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Thursday, October 1

She Says Hello!

My Kittens
I Missed You
Come On Join The Joy Ride
Join The Joy Ride

I so missed you! As I announced here a couple of weeks back, my laptop decided that it had had enough and called it a day. I was making it work while in Goa, for crashing out loud! With my new found bohemian hippy beach [read stoned] spirit, I took this rebellion in my stride, threw the minor-est of tantrums ever and simply ordered a spanking new laptop.  I am happy to let you know that the spanking new laptop is now in my possession and it has been configured & customized and prettified to my liking. Right now, as a friend and I sit on my deck, sipping oh-my-god-so-strong feni that I brought from a little village deep in a wildlife sactuary in South Goa, enjoying what possibly might be the last monsoon downpour for this year, I remember you. And when I remember you, I open this pretty blog of mine and dash off a post. My choice of decor is leaning towards rustic and colorful today, clearly influenced by the feni and the mood I am in right now :)   

And before we knew it, it's Oct, my kittens! I am gradually finding my groove in this lovely sea side town. Which also means, that I am back at work in earnest, and gearing up for all the possibilities and joy it brings me. There is travel, creative collaborations, photo-shoots, media features, writing and designing projects ready to take off. And I will be sharing it all here. And there. Plus here. Speaking of travel, the aforementioned friend and I are ticking off a bucket list item this weekend and doing the enchanting train journey from Goa to Bombay. With the sea on one side and the hills on the other, this trip will be covered live on instagram and I will share more snippets on the blog next week. See you then! 

[Images: Style Files]

Tuesday, September 8

When I Am Feeling Blue

All I have to do
Is take a look at...
The Sea!

Then I am not soo blue.  
[Had to sing just one more line. Now, I'll stop]

The things I do to sing a song on this blog of mine. As an example, to sing this song, I moved to Goa. And just so that I can let you know that now, I wake up and the first thing I see is the sea. I make my morning toast while looking at the sea. I brush my teeth, and yes, the sea is to my left [I kid you not]. I work and the sea keeps time with it's tide. I close my eyes at night and the last thing I see are the twinkling lights of the boats on the sea. Like an old sailor, I make profound announcements like Oh, the sea is calmer today or Oh, the water today is three shades of blue. No one can tell that it has just been a week that I have been in Goa. Except perhaps when I drive my car into shrubs or ditches or the one-off human drinking his morning tea at the local village chai shop, because I was so engrossed in, you know, looking at the sea.


I am settling in, my lovelies, in this coastal city. The search for a home that calls my name started earlier this year, and I wouldn't settle until I found something that sang to me. And I realized something. As much as I love history and the old Portuguese villas that abound in Goa, I am a sucker for vistas and views. And this little studio of mine that I now call home, allows me to feel the expanse, the vastness of the ocean and the sky. That, and of course, the realization of the (im)practicalities of living in an old house over ruled my romanticism of heritage living. As so many of you have been writing in, asking me for advice, here's what I recommend - come and spend some time exploring the city, the villages. Speak to the locals and the residents. Find your groove. Find what speaks to you; it will be different for different folks. Imagine your home with people and imagine being in that home alone. Explore the neighborhood. It's actually such an enlightening experience to do this for yourself - you find out what really does matter when you think of your abode. This is my very first time of living on my own, that too in a completely new city, so pardon my halo which has come from the last few months of self-realization and aha moments while searching for a home in Goa!

The exciting part of settling in is always doing up the place! I brought in only books from my home in Gurgaon, so it has been a fun & tiring week shopping for everything - from kitchenware to furniture to well, pretteh stuff that has little utility except looking oh-so-pretteh. The choice of today's rooms for this post is what has been inspiring me as I gradually do up the studio. Casual decor, low furniture, linen and more linen, a place where you walk in and can relax with salt in your hair and sand on your feet. Speaking of which, can some one please, for the love of Good Hair Days, tell me how do I manage my hair in ALL this humidity? I have gained atleast two inches in height because of what humidity does to my hair. I look in the mirror and jump for I think there is someone else in my studio with all those voluminous curls. I will be eternally grateful, my kittens, if you can let me know of some tips and tricks! Phew.

I have been click-happy with my phone and sharing the life in Goa over at instagram. Just send me a follow request and join me as I start heading out exploring the nooks and crannies of Goa starting next week. I will be more regular with my posts here as well, as I settle in and calm down after exclaiming over the excellent wifi I have managed to get here [fingers crossed!] As I announced in my previous posts, one home tour and another home tour by a photographer is baking in the oven! I will be seeing you again soon :)

[All images: Here & Here]

Thursday, August 27

There She Goes

There She Goes Again!

