2016, Jeeta Hain Chal - Part V
The year started off on a sad little note. The reminder of a failure and the thought of someone leaving me, The feeling of being alone. The feeling of being destroyed. The feeling of losing control.
It seemed as if this time would never end. And then, I fell in love again. My better half wasn't very happy with it, but she had to adjust. Probably she'll adjust with this all our life together.
My love taught me to stay in control, taught me that being alone is all there is & finally, made me appreciate the things I had, the things I will gain and the thing I should let go of. My love is here to stay with me, forever and ever.
Over the course of the year, I also found a couple of good mentors. I haven't met them yet, hopefully will do so very soon. They've unknowingly been teaching me in their own way and I have been trying to grasp all I can.
The year is ending on a very positive note with my feelings summarized below:
The feeling of being one (& alone) with someone. The feeling of being resurrected. The feeling of being in control.
A lot has changed in this year and a lot will change over the coming years.
I just hope you (dear reader) have a great year and an even better life ahead of you.
2016 was, at least for me, a year of first, for better and for worse. Of the former, there were many. This was the first year I drove. This was the first year I lived away from home. This was the first year I wrote (and published!) a paper. This was the first year I flew on a flight by myself. This was the first year I went shopping for by myself, with my own money. This was the first time I walked around at night all by myself, lost in not my thoughts, but in the city around me, in the thousands and hundreds of thousands of lives around me, winking their way to sleep, dreams, mornings, coffee, jobs, school, daycare, kindergarten, vacation, or shopping. And yet, there was also the latter. This was the first time I felt such deep sorrow, brought along by so many events far out of my control - the refugee crisis in Europe, the ever-lengthening Syrian Civil war, the rapidly spiraling violent drug war in the Philippines, the continuing civil war in Colombia, the debt crisis in Venezuela, not to mention rising extremism in such 'so-far-immune' countries as France, England, Germany, and the US. These are not duals, yet we can see them as such - something I have at least learned now (as they say, better late than never) - so many of the happier firsts were within my own volition and agency: I learned to drive; I got accepted to Columbia; I wrote the paper. And of those latter, I had no control, no agency, no volition. If there is a lession to be learned, it is this: what makes us happiest is always well within our choices. Even if our choices are wrong, we can rest assured in that the choices were well and truly our own. If I had failed my driving test, I would not have been sad - it would have meant the failing the test was out of my control. I would have been disappointed at myself - that I had not tried - and happy - that I had recognized this and tried to correct it.
I look forward to 2017 with the same zeal I looked to 2016, yet with a little bit more wisdom, so that next year, come what may, I can share a new lesson I learned.
After a 100 manager-like reminders from Anant, here is the much solicited 2016 review. As I had mentioned in an earlier message to him, writing down on what you feel about the passing year is harder than I had thought. There are moments when my mind is almost blank with nothing popping up, while there are these other moments when memories are rushing in incoherent directionless gales, which overwhelm me enough and leave me with nothing concrete to chronicle.
But nevertheless, here is me trying to timeline the year’s events, on the last day of this bittersweet year numbered 2016, sitting by the living room’s window and getting distracted by the pigeons and monkeys that often grace my balcony with their not-so-rare- visits.
Starting with January, I was stuck in a job that wasn’t giving me any sort of satisfaction, be it professional or personal. One big reason of it could be the daily commute to Gurgaon which is excruciating for multiple reasons. Silver lining of struggling through the feeling of being stuck for an average of 4 hours and trying hard to not yell, every single evening, was that as of this day, one year later, I have mastered the art of sleeping anytime and anywhere. Another good part about being jobless (not literally as I had a job per say but no work) was me starting to think seriously about higher studies and preparing for GRE. I gave the dreadful exam in March and scored decently. Then came the TOEFL which again went decently well. What followed were long and confused discussions with friends, friends of friends and seniors who were about to or were already studying abroad. After gaining some clarity, I started shortlisting my universities and preparing the statement of purpose. And however challenging this whole process was, I was happy to have finally found something I cared about.
Anant was nothing short of a blind man’s support cane, who patiently answered by zillion questions and was always there to review every document that I had to make. Thankfully, these conversations helped us realize of our similar interests, poetry and gossiping were some of these and we became friends. I could have said better friends but we weren’t as much friends before as a junior and senior from college. We attended Jagran film festival in July which was an entirely blissful experience. He left for New York the next month, and going forward, I was more or less, completely engrossed in my university applications.
In between all this was a trip to Mumbai and Alibaug with my college friends. Right from the early morning flight to Mumbai, to the beautiful resort beside Aksa beach in Malad, to the night well spent on Marine drive, and to the 2 day getaway to Alibaug, it was all insanely beautiful. In between all this, I had also started Instagramming this year, which soon transformed into an obsession with me keeping a tab on the follower count and finally resulted into the realization that I should tone the crazy-infancy down and focus on doing something I love because it gave me happiness, and happiness shouldn’t be measured at the hands of such frivolous metrics. I resumed writing poetry, and wrote lots of it. There was this time when I was genuinely happy at having rekindled my love for words and frames.
My brother and sister in law visited around Diwali and we spent our days roaming in the old Delhi streets and Hauz Khas lanes, and played a great amount of Monopoly. Office was the usual drab, but it got exciting after I switched to a new team. But things were difficult in the beginning, having to cope with an excessively competitive and sycophant colleague. I learnt how to deal with him and not let these unimportant office things bother me as much. But the ‘wisdom’ came after almost going insane and not sleeping for 10 days at a stretch. These periods, if summed up, are full of self-doubt, hyperventilating, crying and self-pity. And not to forget, sleep deprivation worsens every one of those aforementioned vices and heightens every emotion one is feeling. I slipped into this phase twice, and got out both times, better, I would like to believe.
I received my first university admit quite early and felt content, to say the least. Rest of the year was peaceful, as I knew that whatever office woes I am experiencing, are going to end soon. Being an obsessive planner, it was placating to know what is going to be the next stop in my life journey.
December was eventful. I went to Mumbai and Pune to spend time with 2 of my best friends, and attend NH7 Weekender. Watching Steven Wilson live was an experience one can’t translate into words. It was something you feel and bear in your mind and soul, for the rest of your lives. Even if I try really hard to explain what it felt like to listen him sing songs like ‘Raven that refused to sing’ and ‘Lazarus’, I can’t. I was crying and laughing and felt strong and weak. The man is an eccentric genius.
I attended my undergraduate convocation after returning from Mumbai, and strangely, it wasn’t as emotional an affair as I had thought it would be. Probably because I stayed in the same city and kept in touch with all my friends, it didn’t feel like returning to a distant love. I celebrated 2-years with Akshay, the guy I have been dating and felt good about having someone in my life for whom I am willing to change myself and make things work.
For now, I am looking forward to going to States, not alone but with Akshay (fingers crossed), and see how good/bad we fair. I am hoping to write more poems and visit new places and click lots of pictures. I am hoping to celebrate another anniversary and make new relationships with people I am yet to meet. I am hoping to stay strong with my friends and family irrespective of the distance. I am hoping to read many books and discover new music. I am hoping to cry a lot (because I always do) and laugh my heart out. I am hoping to love and be loved. I am hoping to grow, stronger and wiser, and more patient. I am hoping to overthink less and yell less at my mother. I am hoping to hurt less. I am hoping to be in positive spirits as much as possible and write such a review for 2017 too. ☺