A short history of 2021.

As we get on with 2022, a few reflections about my 2021 is due.

It was a beautiful year. I travelled a lot, especially across the length and breadth of the state. I learnt a lot. Then came an exhilarating two months period, working on a project - single mindedly with possibly the best team out there. We, as a triumvirate, sat together to pull off something interesting. And we did it. In terms of learning, 2021 was a fantastic year.

And then there was a migration. I don’t know if that’s the right word to use, because I was all over the place in 2021. It started with me at Trivandrum, wondering if two years in that city was already long enough. Before I knew, I had made the decision to move. It was decided in the first fifteen days of 2021 itself. But I took another one month shuttling between Kochi, Malappuram and Kozhikode before I finally decided to leave Trivandrum. By February end, I was back at home. Perhaps this was the first time I was ‘really’ home after my short stay during the 2018 floods. I spent those days reading “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth amongst other things, while the water slowly seeped into our house and we had to take shelter at my aunt’s house.

Again, March and April were fantastic. There were a deluge of people in my life. There was a lot of information, people and decisions to make. Sure, I made a lot of mistakes, but these two months were the best professionally.

I flew to Delhi on April 10th, only to hurry back home on 26th to a mounting second wave. The 16 days in Delhi were fun, though I spent most of the time planning what I will do in 2021. Needless to say, I don’t remember any of it now.

Back home, I was reading, writing and wasting away my time when the Clubhouse happened on 24th May. Then, fifteen days went up in the air as we discussed almost everything in the world. Of course, I spoke a lot of history; society and then there were this fight with a bunch of people who thought that feminists are ruining this world. It was fun.

I flew back to Delhi on June 14th. That day, I spoke about Alexander the Great for about five hours. Four hundred people attended the event. I Left Clubhouse after a few days of hanging around. It was fun.

Then there was a lot of cooking. I found the best places to buy all kinds of meat in Delhi. And how to cook them well. Sure, the first twenty batches tasted somewhat alike. Sometimes, a bit too much of cardamom, sometimes the pepper notes aren’t hitting it right, sometimes I couldn’t just connect with the food I was making. And then there were overcooked and undercooked bits. Once, I added butter and milk to beef; in short, a lot of blurry evenings will finally teach me how to cook.

Then a lot happened; I flew to Trivandrum on 23th September. The 24th was a bad day; I went back home on the 26th. Then I returned to Trivandrum on October 7th. After that, I flew to Bangalore on 11th, back to Calicut on 15th; I flew back to Delhi on 18th. That was a very hectic week with some flying involved, but that was fun.

The four days in Bangalore was a reflection of all that I could have done with my life. Of everything that I have left behind, including someone I considered the most important part of my life. But then, the most important parts of our lives change too. Perhaps, that’s the best insurance against tragedy, torpor and dejection. Those four days made me sit down and reflect about the life I had, when I left the city exactly five years ago on September 30th of 2016. That was some learning.

I have stayed in Delhi since 18th October, 2021. I have eaten out of dried leaves near tombs, went out with people I didn’t see after; ate to my fill, ran under scorching sun as well as a smothering smog. Slept in the streets more than once, drank overpriced coffee in expensive cafes, and stared at a dried up Yamuna river bed on which people grew heavy metal laden vegetables.

Negotiated the mazes of Majnu Katila and Old Dilli alike; jogged around the presidential palace and Lodhi Gardens with same ease, let out a sigh about the mutilated Rajpath and loss of common spaces. Also, read a set of books about the stories, smell, taste and of people long lost in the city of Djinns.

And I am flying to Trivandrum tomorrow evening. This would be the short history of 2021, of course with the most important parts censored out. I would save that for another day.


Written on January 1, 2022