Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A year at home

I moved back home February of last year. By home, I mean Madras (still have trouble thinking of it as Chennai). It's been an eventful year and a mixed bag at the same time. Since this is my 100th blog post, I feel like I should write up a brief (I swear I'll keep it short!) summary of what could well prove to be a landmark year in my life.

There were a few reasons why I chose to move back. Getting hit with the travel bug was one. Spending more time with the family was another. A change of career was the last reason. I managed to hit each of those goals in turn. That makes it sound like I went about it in a very focused systematic way. In truth, however, I took my characteristic inertia-driven approach.

I went on one trip literally two days after I moved back - to Kerala with my best friend K. Sadly, she hurt herself and we didn't get to see and do as much as we'd wanted to. Still, it's a trip I'll treasure. It seemed like Project-Travel was off to a good start.

Then all this cricket happened - the world cup, then IPL. Now, I'm not a big sports fan by any means. I didn't keep up with sports at all the entire decade I was away. But there's just something about watching cricket at home. It's infectious. And so much fun. Somewhere in there, there was tennis as well. Now tennis was always a sport I liked. I lost touch with it when I went away, mostly due to lack of access (no TV). So I watched parts of all the grand slams. This sports watching and otherwise mostly lazing period also doubled up as time spent with family. Inertia kicked in and I didn't make any attempt to plan more travel, and only very cursorily looked into career options.

Midway through the year, more travelling just sort of happened out of the blue - K was getting married and I (half-)invited myself to Meghalaya for the court wedding (it was my birthday when I asked if I could come so of course she couldn't say no). What a glorious place it was. This trip was like a scratch to the old itch. A couple more trips just sort of happened - first a quick trip to Japan, then an even shorter trip to Munnar. These were equal parts awesome and frustrating, thanks to not being on my own and free to do my own thing.

And so I started a planning the sort of trip I really wanted to go on - a freewheeling backpacking trip. Since I anyway had to be in the North East for K's wedding wedding, I decided to plan a trip around those dates - a week in Sikkim and another in Meghalaya. It ended up being an incredible experience. Highly recommend both those places for first-time backpackers (which I was) btw.

When I left on that trip, it was raining in Chennai. I came back two and a half weeks later to find that it was still raining. And then a couple of days later all hell broke loose - the floods. We were relatively safe thanks to living near the coast and not inside the city proper, but those were some scary, crazy days. After the first few days spent taking care of ourselves, it was time to look a little outside the immediate family circle and start thinking about others. Since I was basically jobless, it was a no-brainer to volunteer and help out where I could.

A month later, I was offered a full-time position at the NGO I was volunteering with and I accepted it. Seemed like the right thing to do. No regrets so far.

So there it is. My year back home. A work in progress, but so far so okay.

P.S.: I started off saying it was a mixed bag of a year, but haven't really talked about any of the really crappy parts of it. I mean on a personal level, the floods were pretty terrible but they did lead me to something good. There was worse in store for me when I came back from that fateful trip. Things that are still far from resolved, but I'm choosing to ignore for the moment. Denial is sometimes the only way to deal with some things. But no more about this.

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