Seasons of Change
Living in Mumbai for an upward of 30 years, I’m quite familiar with the three seasons this city produces: Hot, not hot and oh look it’s raining today. The latter is usually met with delight or a groan depending on your location under a roof and your future plans of sticking under it or venturing forth. As any Mumbaikar, I’ve heard and envied all the western countries that have these smaller periods of spring where love blooms, and fall where everything is cascading poetry. We have none of that in Mumbai.
This Mumbai seasonal pattern has in some ways taken over my internal weather too. My emotional states are also pretty much identical to this city: Anxious, less anxious or inebriated. I’ve always stated that winter is my favourite time of year, but I think I always imagine Mumbai winter when I say it (the not hot period) which translates to me finding my non-anxious states far better, for obvious reasons.
(There was a time when I was in love with my inebriated state too, the monsoon of my life, but I grew up.)
The human mind makes such connections and sees patterns where none exists. That’s where all the poetry comes from—two neurones firing simultaneously, ones that had never before, not in that way. The seasonal patterns of our life are quite similar to the place we live in, almost as if we imbibe them into our lives. They seep in and stay. Like the saying goes, you can take a man out of Mumbai, but you can’t take the Mumbai out of him. I know this for truth, as I’ve found it hard to take the Mumbai out of me.
Lately though, thanks to climate change, the weather patterns and seasons have been changing. Mumbai does not just have Hot, Not Hot and oh look it’s raining weather. It’s gone on to become I’m melting, It’s so bloody hot, Do we own any sweaters?, It should rain soon and There is a storm coming. And just like the city, the people too have their internal weathers adjusted to No, I can’t take this anymore, I’m perpetually tired, Is this the only way to live?, All I want is a large drink at the end of the day, and There is no point, let’s get shitfaced.
While I navigate through all these changing seasons of my life, inside and out, I find moments between the shifts and wonder maybe, just maybe, if I try to correct my own personal seasons, then maybe, just maybe, the city might mirror me for a change?
In the talk of seasons, I’m going to recommend some great TV shows that I’m watching or looking forward to watching in the coming month.
1. Severance (Season 1): This is such a binge worthy show. Every shot feels like a masterpiece and the storytelling grips you like nothing else. It’s marked as a thriller but it moves at a slightly slower pace, at least initially. I quite like that. It’s almost done that way to disillusion you with reality. But what a beautiful first season. This, I believe, was the first and only show where I have screamed bloody murder at the screen when the last episode played out its last scene. You can find it on Apple TV+.
2. Russian Doll (Season 2): Time travel is one of my favourite things to play with in storytelling. I enjoyed season one of Russian Doll and I waited eagerly for Season 2. For two reasons. I’m in love (my crush has evolved) with the lead. This grunge voiced, smoky 40 year old short lady has my heart. I think it has a lot to do with her hair and her voice. But beside that, Russian Doll talks about mental health, realising that we all have many seasons in our lives and some we will never understand, and it’s okay. Not many stories are able to show that okay part, but this one does with aplomb. You’ll find it on Netflix.
3. Stranger Things (Season 4 Part 1): It airs on May 27th. I cannot wait to binge this. This show has such great energy. It’s a blast from the past with modern storytelling techniques and good technology to make the CGI not feel stupid. Stranger Things has always been a mix of feel good with horror; a rare combination, but something they stitch well with real human emotions. Binge this show now before the new season comes. I have so many questions I need answers to. Find it on Netflix.
4. Love Death and Robots (Vol. 3): I love animation. And I love short films. And when you combine them together, oo la la. Love Death and Robots are short animated movies collected together in volumes. The first and the second volumes were excellent. Not everything will work for you, but many will. I have my own favourites from vol. 1 and 2, and now I can’t wait to devour Vol 3. Find it on Netflix.
5. The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel (Season 4): Mrs. Maisel is such good writing. It is funny, happy and yet, quite subtlety talks about the human condition and gives a commentary of the life of a woman back in the 50s-60s. You can’t help but fall in love with Mrs. Maisel and though season 4 has been out for a while, I am eager to jump into it once again when I have a weekend free to binge the whole thing. Find it on Amazon Prime.
I wrote two pieces I’m super proud of—
1. A Writer’s Studio Setup: If you know me, you know I love my Apple products. they’ve always felt like an extension to my arm. In this piece, I envision my ultimate writing setup that I hope to build out one day.
2. Please Do NOT Write a Book: As a writing coach, I meet a lot of young aspiring writers and lately my advice to each one of them has been to NOT write a book. Why? Read on to find out.
1. My partner was the researcher in charge and associate producer of the upcoming short film Vakeel Babu. It has been selected in the New York Indian short film festival. I’m quite excited to watch it and you should bookmark it too for when it releases. It’s been nominated for Best Short (Narrative).
2. My friend Mahima started Alekhya Writing Retreats in 2018, and I am in love with that place. There hasn’t been a retreat where I wasn’t present—I like to think that my excitement is just part of the experience now. She’ll be hosting the next retreat in June. Tentative dates are 14th to 19th. If you are looking for the perfect place to hone your writing skills, write in an Apple orchard atop a hill, and get away from your daily life, this is it. Apply now. We take in only a limited number of applicants.
That’s all I have for this month. Catch you on again on May 30th. Until then,
You’re reading a newsletter by Akshay Gajria. This newsletter is delivered to your inbox on the 30th of every month. You can also find him on Twitter and Instagram. If you found what you read helpful, you can consider tipping him by buying me a cup of tea (or three) here or buying his ebook (linked below). Tea is his writing fuel of choice. You can learn more about his work at akshaygajria.com