What I did in 2016

Unemployment: I became unemployed on the first day of 2016, and I figured I would use the break to figure what the hell I wanted to do exactly and focus on prepping for an exam I was due to take in June.

Exams: I cleared the exam I worked hard on for the first five months of 2016 – and with very good results might I add – and also got some tuition money back in the process which for my soon-to-be broke self was a big deal. Extra saving/spending money? I’ll take it, thank you very much.

Gym & working out: I started going to the gym for the first time in my life and it was perfect until the only ladies’ gym in my area decided to close down. I’m naturally slim so my goal wasn’t weight but strength and although some days I loathed it, I became aware of the changes working out regularly did to my state of mind and body.

Hair experimentation: I got my hair colored for the first time in my life earlier this year and I liked it but I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing it. Probably not. Last month I chopped off hair I had been growing religiously for the past two years and finally felt like myself in a long time.

Volunteering: I volunteered at a training center for children with special needs for a couple of days and I was humbled by how the kids there, despite their challenges, are so ready to take on life. Definitely want to do more next year.

Weddings: Sure, I’ve attended weddings where the brides have been younger than me, but this time the wedding was of a very close younger cousin of mine, so it was definitely weird with a pinch of melancholia and a whole lot of fun.

Awkward meetings: Speaking of weddings, I had my first ever (and last) ‘boy’s parents meet girl’ meeting and it was the most awkward thing I had to do this year and needless to say, a disaster.

Books & reading: I read about 30 books in the second half of 2016. I don’t think I read any in the first half and being unemployed was a boon in a way because I had never before gotten so much time to just read and reflect.

Dancing: Learnt some choreo, had some fun.

Skateboarding: I’ve wanted to learn to skate for a while now and this year I finally got myself a skateboard and found out that I love skating on it. Tricks next year? Who knows, the future is wild.

Blogging again: Much less frequently than I would like to, but something is always better than nothing.

Studying again: I started studying again for my next level of exams. Good thing I actually like absorbing information into my brain because there is quite a bit to take in.

New job: I got a job in a company I’ve always had a lot of respect for and although the position is temporary, I’m looking forward to learning new things and meeting new people.

Ermm..that’s all I can think of, for now.

For me personally, 2016 was a year of self-doubt, self inflicted misery  and settling for less and the world around me hasn’t done all that well either. I’m creating a vision board to get my shit together in 2017 and I hope the world around me does as well.

Here’s to a healthy, happy & productive new year. Cheers!

SAY CHEESE!

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                                                                      “I’m faking it? No you’re faking it!”

I hate taking photographs. Like legit, if someone put a gun to my head and asked me to smile for the camera and told me he would let me go if I smiled nicely, search for me with a gunshot wound in a dump somewhere.

I guess that’s not funny.

Oh well. Take two.

I wouldn’t say anti-photogenicism (yeah, that’s a word – look it up) runs in the family because my elder sister photographs like a dream. My brother on the other hand – you know those kids who smiled for the camera and then when you looked at the photos, they looked like they were in intense pain? – yeah, he was/(is?) one of those kids.

And don’t even get me started on my brace face years. Today when I look back at my final-year school pictures, I can feel the pain oozing out of the photos by the sheer effort it took me to smile trying to show as little metal as physically possible without ending up looking like someone punched me in the balls (I don’t have any.. not because someone punched it into oblivion.. but because I am a woman) right before taking the photograph.

I studied in a weird school where we didn’t have yearly class photographs taken. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

Now imagine this person (as in..me) being asked to have a good picture taken to be sent for suitable-match “hunting”? Like Tinder, but instead of an app, you have middle aged uncles/aunties sending around your photos and sending you photos of ‘nice boys’ back. And if you’re interested, more details follow. And instead of hooking up, the swiping right results in marriage. No big deal.

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Excuse me while I go off screaming into the sunset. Alone.

Trains Trains! (pt. 2)

So Mr.Cannot-Take-A-Hint (see Trains Trains!) was not scary. Weird and annoying? YES.

But not really the scariest character you could meet on an Indian train. Trust me, there are a lot of nominees for that, a rodent inclusive. Let’s talk about the time when I got pee-in-my-pants-if-I-weren’t-so-dehydrated-scared by an old woman, shall we.

NB: If you’re a new reader, well hello there! Sit back and read what I get myself into sometimes when I’m unfortunate enough to make last minute train trips and travel ten hours without pre-booking. You might want to read Part 1 first though, for all the juice on General compartments in Indian trains & the amazing services that they offer.

Or not.

Your call.

Wait, what - old woman?!

Those gentle creatures with their white hair and wise faces, always having the funniest of stories to tell and the most sensible of advice to give? No, not them.

Think more along the lines of Cruella, Snow White’s step mother and the like.

So I was on a last-minute trip home. I get into the train and see my coveted single-seat, sit down and realise that I have an old lady sitting opposite me.

I smile but I don’t get one back but anyway, I’m busy getting comfortable in my seat and forget about it. After a while, I stretch my legs and accidentally hit her leg in the process. I immediately apologise but this is where things take a turn for the worse. She looks at me with an angry stare (you know those ones that pierce through the core of your soul wanting to rip it off? Yeah . .) and I uncomfortably look away, slightly confused, wondering if I should say something. Coward that I am, I decide to keep my mouth shut and go back to looking out the window. Out of the corner of my eye I can see that now not only is she still staring at me but she’s started muttering things under her breath as well. Oh Lord. And I can still feel her eyes on mine, boring a hole into my face. If looks could kill.

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Then after a couple of minutes, I look back at her. She’s no longer staring at me, but she’s still muttering things, no longer keeping it soft, giving me icy stares every now and then. I look around perplexed at the other passengers beside us – they look just as confused as I am, and some of them give me sympathetic nods. Now I get really freaked out when the muttering doesn’t stop – was this some Indian voodoo shit?! Not that I believe in them but I’d rather not take my chances.

Now would be a good time to describe how she looked. You could see that she wasn’t well off and there’s a part of me that feels guilty about this post. In a disheveled sari, hair unkempt, she was probably blind in one eye and I would have been more sympathetic under normal circumstances. Anyway, I love my single-seat but I decided I didn’t love it that much so the first chance I got after a fellow passenger left, I jumped to the seats beside me as far away from her as I could and ‘phewed’ a sigh of relief. Only until I was positively sure that she had gotten off the train did I dare look that way again. I know, I’m a coward! But can you really blame me?

Now this incident is almost as scary as the time when there was a rat in my compartment. YES. A FRIGGIN’ RODENT. In my compartment. I was just half an hour away from my destination, when suddenly I hear a squeak! Alarmed, I look at my fellow passenger and the dude just grins back at me. I raise both my eyebrows at him to confirm if I had just heard what I thought I heard and he just replies “You better pull up and sit cross legged on your seat; you never know when it can come scurrying over!” WHAT.

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This ain’t no Stuart Little movie, dude! Now he’s laughing at me, loving the look of horror on my face and I can’t help but curse both him and the wretched rodent under my breath. Somehow, thirty minutes tick by, way too slowly, with each minute spent dreading whether the little thing could smell my fear.

The train finally stops at the platform and I just jump from my seat and escape into the night happy to be alive. Umm, somewhat like this.

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Happy Journeys everyone!