It’s difficult to believe that we are at the last day of 2021 and here I am writing my usual year end post. It feels like we blinked, and all the 365 days of this year got over. Though I must admit that this is exactly how it feels every single year.
The first thing that comes to mind as I reflect upon the year that’s gone by is that my writing and blogging effort has been below average. That doesn’t make me feel good at all. Well, let me take a pause and focus on things that makes me feel good instead.
- The year 2021 had started off with an unplanned trip to Horsley Hills, which happened on the very first day of the year. Horsley Hills is located in Andhra Pradesh and is a great place for a day trip or a short weekend trip.
- Amidst all the things that kept me busy, I maintained my focus on health and well-being. Thankfully there hasn’t been any lag on that front. I continued with my routine yoga, meditation, and jogging sessions. In fact, I believe that I have gained greater focus and concentration during my daily meditations. I have also doubled my meditation time.
- The highlight of this year, however, has to be my trip to Varanasi and Lucknow. It has been a memorable trip for reasons more than one. Most importantly, I took my father’s remains to Varanasi to immerse in River Ganga. He always wanted to visit the holy city, but it eluded him and he could never make it. Hence, we decided to immerse his ashes there. A very special friend accompanied me, making it a very special trip. The entire event, right from planning to execution, happened in a way like it was pre-ordained. We spent 5 beautiful days in Varanasi. We also visited Lucknow, where we stayed for 3 days.
- I did three local hikes exploring ruined forts in and around Bangalore – Hutridurga, Gudibande, and Gummanayaka. No Himalayas this year, which I do miss. Sometimes in the corner of my heart I feel there may not be many more Himalayan treks for me, but I’ll let time decide on that.
- Circumstances led to my cousin and brother-in-law visiting me twice this year in Bangalore. They happen to be my favourite relatives. Both the visits were related to medical reasons, but we did end up having a lot of fun too. We even made a short family trip to Mysore. I cannot be grateful enough for having spent such quality family time.
- I have always wanted to drive around in the outskirts of Bangalore but neither do I own a car nor do I know how to drive. So, I always land up hiring a chauffeur-driven car. This time my long-standing wish was fulfilled when we went on a on a roadtrip to Sakleshpur with my brother-in-law and my friend taking turns behind the wheels. During this trip, we also visited the famous Belur and Halebidu Temples.
- This year has blessed me with the opportunity to teach a few underprivileged kids, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. The four kids have enriched my life in ways more than one. I look forward to my time with them and it’s a lot of fun.
That’s quite a list and it does make me feel quite elated right now. However, life is not just roses and here are a few things that haven’t been so pleasant this year.
- I could not visit my Shillong home this year and neither could I attend my father’s first year death anniversary. All thanks to how non-tribals (especially Bengalis) are alienated in Meghalaya and made to feel like outsiders in their own home. I will not go into the details as I don’t want to, and the rest of my countrymen cannot relate to it. But all of this has seriously injured the immense love I had for my hometown, the city of my birth, and where I spent all my growing up years.
- The beginning of this year found me seriously ill, all because of a wrong treatment that I can easily attribute to the pandemic. I became well eventually but landed up with a permanent damage on two of my front teeth.
- My WordPress activity has come down drastically and I need to make amends sooner than later. I can blame this on nothing but myself. Blogging has given me so much, most importantly connected me to such wonderful people, and I don’t want to take that for granted ever.
Though New Year is just another day like every other day but let’s hold on the belief that we’re ushering in something new, which gives us hope and something to look forward to. A warm hug and goodbye to 2021. As I step into 2022, I pray to the Almighty is to guide my steps to be able to comprehend myself a little better so that I can make those positive changes towards becoming a better a version of myself.
It’s that time of the year – time to write my usual year end post. As I sit here reflecting on the year that’s gone by, I am finding it difficult to fathom all the things that have happened. It feels like I’ve been engulfed in a hurricane that hasn’t died down yet. Overwhelmed is maybe how I feel right now. It’s not just me, everyone is probably feeling the same way. I am also finding it difficult to demarcate the good and the bad. It’s like salt and sugar mingled in equal proportions. I cannot pick one from the other. Every good had its associated bad and vice versa. There was no gray. Everything was in sharp contrast. Yet, it’s hard to pick one without the other. That’s how life happened to me personally in 2020.
Here’s a summary of the year as it was for me – the weird and one-of-a-kind year.
- 2020 has to be an unforgettable year for me. The reason is my father, who suddenly left for his heavenly abode. He was blessed and fortunate to have been able to leave this world as easily as he did. However, not a single day goes by when I don’t remember him. Getting used to his absence is something I am trying hard to learn.
- 2020 has been the year of pandemic lockdowns. We’ve been confined to our homes for a significant part of the year. It provided an opportunity to discover and appreciate joy derived from the small things of life – things that we otherwise overlooked. It was also an opportunity to contemplate and be cognizant of all those things that we had taken for granted in life.
- 2020 was supposed to be a no-travel-year for everyone. I have been privileged to have traveled quite a bit throughout the year, including an international travel too.
- Bhadrika Ashram, Himachal Pradesh, to start the year.
- Miami, USA on an official visit.
- Madurai, Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi with my parents – turned out to be the last trip with my father.
- Number of places in Meghalaya – Shillong, Nartiang, and Cherrapunjee.
- Number of places in the outskirts of Bangalore, including Mysore, BR Hills, and more.
- Some beaches and temples in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- 2020 was supposed to be a year of no treks but two treks happened to me, both in the outskirts of Bangalore. No Himalayas this year.
- Circumstances led to spending a lot of family time together in our Shillong home. Not just the immediate family but extended family too. Also, this was the first time in many years that I got to spend quality time in my father’s garden that he had painstakingly built over several years.
- Again, it was circumstances that led me to participate in our family Durga Puja after a gap of 20 years.
- The pandemic led me to revisit my hobby of stitching as I hand-stitched masks for myself and also for family and friends.
- Hit by a pandemic related downsizing at work, I had to leave the job that had me engaged for 8 years. However, destiny presented me with another job offer and I was employed in less than a month’s time. (My father’s blessings I’d like to believe.)
- It will be unfair if I miss mentioning those few people who went out of their ways to do things for me. People, who are not friends, people who I just causally met or interacted with. These people left me speechless and made me wonder if at all I deserved all of those acts of kindness! Sometimes I feel inspired to be the same, sometimes I feel indebted not knowing what I could do in return.
- The year ended with my cousin visiting me and working from my home in Bangalore for the whole of December. It did leave me very busy as I struggled to manage home and the expectations of a new job. But the joyful moments I have been having at home is priceless and inestimably precious.
2020 – the year like no other – has been as tumultuous as it can be. However, there is no room to complain. My year has been like a garden of roses when compared to the untold sufferings people world over have had. I can only express my gratitude and pray to the Almighty to keep me grounded, judicious, and steady in 2021 and beyond.
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.
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.