2019 was less than an average year for reading and writing. I did not read much and hardly wrote in my personal capacity. I'd be embarrassed to put a number to either. I have a folder titled 'My Writing Projects' that I have been visiting whenever the mood has suited me. While I did not read a lot, I did buy a few books and watched plenty of films, mostly on Netflix. I also travelled a bit, especially towards the end of the year. I continue to remain active on social media, as many of you know, which is partly responsible for the downside to my reading and writing. I will have to do something about it in the new year.
On a more positive and happy note, my daughter, a post-graduate and a chartered accountant by profession, got engaged and married all within a span of three months. My son, a graduate, enrolled for an MBA programme with specialisation in finance. Both are brilliant in Math and Accounts. I count on my fingers. In October, I rejoined a yoga class, which was a big plus for me, though I'm light years away from doing Shirshasana (the headstand) and having a fresh perspective on life. I needed to slow down and de-stress. Now I wake up at 5 am, bathe and shave, do yoga from 6 to 7 am on most days, come home for a quick breakfast, change into formals, and head to work by 7.30 am.
I'm going to make sure 2020 is different and productive. I have a few unwritten goals that include reading and writing, contributing meaningful essays and articles to magazines and websites, and reviewing books and interviewing authors on my blog. I have missed the last. Hopefully, this is a start.
Coming back to the new and secondhand books I acquired in 2019, I look forward to reading the ones I received as Christmas gifts from my family—India: From Curzon to Nehru and After, a 550-page book on Indian history by Durga Das (1901-1974), a well-known journalist and historian, and Batman: The Killing Joke, a 1988 DC graphic novel written by Alan Moore and featuring Batman and the Joker. History and comic-books have been my favourite genres since I was in school.
At another time, a serious errand ended in a treasure hunt among the old book haunts of King's Circle in central Mumbai and a rare find—an early Coronet edition of P.G. Wodehouse. A welcome addition to my wife's collection of mostly Penguin PGs.
I will leave you with a story in 50 words—a Dribble—I wrote on Facebook; clearly, the influence of yoga.
I sat on the mat, legs folded under me, eyes closed lightly, hands resting on my thighs, the tips of my index finger and thumb touching gently, in Gyana Mudra. I took a deep breath and exhaled, once, twice, thrice, and instantly found balance—in a dusty old secondhand bookshop.
Happy New Year!
Images: Prashant C. Trikannad