Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Annual ramblings

I don't know how to write this post. I'm struggling to remember events from last year that meant something to me, but I can't. It's like, and I mentioned this at the end of my last post, that the first 7.5 months of 2011 simply didn't happen. Or belong to another life.

But so much did happen. And I want to get this post out there simply because I don't want those memories to disappear.

I knew, at the beginning of 2011, that one way or another, this year would bring changes to my life like never before. And so it was.

January was a flurry of travel, interview invites, application "dings", and what not. The cousin got married. Things in the workplace deteriorated to the point that I, for the first time in my life, started having panic attacks.

The grandmother fell and broke her leg and had to have surgery. I was sent to Kolkata on work so was able to go visit her. Said visit to Kolkata also showed me how the work culture of Bengal and how Bengalis are perceived by non-Bengalis, and while I could see what they meant, it saddened me. I may never choose to live in Bengal, but it's still where I belong. And it isn't nice to see how we ourselves are responsible for a lot of what had happened to the state.

February was rather dramatic. Some more dings came in, some interviews happened, some admissions also happened. The mother went to spend a month in Kolkata to take care of Mam. I went to spend a weekend with her, and had some craziness as soon as I got back, after which the father went to stay with her. Gave me a taste of living on my own; I wasn't too sure I liked it.

Work got even worse. A massive show down happened at work, after which I tried to resign, but got talked out of it by everyone around me. But given the calm feeling that came over me once I had decided, after all the panic attacks of the last couple of months, I knew I wasn't to last very long.

I turned 26 in March. Far less stressful than turning 25, for whatever reason. Sure, I'm old now, but it didn't bother me. As much. Maybe a little. Oh well. The mother decided to throw a birthday party for me, since this would probably be my last birthday at home. And when I say birthday party, I mean crazy shoes theme (which everyone but me took extremely seriously), back presents, balloons, all my closest friends with me, a "slumber party", CDs with random birthday songs playing all evening, etc. What can I say? My family takes birthdays very seriously.

March also brought the brother home during his Spring break, a visit I had known about since November, but which was a complete surprise to the parents. The best part about his visit? He was home, sitting next to me, the day the dream came true. I had refused to go on the annual office holiday, using his visit as an excuse. SO glad I did, because the admission news that really mattered came out the day my colleagues were leaving, and anyway, I would have missed the freaking World Cup if I had gone.

Geez. The World Cup. So much excitement. My biggest regret remains not being able to go see India play. I only went for the West Indies-South Africa match in Delhi, and that was just lame. But oh, the World Cup. What can I say about it that I haven't already? And how can I express my frustration at how we've played ever since? How sad is it that less than a year after that fabulous, fabulous win, I am *this* close to giving up on Indian cricket for the foreseeable future?

If the beginning of April was about the euphoria of the World Cup, end-April saw me really leaving the job. I put in my papers as soon as I knew I'd be leaving for the US in July, and I asked to be relieved by end-April so I could have time to get things done. In all fairness, they gave me a really sweet farewell, where I may have a said a bit too much, but managed to leave on fairly good terms with the people who mattered at any rate. What surprised me? Given what an obsessed workaholic I'd been for the last three years, I'd've thought I'd have missed the place a bit more once I left. But honestly? Zilch of that.

May was a rush to get things sorted, visa applications, travel bookings et al., and fit in a quick trip to Mumbai for a family function, where I sat surrounded by Calcuttans as they watched news channels breathlessly to see what the election results in West Bengal would be like. And then we left for the US to watch the brother graduate. Visited and fell in love with Boston, and followed that up with a visit to the godfather's home in London, and a loverly family holiday in Edinburgh, before we came back home.

June and July rushed by much faster than they should have. Preparing to leave home encompassed a thousand and one things, amidst all of which I had to make sure I could fit in a visit to Calcutta, get-togethers with friends, and time with the brother who was to leave for his job at the beginning of July. The gal pals, for the second time in my life, managed to put together a surprise party for me without me cottoning on. I'd make a terrible investigator type person. The father and I booked my tickets in a way that I would get to see Deathly Hallows 2, and so on 15th July, I saw movies in one day - DH-2, and ZNMD.

And then, despite all my attempts to stretch time as much as possible, the 19th of July arrived. And I let everything I had know for 26.5 years, and came here.

What do I say about the last 5.5 months of 2011? They've been stressful, crazy, exhilarating, exciting, and maddening all together. I've learnt so much - maybe not much academically, but about the person I am. I've started driving and cooking, discovered I'm more like the mother than I had ever realized, found out that I can be quite a pushover, and realized that I'm a complete hermit. I suck at networking, am absolutely incapable of enjoying myself at a party filled with loud music and flowing alcohol, love big cities and have no idea how to get a job.

I'm far more Indian than I had realized, I'm a lot more Bengali than I had ever imagined, and I am so utterly dependent on the father for any major decisions I take. The BFF is my lifeline no matter where I go in life, time zones suck because no one is ever awake when you have news to share, I hate marketing and love strategy, numbers and HR what really excite me in life, and grades do matter.

They killed GReader somewhere along the way in 2011, and I was more devastated than I had thought possible. Twitter is less of an addiction than I had assumed, and I have struggled to put together any worthwhile blog posts. The urge to write is there, but I simply can't anymore. Which is why this blog post has taken a month to be written, started in one way, and has ended so very differently.

Having the mother visit me for a month over winter break saved me in some ways, I think. Because it made me remember who I am, truth be told. I had lost myself while trying to adapt to this new country, this new life. Having someone from my old life here for a while was like having a totem with you when you enter a dream, in some ways. And I can already see the difference in me in the past two weeks since she left. I'm me again. In the way I talk, the way I interact with others, in the way I behave. And it's helping me cope.

So, 2012. What does it hold for me? I have no freaking idea. The last month has been utterly stressful with the job search taking precedence, and I have no idea if or when this will change. I really need to start saying no to people. I need to apply myself to studies a lot more. I need to hang out with the people I like, instead of shutting myself up at home and lurking on twitter. And I need to find a freaking job.

Here's hoping all, or most, of this happens.