From annus horribilis to annus mirabilis

“Did you meet Dr Manmohan Singh?” Lulu, my parrot asked, as he perched on my shoulder.
“Did you do Vipasana course?”
“No! I do not know why you are asking?” I said. I could see that Lulu was up to something, but could not fathom what it was.
“Did Shiv Sena, Raj Thackrey, or local Bhai threaten you?”

“Oh, No! Tell me what’s on your mind, Lulu. Why these questions?”
“I was guessing your reason for this long silence.” Lulu said.
“Ha ha! No reason really. I was busy.” I felt relieved.
“Ok, ok. Then it’s okay. Lot of things happened during your period of silence.”
“Like, hmmm…., Rupee has tumbled, people are angry, very, very angry, US of A and India are battling it out over Khobragade, Aam Adami Party will form government, I can go on…”
“Nah, these events do not bother me. Life will go on. I was only thinking about the annus horribilis that 2013 year was.” I replied.
Annus horribilis – that means a very bad year, a horrible year. What was the reason for that, my friend?” Lulu asked as he jumped on my hand.
“Well, well. My wife underwent cataract operation on both eyes. She says she sees things very clearly now. And I underwent angioplasty. The Doc removed two blockages. All this costs quite a fortune to a retired man.”
“So the joke in your family is that when she started seeing things clearly, you made clean breast of everything! Ha ha ha!!” Lulu winked. Parrots have a strong sense of humour.
“Lulu, you make fun of me. There was nothing to hide from my wife. I have always looked after her well. We celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary in Sri Lanka, in Tea Factory hotel at Nuwara Eliya. The hotel staff treated us as if we were honeymooners. Actually a bit embarrassing one feels with so much of attention. One American couple seated on the next table was surprised that it was our 36thwedding anniversary! The American asked me whether we were on our second honeymoon.”
“Interesting. What did you tell him?”
“I told him I don’t keep count of honeymoons, how unromantic it was to keep count of honeymoons! Ha ha!”
“And in June we went to Kovalam. Great it was there in Kerala. I learnt a new word there. ‘Estuary.’ At Poovar island. Enjoyed.”
“So what are plans this year?”
“Plan is to make coming year an annus mirabilis.”
“There you go again. Are you learning Latin? It must be meaning an excellent year.”
“A ‘year of wonders’ to be precise. Life can be harrowing; we have to make it worth living.”
“Looks like you have recently done the ‘Art of Living’ course. But tell me what happened to your bucket list? The list of things you wish to do before ‘kicking the bucket?’”
“Well, I translated one book. An editor suggested that I should translate another. I won a prize for one of my blogs. The HR blog seems to be now reasonably well known. I have restarted sketching. I also helped my friend arrange a class reunion where we met our friends after forty seven years!”
“So annus horribilis was not exactly a horrible year. It is all about how you take life.”
“I agree. And now I wish to write a book – this remains dream so far. Oh, I also wish to do many, many things.”
“You are in a hurry, real hurry, old man.”
“Yes, I am. When you retire you realize that time is short. And you have too many things on the wish list.”
“I can see that… but it requires you to be fit if you have to complete your wish list.”
“I agree.”
“So have you started regular exercise? A half an hour walk every day? Somebody has said ‘Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.’”
“Shut up, don’t speak loudly. If my wife hears it…..”