The Year 2008 in Retrospect

Now that the year is coming to an end, my thoughts stay on events during the year. There are some years which are more important than others in one’s life, though this is what I feel in every December! But 2008 was indeed a very important year.

When your daughter is given away in marriage and when your grand daughter is born in the same year, the two events impacting one’s family, can you not say that it was the most important year of my life?

January :
Some memories of the marriage are etched on my mind. Like the Kanyadaan ceremony. My sobbing like a child while performing it. They have caught it on video and it is now a subject of joke and fun. [You have to experience what it is like to be a girl’s father!].
I will also remember the marriage party on cruise in Goa. And the presence of the then Governor of Goa [now of Maharashtra] among others to bless the newly married couple.

July :
The camera moves to a maternity hospital in Pune. Annika is born on July 21st. I remember the nurse showing our new addition to the family. The little bundle appeared to be studying us curiously [the converse was also true]. This little bundle is now learning quickly and growing increasingly assertive. No doubt, she has borrowed those genes from her paternal grandmother!

And my unusually high number of trips abroad. I did not have a passport till the year 2000. And thereafter two visits seemed to be the unwritten rule. The year 2008 took me to the Caribbean [perhaps sixth visit], Shanghai [second visit], Fiji [third visit], and Singapore [forgot the count], the last one was in part fulfilment of the promise made to my wife! When we got into the flight to Singapore she said, ‘Now I feel that we are really going there!’ and when we boarded our return flight she said, ‘Oh, this can not be counted as a foreign tour, it was so short!’ Fulfilling a promise given to one’s wife is sometimes like trying to fill a bottomless pit!

I do not see films, but if my past performance is considered this year saw me creating a record. With children married and gone away, Sulabha, my wife, became restless and bored at home. So Jaane Tu, Fashion, Tare jamin par… etc were given business.

For all those who have retired or are about to retire and are facing a similar situation, I would recommend a film a fortnight [I know you fellows can not make it every week]. It brings cheer to the domestic scene. I must say I had missed this simple trick of spreading happiness over the last 32 years of our marriage. But, as they say, better late than never.

Professional life:
Nothing much to write about this substantial part of my waking period of life. I had resolved that I will not create more enemies. I am happy to report that my resolve has been kept, there were no more enemies left to be created! I have resolved that upon my retirement in 2009 I will not do anything that requires extensive human touch. When you work in big organisations you reckon that the man is not a rational animal. Whosoever said that he was a rational animal has not worked in industrial organisations at all, I am ready to swear an affidavit to that effect now. Be that as it may, the brighter side of life is that six months later I will deal with only those persons whom I feel like interacting with.

I must confess that I am a compulsive buyer of books [yes, buyer, not exactly a reader! One has to be truthful when it comes to reflections!!]. I get into a book shop like a duck takes to water. Once I get inside a book shop, I take my time and I usually come out with three or four books. I am proud of my library that Sulabha, my wife, calls the ‘display of unread books’!

Mahatma Gandhi’s biography by Rajmohan Gandhi, V S Naipaul’s authorised biography and Ramachandra Guha’s India after Gandhi are some of the books I picked up in 2008. I have read them partly. Big thick books they are, they continue to impress people taking a look at my library.

New friends:
A recent meeting with bloggers whom I respect [Gappa/ Harekrishnaji/ Whynotblogitout/ Kavismusings] was a bonus at the end of the year. Icing on cake as some would say. A lunch together was a great fun and it is amazing how quickly people with common interest bond together.

Conflict Management:
For the third year in succession I taught this course at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, taking the three-year-tally of unfortunate sufferers of the student community to well over 50. It is at this stage they suffer from Stockholm syndrome. Anirudha, my friend says, ‘this happens the world over, nothing new’! It provides a very soothing feeling.

May God give you happiness in the coming year and may God give you skill and courage to do everything that you always wanted to do. Happy New Year!