1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
My year can basically be split into Pre and Post Boston
- Moved to Boston and lived in the states for seven months
- Worked at Harvard and MIT
- Sacrificed many mice to bronchoalveolar lavages and had one come alive on me so that I freaked out screaming about how I was a monster and how I'd crucified it, while Dean first exganguated it, and then spent the rest of my work term telling everyone, and teasing me about it.
- Basically lived at the lab- pulled weekends, weeknights, turned up at 7 am, left at 11 pm, the usual
- Got deeply, deeply invested in my scientific research and did a lot of work independently
- Presented an hour long talk on my research to everyone at the lab
- Took over the project when Dean's unfairly cute and inconveniently timed baby was born before schedule
- Tanuka, whom I knew only from over the internets at the time came to visit me in Boston and stayed with me for a very activity filled 5ish days- and then visited again in May because obviously once is not enough.
- Visited Salem (a train-ride away, with Tanuka)
- Lived in a feminist collective with 8 other women, one supercool person in the process of transitioning FTM, three cats, and
- Lived with three cats, one of which became practically my own- love you, David Orrenbach Stouffer!
- Lived with verymenny lesbians and a couple trans folk which I'd never experienced before
- Broke into the roof of MIT, and erm... the power room(?) along with L and A at night
- Got my first tattoo (a sister-tattoo-ish with Tanuka)
- Got my nose pierced
- Got my hair cut in bangs (which I'd wanted since I was in the 9th grade)
- Partook of lobster sandwiches from Alive and Kicking, and seafood burgers from River Gods- and doll, these were definitely events - Made friends, like actual friends with work colleagues- who happened to be some of the coolest, kindest people I'd ever met. Petted sting rays on their heads with them.
- Went to the city of Cambridge's open air dance party at City Hall
- Went for dim-sum, ate shark fin soup and chicken legs. - Guerilla Dyke night where I drank my first Long Island Iced tea and got hit on by a femme
- Made friends with, and hung out with alcoholic, doped out, slightly mentally unstable girl who worked at juvie evaluating the worst offenders, whose apartment I went to see when house hunting
- Visited Delhi and friends on my own- first trip in India not with family or school
- Got gold stars for erm... a new friend I made.
- Lived with/ spent pretty much uninterrupted time with the FP for a short bit
- Received first comprehensive sex ed lessons ever from a favourite feminist
- Went to an author salon, won a prize from trivia, made friends with a Norwegian jewelery maker called Siw
- Moonshine happened, then disaster happened, and much staggering home to shock the mater
- Was completely and utterly pampered and taken care of for a bit. So much for subverting the patriarchy.
- Went on my first ever pub-crawl.
- Volunteered at the Boston Calling Music Festival in May and saw The Shins, The National, Andrew Bird, Of Monsters and Men, Caspian, MS/MR, FUN and a host of others for free. It was brilliant. Weed macaroons in the freezing rain, dancing to the the Shins backstage, high above the huge crowd below.
- I got a Macbook pro and oh how wonderful it is not to have a computer that is noisy and clunky
- I moved into a new house and became best friends with a roommate, which has never happened before
- I fought with a landlord to successfully decrease my unfair rent
- I got asked out by all the gora guys all the time and it's just bloody unfair, because HELLO, the fuck were you when I was all single and crying over that stupid bloody Valentine's Day movie to Piu.
- Went to the opera- t'was the John Harbison performance of The Great Gatsby
- Walked the streets of Boston-Cambridge by day and night and explored it all.
- Ate potato latkes as part of Jewish breakfast at the iconic Zaftig's
- Had interesting trips where laughing-crying-hyperventilating all at once happened, with new people
- Had unexpected people stay over quite a few times
- Went ice skating.
- Got rescued by a hobo at 3 am on a particularly interesting night after Tanuka and I went clubbing with the best of them. We came across a series of pictures on her cam a couple days after, that we did not remember posing for, and an Asian guy we didn't remember looking very happy, and posing next to us in one of them.
- Went running for miles along the Charles River
- Spent an afternoon at Grolier's poetry bookshop from the 1920s, discovering and falling in love with Aimee Nezhukumatathil's Miracle Fruit, while Chris roamed restlessly with a skateboard under his arm.
- Went to underground poetry slams at the Cantab with Chris and fell in love with the spoken word.
- Did some seriously great thrifting and bought my first ever sexy black bandage dress.
- Early morning breakfast before work at the iconic Paramount Diner where I ate French Toast, the American way, with great sweet loaves of bread, dripping chocolate, melted butter and sliced bananas. Also the freshly squeezed orange juice there deserves a mention.
