Anita means grace. Hey, don’t look at me, I didn’t choose my name.
My work has been in the communications space—this includes all aspects including internal, external and social media. I’ve worked in several companies and industries until 2013 when I quit to take a long break. The break became an extended one when along with hubby, I moved continents, from Bangalore to the Bay area.
I graduated in Physics and then went on to study Journalism and Communications. Don’t ask me why 🙂
My greatest regrets are not being able to sing, dance and play a musical instrument. None, for the lack of trying though.
I’ve always wanted to learn languages. I know Assamese, Hindi, English. I can understand a bit of Marathi, Bengali and a few words of Kannada. I learnt French at the Alliance Francaise for well over two years. I made some genuine efforts but I’m not too good with languages is what I’ve surmised. After tying the knot with a Bangalore boy, the pressure to learn Kannada was quite high. I gave up though—some things are just not my cuppa tea!
It took me a while to get where I am in life. After a few stormy, turbulent years, I’d say I’ve reached a stage where I’m reasonably content. I made good progress in my career, but I also realized that happiness and satisfaction doesn’t come out of life in a cubicle and managing people.
I still have itchy feet and the desire to take off for a few years, living off-the-grid.
My cat Kit Kit came into my life in 2001 (I was living in Mumbai). It was a stormy, rainy night and her mother left her on my doorstep (I presume). We had a dog growing up, but I’d never had any actual “kitty” experience. She was a few weeks old when I decided to adopt her. She’s been with me ever since. I knew nothing about cats at that time. But with Kit Kit, I’ve realized they’re one of the most graceful, beautiful and independent animals—I feel blessed that she chose my doorstep. I unashamedly call myself a cat person now. You can never own them, they won’t respond on demand, they won’t leap at you; most of the time they ignore—and that’s why I love them. I think it was just meant to be.
My first crush was in school. The guy was from another school’s debating team. I thought he was awesome. He wore glasses, looked really intellectual. In hindsight, he was quite a dork. I never got to talk to him. Which was probably a good thing!
My restlessness and wandering heart is probably fueled by the fact that I have lived in quite a few places including:
– Jorhat, Assam (early childhood)
– Shillong, Meghalaya (childhood/school)
– Guwahati, Assam (college)
– Pune, Maharashtra (post-grad)
– Wollongong/Sydney (overseas adventure)
– Mumbai, Maharashtra (mostly spent in local trains and the rest, trying to establish a career, but probably not)
– Bangalore, Karnataka (more work and play)
– Bay area, California
I have a wandering and restless spirit, which annoys my mom no end. She’d like to see me “settled” (as she never fails to mention in any conversation she has with me) while I continue to feign ignorance of that term in the conventional sense. My idea of bliss has changed from a 3-bedroom palatial house with enough room for cats, neighbors and relatives. To the concept of a tiny house. I like the concept of being a global citizen. I don’t yet subscribe to the theory of growing roots and getting old in one place, living there for the rest of my life. I know people who are like that—I’m definitely not one of them. Maybe, I’ll change my views once I get older. Maybe, I won’t. I think some people have itchy feet. Period.
I am passionate about travel. Some stuff I’ve done:
– Scuba diving in the Andamans (just wow!)
– Jumping off a place in Washington DC (what a rush)
– Cycling up from Manali to Leh (phew, and didn’t lose a single pound)
– Backpacking in Europe and covering Scotland, England, France and Switzerland
– Cycling on some of the US’s railroad trails
There’s so much more I want to do.
At 10, I wanted to be fed (mostly); at 15, I wanted to be a heart surgeon; at 20, a pilot; at 25 I wanted to be a career woman (whatever that means). Later, I realised I didn’t much care for that either. I’m taking things as they come right now and living life to the fullest. I’d also like to see much more of India – what a beautiful country.
I grew up playing badminton (my dad was super good at the game). In 2012, I played badminton after a long gap and landed up with an achilles tendon tear, which required surgery, 3 months in a cast and rehabilitation. I am still get back into things now. I also like swimming and would ideally love to live beside water (being a Piscean I could probably live in water!). I “re-learnt” swimming in 2015 and can now swim a mile or so. Yay! I love the mountains, brought up in the lovely hill station of Shillong. I had a most blessed and charmed childhood—it was truly one of the most beautiful places to grow up in.
After 10 years in Bangalore, the “no longer” Garden city, I moved to the Bay area in California along with the hubby and two cats. Being an outdoors person, I’m enjoying the vast opportunities this area has to offer in terms of hiking, cycling, running, swimming and anything sporty. The weather is great, though it hardly rains. I started training for a triathlon and have progressed from the sprint to the olympic distance. Maybe, next year, I’ll do a half ironman.
I also began learning how to make jewelry in 2013—mostly self taught. I began a brand called MyArtitude to showcase the work of ceramic artists (and primarily my sister’s work) around the same time. That sparked off my interest in clay and I began to get more interested in the medium. In 2015, after moving to the Bay area, and with no job in hand I found some time to pursue both these interests. I do work part-time now, which also give me time for my creative pursuits.
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH:
Running & Cycling: Over the last few years, I’ve taken to running and cycling as my ways to keep fit—they’re probably the best things I did after moving to Bangalore. As an aside, I also get to interact with some very interesting people across all walks of life. The great thing about being a part of different communities is finding others with common interests, like minded people and exploring what drives them—never ceases to fascinate and amaze me. I was a part of Runners for Life and the Bangalore Bikers Club in Bangalore and now train with the El Camino Tri Club, Mountain View. During the years between 2007-2009 I did several 10ks, half marathons and weekend long runs. Post 2009, cycling took over and I’ve done some long rides, including a 300km Bangalore-Chamundi in 13 hours, a 400 km Bangalore-Vellore-Bangalore in 23 hours, the Tour of the Nilgiris (8 days across the Nilgiris) and Manali-Leh over 9 days in 2010.
