Monthly Archives: December 2007

>The Year-Ender

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It’s cliched, it’s predictable and it’s unavoidable – an year-ender, that is.

And really, what an year it has been! Though I didn’t get to doing what I had resolved to at the beginning of 2007 (learn swimming), in retrospect, the year gone by has been one of new beginnings in so many more ways. I’ve travelled places, metaphorically, that seemed so distant when I was planning my journey of life. And they’ve been fulfilling, the experimental trips that I risked.

I left a job of five years, a place of social repute, some friends, an apparent position of power to do something that could have been a bad bet. I did the unthinkable: I made an irreversible decision without informing anyone in my family, and you know I am a family person. At the end of it, everyone did support that decision, but they all accepted they would never have let me resign from my job had they known I was planning to. I still hear a voice of dissent once in a while telling me it was a bad career move – but I know I’ve graduated from a job to a career finally.

Of course, there was regret for some time – I missed doing what I was so good at. But my new venture got me much more than I had bargained for: it brought me respect for my hard work and perseverance, my innovation and intelligence, love and affection from people who hadn’t seen that side of me. And it mattered to me.

Interestingly, five years ago when someone asked me where I imagined myself five years later, I’d said “As my own boss”. I’ve reached there, not knowing how. And it never occurred to me while I was on my way there that this is what I’d always wanted: to be the boss!

I compensated for the writing I had given up by starting my own blog. And I still love being here. No, it’s not as addictive as it used to be, and no, there aren’t half as many readers for it as I want there to be, but it’s okay. Maybe, my readers just don’t like to leave comments. Maybe, they just don’t know I exist. Or maybe, I’m so boring. But really, now it’s okay.

Because I’ve grown up. And not. All at the same time. I’ve left a lot of people behind, not as in a race, but as in emotionally, mentally. They used to bother me at one time of my life. Now, they don’t exist for me at many levels. It’s sad too that you’ve hardened yourself against people you once cared for, but it’s relieving. I feel freer.

But in another way, I’ve lost the freedom to trust blindly. There always is a hint of suspicion lurking below the facade of faith. And it kills my joy, breaks my heart and leaves me bitter. Was this part of growing up too?

I’m still learning that people don’t belong to us, that we don’t belong to people. It’s a tough lesson, but life doesn’t give you many options but to understand it sooner than later. That’s why 2007 has been a year of learning.

However, it has been a good year. I’ve done a whole lot of things I love to: eat good food, buy good shoes and lots of them, wear good clothes, spend good times with friends and family, get drunk on wine, earn money, party, live a good life. I could have travelled more, read more books, exercised more. But I’ll save that for next year!

When I look back at 2007, I’m glad it leaves me more happy than sad: because I lived every moment of it. I laughed and cried, loved and hated with equal passion – because my passion is for life.

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>Silent Night

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The thing about festivals in India is that you get to celebrate so many of them. I studied in a convent school and that’s probably why when I think of Christmas I think of holly leaves and golden bells, Christmas trees and colourful lights on top of them! Even now, I want everything to look red and green and white when it’s Christmas time.

Interestingly, Mother Mary was more important to me than Santa when I was growing up, except maybe on X-mas greeting cards that were sold in school, where Santa’s red apparel made those cards so irresistible. My parents never told us stories about how Santa would leave us gifts in red stockings. They didn’t believe in that story and didn’t want us to either. I always knew Santa didn’t exist; he was just a fictitious character for me.

But that’s not only why Mary was more important. The Christians in the school got to act in the Nativity play which meant that students like me were not going to be part of it. I remember longing to be Mary because she got to look so ethereal in a white flowing robe and a crown on her head. I was once asked to audition for the role as well, but disappointingly, was not selected because I didn’t have light-coloured eyes and looked too confident to be Mary! So I was always one of hundreds of spectators wanting to hold baby Christ in her arms.

When I was studying English Literature during my under-grad days, Christmas became important because it was linked to the beginnings of theatre in Europe. Understanding X-mas festivities became imperative to understanding English theatre. There was still no Santa in it, just huge dollops of Mystery and Morality Plays.

Now, Christmas is different. We don’t sing carols, we don’t cut out silver and golden bells, but I still do up a real Christmas tree. I gorge on plum cakes and attend sundry Christmas parties. And I wish, like never before, that Santa would leave me a gift. Or maybe, somebody would pretend to be Santa for me and leave me a gift! It’s not happened once in my life, but isn’t Hope the spirit of Christmas?!

>Of cooking, dancing and making rangolis

>So much to do, one life seems little!

Everyday I think of a long list of things I need to do before this week ends, this month ends and another year goes by… I vacillate between the frivolous and the philanthropic, wondering how I can make one life good enough for all that comes in between.

I think I live every moment of my life, yet there’s always this urge to do something more to make this life worthwhile – whether for me or for somebody else. There’s so much still that I think I can do and must try to do before I say ‘It’s too late’.

So, well, this fortnight I’ve given to myself. I’ve signed up for a 10-day dance workshop. It’s been a long time since I went up on stage to perform. And I’ve never danced on stage. So at the end of next week, I’m going to try and do that. Do something new, frivolous as it may be. And tick off one item from that long list of things.

Last Diwali, I learnt how to make a rangoli, however horrible, because I wanted one in my house and had nobody to make one for me.

My inflated wish list has a lot to do with my desire to be independent. I learnt how to cook only for that reason and not because I wanted to do something new.

Not everything else on that list is going to be as easy! And I will have to slow down one day but for now, I’m ready to run. Routines have a horrible way of sucking the reality out of your dreams. They make you another person. I’ll run away from them if I have to and live my dreams like I want to.

PS: If this sounds repetitive to any of you, well, so is my life!