# I brought Kaddu, my first car home.
# Not necessarily a highlight, but I also scratched it a couple of times.
# At the beginning of the year, C and I went to Kerala for a few days. I’d never been particularly keen on it but Munnar was absolutely stunning – we visited tea estates and an old tea processing factory. Kumarakom’s sun was pure joy, making the boat rides through the backwaters blissful. An oily, full body massage and great appams everywhere we went made it quite a perfect holiday.
# I started a new job. Going through the motions and learning its ways happened gradually through the year. I had moments that were frustrating and a few that were fascinating. In my year-end review I said it was a humbling year of my career because part of me wanted to keep accelerating (on the back of the transition from the last job) while my environment constantly reminded me I needed to learn its ways at a pace that I couldn’t influence. I hope the next year is different.
# Thanks to Kaddu there were several country pub lunches this year.
# And thanks to the job that’s far from home and central London, there were far fewer meals in the city. In fact, I even shopped a lot less this year given that I could no longer stroll out from the office in Marylebone on to Oxford Street.
# I Marie Kondo’d the parts of my closet I could and it has become such a fabulously efficient way of living now!
# Daksh took me to an Arsenal game at the Emirates stadium. I can’t claim to have enjoyed the football, but it was fun and I wished Bhai was with us too. I continue to imagine a day he can visit and I can take him there.
# I made a couple of work trips to Brussels, and one time went to the European Parliament for breakfast with MEPs and other folks from healthcare. The part of me that’s endlessly excited by the policy world was jumping inside while I kept calm and had fries and a waffle for my dinner alone in the city.
# I missed a flight due to an accident on the road to the airport. That left C alone in Copenhagen, while I spent the night having my favourite Green & Black chocolate with Jack Daniels & Coke and crying over the Netflix series, Delhi Crime.
# Ruhi, C and I went to Cornwall for a long weekend. We stopped at rapeseed fields en route, which had been on my list for a few years. It’s the DDLJ thing, nothing more. Cornwall was pretty! We hiked, watched silly theatre by the seaside, sat under the night sky and watched the stars, and I think there was some cooking involved too. Our Airbnb host had baked us scones that were arguably some of the best ever!
# I did a day trip with Shashwat and Shashwat while C was in India. It’s a highlight just for the unadulterated conversations. Also, first time driving on the motorway.
# I started learning calligraphy. I have been slow but it’s fun! Grateful to Daksh for pushing me into it.
# I also started learning Urdu (finally!!!). But I am hopelessly slow with it, so slow that there’s actually no progress. Something needs to be done to address it.
# Mom and Dad agreed to visit us again this summer. Dad’s age, in particular, dictates his life now. So it was a low-activity trip, but we managed to take them out for a few meals, I showed them the Kew Gardens, we went to Little Venice again as Dad loved it last time, we went on board the HMS Belfast, and watched a lot of nostalgic television and films at home.
# We went to Corsica early in the summer. I LOVED it. These year-long waits for the two days in the warm sea are always worth it!! One of our afternoons this time had perfect sand, a not-too-crowded beach, a proper mat I’d remembered to carry, tequila sunrise, a large umbrella to rest under as unlike me C doesn’t enjoy getting burnt in the sun, and the water’s waves and temperature that were perfect. It was amaaazing! We also went to Bastia, where parts of Tamasha were shot. For that day I became the Bollywood junkie obsessed with every spot where celebrities had been.
# The other celebrity-obsessed trip this year was to Switzerland. Well, it was more about the DDLJ cult. Driving through the greens, looking at the cows, singing out to the vaadiyan – that. Also reality: those cows are given way too much hormone. We ended up listening to a cutesy audio tour in a cheese museum that was narrated from a cow’s perspective, but it had staggering numbers! The cheese might taste great but I have my doubts about the poor cows. By the end of the trip my breasts started to hurt so much that I couldn’t figure what was wrong. Until I realised it was because of the hormone-filled cheese I ate over the four days!!
