I’ve been blogging on and off since 2006, but never once have I had an end-of-the-year post. I have often penned down my New Year resolutions, but I haven’t really looked back at the bygone year and sized up the triumphs and disappointments. I am surprised at this realization, because if you’d asked me, I would have said that understanding what you have done right and wrong is the first step towards growth.
So what has our 2013 been about?
I began the year with a major vote of confidence from my boss. I was only 4 months into my new job, but he told me that I had hit the ground running and that he was expecting great things from me. I began on this high note, and was also promoted mid-year, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride all along.
What has gone well:
- I handle quite a bit of work independently – I make important decisions, and plan and drive projects on my own.
- I have managed to set and meet high quality standards in all the work that I am responsible for. Something I never want to compromise on.
What I’d like to do better in 2014:
- Think like a Product Head – long term vision, scalability, sustainability and profitability.
- Transform from an independent contributor to a team leader. Being an introvert, I have struggled with this quite a bit. In 2014, I’d like to see myself as a leader who is on top of things (without micromanaging) and who attracts the respect and trust of her team. Working towards this goal. 🙂
SR had to make some major decisions this year – in July, he quit his job with a two-pronged agenda: complete his first novel, and pursue a business idea. The decision was not easy by any stretch of imagination. But he’s been successful on the first count, and hopefully, the second will also see some traction in the coming months.
What I’d like to see in 2014: Our venture taking root, serving at least 5 major clients, and becoming profitable.
My writing career has seen some successes this year:
- ‘English Vinglish’ and ‘Buttered Side Down’ in the Deccan Herald
- “A Matter of Opinion”, my story will soon appear in the Pageturners ‘Across the ages’ anthology in 2013. Pageturners is a collaborative venture of Penguin India and SIP books.
- “My Kitchen Rules” appeared in the Reading Hour magazine.
- ‘A prophet without honor‘ made it to the Top 10 in ‘Writers’ Bloc’, a competition themed ‘Nostalgia’ conducted by the Little Black Book New Delhi and Random House India in July 2013.
- ‘Couple’s Massage’ made it to the Top 5 of the Elle Fiction Awards 2013 and will be part of an e-book anthology by Random House India later this year.
But the biggest success of 2013 belongs to SR. We were thrilled when two publishing biggies, Random House and Westland, expressed interest in picking up his first novel – ‘Kalyug’, a political thriller. We finally went with Westland – more about that in upcoming weeks.
But kudos to you darling, for your focus, courage and perseverance in writing this book – I know how much work it was, and how much effort it required from you. Proud to be Kalyug’s editor!
Which brings me to a minor success on my side. Earlier in 2013, I had expressed a wish to explore book editing as a career option. Today, that is a reality. Both SR and I are editorial consultants with a leading literary agency in India. We work on manuscript assessments, critiques and rework notes, language edits and many more exciting assignments. I think the best thing about this work is that we are now reading a lot of varied literature, even genres we would never have explored otherwise – from self-help and good living to fantasy and thrillers, biographies to exposes.
What I’d like to do in 2014: The ride is just beginning, and we hope that 2014 has a lot more in store for us. We want to write more, review more, and even move onto conducting creative/professional writing workshops.
This year saw us make our first trip abroad – to Singapore. Planning every little part of the trip and hunting for deals online was every bit as awesome as the trip itself. And we managed to complete the 10-day trip on a shoestring budget – glad to help anyone who wants to plan a trip there.
We also traveled to Devarayanadurga, Masinagudi, Sakleshpur, Srirangapatnam and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, but on the whole, 2013 was not as much of a success on the travel front as we had hoped. Our resolution to go somewhere new every month – even if for a day trip – did not really materialize.
What I’d like to do in 2014: At least 4 road trips, 3 weekend getaways and 2 big vacations. The first big vacation is to Gujarat at the end of this month for a dear friend’s wedding and exploring the Rann of Kutch. 🙂
I can’t not write about health as it is a major contributor to general well-being and happiness. But the report on this front is mixed.
The good part is that (a) since I moved to my new office space in Jan 2013, located at a place with hardly any good vegetarian dining options, I’ve carried a packed lunch to work; as a result, SR has also been getting home-cooked lunch every day. (b) every time we slipped on our food plan or exercise plan (and we slipped many many times! 😦 ), we pulled ourselves up and went back to it.
What I want in 2014: SR and I need to lose 20 kilos between the two of us to go down to our optimum weights. I want us to be more focused and committed towards eating and exercising this year: reach our ideal levels of weight and fitness by March, and maintain those afterwards.
Okay, who am I kidding? This is actually the “Miscellaneous” section with some observations and resolutions that I couldn’t fit in anywhere else. 🙂
- I started painting again in 2013, and this has given me many hours of pleasure. And turning the pages of my drawing book, I realize that I’ve actually become better. So far, I’ve been learning techniques from YouTube videos or other online tutorials, but in 2014, I’d like to attend painting workshops or classes.
- We recently visited a cousin’s apartment. She is around my age and has been married as long as I have been. She has a job that’s as demanding as mine. Yet, her house was so pristine, organized and beautiful that I felt ashamed. Yes – I take great pains to ensure that our house – especially the kitchen and the bathrooms – is scrupulously clean. But it is quite messy – there are books and other odds and ends on every possible surface. (‘dirty’ is different from ‘messy’, thank you.) This is something I want to change in 2014 – I want to become a super duper housekeeper. Wow, that rhymes! 🙂
- We managed to watch quite a few movies last year – the really memorable ones would be Special 26, TDKR, Iron Man 3, North 24 Katham, Punyalan Agabattis and ABCD. Major letdowns would be Ice Age 4, Akam and Despicable Me 2. In 2014, I’d like to see many more awesome Malayalam movies.
- I love dancing – no, not salsa or tango or anything else that has a name. I just like to put on music and go nuts when no one’s watching. Everyone should try it – it gives you such a liberated, exhilarating feeling. But I haven’t done this enough – in 2014, I want to dance a lot more often.
- Okay, now I’m running out of patience. So other stuff I want to do in 2014:
- Star gaze on the terrace every few days.
- Visit Cubbon Park or Sankey Tank (I love greens and water) every week.
- Go to my 3 favorite temples more often – going there makes me feel so peaceful and good that I can never remember why I balked before going.
- Shop on Commercial Street more often (No, SR – I wasn’t kidding.)
- Walk back home at least once a week (my office is just 1.5kms away from my house, and I still get SR to pick me up. Shameful, isn’t it?)
- Play more board games with SR – our building blocks, Monopoly board and pack of cards have given us so much laughter and fun. Nothing beats a good indoor game on a rainy/chilly evening.
I think I will stop here for now.
Not because I have run out of words – I can write so much more.
It took me 3 days to write this blog. And the process of writing this made me think back on an entire year. Three hundred and sixty five days of my life. The decisions I have taken.
And I realize now that I have written only the good things, though I keep mentioning the downs – I have not talked about how Appa was sick for an entire month and we were all scared. Nor the minor but really annoying health issues that Ammai and Amma also went through. Neither the worry and the fear that overwhelmed us while thinking about the risks we were taking professionally and otherwise, nor the moments of discouragement and frustration.
I have written only about the good things – this wasn’t deliberate. When I took stock of our life in the past year, none of the bad things loomed large. Not because they weren’t there – but because the blessings were bigger and better.
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” Ransom Riggs.
And that is something I want to carry forward to the next year too. No regrets, no worries. Only hopes and dreams.
Here’s wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2014 – a year like never before. Full of good health, happiness and contentment. God bless!