It is happening. Finally. Infact, it is happening tomorrow. Tomorrow evening to be precise. I am moving. Moving cities. Leaving on a jet plane. Yes, songs about leaving and moving are at the tip of my tongue. For all our momentous and non-momentous moments in life have an associated playlist. Let there be music, they said, especially when you are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

If my consistent rambling over the past few months about Goa wasn't a clear enough indicator, these pics will leave no doubt as to where I am heading. A desire to stay closer to nature, out of the big city, a place that will inspire me, and be a wanderer for a few years led to this brilliant flash of inspiration last October, when I told my furball, Let's move to Goa! That was then, and after months of patient searching and planning, here we are! The bags are packed. The first C of the three C's, ie Cartons of books, are already on their way. The other two C's - the Car and the Cat will follow in a month's time. Speaking of the Cat, it's this madcap bundle of fur, claws and whiskers that is totally ruling my heart and mind right now. Here I thought I would be all joyous and merry and spring-in-step-y on the eve of departure to Goa, but it's breaking my heart to leave my boy behind. As I cry I-love-yous and I-will-miss-yous in the furry ears, he swishes his tail in impatience and waits for me to get it together and get moving, for the love of wet food! [cat & dog minions will get that analogy]. And of course, I have enough fur in my luggage and clothes to knit myself a brand new kitten once I am in Goa. Where thou luggage lies, thou cat shall lie there too - that, is the 614th commandment.

So, I will be in Goa, my kittens, Goa! I have found myself a little studio overlooking the sea [the pic above is the view, ahem]. There are thousand and one things that I am excited about, things that I am planning to do when in Goa - in work, leisure, travel, and I can't wait to share the adventure with you! Goa is the beginning, and I dream, hope and plan to wander through many cities and countries in the coming years, before settling in to warm my feet in front of a crackling fire in a cottage high up in the Himalayas. Wish me luck and love, my munchkins, and do join me!

As always, catch the action as it happens, on instagram

I will see you next week, once I am settled in. Already have a line-up of beautiful posts for you - a lovely home tour and a brilliant home photo-shoot by one of my favorite photographers. Plus plus, Goa and the immense creativity and loveliness of Goa is going to be a frequent visitor on An Indian Summer now. Keep reading!

[All images: An Indian Summer. Last Image: Scribbled on illustration by Lov_e]

Tuesday, August 11

The Calm After A Trip

So here I am, back from another trip. This time, I went to the jungle, to begin the mock-up for the treehouses I am styling for the wildlife luxury lodge. And I got to say, it's coming along well, my kittens! Sure, there are many things yet to be fixed, yet to be ordered, yet to be put together in one pretty picture, but the image in my head is finally taking shape!

A trip to the jungle is never without an adventure or interesting experiences. As we landed at the Nagpur airport early that morning, we found out that reaching the site will be a touch and go since the only connecting bridge was flooded over due to incessant rains. And man, did it rain! The downpour did not stop for a moment while we were there. Which only meant that we had to drive through the lushest of meadows, traverse through hills clouded in mist, face fragrant cool wind and rain that went from a light shower to blinding torrential downpour in no time. My favorite music playing in the car was the only solace when the sight outside became too beautiful to bear.  Sigh. Things you got to do as part of work. 

And then we reached the site, which had completely transformed from what I had seen last! Nature had taken over and apart from the lush trees, undergrowth, creepers, bushes [basically all forms of plant life], there were streams and ponds and puddles. We rolled up our jeans, balanced the big black umbrellas, waded through the various water features and got down to work. As the team headed back in the pitch dark night, wading through the same water bodies, we encountered aquatic life like huge crabs, frogs, fishes, indescribable squirming crawlies and oh-my-god one massive toad. The trouble with your team being wildlife enthusiasts [and men] is that whereas I focused on maintaining my balance with the dark water below, the pouring rain above, and making sure that I don't step on any other life form, they were delighted at the sight of of these creatures and thought it necessary to pick a sample each and present it for my careful inspection. Later, as we tucked in the most delicious dinner made in the local village style, the night guard listed out the wildlife sightings & cobra encounters at the site. The dinner conversation, for one, is never dull in a jungle!

It's probably the overload of greenery and colors [since I was working with furnishings this time around at the site] that made me select calmer white spaces today. I had thought that I will do another Jungle post, but I veered towards this selection of rooms, and well, as you know, I got to share with you whatever I am getting inspired by at the moment. This cat below though, he just snuck in when I wasn't looking. Not that we mind. :)

I will be back next week, with a home tour! I also have an announcement due this month; something that I am so excited about that I can barely sit still!

