Monday, January 07, 2019

2018: going, going, gone...

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

2018 was a garbage fire of a year, a dumpster engulfed in flames that refused to go out. Now that I look back, I legit did not do any single *new* thing this year. I grinded away at the same old, same old. Thor bori khara, purono pajama...

But I did exercise semi-regularly for the first time in my life, and started a new, potential sidegig-y thing that got okay reviews and is still under production. So I guess ... I adulted?  


2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Nope. Yes.



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Nope. But 2019 promises to make up for the temporary lull in procreation in my social circle.



4. Did anyone close to you die?


No, thank god.



5. What countries did you visit?

Vietnam! It was a surprisingly great vacation, where we wandered the length of the country, eating delicious food and walking aimlessly through pretty streets.  

Within India, I went to Kalpa in Himachal, and the usual suspects of Benares and Calcutta. Maybe 2019's resolution can be to travel a bit more within the country. 

I also visited the Nizamuddin dargah for the first time, after living in Delhi for 8 years ... does that count?


6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

Money money money money....MONEY. [Please sing along with me]



7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?

Hmmm...maybe 31st December? But frankly, that's probably because that's the freshest in my mind, and I really did have the greatest time that day. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Exercising semi-regularly
  • Going on that much-awaited trip
  • Staying contentedly alone for long stretches of time

9. What was your biggest failure?


Not getting out of the rut at work, I think. Change is terrifying and HARD, y'all.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, a badly timed horrible bout of fever that made me partially miss a much-anticipated wedding, and several horrid cases of food poisoning. In retrospect, maybe stress really IS the silent killer.


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to Vietnam!



12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Mine. Without a shadow of doubt. Maybe S' too, but the jury is still out on that one.



13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

No comments, because remember how I'm adulting now? Responsible adults do not crib in public.



14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Food. Cats. 



15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


Vietnam trip! The business-y sidegig-y thing *fingers crossed*



16. What song/album will always remind you of 2018?

Sakalbana - especially the Coke Studio version

This was also the year I discovered podcasts, and I *could not* be more of a convert. They make household chores and errand running 100% better. My current favourites are Potterless, Harry Potter And The Sacred Text, Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, and Spirits. Maybe 2019 can be my year of discovering Indian podcasts. 

Podcasts for president!


17.Compared to this time last year, are you:


1. Happier or sadder? Same.
2. Thinner or fatter? Fatter.
3. Richer or poorer? Same.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Go outside. Shut down my computer and go for walks/picnics/runs. The amount of time I spent in front of a screen -- either working or trying to work -- is ridiculous.



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

Procrastination. Sitting on my ass, scrolling through the social media hellscapes.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?


Christmas was spent in Vietnam -- exploring caves in Halong bay and then coming back to Hanoi to walk around the city, visit a local church, and ingest Banh Mis and many cups of delightful Vietnamese coffee. So it was all good. :) 


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?


The Americans from work. (This answer is the same as last year, which is a truly depressing state of being.)



22. Did you fall in love in 2018?


Nope.



23. How many one night stands in this last year?


None.



24. What was your favourite TV programme?

  • GLOW
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Queer Eye
  • Anne With An E
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
(TV was quite deliciously good this year.)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


Yes.


26. What was the best book(s) you read?


Hmm...let's see. "Ones Who Eat Darkness" by Richard Lloyd Perry and "All That Remains" by Sue Black were both stunning works of non-fiction. This was the year where fiction really did disappoint -- Katherine Arden's "Girl In The Tower" being one of the few exceptions.  

I also completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 36 books. So that was something. 


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Nothing at all. All the old comforts were played on loop to keep real life at bay.



28. What did you want and get?

The Vietnam trip.



29. What did you want and not get?


Job satisfaction.



30. What were your favourite films of this year?


Mukkabaz. Manmarziyan. Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


I turned the big three o! There was cosy lunch party with few friends the weekend before. Many gifts from S and colleagues the day and day after. Spent the day chilling at home with cats, reading happily in bed -- and went out to fancy dinner with S in the evening. Best goddamn steak I've had in Delhi -- which is a true birthday miracle.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 

Less procrastinating, more doing. Maybe a little bit of therapy?


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?


Boring corporate slave with red/green hair a remnant of rebellion.


34. What kept you sane?


Cats and books and yoga. 


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


Lin Manuel Miranda. Ranveer Singh. Neil Gaiman [WHO REPLIED TO ONE OF MY TWEETS AND MADE ME DELIRIOUS WITH JOY]. David Tennant. Hasan Minhaj. Riz Ahmed. (My list doesn't change much, does it?  I am loyal towards my celebrity crushes.)


36. What political issue stirred you the most?


Scrapping of Section 377 from the Indian penal code! Yeah babeh!





37. Who did you miss?


Didimoni



38. Who was the best new person you met?


No one



39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

As I recently read on the Interwebz -- DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.



40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Wahaan kaun hai tera,
Musaafir, jayega kahaan?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

2017, in a nutshell

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Bought a large important thing. Does that make me sound unbearably adult and pretentious? I think it does, and that makes me sad. But I did. I (we, actually) bought a large important thing, and now I am a large, important thing owner. 