- Met Neil Gaiman!!! (and Lisa Genova and Vanessa Diffenbaugh).
- Lived through the Boston bombing and was stuck at home all through the curfew for a good whole day
- Trekked from Boston at Mass General Hospital all the way to MIT at Cambridge, the morning after the blizzard hit our building and started a fire, and took away our power. Wrapped saran wrap around my feet because my boots had holes in them and I was afraid of frostbite. Took me and Cheryl about an hour (with giant mounds of snow on all sides as we crossed the bridge, with the whole of Boston quiet and sleeping, no traffic on the road) to get to MIT where we found a giant snowball fight happening at Killian Court.
- Subsisted on almost entirely soup for several months.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I did keep very many of them. My only real resolution immediately next year is to have more fun, and not procrastinate at school. The rest are things I'd like to have in number 6.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yeah, I lost my grandma. And a close relative killed himself. Overall not the best year.
5. What countries did you visit? The States, UAE and India.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? N close, some of my best friends at hand. A good life in India, with meaningful, productive work. Great work with my senior honours thesis. A 4.0 . A review paper. Mental peace, and happiness. Taking better care of myself. More writing. Recording a couple songs, and taking up singing again. Learning how to play the banjo. 7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory and why? As the firsts section amply demonstrates, a lot happened in 2013. Boston and research, the music festival, meeting Neil Gaiman, the feminist house, Tanuka's visits, the perfect 5 days in Dilli, 7th August night with the tunibulbs when I was perfectly happy, the perfect end of exams celebration aka the night I became a Whovian, Piu's birthday surprise will always remain etched in my memory. And the night Didibhai was taken to emergency.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Living through the year, I think. Doing good work at Harvard, being open to meeting people and having new experiences. Persisting until I was taken on as a 499. Making it last with F.P for nearly a year and a half now.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not spending enough time with my grandma.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really, no. Unless nervous breakdowns count.
11. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Mine for keeping it together-ish under pressure. My group of girls who got me through several rough patches and spread sunshine in my life. My mum's for pulling through after everything. Neelu's for being the best friend I couldn't even have imagined.
12. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Mine. F.P's.
13. Where did most of your money go? Food. Coffee.
14. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Occasionally when it seems like it actually might happen, moving to Delhi this coming year. The Dilli trip. Tanuka visiting Boston.
This reminds me of the music festival, and writing happily at Starbucks for hours on end with my free lattes. Also reminds me of all the bus journeys home when I was really stressed with work-pressure, and things were slightly shitty with F.P and you know, how 'love is such a swamp'.
Very beginning of January when I didn't think I'd ever smile again. Yes, very dramatic I know. Especially considering the unlikeliness of things.
16. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Strangely enough, happier. This time last year I was crying in the shower, and feeling all 'life iz a dark abyss'. Beginning of a bad two weeks.
17. What do you wish you'd done more of? Socializing and having fun in the latter half of the year. Writing. Time management. Studying for my bloody Neuro course and working on my thesis. Keeping in touch with friends. Talking to the brother.
18. What do you wish you'd done less of? Being depressed, stressed out, and generally manic. Taking on way too much work. Trying to do a Psych minor. Worrying about stuff.
19. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with the family doing family stuff. Can't remember what though.
20. Did you fall in love in 2013? Yes. A couple of times, with the same person. *cringes*
And then of course, the love of my life, Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor.
21. How many one night stands? None.
22. What was your favourite TV programme? Sherlock! Doctor Who! 23. What was the best book you read? I read a lot this year and that makes me very happy.
Miracle Fruit- Aimee N.
The Feminine Mystique- Betty Friedan.
A bunch of Heyers.
The Hobbit- Tolkien
Breakfast at Tiffany's and other stories- Truman Capote (thanks to S and N)
The Screwtape Letters- C.S Lewis
24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
25. What did you want and get? A brilliant Boston experience that far, far exceeded my wildest expectations. A fantastic work term. Doing a thesis with the professor of my choice, with animal work involved. A relationship that lasted much longer than I would have dare to hope, and only got better and better. A perfect 5 days in Delhi.
26. What did you want and not get?
Mental peace, stability, and for Didibhai to make it.
