip contemporary spots, beautiful fresh rangoli decorating the thresholds of homes everymorning, winding roads, overdressed sari shop window displays, the famous Bangalore weather, and finally, consumed a lot of goodies from Bangalore bakeries and an authentic bene dosa from CTR in Malleshwaram. It was such a good dosa that I doubt that I will be eating one for a while in Delhi without remembering its Bangalore counterpart's finger-licking buttery, goldeny goodness!
However, my two most favorite memories involved visiting National Gallery of Modern Art and spending a very happy three hours discussing everything under the sun and its beautiful, beautiful spreading, giving, warm trees with Vidya, turning our so far virtual friendship into a face to face one. I also spent a peaceful twenty minutes wandering around the gardens of the gallery before she arrived; it was especially such bliss to be in the proximity to this enormous, spreading, long-limbed rain-tree, whose formidable presence dominantly permeated the whole garden and yet, there was such serenity to be found standing beneath it.
The other memory involved visiting a quaint little second-hand bookshop, The Select Bookshop at Brigade road; my husband used to buy a lot of books from there when he was growing up in Bangalore and I was charmed by how the book-shop owner greeted him, asking where he had been all this time. Having either shopped from chain-store bookstores or ordering books online lately, I had only heard of such bookshops, where the owners knew your name, thoughtfully recommended books, and took the trouble to find them for you from the depths of the crammed bookshelves. Vidya had also recommended the bookstore to me when I had mentioned wanting to visit another famous Bangalore bookshop, Blossom. It was so calming to stand there and browse through the books whilst soaking in in the wistful-making smell of old books and thinking of the journeys they had travelled when espying years-old inscriptions written in them. I even spotted a book edited by one of the first persons I had followed on Instagram many years ago! Needless to say, I left the bookshop, armed with several new old books that I cannot wait to read.
July has also seen me making my Guardian debut. I am happy to share about my first piece for the Guardian; it is an insider's guide to Jodhpur, where I wrote about its architecture, music, food, green initiatives, art, and more. Writing about cities and that too one of my most favorite cities in the world? I couldn't be more glad! Have a read here!
My other published writing this month was about how collaging and scrapbooking has helped me write better; there is something so orderly about assembling your otherwise scattered thoughts into a jigsaw of collage and watercolor before proceeding to sit down and write.
The rains have poured down this year, walls of rains sheeting down throughout the night until dawn, accompanied by sauna-like humidity, which I am not too terribly fond of. However, all is forgiven when you glimpse how incredibly green everything is! The trees have shed their summer skin of dust to reveal a brand new green being beneath. I have reveled in clicking the green, the rain-drop jeweled flowers, the redness, the greenness, the pinkness of it all. What I especially loved chancing upon was how I found a beautiful, intact, yellow-hued white plumeria bloom only to see that someone had made an arrangement out of few upturned plumeria flowers. Those serendipitious discoveries make my day, honestly speaking!
So this has been my July so far. How has yours been?