Quarantine of Solace

The title is an excellent James Bond reference that I am hopeful everybody who reads this blog will be able to recognize.

Today was Ugadi, the New Year festival for some South Indian states. As such, my aunt and uncle seemed rather disappointed that I was unable to join them for the festivities – however limited they might be, owing to the present circumstances. I must admit, I was sad too. Being with family on special events like today would’ve meant some celebratory food – like sweet dishes, or something to relish and keep the day in my memory. In preparation though, my chikamma had sent me a payasa recipe, and I was very keen to try it out. Alas, this morning I forgot that I wanted to make payasa, and I ate corn flakes for breakfast, exhausting my milk supply.

I have vowed to make myself some payasa when I secure milk next – to celebrate the festival.

Not all was lost though. I had Shrikhand at home and ate that after my bath to ring in the new year.

This morning a friend of mine told me that a New Year tradition she had followed in her household was to practice, on New Years’ Day, everything you hoped the year would bring. I took this to heart, and one of the things I want this year to bring – for me, is the ability to let go of materialistic substances. Things that I no longer have use for, I would rather give to people who will be able to make use and take care of them. Thus, this afternoon, after motivating myself by reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I set away on the adventure of a lifetime: figuring out what books I would donate whenever I could donate next.

My books have always been a large source of joy for me. Before leaving to University, I had amassed a fair number of books for my library. I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books, and despite my reservations about re-reading books, I’m okay with it when it’s a hard copy. My childhood dream was to have a library of books available to me so I could set something up for the community I stayed in, so people could walk in and read, and walk out with borrowed books. Without any membership fees, just to encourage reading. I read so much as a child. My mum used to hide my books from me during exams – by placing them at a height I could not reach, so I would focus on my studies.

At University though, I’ve moved onto reading ebooks. I was genuinely inspired by the KonMari method and wanted to see if it would be effective.

So I held my first book up. No bodily response.

Then I held up Harry Potter. Immediate bodily response.

That’s when I figured out what sparking joy felt like. That’s bought me solace today. Long may my cleaning spree go. Hopefully, the excesses in my life disappear.