Annual EOY Reflection 2016

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

  • got attacked by the same cat twice
  • got incubated / invested in as a startup founder
  • run Riyaaz program at 3 learning centres
  • worked for pay with street kids
  • traveled for work- Rajasthan, Bangalore and Hyderabad
  • been in a borderline abusive relationship
  • given an ultimatum in a relationship
  • went to Sharma Farms
  • started doing morning pages
  • meditated consistently for a stretch
  • worked out of Mumbai
  • been to a wedding/ nikaah (Taj and Farha)
  • worn sarees regularly
  • been the most hungover i’ve ever been
  • shaved my head
  • designed a program that went into execution (InnovatED)
  • been on Teach For India staff
  • been in the news twice!(once for shaving my head, once for Riyaaz)
  • been approached by a media outlet to feature Riyaaz (Vagabomb)
  • had a serious pregnancy scare
  • used condoms religiously
  • asked a gynac about sex stuff/ taken meds and shoved a thing up my vag for thrush
  • pooped in a dustbin in public + told bf about it
  • pooped in front of someone
  • got my kids to come over to my house
  • seen the street art at lodhi colony
  • bought and learned to play the ukelele
  • inktober- almost full- put up my art in public
  • gotten very into drawing plants
  • made writing art
  • quit smoking
  • got an amazing work eval part of which was my personality and being authentic
  • hosted webinars
  • got gifted clothes by partner’s mum
  • hired a cook
  • lived with my boyfriend and ex
  • wisdom tooth extraction surgery
  • drew on eyebrows.
  • ordered lingerie online.
  • hosted an induction
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I sang but didn’t work out or write much. I didn’t make any really. This year I will.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No
4. Did anyone close to you die?

No

5. What countries did you visit?
Within India- Rajasthan mein Jhunjhunu district, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in AP
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A better commitment to fitness and health. More writing. Revenue from Riyaaz as a company. A registered non profit. Therapy. A book underway publishing. More practice with the ukelele. Singing classes.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
Nothing in particular. Christmas and Christmas eve were pretty nice with party and Street Art. The Bangalore Saturday with Tanuka.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Working model of Riyaaz and sessions underway- first quarter done. Quitting smoking. Good mid year LDJC. UnLtd incubation.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Keeping in communication with people I was supposed to- workwise.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. Catbite and rabies shots.

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
N and B for being best roomies. B for taking conscious steps to become sorted and calmer and abstaining from spirits for a long time.

12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Modi’s?
13. Where did most of your money go?
Paying back N borrowed money. Rent. Ordering in I suppose.

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting Tanuka. UnLtd incubation. Ukelele.

15. What song will always remind you of 2016?
SORRY BY J BIEBS.
16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
I was really relieved about vacay at the end of the year and saddned by the last few days. I’m happier now- no shocks, no cray excitement- was waiting for B to come last year.
17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spent more time with the uke. Waking up early.
18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Lying around. Putting off communicating.
19. How will you be spending Christmas?
Spent- Lodhi Art District with Sunday kids, Kuch to hai with B, dinner at Smokehouse Delhi wih B and N.

20. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Stayed in.
22. What was your favourite TV programme?
The Crown for a while. Jessica Jones when it was ongoing.

23. What was the best book you read?
  • Purple Hibiscus
  • The Crossroads of Should and Must
  • The House on Mango Street
  • On Love
  • Eleanor and Park
  • A Monster Calls
24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
not a great year for music surprisingly. Love Megha Kulkarni and Kishori Amonkar though both of whom I discovered this year.

25. What did you want and get?
Incubated. The roommate situation to work out. Apology/ acknowledgement from N’s friend. To stay close to Piu. B to move in and it to be wonderpants.
26. What did you want and not get?
Great sex, magical relationship, big friend group in the city.
27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Er.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
It approaches.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less stupid work comms stuff, more Riyaaz money stuff, more singing through music classes.
30. What kept you sane?
Bhaskar Neelu Piu Shalmi.

31. Who was the worst new person you met?
Noone.

32. Who was the best new person you met?

Veena. Harini.

 33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2013.
Authenticity can be valuable for your work too. Be more you.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Idk bro. 
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On love

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My face right now. Spiky baby hairs slowly growing into fuzz

I first came across Alain de Botton’s On Love at the house of a friend of the boy I was interested in at the time. The cover had confused me because it seemed simultaneously like fiction and non fiction. I had but begun to flip through the pages when the crowd raucously decided it was time to leave, and I regretfully abandoned the interesting looking book. I didn’t know the girl who owned it so asking to borrow was out of the question.

