In the first half of the year we’re often still coasting on the fumes of our new year overhauls; our commitment to self-improvement and all its benefits remains strong, but the actual execution of all those well-intentioned resolutions is a little wobbly. It is also a time when people self-flagellate like crazy, berating themselves for falling off all sorts of wagons, before throwing their hands up in despair and giving up on the wagon entirely. You know who you are. Don’t.
Here in Delhi the weather’s doing a pendulum swing from warm to cool and then warm again. It’s a lovely time of year, temperate and suited to being outside, or on the balcony, and there’s a lovely sense of possibility in the air. It’s also a lovely time of year to remind yourself that it’s always a good time to start, and that there is always, always space for newness. One of the things I struggle most with is letting go; letting go of how I’d envisioned a conversation going, letting go of my plans (due in part to the fact that I have so many), or letting go of an errant hypothesis that wiggles around and roots itself deep into my head, masquerading as fact. It’s a process for me, but what was once super-uncomfortable – trying to listen to what’s being said to me instead of merely hearing what I think is being said, or letting go of a projected outcome in favour of a different, and possibly more wonderful outcome – is now sort of…exciting? I don’t know what’s coming, and I don’t know how this day is going to go, and you know what, it’s really fucking lovely because I get to ride it and see where it goes. Everything, or even, anything is possible, and isn’t that the most incredible idea?
My planning and projecting serves me well at work. Little Post-it’s are dotted around my desk, and across the pages of my planner, but the same micromanaging of time and resources that serves me so well in this context, do me all sorts of disservice when sitting down to a chat with my partner, or when away in new places. Lucky for me, both my husband (who is a peculiar sort of beast that does not plan at all and bristles like an angry grizzly cub when you try and shoehorn him into your own) as well as just the act of travel usually put paid to my diary neuroses. I’ll sometimes schlep my page-per-day diary around with me and might even use it on the first couple of days away, but by day three it is relegated to the bottom of the suitcase, and suddenly a world of possibilities opens up. A blank page allows me to wander off down any little path to see what’s at the end of it, because I have nowhere I need to be.
On a long weekend in Goa late last year, while Gaurav worked on his set for a gig later that night, I took our rented car out to get some proper coffee (for him) and snacks (for me). With no particular destination in mind (my wifi was being buggy, and Zomato wouldn’t cooperate), I chose, instead, to just look around. I found Natti’s Naturals on the busy stretch of road between Anjuna and Vagator, a stone’s throw from the Hilton (if you’re driving up from the South), or just a little way down from Goan breakfast favourite Lila Café (if you’re coming from the North). I went in lured by its neat hexagonal sign and the promises it made of both yoga and organic food (an irresistible duo, those who know me will testify).
It is part yoga studio, part organic and whole foods café, part tonic and elixir dispensary, and part grocer. It is a place where fizzy kombucha is served alongside incredible chocolate cake with cashew cream, and where you can pop to the clothing shop on its grounds to buy silk slips while you wait for your alkalizing juice to arrive. Owner Natasha (aka Natti) is usually around and on-hand for a bit of assistance, whether it’s to help navigate the menu or the shelves heaving with tinctures and lotions. On my last visit (I have made multiple visits, for breakfast, for lunch, for afternoons, and for no reason at all), I spotted everything from copper jugs and tumblers, to packets of cacao nibs, ashwagandha, and natural beauty products and oil. There’s condiments and tahini and peanut butter by ahimsa, organic untreated cotton feminine hygiene products and She cups, tea and coffee, incense, yoga mats and clothing, cleaning products by Common Oxen, essential oils and diffusers… there is loads of stuff, basically. They also stock really great own-brand yoga clothing, and I have my eye on a couple of cool little crop tops for yoga (or anything) as well as a pair of leggings.
A place where wellness, beauty, and flavour intersect, Natti’s already has a devoted following amongst locals and seasonal visitors alike. Natasha herself takes morning hatha yoga classes in a cool little open air platform out back, and they occasionally have a visiting teacher, so it’s worth asking what’s on when you’re there. Some customers pop in for juice and hearty breakfasts, while others swing by to pick up coffee and fresh vegetables from the fridge.
Start with the alkalizing juice, a lovely tart and grassy juice with apple, celery, lime, ginger and all those other bits I love, and a little shot of kombucha. The smashed avocado and egg tartine comes with a perfectly soft boiled egg atop it, although, if you’re in the mood for something more substantial, they also do larger plates and things like burgers. The chocolate cake is gluten free, and, with added-in cacao nibs and maca, and a side of cashew cream, manages to feel super decadent. It is fucking fantastic, and amongst the best things I ate last year, which is why I had a slice every day.
You'll find Natti's Naturals at 1251, Gaunwadi, Anjuna, Goa. For more information, visit their Facebook page.