I started reading A Wizard of Earthsea in the mornings and on the way to work. There’s such an interesting magic system going on. I love how, unlike other fantasy fiction that straight up starts with, like, “Prárina jumped onto his jagaustead and made his way up the pidaa-covered road to Dogharbor” as if I know what the eff any of these are, she gives me time to situate myself in her world and learn what I need to about it.

I’m also all caught up on Only Murders in the Building and I love the premise of the show, I think it’s so original! Season 2 isn’t hitting as hard as Season 1 did, but this is definitely one of those shows I’ll recommend to people. I love how much of the visual style is like a love letter to New York: the New Yorker typeface in the title, the sweeping drone shots, and the illustrated shots of people in their brownstone windows. Also The Arconia is dreaaaaaamy.

In other news on the creative front, I’ve restarted pitching to online publications (the last one that was published in Kitaab was in January this year). Self-publishing has its perks but seeing your work in print in other publications just hits different. Three essays really close to my heart have been picked up by publications that do wonderful work: The Curator, G5A Foundation, and Borderless Journal. I am so stinkin’ excited.

Continuing on from last week’s “patron of the under-appreciated” theme, I realised recently that I’ve adopted values and mental models I never thought would be important to me, and they’re so solid they influence my decisions everyday. Like books: I only ever buy them from indie bookstores now, although a few years ago I’d choose to shop cheap and fast and at whatever platform that got the job done. I also buy stationery from the Marwari family that runs a tiny store by the front gate. Flowers come from the local seller. I’m now that person who says “I know a guy” for the most bizarre things, like a tailor who stitches saree blouses exactly how you design them, or this local frameworks guy who frames all of our paintings now.

It feels like all of this is bigger than just the “shop local” agenda, like I’m trying to hold on to places and people we desperately need to maintain a sense of identity, but are being erased. Without them, the whole city is just one giant Starbucks, that beacon of gentrification. This is probably especially stronger because I grew up with a fractured identity — when you’re being brought up in a country that isn’t where you’re from, your family tends to be more particular about “knowing your heritage” but you just want to fit in. Play with Bratz dolls and read Jacqueline Wilson, I guess. Now, though, I’m very grateful for all the Kannada lessons my mum gave me when I was younger (she did say I would be). This is who I am, no two ways about it.

All this to say that I’m making good on my promise to read more Kannada works. Mum recommended I start with the stack of Kasturi magazines we got from the local library (see? Again with the local agenda). It’s a slow grind, and I have a pencil and Kannada dictionary for the tougher words. Let’s see where this goes.

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