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10 for 12


PUJA AWASTHI | New Delhi, December 31, 2012 13:19
Tags : New Year | 2012 | social networking | minorities | AIDS conference |

new yearThe beginning of a year does little to excite me. Try as I may, I cannot drum up the enthusiasm to celebrate this artificial division of time, despite being a January baby to whom it is often pointed out that double the festivities are called for.
Yet every 31st of December I draw up a list of lessons learnt in the last 365 days. Just as I go to bed that night, hoping for a new pair of eyes that would help me see the world anew.

This year’s list threatened to be an amalgam of negatives what with the hurricane of the past few days. However as a service to my sanity, I decided to limit it to lessons that were more personal.

Here is a list of the 10 that left the deepest impression on me. Some were new while some were revisits. But each came over the year.

Some links, however tenuous, live on—I found that it was possible for relationships to flourish long after the link which brought them together was gone. While our world becomes a little empty with each loved one who passes away, it also becomes a little richer with the relations he bequeaths us. We learn to re order our world around absences that are forever present. Thank you AA for taking me in as your own.

Some links, however strong, wither—Friendships, no matter how old, do not flourish in silence and slights—planned or incidental. When they begin to hang around the fringes of our being—not needed but politely tolerated, they must be buried. If we tarry, we risk becoming footnotes. Many thanks RN for helping me close this book.

My gender is my fault – A nasty profile on a social networking site led to me receiving obscene phone calls at odd times from numbers across the country. My confession of anguish to a man caused him to castigate me for being a social networking junkie. The unsaid, ‘you deserved it’ reaction made realise how all men, no matter how modern on the outside, were primordial in their conception of the accepted rights and wrongs for a woman. Thanks RA, although you disappointed me, I have hopefully been jolted into a better understanding of your species.

No personal trial is bigger than the human spirit—At the International AIDS Conference; I came across many stories of courage and hope. Two stayed with me—that of a positive woman who draws out women like her to express their most closely held thoughts to dolls that they have crafted and the other of a girl with a voice disorder who helps victims of violence as an escape from her own demons. KGD and SI, you belong to different generations, but in trumping personal odds and looking beyond yourself, you have offered me similar glimpses into the best of the human spirit.

No credentials are good enough for the cynical—Over the year, I have been repeatedly questioned on all manner of writing that I have done—why am I pro-minority? What authority do I have to speak on behalf of minorities? Why am I ashamed of being a Hindu? Why do I display a stringent Brahmanism? The more I have tried to clarify my positions, the guiltier I have appeared. I now realise that cynicism is a religion. And henceforth, I shall not attempt to sway the devout.

There is still hope in politics—At the risk of being decried, let me say that politics is not the preserve of self centered scoundrels and slime balls. I have found two women in my state who speak a language I can identify with. They share my horrors and my hopes. They do not think the party line is sacrosanct. While two might be too insignificant for many, for me it is an affirmation of change. JS and AP, you are that possibility of a better tomorrow I have put my faith in.

We live somewhere between possibilities and realities—As someone who often agonises over her lack of ambition, I have come to the realisation that the best place to be in, is the sliver between what could be and what is. I did not write that book, skipped that trip and pulled back from saying those words. Yet, all that was left undone moved me more strongly than that which was done.

Social networking is turning us into automations—The itch to express is a plague brought upon us by social networking. Most of us have little of value to say, but are propelled by a forceful urge to spew banal profundities. The Like button is exposing our vain stupidities as we rush to hit it every time a friend updates a status, even though it might read “I lost my mother today” (!)

Definitions are a waste of time—Thrice this year I was called upon to present one paragraph summaries of myself. Thrice, I failed. Though stumped for a while, I now realise that not being able to fit in a box is a blessing. I might be scattered, a little bit of many things, journeying without destination in sight, but then there is no other way that I would want to be. And I am glad that I have no answers to the ‘typical’ questions women of my age are supposed to respond to.

We are surrounded by guardian angels—As mawkish as it sounds, I found myself closeted by love from beyond the circle of family when my world was run over by dark clouds. I could let myself go as an army of angels assembled and put into action a rescue and revival plan for me. VY, SS, LA and NM, thank you for not giving up on me when I had. You are part of the miracle I live every day.
As I go to bed tonight, I shall offer a silent prayer of thanks for each of these lessons. And also pray that these make 2013 look like a new year to me.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Sunday Indian)
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017