“The word, Privilege, has to be the most over-used word of 2020,” a friend remarked the other day. And I quite agreed with her. We were in the middle of a routine ranting session. Such grief outpouring sessions happen once in a while when we feel all the wrong in the world is happening to us. Almost always such sessions find no merit and either of us is quick to point out how grateful we ought to be for all the privileges we enjoy.
‘Privilege’ may have been an over-used word in 2020 but it is not for nothing. In many ways the pandemic has opened our eyes and almost everything that life has given to the likes of us feels like a privilege.
This thought was further emphasized when another friend shared his blog post with me. An avid traveller and trekker, who happens to be a scientist too writes about certain lessons he learnt this year. The one that struck me most was – Travel is a Privilege. It wasn’t something new to me. I have always been cognizant about this fact and never shied away from thinking or talking about how fortunate I have been. However, I think I hadn’t internalized it enough. As I read this point in his post, it felt like someone was showing me the mirror. (Here’s his post: 2020 – A year without Travels)
Again, a fellow blogger sent me an email the other day where he spelt out that he felt rather embarrassed to state that everything was going good in his life. His thought did make me ponder. Given the current circumstances, we almost feel apologetic if everything is working fine in our lives. We have never felt this way at any other time. I sincerely hope we never ever take anything for granted again in our lives.
I am reminded of a manager that I used to report to two years back in my ex-office. He would always keep reiterating that the benefits we receive from office are privileges given to us, we should never think of those as our entitlements. He would mean that we should respect certain things given to us, like flexible timing, birthday time off, and so on. I always appreciated his way of keeping us grounded and this thought is something I will always carry with me.
Being alive is a privilege by itself. Living well and being who you are, doing what you wish, in sound physical and mental health – if this is not privilege, then what is! Is there even room to complain?
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Ritika. She hasn’t blogged in a while though but her writing is worth a read copyandcoffee.
Emotions took the better of me when I had started writing my year-end post (read more about that here). Those emotions kept aside, 2019 has been one of the most beautiful years for me and in a very unusual way. The highlight of this year has been people and what better for the people person that I am!
Here are some of the top highlights of 2019 that I remain grateful for:
- Who says you don’t find real people in the Internet! I did. Through WordPress, I have met some of the best people and I am never tired of saying that. This year was different as I met so many of them in person. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to each of you for the warm and heartfelt moments you have added into my life!
- It started with Todd and Sage, when I met them in Bangalore during their trip to India in the beginning of this year. I even had the good fortune of attending a story-telling session by Sage.
- Thereafter I met Debdutta, who decided to make me his family and call me his elder sister rather than a friend. Along with him and his friends, I spend a memorable weekend at Kōḻikōḍ.
- Then I met Arvind – most of you would know him and I’d be surprised if you didn’t. We spent an entire morning sharing travel stories over innumerable cups of filter coffee accompanied by dosas, when he had visited Bangalore earlier this year.
- Last but not the least, Dilip and I became such great friends that I hosted him in my house when he stopped by Bangalore on his way back from his Leh cycling trip.
- Note: I must mention two others though I am yet to meet them in person:
- Hariom and I nearly planned a trip together but that didn’t happen. In him, I have found an extraordinarily special friend and it feels like I have always known him.
- Narendra, with whom my connection went beyond WordPress and who has been a constant encouragement in so many ways.
- It was through Internet again that I met Ambrose Trueman – the cyclist, poet, writer, and adventurer. We connected through Instagram and met in person in Shillong this year. His gesture of taking all the trouble of getting me the traditional rice cake as I had never tasted it is something I cannot forget.
- A set of rather unusual circumstances led to my meeting the ultra marathoners, Banajit Burman and Asif Ahmed. Asif become a rather close friend and it feels like we’ve known each other for a very long time now.
- I have been busier than usual this year and all for the good reason of spending time with people. Almost every weekend I’ve had friends visiting me at home, some from other cities – no complaints! Just that it has affected the frequency of my WordPress posts.
- I got to spend more than a month in my home, Shillong, where I visited and explored several new places, including Mawlyngbna and Mawphanlur. Most importantly, my nephew, Abheeshek and I spent some quality time together after a very long time. We even explored David Scott’s Trail together.
- During my visit to Sikkim, I made some special connections with people especially at Tingvong village of Dzongu Valley where we had spent 3 days. Living the Lepcha life, was an extraordinary experience almost making me believe I have some karmic connections with the people there.
- I had my maiden experience of trekking in Nepal with Annapurna Base Camp.
- I had started the year with a visit to Diu and travels have happened throughout the year with Sikkim and Nepal. I am in Varanasi right now and will be ending the year at Shalamun in Himachal Pradesh.
- I have discovered the goodness of meditation and have started practicing regularly. An addition to my regular yoga and jogging but it has become an activity that I eagerly look forward to every single day.
- I dabbled in poetry and dared to post some of them in my blog.
- I have finished off my home loan, a great burden off my shoulder.
