Issue 5: An introduction

5 May 2023

Welcome to the Coonoor & Co Journal, Issue 5, Vol 2.

In this issue, we embrace the pursuits of regeneration and restoration as we relinquish the old and usher in the new–invigorating our inner and outer worlds with a renewed sense of purpose. Underscoring the very essence of renewal, this collection of heartfelt stories and deep-dive essays illuminates the absoluteness of change: the only constant effectuating seasons, rhythms, and all of life’s processes and therefore, Renewal. From the whispers of nature to the wisdom of our fellow humans, we are reminded that renewal is a “turning of the wheel” – yet another reminder that life is not linear, but rather a series of cycles and changes constantly in its ebb and flow.

The warmth of family, the secrets of the mountains, the blooming gardens of spring and summer, and the resilience of wildlife–all offer glimpses into the spirit and beauty of this season of renewal and re-emergence.

Our contributors for this edition are:

Amrita Amesur, Gayatri Ganesh, Rupali Goel, Ellen Petry Leanse, Ajay Ludra, AJ Mallari, Kavita Malstead, Malati Mukherjee, Swati Prasad, Raghavendra Rao, Ramya Reddy, Sandeep Subramani and Prabhu Viswanathan.

Each story has been narrated by the author who wrote it.

In seeking a new beginning in her kitchen, Amrita channels the deep metaphor that is her mother’s Monday Dal, in paying tribute to the women who inspired her gender and generation so that she and others may nourish themselves. 

The beauty of discovering a renewed connection with the earth and soil and through them, herself, shines through Gayatri’s reflections, and lessons in the art, science and pleasure of no-dig gardening. 

In her homecoming after a tumultuous time between continents, to the nostalgic wooded paths, evocative scents of her motherland and home in the Nilgiris, Kavita finds a renewed sense of belonging and time for healing. 

Reaching across continents, replenishment abounds in Ellen’s springtime New Mexico landscape as she draws soul-nourishment from treading the last of the snow with lizards and chickadees, amidst ancient rock and native song.

Ajay presents vivid contrasts of the natural beauty of a bygone Nilgiris against the region’s current landscape–transformed irrevocably by human rapacity. He leads us to the concerted local interventions being made in resurrecting a wounded piece of a UNESCO-declared hotspot biosphere.

Malati’s wise words invite us to pause and relook at the present as we know it, and take a step in the direction of the Universal Spirit, as she shares her own experience of awakening to this path after a life-threatening illness.

Reminiscing about lost music and departed avian choristers in the changing landscapes of Mysore, Raghu finds solace in the songs of birds and reflects on their revival.

Swati, an Odissi dancer, whose shattered knee destroyed her heart but not her spirit, shares her story of healing through fear and uncertainty as her dancer body and soul return to her–with new wisdom and promise. 

Carefully drawn out from the deepest of winters when frost-laden leaves and buds of camellia sinensis come into their full potential, the perfect cup of Nilgiri comes alive in Sandeep’s tea lounge in the heart of the mountains. 

Prabhu introduces Adam, a young refugee, who unleashes his inner pain upon a soothing canvas, in a studio filled with art and human understanding, as he searches for new meaning in a camp. 

In her conversation with Samantha Iyanna, the founder of Clean Coonoor, Ramya takes inspiration from Samantha’s story of grit, perseverance, and the power of local citizen movements she leads, in transforming vast landfills of waste into summer gardens of hope and redemption.

Our illustrators for the issue, Rupali Goel and AJ Mallari have yet again livened up the pages with their beautiful illustrations.

Thank you so much for being a part of our reader community. The stories from this issue are accessible on our site. Do subscribe to our newsletter if you wish to receive our stories and updates as a monthly compilation. 

We look forward to your continued support of our work.

Team Coonoor & Co


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