Posted in Journal

To 2021, With Love

I did a post back in 2016 summing up everything that went right that year. It was supposed to be an yearly event. But of course, like all my personal projects, none of the other posts saw the light of day. The 2020 one came close to fruition, but it kept getting postponed and then putting out an year end post in mid-January didn’t make sense. In any case, here we are now.

You have been the most spectacular year of my life.

Now, I won’t lie, it wasn’t all great. I think both of us can agree that the first half pretty much made me want to kill myself. And not figuratively. How naive I was to imagine that MB taking up residency in this place was going to be good for us. It was nothing short of a miracle that he got in (sorry, 2020 gets credit for that), and yes, we knew it was going to be difficult, but we couldn’t possibly have imagined how bad it was going to get. The dingy hostel room, the language barrier with the patients, the protocols, the physical toll, the lack of sleep and food, getting accustomed to the data management systems – for the first time in my life, I watched MB crumble with negativity and become this pale ghost of a person I barely knew anymore. He couldn’t drop out either; we didn’t have the money to pay the hefty penalty that entails leaving a chosen course. That feeling of being utterly trapped… neither of us had ever felt it so acutely before.

Inevitably, you gave me my first major depressive episode in years. But it was nothing compared to the next, was it?

You broke my heart. And you did it so damn well.

You cut along the scarred faultlines, unearthing the silver veins that lay forgotten across the length and breadth of my being and sliced them open to reveal a blood-streaked deja vu. You branded me with the embers of lost memories and half-cooked dreams and unravelled a decade worth of recovery. You disrupted my very sense of existence, had me dissolve into a bottomless chasm of desperation and nearly, very nearly, destroyed me.

And then managed to make up for all of it.

You made me the happiest person in the world on so so many days that I started losing count.

MN got selected for a summer school course with World Health Organisation. SR moved out of his town and is finally living on his own for the first time. TR got married after nearly 5 years of making it work long distance and fighting every possible barrier. SE managed to enrol in a fully funded learning program on EIS. ERN managed to get a permanent post as a scientist in a central government institute. (This is certainly one of the sweeter ones because I was the one who asked him to apply. “You may not be realising it, but you have had a far greater impact on my life than you might be thinking”, he told me one day. I pretended to laugh it away, but my spirit was somersaulting all over the place) SK got selected for her dream job in Mumbai – central government, tenured – and I couldn’t help gushing over the memory of her talking about wanting to work in preventive oncology as she introduced herself to us; the very first time I heard her speak, actually. SM managed to get a permanent post at his preferred institute in Chennai. K got the job I had set up for her and is having a blast at her new office. TR was personally called up and offered a permanent position in Bhubaneswar. S found love. L found love. K found love (I even teared up at her wedding). MB started smiling again.

And yes, somewhere in the middle of all of this, my heart also started healing again.

For all the damage you wrecked, you also showed me kindness and courage and renewed kinship. For every misstep, you’ve given me a new beginning. New places, new experiences, new people. A new home. A new community. A new direction. A new connection. A new opportunity to learn what I’ve always wanted. A mentor in the one woman I admire the most in the world.

You made me get back to reading, and to reconnect with people I had lost over time.

You made me write my own stories, instead of indulging in someone else’s dream.

You taught me how to forge my own paths and walk unabashedly down them.

You gave me a newfound love for travel. For trekking. For strangers. For adventures.

And for me.

And I’ll always be grateful for that.


A wayward thinker hiding behind the facade of necessary courtesies

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