Updated: Mar 24, 2019
Here it goes.
The first and last time I attempted swimming was 15 years back, when I had a tube around my waist and more water in my eyes than the pool itself. After all these years, I finally attained the courage (and height) required to enter the deep waters again.
The month long lessons and early morning cold showers were a painful requisite for the metamorphosis into an amphibian.
Watching an IPL match live was checked off my bucket list. For someone who calls himself a cricket fan, it was really embarrassing/shocking to learn that after every over, it is not the batsmen who switch ends, but the fielders and umpires (mind = blown).
Badminton is the other sport I enjoy. I made playing badminton a weekly affair until this incident happened one fine day - I lunged forward with athleticism to pickup a plummeting shuttle and managed to rip my shorts right through the middle. Then, much like Cersei, I tiptoed home in a walk of atonement, covering my modesty. (I swear, I heard the neighbourhood kids cry out 'Shame! Shame!')
I tried my hands at rock climbing, parasailing and go-karting over the year primarily to get over my fear of adventure sports. In March this year, I ran my first marathon. It is something I would like to do again in 2019 and beyond.
I went to Anthargange for an exhausting, overnight trek. One distinct memory is of meditating in a pitch dark, damp cave where the only thing you could faintly hear were dripping droplets of water. We then welcomed the rising sun, idling around an extinguishing bonfire.
I have always been intrigued by stage plays. I gave them a try this year and I'm so glad I did! The first one was a gripping drama called 'A walk in the woods', in which Naseeruddin Shah plays a Pakistani diplomat and Rajit Kapur is his Indian counterpart. I followed it up with a comical parody of Macbeth which saw Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Kalki Koechlin and Jim Sarbh in the lead.
The other kind of comedy I witnessed was standup performances by Zakir Khan, Sapan Verma, Biswa Kalyan Rath and Rohan Joshi. Not to forget Vipul Goyal, whose show was a total laugh riot! Participating in an open-mic is on my ToDo list.
There came a time during the year, when I felt I was saturated by the world around me and that I needed a detox. As cliché as it sounds, a three day residential course at Sri Sri Ashram was just what I needed to 'find myself'. In many ways it reminded me of my boy scout camps - surrounded by strangers, minimal tech distractions, amidst nature and eating unsavoury food.
I let go of a few friends (or they let go of me). I made some more in their stead. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be™.
Among them is a confused to-be-married chap, an unconfused teenager (young adult, as she prefers being called), a guy who has his own name tattooed across his arm and someone who shares a lot of genetic material with me (took me two decades to befriend my own sister).
Me and my sister travelled to Chennai this year. The city has a lot of character and is a highly underrated tourist place. We pulled off an all-nighter watching our favourite flick, Andaz Apna Apna, projected onto our room's wall.
I visited Goa. I made sure everyone from my Director to my Dhobi knows about it. I'll shut up and not bring it up again.
I also visited Pune for the first time and the trip gave me endless joy. One, because I met my best friends from school after ages. And two, because Pune localities have the funniest of names - Pimple saudagar, Lulla nagar, Bhosri and Lavale.
While in Pune, I attended my first music fest - NH7 Weekender. Three exhilarating days filled with blue haired punks and amazing band performances of diverse genres.
The Local Train, When Chai Met Toast and House of Waters were my favourite of the lot.
Unfortunately, I missed out on a trip to Munnar and had to cancel all the bookings at the last moment, thanks to the Kerala floods. The plan was to see the Neelakurinji flowers bloom once in 12 years and color the hillside in purple. Stay tuned for my '2030 - year in review', to know how it goes the next time around.
Another missed opportunity was Mysore because I found no one willing to accompany me to the 'boring, historical' town. Guess I'll be going there all alone for my first solo trip, sometime early next year!
I wanted to learn to play the flute this year but I did not, because I was too fussy about selecting the right teacher.
I also wanted to learn Salsa, but no teacher was willing to take a dancer like me under his wing. So, I guess, we can call it even.
A fond memory of this year is when me and my friends snuck inside Cubbon Park late night, rode our bicycles carefree and crooned our favourite songs (before being shooed away by guards flashing their torchlights in our faces).
2018 was also the year I met someone special. She's funny and witty - just the kind I like. No one quite understands me like she does. Not saying she's perfect - no one is. We too have our moments of frustration and miscommunication in this love-hate relationship.
For the first time in my life I put on weight (not in the right places, though). Never thought a day would come when someone would pat my belly and ask me my due date. To be fair, I did go to three different gyms for a grand total of fifty three days. I'm going to be back being the slim me in 2019.
I expanded my gastronomical horizons this year, which is a good explanation for the previous paragraph. From a Keralite buffet to an Iranian meal, I tasted them all. Heck, I even visited a food festival for good measure.
Speaking of festivals, one of my highlight experiences of 2018 was The Blr Lit fest. For two days I felt I a kid in a candy shop! The 'treats' on display were Ashwin Sanghi, Gurcharan Das, Ramchandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani and Shashi Tharoor among others. I steered clear of some nasty non-treats like Shobhaa De and Barkha Dutt.
One has to work for a living (unless one is Paris Hilton), and work-my-ass-off I did, this year. Grateful for all the opportunities that came my way. In addition to Android and iOS development, I can now add Cloud and web to my CV as well.
And with the steady paycheque coming my way, I did two things I'm proud of - 1) started investing a big chunk of it and 2) started paying for apps and streaming services.
I read more books this year than the last five years combined. Super proud of the effort. To be honest, an engrossing read demanded no effort.
It was a long cherished dream of mine to start my own successful blog. Maybe 2019 is the year?
I will remember 2018 as the year I grew as a person. No, not talking about outgrowing my tight jeans here. Enough with the weight jokes already.
It was the year I paused, reflected and introspected. The year I learnt about people and more importantly, a lot about myself. Realized where I went wrong and where I did not. What I need to change and what I should not. Sifted the nice from the noise.
My overarching theme for this year was to get out of my comfort zone, try new experiences and refrain from prejudice. Try and be a nicer person overall.
Certain incidents demanded of me to act maturely when I barely knew what maturity is. Life gave me lemons and I made nimboo ka achaar.
And since suffering is not optional, I learnt to suffer successfully.
Through all the naked ugliness of life, I was finally able to see the beauty clearly.
Ending with a quote from one of my favourite new-age philosopher, Alain de Botton - “Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough.”
2018 makes me feel downright embarrassed of who I was just a year back.
Hope 2019 will make me feel the same.
Wishing a happy and an embarrassing new year to all three (or was it four?) of my blog readers!