Sunday, March 21, 2021

Theme reveal --by the skin of my teeth!

Drum roll please....


So, after wondering about going theme-less, as I've done in the past, I'm binding myself to a theme this year.

This will be my 5th A to Z Challenge.

I owe the A to Z a lot. This challenge helps me to focus. You see, the five months preceding April are my gardening months and when I'm with my plants and pots, nothing else matters. Blogging goes into hibernation but as soon as March arrives announcing the A to Z, it propels me to dust off my blogging cobwebs and wills me to sit and write.

Last year's posts got a lot of love from the readers. One such reader is an illustrator. He liked my posts about my childhood so much that he and I ended up planning a picture book together.

We met weekly on zoom calls as he's based in India, and I'm in Doha. Seeing his illustrations of my memoirs is thrilling and humbling. When one's words reach another in this way, it feels really special. The book is almost ready to show to publishers. 

A couple of  months ago, while I was browsing our local book store to figure out where to position our picture book, I noticed 'The book of Ichigo Ichie' sitting in the poetry section. Something made me pick the book up and read the first two pages. I bought it and brought it home.

Quoting from the book (authored by Hector Garcia and Francese Miralles):

The meaning of ichigo ichie is something like this. What we are experiencing right now will never happen again. And therefore, we must value each moment like a beautiful treasure.

Covid19 and its aftermath has shown all of us just how important valuing each and every moment is. 

While seeking inspiration for the forthcoming posts, I decided to rummage through the images I'd captured in 2019 when we'd travelled quite extensively. What struck me was that the chance, the coincidence, the magic, the moment that some of the photos had captured couldn't have been planned or prepared for. These were chance meetings, the coming together of so many elements that had even one been out of sync, the picture wouldn't have happened.

The concept of 'Ichigo Ichie (pronounced itchy-Go itchy-A) is the theme of this year's A to Z for me.

So, come along to this space on the 1st of April and join me for a month long celebration of chance that is intrinsically bound in moments as unique as you and me.

This year, I hope to share more photos than I did last year. Hanging a carrot for those who find me too verbose;)

Looking forward to April with hope.

Be safe and healthy.

Monday, March 15, 2021

So, I turned fifty this year

My dear friends and readers,

It's been a while since I've been here. My excuse? My garden and the fact that it's spring time in Doha.

Spring is very, very special here. The fact that summer arrives suddenly and brutally to these parts and stays for a very, very long time has something to do with my addiction for the outdoors in the months of January, February and March.

As always, I'm so absorbed in the tilling and toiling and potting and repotting that the arrival of the A to Z blogging challenge catches me unaware, unprepared and unable to figure out how in the world will I manage to write 26 decent posts worth your time!

But, somehow, I do. And this year is no exception.

I'm gonna do it. 

And while I go and ponder about a theme/no theme and dig into my camera that hasn't left Qatar for 12 months to figure out what I'll be sharing with you this year, I leave you with this spoken word piece that I wrote at the end of last year and performed a month ago.

It has been a year of sequestering, solitude and finding paths that lead me back to the simpler joys of life like sitting with a book under our neem tree listening to birdsong. Things I thought I'd miss a lot like travelling, trekking and seeing new places have not been missed as much. Perhaps, it's the realisation that there is so much to be thankful for as I turn fifty: good health, loved ones and friends, decent food,  fresh air, walks in parks, sunsets and sunrises, waves lapping to the shores, buds blooming and earthworms wriggling in my patch of green and a safe place I call home -- the most precious things that make this life blissful and that's plenty. 

I hope to see you soon. 

Take good care. 

Arti