(For those who don’t know what this is about, I have been writing notes on every birthday since I was 21. Oh just some silly old tradition :))
I almost didn't write a post this year.
I started these posts when I was 21, and ten years seemed like enough. Nice round number.
But it's great to keep at something I started a decade ago.
Otherwise I'd have to say, "I used to write these articles..." - and then this would just become something I used to do.
The first year of 30 has been a mixed bag.
In my late twenties, I thought a lot about how I defined home, happiness, friendships and relationships.
I experimented, rebelled, travelled, and was a passionate nonconformist.
Post 30, I watch a lot of TV and try not to think. Other people can do the nonconforming. Goodnight sweetdreams.
I'm very lucky to have found my passion -- something I think will sustain me forever.
I think learning music/any form of art always gives you something to fall back on -- it keeps you sane, healthy, rooted.
There's nothing like sitting at the foot of a roaring waterfall in the Western Ghats.
What a magical range of mountains, these.
What is it that's so therapeutic about water?
I recently discovered I've been swimming wrong all my life.
But I love swimming all the same, and no matter how I feel when I get in, I'm in "bring it on!" mode when I get out.
How many houseplants is too many houseplants?
Monstera is a fascinating plant. It just sits there and looks pretty.
It continues to look pretty when nobody's looking.
I'm slowly starting to understand privilege.
I'm grateful to have had an immensely supportive family, good health, and the resources to do everything I've been able to.
One person's good fortune is perhaps another person's sacrifice.
It's amazing to think that most everyone in the UK has access to clean air, water and healthcare.
India feels like an impossibly complicated gigantic knot that can't be undone.
Sometimes, sitting here in the comfort of a nicely warmed UK home and watching the politics back home, she seems like a beautiful lady helplessly trying to untangle her matted hair.
My heart aches for India sometimes, so much I love.
Reading about the work Goonj does has had a profound impact on my life.
I've often wondered if social media is bringing out the worst in people. Or was it that people were always this horrible?
Someone I know once said (about a political figure he disagreed with) that she 'deserved to be raped'.
Hmmm! The end of the world is coming.
Kalyug, Amma says. No hope etc.
I once received a comment from someone on Reddit who said my comic was the emptiest, worst piece of content he's ever seen.
I wrote back to him saying that I try my best. He immediately apologised and said not to take it 'personally' and that he didn't really mean it.
Anonymous people are brutal.
But that's just what they are -- anonymous.
Being sensitive is a blessing.
But I guess apathy can be wonderfully insulating?
It surprises me how little we can do for the people we care about deeply.
You can reach out, be there, talk to them, console, lend a ear, offer a shoulder -- but sometimes, I think. Is that it? Is this really all we can do for another human being?
Appreciation, or rather the hunger for it, can kill the artist/creator.
We live in an age where writers are optimizing for SEO, artists are running after the 100th like, and everybody is a white-text-on-black-background poet on Instagram.
That end of world? It's coming soon.
This year, I hit upon the magic formula. It's to "Zoom out".
Zooming out of a situation makes you realize how stupidly inconsequential everything is.
It can empower and liberate you.
Losing sleep over something? Zoom out. Had a bad day at work? Zoom out. Wondering what people will think/say? ZOOM OUT.
It's the secret to true happiness. Take it.
If that doesn't help, watch Planet Earth 2 over and over again.
Good health is something to be grateful for, each and every day.
It's so sad that we become more careful and more reserved as we grow up, always thinking about how much of us we can let others see.
It's great to do something with abandon, with no self-consciousness.
There was a time when I put myself all over the Internet without really caring...
Those were good times.
I think social media is killing friendships/relationships.
We think we have some insight into somebody's life because we know that they've had noodles for dinner.
Haha! We have no clue what's going on. A simple "How have you been?" can lead to many surprising responses and the realization that we make wrong, wrong assumptions.
This year, I found that while friendships can sustain and nourish, they can just as easily fade away.
It always takes two.
Living with one of the nicest people on the planet has enriched my life.
Snail mail can be immensely comforting.
Growing your own vegetables can be super satisfying.
Plant a seed, watch it sprout and peek through the soil, look at those tiny leaves -- simply miraculous! And surprisingly easy.
I spent most of the summer tending to lilies and herbs and chillies and carrots.
You can't see it when you're in it.
We can get all judgy about someone else, we can offer advice, we can think how stupid they are, but it isn't till we find ourselves in the very same situation that it hits us:
You can't see it when you're in it.
Success means different things to different people.
It's mostly comfortable people who say that money doesn't matter.
I would like to care less and less about what people think.
I would like create content that is enduring, that people will read after years and years, and still find meaningful.
Interesting things I heard this year:
From a doctor in the UK: "You can show us your reports from India. You can get them translated."
From a friend, a new mum, about her daughter: "She's all I want."
From a friend after telling her I draw 'just' stick people: "Don't ever be dismissive of your own art."
From a hair stylist who was doing my hair: "Oh, there's nothing I haven't tried. I've dyed my hair pink, orange, been bald, had leopard prints, everything. You should experiment when you can. That's what hair is there for, right?"
Overheard at the hospital: "Just because you couldn't do something the first time doesn't mean you can't try again," a mum to her 1-year old, who was unable to poke his sound-emitting teddy bear hard enough for it to squeak.
Response to an article I wrote about doing something for the love of it: "But why would you do something unless you want appreciation? That would be a waste of time, no?"
From my doctor: "Don't anticipate pain."
I think I've changed quite a lot over the last year.
Amma says it's all about evolving, something she's been remarkably good at.
Quite a nice concept, this evolution.
I think I still have some bits of leftover youth.
Must put to good use.
Hello, new year full of promise.