In the film Guide- Dev Anand “Raju’s” dialogue to “Rosie” just before a song is “kal tak aap lagti thi, chaalis saal ki aurat, jo zindagi ki har khushi, har umang, har umeed raaste mein kahin kho aayi hai.Aur aaj lagti hain 16 saal ki bacchi; bholi, nadaan, bachpan ki shararat se bharpur.” (Till yesterday you seemed like a 40 year old woman-tired of life and having lost the zest for life. Today you seem as exuberant as a 16 year old again)
At which point Rosie breaks into “Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai.” (I want to live again.)
My journey in 2017 could well be summed up in thus filmy fashion. I started the year as that 40 saal ki (ok ok 42 saal ki –details details) and am ending it as a 43 saal ki but with much of the enthusiasm of a 16 year old- er-not bholi aur nadaan but let’s keep the shararat bit.
And well yes-Not only aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai-Waheeda ji ki tarah dance karne ki bhi hai.
The year began on a quiet, subdued and very introspective note for me. The process of change continued and as is wont, caused both distress and joy. While the latter was welcome, the former is not feted is it? I did however pull myself out by the scruff of the neck from wallowing in pity pools and told myself sternly to get on with it. It was tough going but the inner drama queen delighted herself by switching roles from hai main bechari to ma kaali hunter waali to able bhartiya naari. Some roles still missing but had to leave some for next year eh?
In all my avatars, I had well casted co-stars. This year was FULL of people for me. A new job, reunions, travel, gatherings and good times ensured old favourites remained constant (love you guys), new entrants mostly positive and some well-meh! Such a variety and range of interactions. A year that began with some brutal brush-offs grew into a lovely space with the warmth, affection and appreciation from friends far and near. I was ably, lovingly, and straight talked-ly supported by some people very dear to me. I hope you know who you are. Could not have got through large parts of the past two years without you. Add to this, completely unexpected observations on being a strong independent person and admiration for one’s creative pursuits. Fortunately not become a big-head but am just so thrilled with the lurve! A big squishy hug all around I say. Even to the meanies- a jaadu ki jhappi to hug your small-minded-ness away.
And what other insights do I have from 2017? What were the kaantaas I pulled the aanchal from? What were the phool hi phool?
That fear cripples and takes away from living and reduces it to mere existing. One cannot constantly fear losing people, money, job, relationships. It has to be faced, accepted and told no more. I am what I am. Other’s words don’t define me. My deeds do. I matter. I belong. I am fine.
Of witnessing kindnesses and realising that it is so important that we don’t lose our humanity, our gentler side, ourselves in the maelstrom of hate. That all lives matter and I have a right to eat what I want, see what I want, wear what I want and whether I’m Rachna, Rachel or Rukhsana, I remain first an Indian and that is all that should matter. Of also saying enough- “No, I don’t bow down to you. I will not be scared of you” and the bullies back off. I hope it won’t need a revolution to bring back the balance, but if it does- I’m up for it. You?
That people need to be encouraged and held. Positive words and appreciation are like water to a wilting plant. That people grow at different paces and that’s fine. That negativity needs a constant war waged against it. That bullies and bad behaviour cannot be tolerated silently for they think silence is weakness.
That life is actually fairly simple and can be kept that way.
2017-Thank you for the lessons, the people, the love. 2018. Let’s see what you’ve got for me.
Oh—and here’s the song. https://youtu.be/BpLyDTEw3Z4