Bits and Bobs VIII

Cover image for Bits and Bobs

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald


The above quote from The Great Gatsby is just what I had in mind while (methodically) cleaning out my desk drawers earlier today upon watching this video:

What can I say, sometimes I’m easily influenced. Especially when it comes to Rajiv Surendra, who first came on my radar when I saw inside his home in this HGTV video (some of you will remember him as the math nerd ‘Kevin G’ from Mean Girls). After you’ve watched back-to-back Rajiv content it’ll come as no surprise that he was nicknamed Martha Stewart on the film’s set for, among his many talents, knitting and pottery. I love how he embodies the aesthetic life: the attention and care he gives to everything he does, from arranging a bunch of flowers to packing a gift to turning down his bed.

A Bedroom in Bernstorff Palace near Copenhagen, Johan Vilhelm Gertner

A Bedroom in Bernstorff Palace near Copenhagen, Johan Vilhelm Gertner, ca. 1845


What makes a thing or place precious, how does the mind accord status and significance to what, when, and why somehow reminded me of this G. K. Chesterton quote:

“It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico; in that case he will merely cut his throat or move to Chelsea. Nor, certainly, is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico; for then it will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico; to love it with a transcendental tie and without any earthly reason. If there arose a man who loved Pimlico, then Pimlico would rise into ivory towers and golden pinnacles… If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence… Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”


Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca)

Went for a hike recently and saw this rare jewel of a bird in the forest: the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca). I am not a birder by any stretch, but living three feet away from a jungle has made me quite literally wake up to birdsong and the beauty of the winged species. Relatedly, my neighbour introduced me to Merlin, a really cool app developed at Cornell. Today’s bird was a small minivet.


Speaking of birds, I’m putting together a Boxwalla list of non-fiction books for people who purportedly don’t ‘do’ or ‘get’ non-fiction. And Matt Kracht’s book is the kind of unexpectedly delightful, genre-defying stuff I hope to crowd this list with.

The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America



Reciprocity by Wisława Szymborska

Reciprocity by Wisława Szymborska

As always, I would love to hear from you—bouquets, barbs, brickbats—write to me at should you wish to tell me what you love/loathe, want to read more/less of. I’d be glad to have your opinion of this newsletter, its design, and any suggestions you may have.
Bits and Bobs is brought to you by Simar Puneet, Content and Marketing Director at Boxwalla. Simar has been an editor in publishing for the last fifteen years during which time she has commissioned, edited, and worked with the finest authors in the South Asian literary firmament. Her passion for books is only rivaled by her abiding interest in art, history, and, yes, skincare!
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