Namaste from India, and I hope you've had a mindful start to the new year! I am writing from my balcony in Pune, amidst the strains of Bollywood songs from the chai shop next door and the distant honks of traffic in the background. There's always something going on in India, regardless of the time of day, yet the cacophony is the same fertile ground for quiet contemplation.
I flew into neighbouring Mumbai over the weekend to spend some time with my old friend Raghu. In a ritual we'd developed over the years, I hopped onto the back of his bike and left the day's itinerary to him. We found ourselves on the beach in Versova at sunset, filling the air with our frantic chatter as we sought to condense five years of life's highs and lows into one evening. At one point, exhausted by our motor mouths, we fell into unanimous silence and simply contemplated the horizon. At that moment, my heart burst out in a huge smile simply from the joy of being in the presence of a friend whose heart resonates the same.
It got me thinking of my friends elsewhere in the world, ever so ready to open their homes to me whenever I visit, and of course my kula in Singapore — the people who hold unconditional space for me as I navigate life with my whims and fancies. I spent a good part of 2019 living out of a suitcase, but the many sessions of tea and soul-warming chats that awaited me back home always made easing back into routine so comfortable. There are friends I meet almost everyday; others once every few weeks; and some, like Raghu, every couple of years. While every friendship moves to a different rhythm, it always, always touches my heart.
I don't have any concrete intentions for 2020, but one thing's for sure — I will spend a good part of it nurturing and celebrating these friendships that I hold so dear. Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau: "Be true to your work, your word, and your friend."
May your year be filled with good friends, strong tea, and stories to tell.
With all my love,