Two years later a night of malaise led me to find it on the internet and I stayed up till 3 am reading it. It turns out to be one of those rare things in life that are as wonderful as you dreamed they might be. I haven’t come across such a detailed deconstruction of love before, let alone one as insightful and accessible as this- something it manages to do while casually referencing Kant, the stoics and a plethora of others. I highlighted so many lines and annotated the margins (something I almost never do), thinking of my boyfriend and past relationships all the while. With the next salary, this book shall be bought for the boyfriend and happily stolen by me. All of this in keeping with my philosophy of essentialism and only buying books you truly love.

Next on the list: Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be?

Things I learned from shaving my head

  1. You will feel a lot colder now, therefore hair must be an insulator. Your head will feel the breeze much before the rest of your body. You will turn the fan waaay down low. Showers are colder and there is no time lag between the water hitting your head and hitting the rest of your body.
  2. People will stare less than you think and more than you think. People will do doubletakes. One kid even almost fell over because he was staring so hard at me. Children especially stare unabashedly but this amuses me vs annoying me because I love children.
  3. Some of the older generation will think you’re a freak or make poor choices. This might include significant other’s parents and will hurt you. This might include your own family and will irritate you.
  4. People you haven’t spoken to since pre-school will come crawling out of the social media woodwork to like your picture. The notifications will get annoying.
  5. People will think you’re brave. You will find out that there are a bunch of women you know who wish they were brave enough to do it too.
  6. It will not feel like that big a deal most of the time. Sometimes you will look in the mirror and wish you weren’t bald still. You don’t feel ugly; you just don’t feel pretty.
  7. You will still feel pretty attractive. This will be unexpected and odd.
  8. Your roommates will keep rubbing your head. And trying to balance things on it.
  9. You won’t be able to stop rubbing your own head.
  10. Stubble grows back within the night and it is prickly and fun to rub.
  11. Friction will make it harder to towel your head and put on your glasses. Shampooing will be weird because you won’t be able to tell if the shampoo’s come off.

Shaving my head

I’m shaving my head tomorrow. My hair is currently shoulder length (or at least most of it is). It took me from August of last year to July this year- almost 1 year to grow it to this length after I chopped it off in response to the sewage incident.

I’m really scared.

Articulating my fears:

  • What if my kids don’t like me anymore? I was so scared to go to class with a shaved head, because they seem to be really into the stereotypical conventions of beauty- long hair, very obvious decoration (jewelry, clothing etc)- and through my two years as I kept cutting my hair they kept urging me to grow it so I could look beautiful. I planned to visit this week before I shaved because obviously I can’t visit them bald- but maybe I can. I haven’t visited and I guess I’ll take the risk and go see them shaved head and all in a week.
  • What if I look hideous? This is likely to happen. The whole point of shaving my head though is to be less superficial, to place less intrinsic value and smugness on how I look or how others look. To think less about looks as a must-have and more as a nice-to-have but not important. Feeling ugly myself might help me overcome this and place less emphasis on how I look- and conversely help me become more confident.
  • Reactions in the professional sphere- What if nobody gets it and is instead horrified by how I look? Well I’ll have to explain as best I can and then trust that my work and personality will speak for themselves. People will react how they will and there’s so much systemic and personal stuff behind these reactions. When I have internalized so much stuff myself, how can I hold it against them?
  • What if my hair grows out weirdly in patches? Then it will. This was always a bugbear going forward and now I’ll have practice in how to deal with it if and when it does happen.
  • What if I become sad? I’ll sit with the sadness and be mindful and figure out ways to deal with it.

Naming the Blob

I have been reading too much Havi Brooks which may be a good or bad thing, or just a thing. So I’m naming things, and acknowledging that I might be low grade depressed, or stuck.

I feel like a useless blob who just wants to blob, but is also feeling guilty for blobbing, because there are so many things I should do and would want to do if I just started doing them.

So that’s where I’m at right now.

 

Cool Ideas for the Future

  • Turn Monthly Period Post into something more concrete. Period Mag (a bloody period as the symbol?)- maybe something informative for young girls?
  • Collaborate with Parvati Tampi on jail-gospel-singing
  • Turn Riyaaz into a chain of Arts immersive schools like in Canada
  • Demo/ experiment with Riyaaz in Bombay during the month of June
  • Write to places looking for Comms Freelance work ex: Innov8 has terrible comms person
  • Learn better design and how to make it digital

What it is like to love you in pauses

You are
the most beautiful creature on this planet
and I
can’t take my eyes off you-
( I outdo Frankie Vallie though because I even watch you when you sleep
sometimes,
I’m a creep
that way, but baby your lips turn down in a smile, and I
can’t take my eyes off you-
Remember when, sitting on your windowsill
for the first time, kissing like the last time,
and Frankie Vallie was singing out the computer
eleven floors high, above all the lights
and it felt like
floating).