This was also the year I mastered PROPER swimming -- as opposed to nervous thrashing about that I was doing last year. The long summer was spent swimming endless laps of the local pool. I think I have finally found my favourite sport in the world.

Also, took a trip to Goa with friends. After planning for, like, 20,000 years. (No, seriously...people had been talking about "doing Goa" for at least a decade.) The wait was totally worth it, though. Goa was all sorts of magical fun and narcotics-fuelled days bleeding into one another  -- just like I had pictured it as a teenager.

I also started wearing lipstick regularly for the first time in my adult life. Does that count? 


2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Partly. Yes.



3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


Yes! So many babies this year! 2017 was truly the year of procreation.



4. Did anyone close to you die?


No



5. What countries did you visit?

It was a pretty tame year, travel-wise. Largely because all our money had already gone towards large important thing. 

Within India, I went to Barot and Gushaini in Himachal, Goa, Bangalore, Benares, Lansdowne, and Calcutta. Maybe next year will be better? (Fingers crossed, knock on wood, spit in fire, etc.) 


6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Discipline. Contentment. Job satisfaction.



7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?

Weirdly enough, no single date comes to mind. This was one long slog of a year, punctuated by brief moments of calm joy.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Buying the big important thing
  • Working 13 hour days for months at a stretch, and not giving up
  • Sticking to my commitment of regular yoga practice

9. What was your biggest failure?



  • A spectacularly botched up work transition in the middle of the year. If not for the Goa trip, I wouldn't have survived summer this year without a nervous breakdown
  • Money

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing major (thank God) except for persistent, bone-deep weariness.



11. What was the best thing you bought?

The BIG! IMPORTANT! THING!



12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Mine. Without a shadow of doubt.



13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Everyone else'.



14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel. Food. Big Important Thing.



15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?


Goa trip! Finally buying important thing I keep writing about. 



16. What song/album will always remind you of 2017?
"Udd gaye" by Rivtiz from Bacardi House Party Sessions; Makeba by Jain; "You'll be back" from Hamilton


17.Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. Happier or sadder? Happier, I think.
2. Thinner or fatter? Fatter.
3. Richer or poorer? Richer.



18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Work. Which is ridiculous, since I worked a LOT. This does tell you about the current unhealthy relationship I have with my work, though. (Also, do you see the difference between last year's answers and this year's? Last year I was all angsty and revolting at being made to work so much. This year I'm wishing I had worked even more. My conversion to a slave of capitalism has been completed. Brainwash successful. Ting ting ti ting!)



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

Procrastination. Complaining. 2018 is going to be my year of sucking it up and dealing with it. I'm tired of being bitchy about circumstances, which is how I spent most of last year. Working or bitching -- I must have been a delight to be around.


20. How will you be spending Christmas?


Christmas was spent with long-lost family, old friends, mulled wine, and beef biriyani from ZamZam. Life was good. :) 


21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?


The Americans from work. (Google Hangouts to the rescue.)



22. Did you fall in love in 2017?


Does falling in love with Lin Manuel Miranda count?



23. How many one night stands in this last year?


None.



24. What was your favourite TV programme?

  • Big Little Lies
  • This Is Us
  • Game of Thrones
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Shetland
  • Off-script With AIB
(Dammit, I watched a lot of TV this year.)


25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


Yes.


26. What was the best book(s) you read?


Oooh. This is my favourite question. Let's see -- this was my year of the detective novels, and I read a number of good ones. After exhausting all of Tana French, Anne Cleeves was my favourite whodunit discovery. My favourite Cleeves this year was "Telling Tales". Among non-detective stories, I loved Liu Cixin's "Three Body Problem" and Kamila Shamsie's "Home Fire". Another absolute stunner was Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace". It was the kind of book that changes lives.

I also completed the Goodreads Challenge I had set myself, and managed to read 35 books this year. All in all, reading was the one thing that kept me sane.  


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?


Fleetwood Mac. Lin Manuel Miranda (AGAIN!) 



28. What did you want and get?

The big important thing



29. What did you want and not get?


More money. A less stressful job.



30. What were your favourite films of this year?


Hidden Figures. Haraamkhor. A Death In The Gunj. The Big Sick. 

This wasn't a year for movie watching. This was the year of binge watching Netflix shows. 


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?


I turned 29. There was a big blowout lunch the weekend before, and a quiet day on the day of the birthday. I took the day off work, watched two whole movies, and had a lovely dinner with friends at Big Chill where I stuffed my face with as much cheesecake as possible. 


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 

More money. Better time management.


33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?


Finally adulting.


34. What kept you sane?


Cats and books and yoga. 


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


Lin Manuel Miranda. Ranveer Singh. Neil Gaiman. David Tennant. Hasan Minhaj. Riz Ahmed. (My list doesn't change much, does it?  I am loyal towards my celebrity crushes.)


36. What political issue stirred you the most?


Aadhaar. Right to privacy act. Gujarat elections. Fucking Padmavati not being released. The sexual harrassment purge in USA.


 2017 was a shitty SHITTY year for my politics. 



