16 July 2013

Birthday post from Turkey

This post comes from a hotel in the KaƧkar mountains, eastern Black sea coast, Turkey. This morning, I went down earlier than N to breakfast, so as to think about what I realized (!) the past year. It started with a list.

Digression - I think there is a gene out there that compels you to make lists, and it is inherited, in a dominant fashion. In my family, there is no escape - both parents love making them, and in certain scenarios will not discuss further till a list has been made. There is no problem, we think, that can't be solved by making a list. Right from making a list about what qualities I want in the man I would like to marry, down to what I wanted to do with my life after coming back from the US. It's the family antidote to every illness and surprisingly, works very well. If you are ever invited to our home you can be sure that on the fridge, in a scrap of paper, quite possibly the back of an old invitation card which has been cut up neatly with scissors, would be a list of items that will be cooked and somewhere, in the depths of my mother's purse or father's pocket, a list of ingredients that need to be purchased. 

Anyway, this list. What my mother found was something I must have made when I was studying for a BSc. There is no date; I am guessing this from the contents. It was a list of what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't put down when I would achieve those things; I made the list in the confidence that once you put something on paper, indented it with numbers or bullets, you had a good chance of getting them done. The optimism in the list is unfailing. By this birthday though, I know there is much I won't realize from that list - like learning ballet, or french. Not because I can't, but because I have different interests now. Well, that's an excuse that would work only for some items on the list. Something physical like learning ballet, I just don't think it would be possible. Sure, one could be inspired by Protima Bedi, who took up Odissi as an adult and then excelled in it. But I am certain I will not be that way. And that's what is amazing about this time and age for me. Knowing my limitations and making peace with them. These limitations are not truly holding me back; they are merely an acceptance of the way my body and mind work.
The other thing that I get more confident about as the years pass by is regarding competition. In more and more areas of my life, my competition is with myself. Not the 1st ranker in class, or the classmate who has a faculty position now, or the contemporary who has two chubby children. When I do or think of doing something now, it's with the confidence of knowing that the only person I really need to please is myself. Does that make me selfish? Perhaps. But labels I can live with. Deceiving myself, I cannot. 

Oh, I did achieve one thing from that list. I got a PhD.

Pictures from our Trek at Kavron today. It was incredibly misty - couldn't see more than 50m at some parts.