Writing: I love writing and expressing myself in words. I used to keep journals while growing up, which I burnt at points of time, symbolically whenever I was on the brink of a new phase. Now, I’ve switched to the online mode. When I’m in my 50s, I think it will be interesting to turn back to 2001 and read about the stuff I’ve written since. When I first discovered blogs in 2001, I jumped onto the bandwagon almost immediately. I started my blog at this place. From there, I got introduced to Live Journal which I really enjoyed, but later moved to my own domain. I used MT for a few years and then WordPress. My blog journey has been interesting. I’ve met some wonderful people, made friends in many cities, had some great experiences. I find I’m not writing as much anymore, but I’d like to start the habit again.
Photography: Another hobby (for now) which makes me happy is photography. I can spend hours with my camera in hand. I love going out with my camera in hand and taking pictures. I can do it for hours on end. I also do select assignments – mostly portraits, weddings, interiors, exteriors etc. whenever the opportunity comes up. If you have an interesting assignment, talk to me!
Wine: I discovered the world of wines rather late in life, but have really enjoyed exploring different varieties from the world over. To find out a little more about it, I completed my WSET level 1 Certification in Wines, which is the first step to stepping into the wine world. Right now, I am content with just trying different wines whenever I get a chance.
Creative arts: Jewelry/Ceramics: I have dabbled in art occasionally. My mom, who I think is superbly talented (she embroidered whole sarees, is a pro at flower arrangements, makes candles, paints) and she obviously passed on her genes to both her daughters. But maybe in smaller doses. My sister happened to get more of it. She is herself an extremely gifted artist, who started as a chef and is now a potter, who does some amazing wood fired ceramics. Check out her work here. I dabbled in painting (I even learnt techniques from an artist called CS Pant in Mumbai). I no longer paint, but a couple of years ago discovered beads and jewelry. I also got interested in clay, when I started the MyArtitude venture, primarily to help showcase my sister’s work. I did a course in Clay Station (Bangalore), Manassas Clay (Virginia) and currently practice at Higher Fire Studios (San Jose). With more exposure, I began to appreciate more the art of turning something shapeless, into a work of art or a functional form. Even something as simple as a cup, takes a potter hours to fine tune and produce. My personal interests currently are in handbuilding, altering forms and textures and techniques like sgraffito, slip trailing, carving and painting with underglazes.
The My Artitude. brand took a life of its own and I was able to market my sister’s work and some work from other potters and artists too. The collection is online here: facebook.com/myartitudeindia. My current venture is AdornbyAnita and lives here.
If you love handmade and appreciate functional work, my sister does take orders which are shipped from her base location in Pondicherry. You can contact me through my form here.
Diving: In 2011, we discovered a whole new exciting world underwater and got our Basic and Advanced SSI certification done. I really enjoyed my stint with DiveIndia (I recommend them highly)—the trainers were fantastic and we returned in 2013 for more diving.
Triathlons: After landing in the Bay area, I went looking for a club to train with. I settled for the El Camino YMCA Tri Club, mainly due to the proximity and the fact that I liked the lady who did the information session. I later found she was an inspiring athlete, who has several races under her belt and is today a role model for me. The club proved to be a great find as it has daily workout recommendations and fun events that are held regularly. The swimming was the toughest for me. Having learnt swimming many years ago, it was rare to find a pool in Bangalore (or any place I’d lived). The 25 metres seemed like a long distance and I struggled initially. My technique was incorrect (we’d never really learnt good technique). After training with the team and many, many sessions in the pool, I can now swim a mile and a bit more (if there’s promise of good food in the end). I am still painfully slow, but my aim is to cut off 1 minute per 100 metres by next year, which seems like an achievable target. I am often swimming with those who have been in water most of their adult lives, so I give myself a bit of leeway! ]
Cycling hasn’t been easy either. I finally realized I am NOT a climber at all. I’ve done a lot of cycling in the last few years but nothing prepared me for California’s hills. However, with some training and more miles, I am hoping to get better and stronger.
After my achilles tendon surgery in 2012, it was painful to get back to running. In 2015, the longest distance I did was around 10k. This year, I’ve tried to keep my distances short, but consistent. But this year, I plan to do my first half marathon after my surgery.
More than the actual triathlon, I enjoy the “training” phase because it makes sure I’m doing one of 3 sports every week.
Love: Kit Kit (my adorable cat who came into my life in 2001), DS (who came into my life in 2006), Tiki (the adorable hunk and the second cat, who came into “our” lives in 2010) corn (in any form), books, movies, music (long live rock & roll), photography, travelling, trekking, running, cycling, lazing around, cocktails, wine, almonds, cashews, letters, stationery, cats, tigers, wildlife, blue eyes, avocado, tea, trees, rain
Hate: Pessimism, bad attitudes, nastiness, fanatics (of any kind), cowards (any kind), rash drivers (who honk too much; that’s actually all Indians), tempo trucks, spitting, smoking, shoving, staring, travelling in crowded Mumbai locals (ah, what a relief to be out of that!)
If you have something nice to say: anitabora at yahoo dot com or use the contact form.