37. Who did you miss?


Didimoni



38. Who was the best new person you met?


No one



39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

There's nothing that hard work won't fix. Kindness is MUCH more important than any other virtue.  



40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?


We hold these truths to be self-evident
That all men are created equal,
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson
I'm 'a compel him to include women in the sequel 

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Traditional Goodbye To This Spectacularly Horrific Year

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Visited the UK (England, Scotland, Ireland). Watched a play in Shakespeare's Globe. Strolled down narrow London roads. Did touristy things in double-decker buses. Sang aloud in Irish pubs -- slightly tipsy on endless glasses of cider. Walked around deserted Edinburgh streets and grey Scottish villages. Cradled a cup of steaming soup in a quaint eatery next to Loch Ness. It was the dream of a lifetime -- a country I had read about all my life, stories I had studied for five years in college. Walking back to our central London hostel after many a random adventure, pleasantly tired and eating salted caramel ice cream was the closest thing to contentment I felt all of this year.


Mourning my grandmother. She was, quite simply, my most favourite person on earth. And 2016 took her away. This year, I grieved like I've never grieved before. I'm still not fully normal -- and every few days, I'm hit with a wave of longing so intense that it takes my breath away. 2016, you were such a fucker.


2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Kind of. Yes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes.

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Ireland, Scotland
Also, the following places within India: Gushaini (Himachal), Kashipur, Benares, Calcutta.


Apart from the UK trip, this was not a travelling year. I didn't even go home for Pujo OR Christmas.


6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Money. Happiness. Motivation. Rest.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
17th July. Made sure that I won't be forgetting 2016 in a hurry.


(Also, the first two weeks of December, when a plethora of friends got married and Calcutta was magical. But mostly, 17th July.)


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

  • Making the UK happen
  • Not breaking down in public every other day

9. What was your biggest failure?
  Money. Work. Contentment.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing worth remembering anyway. Does heartache count? 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
 Tickets for the UK. Books on Kindle. Wacom tablet for S.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Mine. S'.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
2016's

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel. Food. Books.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The UK trip. The December weddings. 

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2016?
"Hosanna..." from Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa

"Ophelia..." by the Lumineers
The entire soundtrack of Hamilton (Young, scrappy, and hungry!)
"Aguner poroshmoni..."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. Happier or sadder? Sadder.
2. Thinner or fatter? Fatter.
3. Richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spending time with my grandmother. Oh God, the regret is like a metallic taste in my tongue. It lurks in corners, never too far to give me a nudge, a poke, a swat.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Working. Good fucking lord, the American bosses took over my life this year. I worked 12/13 hour days for weeks at a time. 2016, you were spectacularly bad for my hobbies, my posture, my sanity, and my ability to keep my house clean and spend time with S.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas was spent with good friends and wine at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, followed by arguably the best Bollywood movie I've seen this year. It was all good. :) 

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
The mother. The mother-in-law. The boss. (Google Hangouts count, right?)

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Nope.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
None.


24. What was your favourite TV programme?

  • Jessica Jones
  • Stranger Things
  • Game of Thrones
  • Relationship Goals (on Buzzfeed Violet)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Yes.

26. What was the best book(s) you read? 

Books were the one thing that did not suck this year. I read a ton of whodunits (that were mostly good) and a bunch of "in the news, hyped" books (that were mostly bad). I also completed the GoodReads reading challenge of 32 books in a year. So there's that.

However, the best book, by far, was Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Emperor of All Maladies". This is the kind of book that changes lives. If I had read this in high school, I would surely have been more interested in biology than I was. Weirdly enough, I was reading this right around the time my grandmum passed away. This book, and its story of man's essential mortality, helped soothe me in those days when little else could. 


Since then, I've listened to a number of Mukherjee's talks on YouTube, and developed a full blown crush on this bearded, bespectacled Bengali boy with a Pulitzer prize under his belt. I'm saving his latest book on genes for next year, savouring the delicious anticipation.


27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Lumineers. 

28. What did you want and get?
The UK trip

29. What did you want and not get?
My grandmother. Job satisfaction. Success. Money.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
Howl's Moving Castle. Dangal. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. 

(Much like travelling, this was not a year for serious movie watching. I spent all my time working or grieving or mindlessly watching Buzzfeed videos.)

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
28. A full on lunch party the day before. Basking in the sunshine with my cats and eating sushi and tiramisu on the actual day.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
 More money. A better job. My grandmother.  

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Trying hard.

34. What kept you sane?
S. Books. Cats. Sleep.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Siddhartha Mukherjee. Riz Ahmed. Lin Manuel Miranda. (And of course, the usuals of Gaiman, Tennant, Adichie and Ranveer Singh)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
JNU. Brexit. Trump. Demonetization. 2016 was a year of shitty SHITTY politics. Every issue I cared about went the opposite way. Every person I hated ascended the throne. 

37. Who did you miss?
My grandmother.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
N, maybe?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Keep calm and carry on. (And maybe sometimes cry a little.) 

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Catch a boat to England, baby, 
Maybe to Spain 
Wherever I have gone, 
Wherever I've been and gone 
Wherever I have gone 
The blues are all the same.