2013- My Year of Learning

Since everyone has been writing end of the year blogs, I thought I’d write one too. And when I got to thinking about what to write, I realised what a wonderful year it has been.

This was truly my year of learning. I learnt so much! Our office at Shiksha Power was always abuzz with discussions on some topic or the other, serious or otherwise. Opinions flew, thoughts shared, books, blogs and articles recommended. I have listened to discussions on psychology, grammar, politics, social problems, relationship issues and learnt.

After years of being labelled the smart one in the family and trying to keep up to that reputation by feeling that I needed to know everything under the sun, I learnt that it was okay not to know stuff. It didn’t make me any less of a person. I learnt it is okay to ask questions and gain knowledge from friends less than half my age. I was like a child in a wonderland of knowledge that I wanted to know about rather than had to know about.

This was also the year I read a lot. I gave myself the permission to play hookie and curl up with a book whenever I felt like it, which was all too often. The girl at the library wondered at the number of books I exchanged in a week. Anish Vyavahare shared his library with me and introduced me to a whole new caliber of reading. I was truly in book heaven!

I don’t think I have written as much as I have written in this past one year. Poems, stories, just random articles, posts for my blog. For the first time in my life I seriously devoted time to my writing, and looking back I can see the difference it has made to the quality of my writing. The likes on face book are proof enough. Tejas Harad, as my unofficial editor and chief critic, refused to let me give less than my best. Bless you, Tejas!

More importantly, I learnt to share my writing, I stopped being so self conscious about it. I let others read it and comment and learnt not to be so possessive about it. I learnt to take criticism and I learnt when to implement the suggestions offered and when not to.

This year I experienced so much joy watching my little and not so little students fall in love with reading and books. My heart burst with pride when I read the poems and stories they churned out at my Creative Writing course and Poetry Sundays where we teach kids how to express themselves and share their ideas and feelings through poems and stories.

I also met a lot of lovely, lovely people. People who were strangers a year ago are now so dear to me. They are my friends of all ages to whom I am just “Sunita” a person in my own right; not a mom or wife or daughter or sister or sister-in-law. They have accepted me as me and have given me the confidence to be me.

Thanks to my friend, Kalpesh Acharya, I heard the Poets of the Fall and fell instantly in love with their music. He kept introducing me to singers I had never heard of and now I have a lovely collection of songs that I love listening to. I listen to everything from country to jazz to rock to ghazals and love them all.

This year I fell in love with good food all over again. Though initially whenever I ate something really yummy, I would miss my husband, (who got me hooked on to being a foodie with his wonderful cooking), and wish he was alive to share these experiences, but later I came to enjoy the food for myself. A trip to Hyderabad in December where we had absolutely amazing food was definitely one of the highlights of this year!

And I learnt to bake brownies! In fact I baked a lot and cooked a lot this year! While I love to bake, cooking is not something I tend to spend time doing, so when my daughter Natasha asked me, “What’s happened mom? You have started cooking fantastic food!” I almost did a victory dance.

I don’t think I have laughed so much as in this last one year! Janice Pinto, a friend and uncontrollable giggler, brought so much mirth into my life. Evening walks and trips to D’mart for grocery shopping turned into giggling sprees and if people turned to stare at us, who cared!

This year I saw one daughter get married and the other go through heartbreak. I learnt that I cannot control what happens in their lives anymore. I can only be there for them if they need me; and if most of the time they don’t, it’s alright. Instead of being hurt that I was not needed, I learnt to marvel at how well my daughters were able to manage their own lives. And I felt the lifting of a burden as I could now give priority to being me instead of being “Mummy”.

And I fell in love! (Did I hear my daughters groan, “MOM! Do you have to put that up on the blog?”) I had forgotten how wonderful life can be when you are in love. I learnt that you can fall in love at any age with the same intensity as at 18. Feel the same wonder and the same insecurities. You still find yourself smiling stupidly to yourself as you walk down the road and wake up each morning eagerly to face the day because there is someone special in it. I also learnt that being in love does not mean being emotionally dependent on someone else. It is just a feeling (which I did fight till I accepted it. After all who falls in love at my age!?) and I can be quite happy even if it is not reciprocated.

This year I gave myself the freedom to be a child and live with all the wonder of a child. I learnt to accept my feelings: anger, sadness, helplessness, pain, gratitude, love. I have learnt to put myself first. Live the kind of life I want. I have gone to restaurants alone, because I wanted to. I have found the courage to go to the movies alone rather than miss movies I wanted to see just because there was no one else to come with me. I bought myself a big teddy bear! I have learnt to love me.

Yes! 2013 was a fantastic year! 2014 is going to have to be really spectacular to beat this year. But you know what? I have a wonderful feeling that it is going to be!

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