Saturday, December 28, 2013

Where we do a quick recap of 2013

I didn't do this last year, and it left me feeling a little incomplete all year. So I think this just needs to become an annual tradition for myself. Ergo, drumroll...

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Shared a two-bedroom flat with five other people in London for two months. Graduated - by which I mean had a proper commencement ceremony, because y'know, two degrees from Delhi University had none of that.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, and no.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A close friend from business school had a son a couple of months back.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What places did you visit?

Gallivanted all over England for the first two months of the year. Then Asheville, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, San Francisco. Not bad at all, methinks. Even though I know I had the opportunity to do a lot more.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Will power.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The weekend of 12th May - graduation weekend.
16th July - see #4.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Graduation? Surviving those two months of close quarters in London? There's a theme to this post this year...

9. What was your biggest failure?
Becoming a hermit again, once I moved to Dallas.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Hah. Yes - burnt my arm quite badly in March, followed by sundry other incidents. Also the car accident mentioned here led to terrible back ache for several weeks, as well as my first ever experience of being hopped up on painkillers. Not something I would like to repeat, thankyouverymuch.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought a LOT of stuff this year, but I don't know if any of it qualifies for this.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My brother. Because (and don't tell him I said this) when things have happened this year that have made me feel hopeless about what women have to deal with, his responses to all of those situations have made me feel hopeful that there are good, decent men out there.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?

On the personal front, no one, thankfully. In the public domain, where do I even begin?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Hahahahahahahahaha. New gaddi. Furniture for my apartment. Clothes I felt I needed, but may not have really. Those damn romance novels that keep having Kindle sales. Sheesh. I've been awful this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
London. Graduation. Going home this summer.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
This. I was listening to my Amit Trivedi playlist one day, and I realized this line from it is how the house felt after 16th July:
Sab kuch wahi hai, par kuchh kami hai 
Teri aahatein nahin hai

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Bit of both. It's been a good year, overall. But there's a sadness that won't go away. I'm grieving for my princess, still. And I don't know when I'll stop. And I'm not sure part of me wants to stop.

18. Thinner or fatter?
It's gone up and down, this year, but overall, a leetle bit fatter, I think.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Socialized. Travelled.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Been a hermit. Played Candy crush saga?

21. How will you be spending Christmas?

I went to New Jersey, and spent five days up to Christmas with my friend and her family. No matter what the years ahead hold, this will always be one of my favorite Christmas memories ever.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

23. How many one-night stands?
Gazillion, don'tcha know?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Once Upon a Time and TBBT remained favorites. Discovered and fell in love with Arrow. Did a West Wing marathon of all seven seasons over three months this summer, and have revisited it again recently. My to-watch list keeps growing longer, but I keep going back to The West Wing. That show, man. That show.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
For once, no. If you had asked me this in February or March, certain flatmates might have gotten named. In the nine months since, I have gotten to a point where I now think fondly of them as mere irritations.

26. What was the best book you read?
I actually did read some books this year. I developed a love-hate relationship with the Game of Thrones series, and read a few other books. Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth was probably my favorite of the year, despite her refusal to give me happy endings.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I mostly stuck to Amit Trivedi this year. But Papon and he both put together some fabulous episodes on Coke Studio. And of course Pinjra.

28. What did you want and get?
A lot more time with family than I had expected at the beginning of the year.

29. What did you want and not get?
For Kyra to get better.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I didn't see too many, really. Kai Po Che was good, as was the second Hobbit movie (at least, better than the first). I also lurved Saving Mr Banks.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ah, that was a good weekend, that was. I turned 28 in London, and celebrations lasted three days. A dinner with the godfather and his family, a ride on the London Eye as a gift to myself, attending a drag show in a gay bar in Vauxhall where I enjoyed the British humour a lot more than my friend who wanted to be at said show, an evening spent drinking a lot more than I usually allow myself to drink, followed by dancing that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't had said drinks, and finally dinner on the day itself with flatmates and another friend.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Holding myself back less, I think.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I now own more dresses than tops or blouses for work, which, as anyone who knows me would tell you, is just weird.

34. What kept you sane?
Holing myself up and shutting out the world. Which is also what I feel I should have done less of, but wuttodo.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Major girl crush has been developed on Jennifer Lawrence, I must admit.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Does the Tarun Tejpal incident count as a political issue? It's what I got most worked up about, at any rate.

37. Who did you miss?
By this point in life, family goes without saying, but Kyra, mostly.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I dunno.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
It takes very little to make me happy. It's making that happiness last that I struggle with.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Nothing comes to mind right now. Is there anything that talks about a gazillion life changes in just a few months?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Where I ramble about religion

The term "against our culture" puzzles me.

I'm not the most religious person around, but I grew up reading every single Amar Chitra Katha comic I could lay my hands on (including one memorable Delhi Book Fair where I spent my entire allowance on all the ACK comics at the first stall, and got them bound into three volumes), as well as C. Rajagopalachari's versions of Ramayana and Mahabharata, so I feel like I know something about the stories of Hindu mythology, if nothing else.

And the thing that always struck me about our mythology is how flawed our Gods are. You look at everything Indra did, sometimes for nothing other than pride. Krishna, Shiva, Rama - they've all done things that not everyone would say was the right thing to do. Sometimes they regretted and/or atoned for their actions, sometimes they didn't. But I feel like our Gods were a lot more tolerant than anyone gives them credit for.

I've also been to a few churches and attended a few sermons in my life - probably understood them a lot better than any puja I might have gone for too. And a common thread I've always heard in them is that it doesn't matter what you've done in your life, as long as you believe in God and accept Him in your life, you will be accepted by him into Heaven. Which always feels like a bit of a cop out to me, but also convinces me that if there is a God out there, or a gazillion of them, he/they is/are a lot more accepting and human than us mere mortals.

I've heard the phrase "against Indian culture" being countered by examples of sculptures and writings from ancient times. But for those who use religion as an argument to not accept something about a person, you need to go back and remember how accepting your religion really is.

Because our gods were flawed. And heck of a lot more tolerant than those who claim to follow them.