Keep reading An Indian Summer and if you like, keep in touch with me on a daily basis over at Instagram. It's fast becoming my favorite online hang-out place! 
See you soon!

[All Images: Here]

Monday, August 3

A Week In Retreat

Once upon a time, there was this charming young woman, who came back to her home town in Kerala, after many years in New York. She was passionate about travel and she decided that her work has to be all about travel. She started a boutique travel outfit called Silk Route Escapes that designed unique experiential itineraries for the world traveler. One fine day, while on a boat (but of course), she chanced upon a little island, and spotted the perfect piece of land. She sighed and wished that she could get that perfect piece of land to live on and to work from. And then as her wish turned into firm resolve, she made it happen. She took that perfect piece of land and step-by-step, brick-by-brick, created a sublime abode. And if you thought that this was the happy ending, wait for more. She not only created this beautiful retreat but also opened it up for fellow appreciators of charming spaces, to stay in. And then, the happiest part of the story for me, she invited me to join her and experience the quiet little heaven, that is Kayal.

Maneesha Panicker and I have been in touch since the time Kayal was just an idea. She had 'heard' me exclaim over Kochi, and knew that I would love her little nook on the island of Kakkathuruthu - the Island of Crows.

And what a lovely experience I had! It started with a magical pre-dawn boat ride across the back waters of Lake Vembanand to the secluded shores of the island. The early morning peace and the gentle lull of water was the perfect backdrop to practice the yoga and meditation that my friend and I got initiated into earlier in the week. Simple yet beautifully done up rooms, open air bathrooms, traditional Kerala architecture, restored antique furniture, vintage pictures on the walls, friendly & helpful staff and best of all, a kitchen supervised by Maneesha's mom! With finger licking delicious food being churned out from the kitchen through the day and warm conversations at the dining table, we felt completely at home!   

As the sun set, we decided to take a boat ride to the other side of the island and then walk through the village back to Kayal. The leisurely boat ride was followed by walking through the meandering paths, taking in the local village life and a pit stop at the chai wallah by the shore. I also had to make cat-dog stops to befriend each fur ball that crossed my way. Or not cross my way. I went out of my way to say hello to the cats of Kakkathuruthu, and well, they weren't very impressed by my friendly overtures, as you can see from the pic below. Balan, on the other hand, our cheerful boat man, regaled us with local tales and ramped us up on the local flora and fauna.

I am now back home, after two superb days at Kayal, and am yet to get over the Kerala hangover. The good part (yes, the good stuff just doesn't end!) about Kayal Island Retreat is that it's a quick thirty minute drive away from Kochi. And Kochi being one of my favorite cities, I know that I am going to back very soon to this Island of Crows and again enjoy the amazing hospitality at Kayal. A shout out to the team at Kayal, Rupa, Maneesha and a big thank you hug to Maneesha's mom ~ I now have a second home in Kerala! :)

Here's how you can get to Kayal and find more info:

~ And then there was also Coimbatore & Kochi ~

My travel last week actually started with Coimbatore. My friend and I went to the Isha Yoga Center and spent three intensive days at the retreat. It was an unique experience and I loved the fact that apart from the yoga & meditation, we got to do so many outdoor activities, along with a bunch of fellow Damn-will-I-ever-learn-how-to-meditate enthusiasts. Walks in the foothills of Velliangiri hills, treks in the surrounding forest and a thorough pounding beneath the cold waterfall located deep in the forest complemented perfectly the physically & emotionally intense Yoga & Meditation sessions. I have come back rejuvenated with the resolve to continue the practice. Though my boy cat seems to take a personal affront to my doing the cat pose and every morning along with the yoga, I also practice hand to paw combat to ward off his attack on my legs & arms! Clearly, my cat doesn't like me all calm and zen.

And how could I go south and not spend atleast a few hours in my favorite city - Kochi! As I drove around Jew Town and the Fort Kochi area, just a few hours in hand before we caught the evening flight back home, I spotted old favorites & new boutiques, cafes and galleries. I caught up with my friend & midnight badminton partner (story for another time), the very talented corporate chef at Malabar Escapes, over a fabulous lunch of tapas and chilled white wine. And as promised, I shared snippets from the entire trip over at instagram, as it happened!

I can go on and on about this trip of mine, but I need to get up and start packing, for I am traveling again tomorrow morning. I will be back with you, later in the week. Till then, see you here, here and there!

[Images: All mine. An Indian Summer]

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