Many years from now when I will hopefully have the wisdom to give myself the time to introspect, I will look back at 2011 and have only one thing to say: ‘what a year’.
During the New Year’s Eve party last year we played a game. All of us had to write on a chit what we wanted to do in 2011 and the others had to guess who wrote what. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I will never be able to forget what my father wrote. ‘All good men go to heaven’. Five days later, we came perilously close to seeing his wish almost being fulfilled.
My father has the uncanny knack of waking me up early from sleep and when his third heart-attack struck we were still an hour from first light. Medhavi and I were just over a month away from the arrival of our first child. And there was a realistic chance that the grandfather may miss seeing the grandchild. Over the next two weeks, we waited and my dad fought. He was okay to go, but he was not okay to go without putting up a fight. And for the nth time, his will triumphed.
Friends, family, colleagues and well-wishers - there was no dearth of support or prayers. One must be more than lucky to be surrounded by people who give without expecting anything in return. I was overwhelmed.
A month later, dad was with us at the hospital lobby waiting for his grandchild. Ruhaan arrived in the middle of the Cricket World Cup. I was editor of a cricket website at that time. But again, I was surrounded by a special circle – I managed to take seven days off. No calls, no mails, no cricket reports. It was the first step towards work-life balance.
I went back to work. India won the World Cup.
Ruhaan was already a month old by then. A month later, we started him on a diet of road trips. In eight months, he travelled thrice to Ranikhet and once to Barog. The third trip to Ranikhet was a toughie. Stuck on the highway due to a religious festival and forced to take detours through village roads and paths that did not exist on the map, we were pushed to our limits. Tired, hungry, sleep-deprived, Ruhaan was the only reason we kept pushing ourselves. I had driven us all into a hole, and I had to dig us out of it. Through it all, he cried just once. It was as if he was asking me ‘Just what do you think you are doing’. I had learnt my lesson: You can be adventurous, but you can’t be stupid.
Now ten months old, Ruhaan continues to push us. He teaches us new things everyday; he brings out the ability to do what we had always thought to be impossible. He makes us think.
One of those thinking decisions this year was a change in profession. It was a tough call to make. After spending a decade in journalism, I moved over to the corporate sector. I don’t know if I like it. Two months is too short a time to come to a conclusion, but I do like the feeling that I have more time at home. Ruhaan has ensured his dad has a better work-life balance.
Another thinking decision of the year was to sell off our house that had been our home for the last 14 years. It was my parents’ labour of love. It was the home where I spent my young adult life, it was the home where Medhavi and I were married and Ruhaan had his annaprashan. Every nook and corner of that home had a story. But it was time to move on. The memories will stay. The challenge of building another home welcomes us in 2012.
2011 was also the year of loss; family, friends – some to death and some who just drifted away.
2011 was also the year of welcoming the next generation. The baton will take some time to pass, but the hands that will take the baton have arrived.
So long 2011.
May the peace prevail and may the love last.