Wednesday, December 30, 2015


I don't completely understand the concept of the social media (read as Facebook) year in review. My definition of Facebook is a forum to post/share stuff in a whim when you're in that sweet spot between excitement and sugar rush or frustration and ferocity or doubt and totally clueless. Our daily life demands a lot of our intelligence, clarity in thought and patience, makes us very tired and has a lot of reality in it, at least my life does. Looking at a bunch of funny lines, places checked in, profile/cover photos changed every three or so months and meaningless hashtags shouldn't be the year in review exactly. If those are the only things that made my year, Man! I'm living a pathetic life.

The last time I wrote year end posts were in 2009 and 2010. I read those before I started writing this one and realized how tacky they are. The 2009 post was tackier than the 2010. That says something, isn't it? No matter what I had or wanted to say, I was writing regularly back then. Yes, it was a simpler "empty vessels make more noise" time. Today, when I read those posts, I can't but wonder how different life is. The definition of what is important and what makes me happy/sad/angry etc is completely obsolete now. The people in my day-to-day, the people who read my blogs and the priorities of who have all changed. It's definitely embarrassing to think about the person I used to be, but there are no regrets.

Given a choice, I'd pick the lifestyle of 2010 at the blink of an eye. Yes, I was naive, I was a tacky blogger, I was blurting out stuff on Facebook, I had no direction in life (please don't ask me what's my direction now), but I remember being happier, I remember having more fun. My life was definitely more eventful and I definitely had more people around me. I can think of 5 different people who would read this and tell me to "get married soon". But, that's not at all what I'm talking about. That nearly perfect gang or a like minded, non-busy friend/sibling/cousin to whom you can fallback at all situations can never be replaced by a marriage. I'm neither complaining nor blaming anyone for moving on. Unfortunately, I'm mature enough to understand that everything has a time and place and people have no other choice than to move on and that's the right thing to do as well. Enough said about why I'd rather pick 2010.

This year has been a different kind of mixed bag. I can fill about 1000 pages of cliche to talk about 2015. The most important aspect of this year is that I have learned to live with myself. Couple of years ago, a very wise soul mentioned to me that learning to live with oneself is the first step in learning to live with others. It did not hit me then, but, over time I realized that half of the problems we have with other people are actually problems we have with ourselves. So, my main motto (I like this word better than resolution) at the beginning of the year was to fall in love with myself. I wouldn't claim that I'm fully there yet, but, I can feel that I'm somewhere on the way.

Materially speaking - For the first time in life, I'm a car owner (February) and home owner (in India - July). These were definitely the best things in the material side of life. An annoyingly practical way to look at it is that I'm in more debt compared to 2014 (when I was in zero debt).

The good son of Vegas - I took my dad to Las Vegas. My dad has traveled a lot during his youth, but being the one to take him to Vegas meant a lot to me. Just to top off that feeling of growing up.

The uncle becomes the uncle - On April 12th, my sister gave birth to Diya, her second daughter. Unlike when Diksha (Diya's elder sister) was born, I haven't been able to see Diya in person yet. That's definitely a regret for 2015. Coming soon, hopefully.

I, Driver - Most of the fun times I have had in 2015 are in the driver seat of the black beauty below. The first thing I do when I get in to the car is turning the music on. Driving around the silicon valley and amidst the hills listening to Rahman and Ilaiyaraja have by far been the best moments of 2015.

14000 miles in 10 months says something, doesn't it?

From hog to hug -  I have become a pure vegetarian since September. I have always wanted to be one, but, egg and chicken are too tasty. I'm usually on and off in this area, but I feel it this time and it may be the real deal.

Walkathon - I've taken to brisk walking as an activity. Yes, it sounds like a 'thaatha' (grandpa) exercise, but I'm really astounded by how beneficial it has been for me. Having a job that's mentally draining and physically futile, walking has helped me in both areas. I've clocked around 350 miles of 15-16 min/mile dedicated walking activity in the past 100 odd days. Apart from the benefits, I'm actually keeping at it which is a great deal.

Chiju Sings - I performed in the PayPal Risk Diwali party this year. After 3 long years, I went up that stage and sang a classical number. And with that a band (tentatively named as Swaralaya) was formed. It wasn't the cleanest of performances. I did mess up a lot of notes, but, I enjoyed as hell.

Happy Toasting - This has been the another very productive part of my year. I've been progressing rapidly in my Toastmasters journey. I've been the VP-Education of my club since January and I'm really loving it every bit. I finished my Competent Communicator (CC), Competent Leadership (CL) and Advanced Leadership Bronze (ALB) in 2015 and I'm five speeches away from my Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB).

Intimacy at its best - Since I came to the US, I've been wishing for Rahman to visit for a LIVE concert tour. I missed it when (a mini version of ) it happened in Boston last year. Finally in June, Rahman toured North America with a new concept called "The Intimate Tour". True to it's name, it was fresh, intimate and real. He performed in the San Jose Civic Center with a minimal band. We got the perfect seats with a straight line of sight. I couldn't ask for more when it came to watching him LIVE.

Line of sight to witness magic

I'm looking at the W.E.N.U.S and I'm not happy - In the work front, things have been really fruitless. It has been that kind of year where the results have been in reach of the eyes, but, the hands almost always keeps grabbing at nothing. 2016 is definitely going to be interesting in this front and I'm excited about it.

Movies I loved: OK Kanmani, Thani Oruvan, Tamasha, Premam, The Martian, Baahubali
Albums most looped: OK Kanmani, Uttama Villan, Naanum Rowdy Thaan, Yennai Arindhal
Favorite Book: Conversations with Mani Ratnam (I read it only this year)

Hoping to write more in 2016. Looking forward to an exciting 2016. Wish you all a Happy New Year!