Home is. Heart is.

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This was my first home in Bangalore - thinking back, I realise what an apt name it had. Reach for the sky.
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Where I finally understood that Home is not a space, it's a quotidian place. 
And this picture - the orange curtains in the bedroom set ablaze by the Saturday afternoon sun, the smell of fresh tuberoses permeating the afternoon heat is what I see in my mind's eye when I think of Home.
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I read this somewhere, I don't remember where but it needs repeating. (Even when I'm writing this on a Monday evening, where the accompanying picture is of a Saturday afternoon.)

Sundays are for Lovers:
There is a particular tenor to a Sunday. There's laziness, cooking breakfast, comfy-clothes, time spent in bed, wandering the neighborhood, sitting in a café, house-work, yard-work, making out, art projects, meeting friends at the pub, a last chance to get shit done before the work-week begins and then of course the end of something ... the beginning of something.

If you're reading this, I trust you're doing well. That you're in your happy place: 
Where the heart is on fire, in the warmth of a million blazing suns.

Faced with the dodo’s conundrum

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There are good ideas like violets, dark chocolate beers and gummy bears with a drop of acid. And then there are particularly bad ideas. Like turning up unannounced at someone's door.

What if you find them standing at their doorstep still in their boxers buying milk. Or brushing their teeth in a bathrobe unwashed for weeks. What if you hear the furniture squeaking with the television on loud and the cat yawning outside.  Would you rub the cat's belly, leave a post-it on the door? Would you wander around the neighbourhood, stopping by red green and blue doors to listen to the sounds and silences left behind in the haste that are early mornings? What if you find flowers left behind by someone who came before you or a book lying face down? What if you found shoes of someone with too big a foot size? Or baby shoes. Or a single red stiletto. What if you found a beer bottle unfinished or someone's dinner, regurgitated. What if you found a sign that read "Do not Disturb" or spiders spinning cobwebs or an unloved dog pawing at the paint. What if you found a blanket frayed at the edges or a little girl's Love in Tokyo's. What if you found a stack of newspapers bleeding ink into the sidewalk or forgotten shopping with oranges gathering furry fuzz.

What if you didn't find what you were looking for. 
Told you, there are particularly bad ideas: Turning up at someone's door unannounced is just one of them.
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 I'd written this after I'd turned up at someone's door having flown halfway across the country sometime in 2012. Ghosting wasn't a term then. 

Fatima Bhutto on falling in love with Karachi

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Karachi is a city of 16 million people. Or 18 million. Or 21 million. No one is really sure.

It is a monster city, a mega city.

Until 1960, it was Pakistan’s capital – the landing point for millions of refugees who moved with the fractured tide of Partition in 1947 and brought their families and their language, Urdu, to the erstwhile twin city of the Bombay Presidency. Exploding with refugees, within five years of Partition, it went from a coastal fishing town of around 4,00,000 citizens to a city with more than a million people.

Karachi is a city of migrants; those who have sought refuge in the city of lights include Parsis, Bene Israel Jews, Anglo Indian Presbyterians and many more, some of who have since fled and some who remain.

It is a city that exists in the unfolding of its shadows, beneath the smoky haze of food vendors pushing tin carts of food, bun kebabs made with spicy minced meat with stray feathers caught between the sticky patty and bun.

It exists in the buses painted in wild fluorescents and piled high with travellers who hang off the doors and windows. In these, you see a parting in the seating – a separate section for women, built like a cage, cordoned off from the rest of the bus by steel and metal.

When there is electricity, Karachi glimmers: there are the green lights of the mosques, the pink, blue and yellow fairy lights that adorn the beloved Sufi shrines, the impatient red of traffic lights that cannot hem in the crush of motorcycles and rickshaws, the naked bulbs that light the dark unpaved paths of the city’s bazaars.

Otherwise, when there is no light, when the city is enveloped in now-standard 12-hour power cuts, Karachi hums in darkness.

Three years ago, I was supposed to be writing a book about this city – my home for the last 20 years. By the autumn of 2010, I began to spend my time in archival libraries and museums and interviewing a motley crew of Karachiites – from the scientologists who have infiltrated the city’s jails (who, understandably, don’t like to be known as scientologists, so they hide behind the cover of a health NGO curiously led by the principles of L Ron Hubbard) to South Korean evangelicals, urban planners and transgender rights activists.

But it wasn’t the right book for me. As I isolated myself, I lost feeling for the idea of documenting my renegade city. I spent my mornings in the company of a book that tore at my heart. It was not the city I grew up in, it was not the city I loved from my father’s tales.

It is a different place now. Like with love, when you know, you know. And I knew I had fallen out of love with Karachi.

But long before the idea of chronicling a lost city was born, I had started writing a novel,The Shadow Of The Crescent Moon.

Cupcakes - Then & Now

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We had cupcakes from Cupcake Company for lunch today. Bangalore has come a long way from that day in 2010 when I had an unbearable soul-destroying cupcake craving.

I woke up on the 1st weekend of October 2010 with an unbearable cupcake craving. This was also the time I’d just returned from the Bay Area where I was spoilt almost every other weekend with Kara’s cupcakes, in all flavours, colours and sizes. K decided he was going to be the knight in shining armour and buy me cupcakes. I don’t know how many bakeries and confectioneries he called up asking, begging, pleading for cupcakes. No one had cupcakes.

Spoonful of Sugar decided they’re going to give cupcakes a shot. At 8 pm, I was presented with a box of 4 ‘cupcakes’ - 4 dense muffins topped with chocolate and hundreds & thousands sprinkles.

The next day we drove to Pondicherry and dug into some soul soothing Darjeeling Tea flavoured macarons.

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Here’s where you can find some ridiculously good cupcakes.