- I have deliberately and consciously tried to live the life of what I can give rather than what I can get, tried to listen more and talk less, attempted to make people happy or at least not make them unhappy. Not that I have done so with a great deal of success but I know I wholeheartedly tried.
The month of December had arrived quite a while back and taken a quiet seat in the humdrum of daily activities. Before I realized, we are already near the end of the month and in just another blink we will get done with the year 2018.
As I write this post sitting in a hotel room at Diu overlooking the Arabian Sea, I recall last December when I had written a similar post soaking in the winter sun trickling onto the varendah of my parent’s home at my hometown, Shillong. I clearly remember waiting for a cousin who was delayed in picking me up for a family lunch get-together. I had made good use of the waiting time reminiscing the year 2017 and writing a post about it. It feels like that was just yesterday. Where the hell does all the time go?
The years seem to be wheezing by for a while now and at the end of each year I have the same question – Where did all the 365 days go? Sometimes I really wonder if the earth has started spinning faster or if its axes has undergone any alteration. With all the technological advancements and automation shouldn’t we be having more time for ourselves? Instead, we are always pressed for time. Well, that’s another discussion altogether.
As the curtains are about to be pulled on 2018, my mind does a quick flashback on the year that was. A lot has happened and it was a mix of good and bad. However, when we reflect on the past we become consciously selective and want to remember only the good. Guess it’s a choice we make quite consciously and it also aligns to my motto of practicing positivity and gratitude.
So, here’s a quick flashback of the top 10 cherished moments of 2018:
- First of all, I trekked to the Himalayas twice this year – Rupin Pass and Kashmir Great Lakes. Both these belong to the category of moderate to difficult and to think that there was a time when I used to think such treks are beyond my league.
- I started running and now a 3 – 5 Km run is part of my regular workout. All thanks to the preparation for the two Himalayan treks. Again, there was a time when I used to think I can never run. I still struggle and don’t think I can ever run a marathon but I am happy to have had a good start.
- This year, as always, I took off on my birthday and spent the day at Bekal Fort including two days in the beaches of Kasargod and Mangalore
- A major upheaval happened at work I managed to maintain calm in the face of storm and today things are not perfect but so much better.
- This year I delved a lot deeper into spirituality and discovered a couple of books that have had a significant impact on me. I feel I am a better person today or at least I am sincerely trying to be one.
- An entire month of this year I spent travelling – something I had never done before.
- All through the year, I had someone or the other visiting me and staying at my home. Friends, some of them long lost, surprised me and added so much colour to the otherwise monotonous everyday life.
- Life threw up a tough situation at me, something that I never thought would happen to me. I have managed to pass that test successfully. And, I did that by actually putting into action certain theoretical knowledge that I had gathered while designing certain leadership training at work dealing with mindfulness and positivity and the neuroscience behind all these.
- WordPress gave me a couple of meaningful connections, people I can call friends, people with whom I have connected beyond the blogging world and shared a piece of my life. I never thought something like this was possible.
- Last but not in any way the least, right now I am on a trip with my parents across some places of Gujarat. What better way to end the year than doing what I love doing – traveling.
Cherishing moments of the year that was…….
It’s the day after Christmas, the fag end of December, another year has gone by. I’m in my hometown this Christmas. Christmas celebrations in this pretty little hill station, known for its tall Pines, colorful orchids, rock music and football among many others, is one of the best in India. I will write more about that later.
Sitting in the balcony and soaking in the warm winter sun is a pleasure that I haven’t had in a very long time. The warm winter sun brings in cherishing childhood memories making it all the more comforting. I’ve come a long way since then and all those memories seem from a past life. As my mind travels back to the present, fleeting moments of the year 2017 passes by, many of which I will cherish for the rest of my life. It’s indeed been a very happening year and I am filled with gratitude.
Here’s a quick flashback of the top 10 highlights:
- Started my own blog and quite impulsively so, never thought I would enjoy writing so much. I was helping a friend create a blog but landed up creating my own. Started mid-year and this is my 19th post. I was writing for myself, didn’t expect others to read them but was humbled to see people reading my posts. Besides, there are 5 people, who eagerly wait to read my posts and they sure do motivate me.
- Experienced life in three remote Himalayan villages that has impacted me in ways more than one.
- Traveled to China for the first time as I experienced life in Shanghai for a day.
- Trekked to Kudremukha hill and experienced the lush green Western Ghats, where I also encountered leeches for the first time.
- Experienced being hospitalized for the first time when I almost lost my life to Anaphylactic Shock.
- Reconnected with several of my old friends with whom I had lost touch for the past few years and it was like as though there was no gap at all. At the same time, moved away from few others whom I thought to be life-time friends.
- Stayed in a haunted hotel and had a brush with the paranormal.
- Spent my birthday in the Himalayas once again.
- Experienced the vast expanse of desert Himalayas as I traveled to the enchanting Spiti Valley.
- A very important life event, which I do not wish to disclose now and will fill in later.