Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Konmari technique: decluttering my life

After a year of fly lady and going from chaos to can have anyone over sister, I think I am ready to try the Kon Mari technique. I had read of this in Houzz and my dearest friend Cindu mentioned it to me recently. I was hesitant if I could go through what I thought was a shock type of declutter program but I realise that all things I have practiced last year including regular 27 fling boogie ( getting 27 things out of the house at one short time interval) , give a thing every day of the month, no buy weeks, clothes and earring purges, still my house is filled with things. I love it but I wanted a more spiritual  way of working with letting go. I just got the " spark joy" book by Marie Kondo.If you are doing this first time, do go with Maria Ciley's sink reflections or Marie Kondo's first book " life changing magic of tidying up."
I started using paper planners last year and this has led to creating time to do things I love, including blogging which is one of my passions.  So what better way to use some of that extra time than to blog on decluttering, in a real way. So there is an order to declutter using categories and so I am going to adapt the Kon Mari technique to the baby steps of fly lady. As I go along let me see how it works. First I set the timer to 30 minutes, the Kon Mari takes more time than a regular fly lady declutter. For the fly lady way you  get to a pile of clutter and separate it to the categories : keep, give away, and trash piles/ baskets. Then we put back the stuff. This was great in dealing with paper, stationery, clothes, books and all sorts of pots and pans. But my "keep" pile always was a bit larger and I didn't feel I had actually got rid of much stuff. It was also hard to decide what to keep and what to give away. MK says to begin with clothes. So today after a reading few pages of the spark joy book I pulled out all the night clothes from my cupboard and piled it on my bed. ( the bed is clean, sheets changed and well made as soon as I got up as a part of my morning routine , the flylady style. Here are the pictures of the results.

pile all clothes on bed.

Each article of clothing is picked up, held in my hand , hugged, felt to see if it sparks joy.

Joy is not excitement or a wild sense of exhilaration but the quiet comfort of happiness, familiarity, content.
give away and the donate pile after thanking
final keep nightwear  that goes into my cupboard.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Everyday, everytime a woman grits her teeth and gets into her daily business of living a thinking-less world. If She thinks, then she cannot be, who she has to be. she will awaken from her dream and know who she truly is, then she realizes endless possibilities. That doesn't suit this world....

 I awoke in darkness, every fibre of my body screaming. A repeat dream that has haunted me often. Locked behind closed doors, petrol fumes filled my lungs as my whole body burnt away. as I grasped my burning clothes, my skin peeled away like a glove. Petrol- heat and smoke. Air.. Help, I grasped at a semblance of some prayer. Gasping, I awake safe on my own lifetime, my partner's gentle snores assuring me all is well.

I have never shared this dream with anyone till today. It was a private nightmare, one I sought meaning for in theories of past lives and in the conclusion that it was the the activity of an over imaginative mind.

Dramatic and very newsmaking my dream may be but the real life is not that melodramatic. But it is no less a nightmare for the everyday woman. She is born into a world that she must negotiate by the art of not thinking. Thinking awakens desires not known to her kind.  Violated in body, mind and every space she has she retreats into those corners of an unthinking darkness. Washing, cleaning shopping watching mindless soaps.
 Every bit of her identity is seen as threatening, every joy she derives alone  has to balanced with giving and temperance. Even the so- called free fun that she has is presumed to be an object of pleasure for someone else.

Some of dear friends will brush this aside. But sisters, it takes some thinking to wake up. Don't wake up now, for then you will then have my nightmare to share for all women. I think and then I cannot be at peace. I am a woman born and trapped in a man's world. No home to fly away to.

Dedicated to the everyday woman's world....


Thinking out of my walls they said was easy,
the walls are your thoughts.
I found solace in scrub-pad's confused layers,
as I cleaned away thoughts along with the soiled vessels,
 I spun-dry my tears after soaking them in salt.
I swept away all the taunts and teasing,
gathered them up into the empty vacuum of my mind.
I finally remote hammered my thoughts shut in 
endless pouring of the soaps on tv.
Yet one tiny thought escaped
crawled up searing my throat,
squeezed its way with a silent whistle 
 dripped down on my cheeks.
 The bell rings and I banish that traitor and
mindless, go on to receive the dhobi. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cleverer people than me are telling me that all the hype about Anna Hazare is silly. / More people are pointing out to me that Irom's fast has been going around for 10 years yet " people" don't support her. Others make very pertinent remarks about the " disturbing" Jan Lokpal bill.