# C pulled yet another surprise on my birthday, with some friends waiting for me with cake inside our house!
# A wedding of Austrian-bred Punjabis in Vienna was quite the experience! A beautiful mix of Indian traditions in Austrian settings or with Austrian influence made it a very unique few days for us.
# This year’s Diwali was on a weekend, which gave me the opportunity to indulge a bit more than usual. Ruhi and Shashwat came over for lunch. We had poori aloo on the floor along with four different types of meetha. (On the floor because of endless window repair work that happened throughout the flat)
# C’s dad was diagnosed with late stage cancer. It’s been a tough phase. Everyone in the family has been very practical about it. I often think about my role, and I expect myself to not be emotional about it. But I’ve had my share of breakdowns – unexpected in their timing and in the feelings they’ve brought.
# I did another couple of photoshoots – a friend’s maternity and then of the newborn. I figure the tiny humans are more interesting to click when they’re outside. As a result of the shoots, C and I got gifted an afternoon of wine tasting and high tea in Chilford Hall in Cambridgeshire. Very informative and totally recommended for anyone interested!
# Ruhi, C and I also did a day trip to the Jurassic Coast. I so terribly suck at climbing heights but we did do the little hike up the rock and it was worth the effort. I think that was the last day out in the sun for me this year.
# This year’s exercise routine was by far the most consistent! By the end of the year I was getting in three days of exercise a week, which collectively has been the most work I have ever done (running/yoga in the past was not the same). I now have a pair of gym tights that I think make me look really good. 😀 #smalljoys
# I got forced into my first Halloween indulgence by dressing up for the themed Zumba class.
# I managed to maintain my weight at the level it was last autumn, which is effectively when I stopped being strict about what I eat. So now I eat everything I like, exercise a bit, and keep an eye on the scales. I wish to lose about 5 per cent more, but I think it hasn’t happened because part of me doesn’t mind keeping it. I think I just need to stop staring at every perfect-looking female I come across!
# I baked a few new healthy desserts! Nobody likes their ingredients or much of their taste, but I like them and I don’t care about others.
# I went to Lucknow with the whole fam for Daksh’s wedding. Very pleased to inform you that I was thrilled about dressing up as do all NRI women! And I was equally excited about all the chaat which, oh-my-god, was even better than Delhi’s on occasion!
# I wore a sari to a dinner hosted by a British colleague. It got me so happy I brought back more saris from India in the hope I’d wear them more often. I am now eagerly awaiting such opportunities!
# C and I went to a place called Leeds Castle, which is not anywhere near Leeds and is stupidly expensive to get into.
# Fortunately, I got to watch Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and sons perform live. So much skill!
# For C’s birthday, I finally managed to get tickets to Ronnie Scott’s, the popular jazz club that had been on his list for eternity! I have to admit we’re quite useless at late night events. The time between dinner and the late show felt like it was so long and boring that part of me had started questioning why I was doing it.
# This year C spent a lot of time in India with his dad and the family. On his most recent trip I realised just how much of my time I spend with him, including passively sitting by him when he does other things. I know I like the comfort of it but when he’s away it also gives me a lot of self-care time that I otherwise don’t have.
# I did some zero waste, DIY Christmas decorations this year with an orange, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves. It smelled yummy!
# We went to Porto in Portugal between Christmas and New Year. It was sunny and relaxed. We didn’t have much of an agenda, I had an annoying injury, C was exhausted from a recent India trip, so we just chilled.
# We went back to the strawberry farm this year to pick loads of berries and vegetables. Still so much fun!!
# There were a LOT of parties and social gatherings this year. Most of them exhausted me because people refused to have interesting conversations. But this has been happening to me since 2004. So it isn’t anything new.
# This is trivial, but I had a dosa at the Carnatic Cafe in Delhi and it was too delicious to not call out here!
# Emma passed away without any notice. I still don’t know what happened to her. But that stopped mattering after the first few days. Her absence matters more.