27. What was your favourite film of this year? Didn't really have one. Didn't mind The Hobbit.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 22. Ma made my favourite lunch of palak paneer, pulao, roast cauliflower, paatla mutton'er jhol, and paayesh. Then I went shopping with Ma and picked out an insanely hot dress that makes me look like I have an hourglass figure. Then Tony picked me up, and we hung out at Belgian Beer Cafe with Ila and Anisha. They treated me, it was awesome. Then I came home and hung out with Tony and Ila, Skyped with Shalmi, Trisha and Tanuka, semi-fought with F.P, and then uncle-aunt-cousin came over. There was cake and champagne. And Thai food. And then I stayed up talking to Dave and writing F.P long email with Ma sleeping beside me, and then I went to sleep. Before that, there was Piu's wonderful, wonderful surprise.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not getting depressed and being insanely overworked. Having F.P in the same place. And being able to see my friends rather than pine for them and write and receive beautiful emails every once in a while.
30. What kept you sane? My girls at the beginning and any other time I might have been insecure. Anjali in the fall. And F.P and Tanuka most consistently.
31. Who was the worst new person you met?
No one comes to mind, really.
32. Who was the best new person you met?
Grace and Dean were really awesome, inspiring people, with very different backgrounds. , Priya, Meg, Allison, Jess from work.
Sus, Lily, Eli from the collective. Chris, my brief pseudoindieromance.
Tanuka, whom I met in the flesh.
Anjali, who kept me sane through fall. Dave who helped me not go insane during finals.
I was insanely nervous about meeting S, M and R, all of whom turned out to be cool and very chill. and hopefully I will get to know them as my friends rather than F.P's at some point.
33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learnt in 2013.
2013 reinforced 2012's message which was to go after the things I want, because that way I actually stand a chance of getting them.
It reinforced that I should have faith in the 'little did I know', that life is unexpected, and can be wonderful.
It taught me that people can and do change if they really want to.
All work and no play makes R a very, very unhappy girl- and is totally inadvisable.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I'm just really glad it's over at this point, although it had it's deliciously high points. 2013 was a year of massive ups and downs.
I guess I looked to F.P, and faraway Delhi post-graduation as my one good thing through a lot of it (although I am the first to admit that I'm privileged, and had a lot of good things), and kept telling myself to hold on until I got there.
"Oh you got to Hold on, Hold on You got to hold on Take my hand, I'm standing right here You gotta hold on"
Time to do the end of year reflection tag again, but I'm just not feeling it this year for whatever reason. Last year was pretty shaky too, come to think of it. Perhaps end of years are usually blue for me. The whole Boston and India trip was pretty epic though.
Birthday's soon, but I have to keep reminding myself of it 'cuz I keep forgetting.
In other news, I am completely obsessed with Doctor Who, and I watched Sharknado at 2 am with a new-friend while packing, and chugging juice straight out of the carton. The makers of the destruction of whatever was left of Tara Reid's career, really don't know how to movie.
Someday, oneday, I will stop being afraid of being abandoned. I will. I will stop being afraid that my trust is going to be broken into tiny little pieces, and I'm going to be left feeling like the biggest fool in the world. One day, I swearitt. Until then, I shall keep at the whole being absolutely reasonable, calm, and chill on the outside, and telling myself to ignore the sinking sensation in my stomach accompanied by blinding terror every so often.
Edit: You know what this means. I'm going to chop off my hair again.
It started as a joke but rapidly took on a life of its own. I have always wanted to live with a friend, I've been lucky to have some wonderful women fall into my life, and I would very much like for this to happen some day.
Here's what I see: I see us in a room with grey cool floors, and a third floor balcony sitting by the window, watching the Delhi sun slip beneath the horizon. I see you with your glasses slipping down your nose and a contented black cat at your feet (or a tabby- who knows which stray creature you'll bring along home), singing absently along with Nina Simone. Or the Beatles, who've never let us down. I see me with a book by the window, a coffee stain on the page, that I wipe away guiltily with the corner of my skirt. I see fairy lights strung around the window and a banjo by the mantel and I see a whole lot of contentment and peace.
So, come. Come live with me, and we shall live out our youthful fantasies. Perhaps we will let our boys come visit. And a rag-tag bunch of friends.
It is winter and I miss my friends, the sisters of my heart so very much. I wish I could encircle them all with my arms, gather them up, tuck them up tight into the corners of my heart. But the earth is so very vast and we are all so far away. Soon we shall be farther still- scattered twinkling lights, like fire-balloons that drift across a pink sky full of kites.
Like ripe mangoes bursting out of their skin in our hands,
the juice running streams down our
Like the brief fury of red in the air,
when someone throws gulaal at you in the frenzy of holi.
Like the first time we kissed in a dark stairwell,
and it was crap, and I said so-
The words tumbling out of my mouth
and into your big eyes, which took no offence
but looked lazy back at me, smiling ‘Then teach me’.
So I did, and it wasn't much better-
but there were stars exploding underneath my eyelids
As i felt your warm mouth,