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?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

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?

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?

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

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?

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.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Five Unpopular Opinions

I just had a deeply satisfactory weekend. This involved hectic socialising and chores on Saturday, and drinking coffee under the blanket on Sunday. Therefore, for the first time in days, I feel rested enough to be restless. Ergo, random tags on this defunct blog.

1. I think all kinds of beer and whiskey taste terrible. Doesn't matter how rare and expensive your single malt is, it'll always be wasted on me.

2. I think Harry Potter is a superior piece of literature than Lord Of The Rings.

3. I'm an avid meat eater. I also have two cats that I love to bits, and have not met a dog I haven't adored. However, I find myself curiously indifferent to the Yulin dog meat festival (that seems to have taken over my Facebook feed). Since I eat pig and cow and goat with gusto, I find it a little hypocritical to decry the custom of eating another kind of four legged animal. Isn't it all conditioning, at the end of the day?

4. I hate fudge. It's overtly sweet, tastes like nothing, and turns into glue inside one's mouth.

5. I think Seinfeld is overrated.