Saturday, January 1, 2011

Greetings for a Onederful Year

The new year comes rather unexpectedly and I always need a little time to get used to it.  No corners are turned, no milestones crossed, even the weather remains the same (or possibly gets colder).  Spring is really a more appropriate time for a new year, when one feels something stirring within.  But we seem to have no choice in the matter, so let me begin by wishing everyone a very happy new year.

Nothing heralds the new year more obviously and frustratingly as a new date - as all those cancelled cheques and overwritten notes can testify to.  So today, I was quite amazed when I wrote the date out - 1/1/11.  What a onederful coincidence and I hope this is just the beginning of many such that the new year will throw up.

Last night I tried to think of all the things the past year had brought.  Mostly I could sense a prelude to change at various levels.  Government changes, policy changes, decisions by nations that control money, power - and peace - have not been altogether reassuring.  Closer to home, ideas implemented in several states, research institutions and the city in general are not indicative of foresight or vision.  Our yoga class is going through a bleak phase as well, with almost no students and rising costs of maintenance.  I sense that the coming year will be one of change, where we will feel the impact of decisions made in the previous year and will have to move forward to adjust or change our direction.  But that's just a hypothesis and looking forward is always a tricky business.

On a personal level, the year that went by brought many nice little surprises and discoveries - of no real consequence perhaps but very enjoyable.  One of the more important ones for me was figuring out how to stay warm in bed during this cold winter by sandwiching myself between two strategically placed flannel sheets.  Truly blissful...

I also discovered the joys of bakery hopping- each bakery has a few things they make well and by trial and error, I have learnt where to buy the best croissants and danish, the best florentines, the best choux pastry and so on.  This is only for those lazy phases when I take a break from baking or for those indulgent moments, which arise from time to time.  Food wise, I began to standardize and compile my own favourite recipes - a long and growing list!

I read some imaginative children's books (I read quite a few of these as they are often gentler than adult fare); notable amongst these were Goodnight Mister Tom (Michelle Magorian), Bud, Not Buddy (Christopher Paul Curtis) and Framed (Frank Cottrell Boyce). 

I was introduced to the wonders of internet applications - the google blogger, where I began to read others' blogs and eventually dared to begin my own.  Another world-shaking application was the WikiLeaks - almost bringing to life the film 'The Green Zone' (I wish someone had had the courage to make this film when the war began) - and their grim consequences.

Closer to my heart, our yoga classes have changed this year.  We are at a deeper level of understanding with our teacher and our own practice.  There were several days when Raghavan and I were the only students in the class, with the yoga teacher sitting in front, watching us and just uttering a few words of instruction or explanation by which we would adjust our own postures.  Very little physical adjustments were made by him.  We tried, modified and understood new movements by focusing and concentrating on our own - discovered the need to question more - both the teacher and ourselves.  Of course, many mistakes were made- but none of them truly disastrous!

On this positive note I end, and welcome the new year with a sign I saw in a little roadside dhaba in the hills, where we stopped once for lunch.  Another year that has come racing along, without caring to ask whether or not we are ready for its whimsical demands.  Welcome!  We respect your haste but even haste needs some time...

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