The Economist delivered its special Christmas double issue with a sumptuous feast of topics: ‘The joy of growing old’, ‘A Mughal emperor’s diary’, ‘An elegy for the pub’… Over the years I have become less of an Economist person – my left-leaning sensibilities vibe well with the International Herald Tribune – but I remain a fan of their year-end double issue. As always, it takes a look at the year that is ending, The World in 2010, and it made me think about me in 2010 – what did my roller coaster look like? Did it twist and turn at high speed like the incredible Hulk ride at Universal Studios Orlando – one that I sighted, sighed (since li’l M was disallowed a ride on account of height restrictions) and watched in awe while hubby grinned his delight at having been saved by the ride attendant! Or did it glide and slide like the Pooh ride in Disneyland? Either way it was a mix of troughs and crests – how can it not be, you’re living it right?!
It was a year of family and friends. We celebrated my mother’s 70th birthday in Bangkok and boy, did she enjoy the ferry down the Chao Phraya as we hopped from our hotel to sample Bangkok’s delights and she fell in love with the smiley Thai greeting of ‘Sawadee’ and the green mango salad tickled her palate. My sister flew in from Tokyo and surprised us. My sister-in-law and family and were taken in by the twin delights of skyscrapers stocked with brands of rocketing prices and alleys where haggling, in good ole Desi style, for souvenirs, trinkets and counterfeits is de rigeur! The daughter of one of our oldest friends is now taller than me and gave me gyan on how to project attitude and cool vibes on FB. Wined and dined several @40 birthdays! I saw my brother after ages and learnt a delectable butt dance from my niece and received slurp showers from my adorable nephew, ah ha! We shared our fifteenth wedding anniversary with our li'l M, two baby elephants, lyrically named Lily and Lucky, the sun and sand of Phuket and several bottles of wine.
I had a fun session at the Hong Kong literary festival with my second book The Long Walk Home, missed the festival in London because of timing issues, published an oped in the IHT, wrestled with my second thriller, reworked my first – again, debated my writerly skills – where is the insight in this?, give me crisp dialogue, crackling narrative, and for the final time, Show, don’t tell!, lost Tubby Singh, my mum’s dog and our compadre of years, helped my daughter settle into a new school, watched her horse ride and take a tumble – gulp! – and get bitten – OMG! – by a moody pony, narrowly missed the Red Shirts in Bangkok, shopped crazy in the shoppers Mecca of USA, became a kid at Disney Orlando, gawped at Neil Armstrong memorabilia, bicycled under blue skies, strolled in Central Park, was blown by Picasso at MOMA, attempted desperately to get a ticket to Shakespeare in the Park to watch Pacino up close, and failed, sob!, consulted the Bard for his impressive villain-creating skills, tussled with the blinking cursor for days when it looked like I couldn’t get a single sentence right…
What was your year like? Use this time to reflect – better, write it down. That way you can open the page any time and reminisce. Time is linear, memories aren’t. As Ghalib – yes, him again! – said:
Meharbaan ho ke bula lo mujhe chaaho jis waqt,
Main gaya waqt nahin hoon ke phir aa bhi na sakoon.
Summon me in love when you will,
Unlike time, I can be recalled.