Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Challenge Accepted!

This story began in December 2006. I had been doing a revision of the year gone by and decided that 2006 was the year to beat as far as being a landmark year of my life was concerned. I believe that 2011 was sitting in a corner, looking dapper in a grey suit with a maroon tie, and said in a Barney Stinson voice, “Challenge accepted”.

I’m scared of calling this the year the one to beat and hope there is not one more year that decides to take up the challenge. Although, I do wish that there is a year sitting in the calendar room, looking down at me and thinking, “Ah! The poor girl has gone through enough to last a lifetime. I’ll reward her when my time comes.”

One year ago, if you came to me and told me that in a year’s time I would have a permanent tattoo on my back and would have pierced my nose and also given up on the idea of a nose pin, I wouldn’t have believed you. Chances are high, I would have just about waited for you to turn your back before rolling my eyes and mouthing the word, ‘idiot!’ Someone would have to be an absolute idiot to suggest that I would be brave enough to go through both of these extremely painful processes. But if you think that 2011 was painful because of the tattoo and the piercing, boy you are wrong.

The year started on a grim note. None of the five odd doctors we had visited could understand why mom was losing weight. Finally, in the last week of February, after a tormenting visit to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and a series of tests over a period of four days, we found out that she had ovarian cancer stage three. Rushed decisions were made and mom and I went to Jaipur where mama and mami opened their hearts and house to take care of mom. It was decided that I would shuttle between Delhi and Jaipur. I’ve already written about this at length so will not repeat myself. In short cancer shook me up in a way I never want to be shaken again. Ever.

On the positive, my life values went on to be defined in a better manner. Suddenly, I started seeing only good in all the people around me. There was a duration of around 3 odd months when I was almost defending other people’s bad choices as well. Trust me, this is not the best way to be. In time, this year also taught me what having a balanced approach to life and people means. Hopefully, I’m now wiser to the ways of life and can see people for what they really are.

One of my best friends shared the awesome news of her pregnancy and I realised I miss her now more than ever. I wish I could be near her and see her evolve in this role. Fortunately, technology ensures that we exchange all the important details of our lives from time to time. Of course given a choice things would be different and I would be with her to share her journey of becoming a mom but choice is not affordable at the moment.

Things improved as the year progressed. I got a promotion at work and outside of office some things fell into place in such a manner that I can now call myself a published author/contributor. One of my stories was published in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul: On Friendship. Receiving the first copy of the book was a moment I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. It was what Oprah calls a ‘full-life circle moments’. My mother and I relied heavily on the Chicken Soup for the Soul series after my father’s death. A decade and some years later, it was nice to know that my story might bring a smile on someone’s face in their moment of need.

Another important event was the crossover from being a Blackberry Boy to an Android Girl. Totally in love with my new Korean companion, I love discovering new things about it daily. The world of apps has engaged me almost as much as SRK and his smile have for so many years.

An employee of MidDay was kind enough to blatantly use a photograph I had clicked and posted on my blog, Delhi Photo Diary, and call it a file photo. Obviously, I was mad and after an online toing and froing of mails and tweets, the editor-in-chief was gracious enough to accept the mistake and compensated me a sum of 5K. That was a pleasant and welcome windfall.

Like I mentioned earlier, I got a beautiful tattoo of a daffodil on my back to stamp my narcissism. I also decided to pierce my nose. Impatience is my middle name when it comes to vanity and soon I wanted to wear a better design. Apparently, none of the holy texts grant rewards to the impatient. And one day the nose pin fell off while I was sleeping and I was not brave enough to put it back in. So now the hole is there but the jewel is missing. But now that I have realized that my threshold for pain is high I might go for it again in 2012.

The travel bug bit me as the year neared the end and I decided to force Parul into coming with me to Bharatpur for a weekend. I decided to drive myself. We had a wonderful time. Birds posed for my camera and the hotel we stayed in was beautiful. As soon as I was happy with the way life was settling back to normal, a drunk truck driver changed his lane and hit my car on the highway while we were returning. Fortunately, Parul, other people on the road and I were not hurt. But my car was really badly damaged. We also had the good fortune of being helped by really good and helpful police officers. Both of us reached with gratitude in our hearts for our saved lives. The bonus was a good set of photographs in my camera.

The year thank god did not end at that note. Better things were waiting in the side wings. Mom got a promotion just two days before the year ended. It was a much awaited good news. Good things come to people who wait it seems. So this will also be one of the mantras to survive 2012.

I’m about to lift my bags and leave for a holiday. And I plan to be in a mood where I revise the year gone by while the train chugs across the states of India. I already know that by the end of the journey, though I have had high jumps and then fallen really low, I’ll get up brush the dust off my ass, give my brightest smile and say, “Dear 2012! Bring it on baby!”