Introducing Volume 1: Daily Pleasures
This quarter's editorial theme, a note from me, and a sneak peek
Hello, dear kindred spirit,
The weather is turning in my city. The days are hot, punctuated by welcome breezes once in a while. The trees lining my avenue are blooming yellow, pink, purple. Life has gone almost back to normal for me, inasmuch as normal can be defined. I remember the first lockdown, when my vision had narrowed to what was within my four walls, and many projects—including this newsletter—were born to document what I saw.
Now, all is as it should be. I head into the office once a week, spend weekends at new restaurants, and visit my local bookstores more times than I should. But I still cling firmly through my daily pleasures. I do so to remind myself of the times we went through. When the world ripped at its seams and fell apart at our doorsteps, the smallest of things became the most important of all.
Here’s to the theme that will unite all essays in this quarterly volume of Kindred Spirits: Daily Pleasures.
We expect certain things from pleasure. We’ve inherited a suspicion of the ordinary, paying more attention to what is rare, expensive, famous or exclusive. We prioritise economic and social endorsement. We flock to concert halls to watch world-famous violinists play but brush past them when they wear scruffy clothes and busk at the nearest intersection. We seek pleasure in the Grand Scheme of Things: in marriage, in new technology, in travelling to India a la Elizabeth Gilbert.
Paradoxically—and somewhat hilariously—pleasure is promiscuous. It doesn’t show up where you expect it to. You’d expect it to show up on the day you finally see the Mona Lisa; instead, it shows up when you get your soup flavours just right. It is vulnerable — a sour word or two can not only stopper the pipe but also erase any semblance of pleasure from your memory of that day.
A small pleasure is a great pleasure in-waiting; it is a great pleasure which has not yet received the collective acknowledgement it is due.
Acknowledging daily small pleasures isn’t a cop-out or an attack on ambition. It is simply giving modest moments their due, regardless of their modesty. It is also trusting our own attention, understanding that what the world seems to like is not what it likes at all when it’s at home.
Daily pleasures are a big deal. When we survey the meaning that so many people across time and space have derived from daily pleasures, we trust our surroundings more. We come to believe that Wonder and Awe are always hiding in plain sight.
A taster from the first essay:
Walking is one of the most obvious things in the world. One step after another, one heel touching the ground as the other lifts, arms swinging accordingly. It is biped mobility that takes us from point A to B on days when the car’s gone for repair, the metro’s too crowded for comfort, and the taxi gods are particularly vindictive...