In Her Words: Pooja Nansi on 'Places of Calm'

16 August 2018 - interviews

When The Mindful Company approached me to collaborate with them on a collection called Places of Calm, I confess, I was confused. I wondered if I was the correct person for the job. People have used a lot of words to describe me, and calm has never been one of them.

And that’s true for Singapore too. On the surface it looks as cosmopolitan as a city can get. Having grown up here for the past 35 years, I have only seen it get more and more busy, more and more hectic. But then I think about the things I miss when I am away from it. That perfect bowl of wantan mee at 2am when your tummy is rumbling, in the dead of a particularly wet winter, I miss the colour green, sometimes even miss the sticky heat. I miss that question that makes us put all our differences and our stress aside even if it is for a minute- Sudah makan? Have you eaten? This is how we show our humanity to each other, our care, our understanding, how we signal that we must take care of ourselves first. For that small pocket of time, life can wait. When I think of places of calm in the city, I think of people sitting in solitude, in silence with their kopi or teh tarik in coffee shops, looking out into an unknown distance. This is an 80 cents and 15 minutes worth of luxury in an otherwise tired, constantly moving life. This too is a kind of meditation.

These were the aspects of the city I wanted to capture for this collection. The spaces of breath in between the busy schedules. The flowers that burst through the unforgiving concrete, the small acts of kindness we show each other, the little phrases that remind us that we are home. That this city, no matter how busy, how demanding, how fast paced, is also where we must find our peace, our belonging, our rhythms and ultimately, ourselves.