I have stood for trees, lakes and rocks. By tigers and narmada valley people. The anti- kaiga and the anti-road widening. I have always added to the mass of protesters doing what I think is right and carrying on a crusade in which 9 times out of ten I lose.
 My voice is small but often unheard in the greater concerns of skepticism. Yet I voice myself. Not out a great motive to make a world shattering difference but in the hope that my voice will add to the strength of all the clamor. A clamor that peaks and wanes in time. Each peak is linked by a handful of committed people like me who continue to hold on to lost causes. And sometimes, we make a commitment to join a particular protest, not because other causes are less important. But becoz sometimes it is important to support things whose time has come.
 The lokpal bill's time has come.
 I understand I have to speak for Irom too. And the tigers and the mountains of odisha and the dalit students and the poorly paid garment workers. But right now as I raise my voice for the lokpal bill. Silence Skeptics.  I am at least not dead, resigned and bitter as you are, I will fight.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The watery place 1

An ancient text declares ' he who knows the home of the waters will never lack a home." The mind is the home of the waters. In the upanishad, the mind is likened to the moon because of its transient, changing nature. On the other hand it also influenced the rise and fall of the tides, the watery places on our earth. The water though singularly known, is not one, it is flavoured, diverse and it differs in the presence of the moon.  Called Rasa, the flavours add to the water.These ancient narratives about the waters, refers to the experiences of an individual, a collective and the whole cosmic self. Waters are experiences that flow from being to being. Capturing the essences, fueling the life force, and finding a home in the mind as phenomenon, memory and tastes. Pure water is like the Ganga, pure experiencing without the taste, uninfluenced by the mind or the tastes. Every time the water is poured over the stone like divine image in abhisheka, we are to remember to be untouched by the waters that fall on us, staying still, untasting.  When very young, I took the sacred thirtha from a temple in my chubby fingers and slurped it myself and then put my tongue out in distaste. My grandpa who stood by me said one should not taste ( like or dislike) the holy water. This very popular injunction is an upanishadic secret. The waters are flavoured in the mind. experiences by themselves have no meaning, its the mind that adds to them.  Today I reflavour some of the mountain waters and savour them as a witness and hand them over.

 The juice of the blackberries growing wild in the Himalayas is very very sweet. It must have something to do with the soil because even the local karela are sweet. When we went to gather leaves for the cow bedding or gather firewood in berry season it was normal to try and stuff as much of it as possible into your mouth , foraging and foraging more, without losing sense of time. Naren  and even Vivek, the stronger than me at that time would have to gather the loads of leaves, I would in typical big-sister style boss over them.  When autumn hits the mountains, the leaves are plentiful. So are the wild akrots or walnuts. While we waited to peel off the dried green covering and then crack the nut and pull out the bits with a pin or sticks or suction power of the lips. The natural walnut was very hard-shelled and yield the most delicious kernels stingily. The mountain folk used to collect the green fruit, shell them and store them in piles outside their homes. These green walnut 'fruits' were a natural dye for wool, giving the raw and rough fiber a deep brown-red colour.
 After blackberries, taste-wise it was the chullus, or the local Indian apricots. The trees were the easiest to grow, a seed flung in the right place would grow into a tree fast. In less than four to five years, the branches would be filled with the prettiest pink blossoms and soon in autumn, luscious chullus filled the tree. There was always enough for fulfilling anybody's Enid- Blyton dreams.

We set up a small veggie farm ( non-winter farm). Rather it set itself up from any seed we discarded. The best were the cucumber seeds.  Mimru, our little friend got us few of the local seeds and told us to plant them upright in the soil like little flat soldiers in the holes. They grew like Jack's proverbial bean stalks, their tendrils reaching and grasping every hold in reach like the mind grasps the objects through its senses.   We made enormous bamboo huts  and fences and structures to hold up the creepers and finally let it grow wild. There was too much of growing to catch up with. And as the rains drew close,  they flowered.

The flowers yellow and profuse on every twiggy green stem were visited by many tiny sun birds ( we thought they were humming birds then). A bird would hover in front of the large yellow flower, its wings humming, and then duck into the flower and fly out. First we thought they were some sort of large bees. One sunny day, a pool of water lay glistening in the sun on our uneven stone court yard and one of these flight experts was taking dips in it. then we noticed it was the tiniest bird we had ever seen. I think it was something like this:'ssunbird.html. The yellow was very visible and some were very green-grey ( females?). Well the pollination done the first cucumbers began to grow. They grew and grew. We had cucumber salad, raw cucumber, cucumber raitha and plain cucumber juice. And because in our enthusiasm for home grown veggies we had many creepers, we even gave them away to every passer by. The abundance might have had something to do with an adorable and dangerous looking Bruno, our GS, who had the run of the fields and the garden. We were seldom raided by kids or goats. Well the ones we didn't pluck at regular size grew and grew and grew in the rains. They looked like elongated pumpkins and must have weighed a few Kilos. It was great fun to find these fellows hidden in the profusion of thick green foliage and dark and twiney stems.Filled with the waters of the mountain rain, they were reminiscent of life. It says so in the maha mriyunjay mantra. "Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath" it says, - like a cucumber release me from bondage. And we got that. In real experience. One autumn frosty morning, we found all creepers dried and drying while here and there, now revealed amidst the dying plant lay these huge cucumbers glowing yellow green, their stalks gone dry. These enlightened waters whose attachment to the world had gone. For enlightenment we don't need to get " out of the world," we need to get the " world out of us."
 The next blog is about the milk. Of human kindness, of the cows, of gujar buffaloes, milk gone bad, of curd and butter and the perpetual quests for jericans of milk in winter .