The year that was…2016 in a nutshell

And like that another year comes to an end. As we roll on from 2016, and to 2017, it’s always nice to look back at the year gone by and count one’s blessings, be thankful for the good and learn from what didn’t go down that well this year. So here’s my little list of the good things that happened this year. There was the bad and thankfully there was nothing exceptionally ugly this year- but there’s no point looking back at it. It was bad but its over and thats what it should be, over!

I’m thankful for:

  1. Strength: Of mind, of heart, of soul. The last two years have not really been a joyride but one of the things that kept me going was a huge inner reserve of strength that I didn’t think I ever had. But as they say  strength manifests itself in moments when you least expect it and this inner reserve has led me through the darkest and loneliest of times, just holding my hand and gently guiding me along.
  2. Hope: Hope is what kept me afloat this year. Hope that the next day will be better than this one. Hope that there will be more smiles than tears. Hope that everything will be ok. It is true that when one starts thinking in a different vein with a different filter, things on the outside seem different and thats what happened. As soon as you look at something with a tinge of hope, what you see is not the black hole in the middle but the little stars twinkling at the edges, looking for a spot through which to get in.
    I spent four nights this year in the middle of a forest and at night I used to sit outside my tent and look up at the sky. Shooting stars and a dark sky with twinkling lights is perhaps one of the most beautiful things this world of ours has to offer. Vast stretches of pitch black darkness and when you least expect it, a twinkling little light breaking that darkness and almost just peering out to say hello. That is life. There are stretches when you cant see the road ahead but just then the universe will show you something that makes you smile.
  3. A stable job and a new house: I cant claim to enjoy my job anymore but its stable, I have a fun bunch of people to hang out with and I am good at what I do, even if I say so myself. So I guess the trick is to plough on and be thankful that I get a remuneration that helps me pay my bills and stay afloat. But the more exciting thing is that I have a brand new house. After years of procrastinating, this year saw me move into “my own” apartment, which I can claim to be wholly mine, with no baggage and only memories that I will create for myself and people I hold dear and near. I’ve already had lovely house guests and friends who’ve added cheer and warmth and made this place special and I can only hope that this will continue to get better and brighter as the new year rolls in.
  4. Good health: We are all getting old and while I cant claim to be where I am in terms of physical health, shape and fitness, I am thankful for no creaking bones or any major debilitating illness. Of course there have been spates of illness, when all I thought while curled up in my bed, that was my last hour on this planet. But then even that blew over and I woke up to realise I still had all my limbs and organs functioning. The brain is slowly giving way, thanks to old age, but I guess thats for the better- one forgets shit quite easily and continues to smile like nothing ever happened.
  5. Family:  The family has been well and healthy. And that’s saying a lot. Of course there have been tiffs, tears and arguments. But which one of us dont come from dysfunctional families? If you do, you are dysfunctional yourself and time for you to get help. So yeah, beyond all of that everybody was well and on an average happy and calm perhaps if i really stretch the envelope and want to be nice.
  6. Friends: I always put this last because I can never be thankful enough for the bunch that I have and call my own. My friends have been my backbone, my spirit, my strength…everything I could ask for and much more. And for that I am blessed. There have been times when I’ve laughed till I cried and times when I cried because they gave me so much of grief. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, ever. And in 2017 I promise to be a better friend to them and be there for them the way they have been for me!

So that was 2016 in a nutshell, very small shell of an even smaller nut but just a quick glimpse into a year that was. It always helps me put this down because it teaches me to count my blessings when it feels like there is none around. So come on 2017, match up and go beyond 2016 and I promise to write you an effusive soppy note come this time next year.

Happy holidays people and lots of good vibes to you and yours from this side of the screen 🙂

Where am I…and where do I go?

I often meet people who ask me where I belong to…well thats easy I say to them…Kolkata- thats home for me…no but where do you actually belong, they insist… and I think hard for the appropriate answer and I say…well, Bangladesh…if you have to be very very technical.

For me it’s very difficult to pinpoint where I belong- what I really call home- what was home and what is home now. I grew up in Kolkata- south Kolkata to be precise. But Iv always been told by my dad and paternal relatives, that we are originally from Bangladesh and thats where our roots are. Even my mom’s family is originally from Bangladesh and now when I think of it, Iv often heard my grandmom saying that she would want to breathe her last in the house in which she was born- apparently that still exists and one of her nephews live there. To me, Bangladesh is really abroad- a land I cant even imagine I can call home because I have had no association with it, even in terms of a visit ever.

Iv lived in Kolkata for 25 years of my life. I have my family there and so does M. We have some of our very close friends still in Kolkata. For M, there is really no city he associates himself with anymore. He was born in Chennai, grew up in Hyderabad and Bangalore and moved to Kolkata when he was really at the age when teenagers start hanging out with their friends for movies, coffee etc. Also being the introvert that he is and having two other siblings, he never made any friends by the time he came to Kolkata. Most of his friends today are friends he has made much later in life and not in school or college. For him, his childhood has memories of him playing with his cousins and siblings. He often talks of Bangalore and i can sense that nostalgia in his voice when he regales me with stories of how they used to play in their bungalow gardens there. Thats possibly the only place he wishes he can go back to and the only place he can call home. I, on the other hand, make friends wherever I go. Even though they might not be really close, I am a more sociable person than M and can mix much more easily.

We moved to Delhi about three years back- actually exactly 3 years back to the date tomorrow. I moved out of Kolkata and pulled M with me, not because we got better offers in Delhi, but because I  needed to get away. I need my space from people and surprisingly enough, from my family. Iv had disastrous relations with them at some point in time and for me getting out and being in touch from a distance was the only way out. I did it and I liked it. But like every other thing in life, this also has its major disadvantages and I couldnt be there by my dad when he breathed his last. By the time I reached, it was all over. Ever since dad, Iv been thinking whether it makes sense to go back and be around mom, not because I need to…but because she needs me. I know that…but going back to the city I left for good just doesnt feel right anymore. I have been dilly-dallying with this thought for some time now and everybody who knows me closely enough has completely warned me against it because they know that I need my distance to be sane and calm.

For me now, packing to go home for short visits is fun…is refreshing…is nice. To be pampered and spoilt, to meet old friends over a beer, to visit some places I used to love. But Delhi is home…where I belong…my own house…my own bed…my own space…atleast till the time I dont run away again.

Edited to add: Now when I read this post, not a single line makes any sense…so just in case anybody else other than me is readin this, please pardon the incomprehensibility of the post.