The best year ever. Again.

I haven’t published a single blog post all year… and yet, this has been such an eventful year. That’s not to say I haven’t written. I wrote reams for work, for studies and in my little books, putting pen on paper.

The ageing and ill-health of parents notwithstanding, the year has been a series of warm hugs and gentle caresses. When traumatic memories from 20 years ago came rushing back, there was an outpouring of solidarity. When some parts of my work failed to be as effective as I’d wish, there would always be some smiles drawn, a few wounds healed, and several issues brought to the fore, even if not always solved.

Recently I read a quote of Mandela: May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. A penny dropped. Every major, successful decision of mine has been because I did exactly that. Be it moving back to India or changing my career trajectory.

And as the years creep up on me, I do hope my choices continue to reflect that nugget of wisdom.

Here are the highlights of my year:

  • Finally published the book, Stories of Origin. You can read the what, the when and the why here: https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2018/7/20/the-invisible-lives-of-migrants-in-the-gulf
  • A lot of travel, work and pleasure, a lot of conversations, new destinations and new people. (Qatar Airways tells me I’ve done over 85000 miles of flying this year on their routes alone.)
  • I finally started my Masters, from the School of Advanced Studies, University of London. It’s been tough and exhilarating getting back to studies, and at 44, finally falling in love with formal studies.
  • My work has always been fulfilling. But what I do now is by far the most fulfilling (and challenging) of it all. It’s been more responsibilities, more expectations, slow and steady progress… and a daily practice of gratitude, for the privileges I have and how I can put it to use. Got a chance to speak about my work at various platforms around the world, including the UN.
  • Home, family, friends are sacred. And our problems have been small or easily overcome, and for that, I am eternally grateful. In a world where conversations are dwindling, digitally disrupted, or falsely framed on social media, it’s still noisy, talkative, sometimes intrusive, always loving relationships that envelop my life and that of my children.
  • My first-born is already an adult, and if I can imbibe half her maturity, warmth and empathy, I’d be a far better person. The younger continues both to test my patience and to teach me love. For all my rational thinking, out of sheer superstition, I will hold back everything else I want to say about friends and family.
  • Never one for twitter hashtags, I found myself drawn to the #MeToo one… as old memories came flooding back. You can read more of that here: thewire.in/…/times-of-india-kr-sreenivas-resigns-me-too-india
  • I am really proud of myself for taking proper breaks from work, and reducing my social media use. For prioritising myself.

And if there’s one thing I wish for the coming year, it’s more open (albeit difficult) conversations… for that alone can bring in love and kindness.