This kind of happiness around you
even last time, still kissing like the first time
-is almost too much to bear,
like begging you to stop
when I’m
– almost there,
I can’t take it anymore,
so just hit
Pause.

When the angry words come out
all at once, spilling from your beautiful lips,
all these words you don’t mean
or- you do mean,
because, because i know you
– or I don’t really know you, do I?
(you said I didn’t when,
when you were angry that one time)
Words,
so many words,
that come out so fast, so quick,
stay long after as I slowly unspool them in my brain.

I love you, I love you, I love you,
you say, long afterwards
– after, the other words
you said.
I love you, I love you, I love you-
back.
Deep breath.
One thousand one hundred and ninety nine unanswered calls.
My phone rings on with unsaid words-
can’t cope with more
words,
so just hit
Pause.

Deep breath, deep breath, deep breath-
hello?
Words.
Remember when, you say,
remember when, sitting on my windowsill
for the first time kissing like the last time,
and Frankie Vallie was singing out the computer
I can’t take my eyes off you?

I pause,
and we start again.

 

let the soft animal of your body love what it loves

Up late night setting exam papers (useless, futile things), and looking up poetry to include in the English paper. Here’s one.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Annual End of Year Reflection Tag, 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

  • started a start-up
  • traveled to Indian hills – McLeod and Landour :’)
  • went on a trip with a friend
  • went on a trip with a partner
  • met boyfriend’s family
  • wrote a grant application
  • facilitated sessions (for adults-FA, and kids- Riyaaz)
  • lived with an ex
  • admitted and started dealing with darkest, deepest issues
  • got into a relationship with someone who had been for years a best friend’s boyfriend
  • indisputable sex
  • took a trip and started a relationship on (as it turns out a really good) impulse
  • got bitten by a cat and had to take rabies shots
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t know if I made any. I think I want to sing and work out and write but these are perennial things
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No
4. Did anyone close to you die?

No

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada and UAE
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Bhaskar in the same place. More money. More chill-time to do things I love like writing and singing.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
  • The day in March when Jeeves bit me, and I went to see Bhaskar’s gig at Depot 29, and unplanned fateful party after
  • The last night in Matheran after B’s performance whenwe were sitting and eating biryani, and I was vehemently saying itwon’thappen while secretly realizing ‘ohshit this is happening’
  • Day I left Bombay the first time, and horrible train-ride back

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Taking a life-changing decision despite all the uncertainty and difficulties I knew would follow. Being resilient through all the shit (literal and otherwise). Setting up Riyaaz.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not focusing enough on class

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. Catbite and rabies shots. Sewage jolanjoli accident. General illness and respiration issues

11. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Neelu for being a great ex and friend. Bhaskar for making me feel strong and loved through everything. Maya for taking crucial first step with cheesecake. Shalmi for talking sense into me. Mishtu for being cool.

12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
People who I thought were friends but were not really. A very close friend’s briefly.
13. Where did most of your money go?
Coffee. Daily travel. Funding school stuff. Funding Riyaaz

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The numerous trips back and forth between Dilli- Bombay.

15. What song will always remind you of 2015?
16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
I think I was happy-type only end of last year. I’m more hopeful for the future at the end of this year is a good way of putting it I think.
17. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spent more time with and on the class.
18. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Guilt-tripping and second guessing myself into agony for so long.
19. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas eve was nice big party at Maya’s with lots of favourite people. Christmas was low-key with mother.

20. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Life-changingly, verymuchso.
21. How many one night stands?
None

22. What was your favourite TV programme?
What’s a TV programme?

23. What was the best book you read?
  • The God of Small Things- Arundhati Roy
  • Em and The Big Hoom- Jerry Pinto
  • Americanah- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing- Melissa Bank

I read very few books this year but all of these are now on my favourites list.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Laura Marling, Anusheh Anadil. Haha, surprisingly enough, some U2 and Rod Stewart and Mohin.

25. What did you want and get?
A shot at a relationship I thought was an impossibility. Several things for Riyaaz. Travel to the hills. To stay close to Neelu.
26. What did you want and not get?
Sleep, free time, certain relationships to not be impacted by life-changes.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Boyhood.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My birthday is day after tomorrow. My kids are plotting something. Most friends are out of town. I’ll be 24.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less stuff to do that I didn’t feel was important, Bhaskar in the same place.
30. What kept you sane?
Bhaskar mostly.

31. Who was the worst new person you met?
I have two people in mind.

32. Who was the best new person you met?

Maya.

 33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2013.
Go with your gut. Do the things you really want to do.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
 “One girl, one boy
Some grief, some joy
Memories are made of this”
– cheesy as fuck I know, but sort of accurate.
Neelu’s suggestion was :
“I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink”