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Lounge Loves: Halting doomscrolling and celebrating bags

The Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamkot, Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest novel and other recommendations from the Lounge team 

Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamkot
Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamkot

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A pocket of peace

It’s strange that in over a decade of travelling to McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh, and the village of Dharamkot 2km above, I had never visited the peaceful environs of the Tushita Meditation Centre. Until last week, that is, and I am now determined to return. Named after one of the six heavens of the Indian Buddhist tradition, this centre of Mahayana research and teaching nestles in the cool pine groves of upper Dharamkot, seemingly cut off from the hustle of the tourism circuit. Set up in 1972, it’s run by the Tibetan Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Whether you go for week-long meditation and teaching retreats, or just drop in for an hour’s guided meditation at 9am every day (except Sundays), it’s a rewarding experience. My favourite spot? The fantastic library of books on Buddhism.—Bibek Bhattacharya

Stories for our times

Ottessa Moshfegh’s latest novel, Lapvona, can be described perfectly in the author’s own words. In a 2015 interview with Vice, she described her writing as “seeing Kate Moss take a shit”, a fitting description of every novel of hers: beautiful prose creating worlds of filth, squalour and absolute depravity. Except Lapvona goes a step further—it is possibly the most dystopian, brutal world Moshfegh has created so far. It tells the story of a teenage shepherd boy, Marek, who lives in the medieval village of Lapvona—wracked by violence and misgovernance—and how an accidental murder changes his life. If you can stomach it, however, Lapvona is worth reading—both for its brilliant prose and the social and political allegory it contains. Take away the filth and it’s very representative of the times we live in.—Preeti Zachariah

A helpful bot

"Try to relax your shoulders. And stop clenching your jaw.” No, these suggestions aren’t coming from a yoga instructor or a personal trainer; they are from a Twitter bot. They remind me that I might be doomscrolling and should perhaps keep my phone away and get some rest. Created by freelance writer Karen K. Ho, the Doomscrolling Reminder Bot (@doomscroll_bot) is a handle you are bound to follow for those regular reminders to stop doomscrolling. Even better, they aren’t just drab reminders; there is a new one each time. “Hi, have you gone outside yet today?” is one. It has certainly helped me break the spell my phone or Twitter feed can cast. The bot seems to be working for a lot of other users as well—the handle has gained close to 77,000 followers since it joined Twitter in May 2021.—Nitin Sreedhar

A zone-out pill

There comes a time when you don’t want to think about anything: not to-do lists or emails or WhatsApp messages. My let’s-zone-out pill is an activity—a kind of meditation, if you will: scrolling through the Instagram accounts of two content creators who celebrate extravagance, particularly in bags. The makers of @Purseblog, for instance, will spend a 30-second Reel teaching you the art of removing tape from the handle of a Gucci Dionysus (“one wrong move and it can leave a glue mark”). On some days, you may end up feeling the pain of @bryanboy when he complains he is not getting his second or third (or was it the fourth?) Birkin because of the slow-moving waitlist. Will I ever invest in, as these creators put it, such luxuries? Not really. I am just happy to indulge without guilt or baggage.—Pooja Singh


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