Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - Highlights of the Year

A year ago, to the date, I wrote a blog post about how I had started writing happy letters to myself, celebrating all the good in my life, bottling it up to revisit when need be. Letters to Myself, I called it. It was a great exercise. Eventually, I shifted it to an actual journal and most recently, though now as only fleeting notes, OneNote. The Facebook "memories to look back on" came as a reminder of the post and of the fact that I haven't blogged in a while. 2015 was long and eventful. Here is a recap ---

  • I had five resolutions. I kept two, stretched to maybe three, which is still more than I can say for most years. 

  • 12.03.2015. I am alone in the room, munching on pizza, after a long-drawn Skype conversation. I am in no mood to look at more bright-lit-screens. The phone buzzes. I receive three separate messages telling me, Did you read about Terry Pratchett? By some eerie Bollywood-style coincidence, the power goes out. The whole hostel is engulfed in darkness. I hurry on to Facebook. A quick look at my favourite Discworld haunt confirms the news. I see those final tweets and I burst into tears. And I don't even know why! I mean, he is this writer, I have never even seen him. What does it say about me that I cried for a stranger? Then again, some stranger. The news feels like a deep cut. What does it say about him. In my journal, the next day, I quote Dumbledore. "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.

  • Summer 2015. The Mahabaleshwar visit with my mother and the fact that I posted about it, on Tabula Rasa! Another sign of the slow death of this blog, but whatever, I'm not about to mourn. I best remember this, from the trip. On the way back, we stopped the car next to a row of corn-on-the-cob vendors near a dam. It was raining like nothing. Our driver honked, a man ran up to the car, shivering under a flimsy umbrella, took the money and minutes later, brought us three hot freshly roasted cobs smeared with lemon, salt and chili powder. Yummy. One bite and I was a child again!

  • I made new acquaintances and friends and shed some old ones. I finally know what one of my professors meant when he said, "Nostalgia is a crutch." It sometimes is. Oh my god, am I growing up?

  • I became oddly talkative in class. I mean really, really talkative. Very hand-raise-y, Hermione-type! It was probably the wrong age to get so involved in schoolwork. But I have never been that girl. I suppose I just felt time slipping past and grabbed at the last strands of collegeness at my disposal; earned me some teachers' praise for the first time in two decades and basked in the cheeky glee of it. Seven years too late, but hey, what the hell. I discovered Stephen Krashen, very late into my linguistics-love. I read a couple of dozen books on language. The library became my regular hang-out. I spent long days cooped up there. I also discovered Vivian Cook

  • I learnt to stumble around in high heels. Walking should be right around the corner now. I also learnt not to cry (literally) and let people paw my face, put on mascara and eye liner and wasn't too frightened to have them buzz around me with all those little beauty-making gadgets. I bought a sexy black gown with a lacy back and matching lingerie, I also swooned over and bought a pair of pretty pink pajamas. I came out of the closet about my love for earrings and even had a friend birthday-gift me a pair. *beep beep* foreign matter detected. *beep* womanhood confirmed. *beep* new priya!

  • I discovered green tea. And tried my leg at running. And went to a gym (and did not freak out at my reflection in the mirrored wall.)

  • Picture a cold December morning. A dingy old room, paint peeling off the walls, a broken desk or two at the front and one blackboard covered in years of chalk grime. Children settled on the floor, their uniforms shabby and patchy, laughing and fighting and shouting. A teacher desperately trying to return their focus to the task at hand - which is naming words starting with आ. Picture the twelve-year-olds scratching their chins in a genuine struggle. And in a corner, another group of little kids, in the same classroom that is the only usable one in this ramshackle excuse for a school. An eager bunch, the one in the corner, all gathered around - me! Picture me, just as eager, reading aloud a story. A silly tale about a parrot who wants to eat a mango. Later, picture the children writing down the new words (not my idea!) asking for more words and more books to devour... and me thinking, I could do this again. I could do this forever. 

As Dickens would say, 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

2015 was good, bad, memorable. Weird and new and yet in most respects, a year like any other. And I look forward to the next with bated breath and naive hope. Wish you all the health and goodness in the world. Happy New Year!