2015 was a roller coaster ride for me! Right from finishing things begun earlier to starting newer things; I did a lot of things for the first time, started inclining gradually up the learning curves; made loads of new friends and discovered newer interests!! I call 2015 as the year of self discovery – I got more persistent in being in inquiry (which was a struggle) and came to know more about myself! I thank each and every one of you readers for being a part of this amazing journey! Here is a fourteen pointer listicle to summarise 2015 along with lots of collages!!
1. CA Convocation & First Half Marathon
2015 began on a high note – One year after clearing CA examinations and applying for membership, we had our convocation in January. It was a great ceremony; I’ve always awaited this moment when I’d get to wear the graduation cloak and hat and throw it in the air (throwing the hat in the air part didn’t happen though :P). With the convocation, one of the biggest journeys of my life – of being a CA student came to an end and a new journey of being a student of life began!
After practising for two weeks with a do or die attitude, I ran my very first half marathon in Jan 2015 and completed it in 3 hours, 3 minutes. Running the half marathon was an enriching experience – there are so many people out there who do their best in supporting you throughout the route! And believe me, its the best way to see Mumbai – you get to listen to its heart beat in the spirit of every runner and the encouraging words and cheering of all Mumbaikars. It makes you feel a part of a bigger community – everyone is out there to support you to the finish line!
2. Weddings & 2015
2015 was a year of weddings – I attended 8 weddings of close friends and cousins! Here are some pictures I could get my hands on –
My best friend Pranav got married to Shetal; the best thing about it being we are great friends since 5 long years – we were interning together at a CA firm! It was one of the most coveted event for years – the fun we had preparing for the sangeet performance is beyond words!
Another fellow colleague from the place we interned got hitched and had a spectacular wedding in Ajmer! It was the first time I attended a marwadi wedding – which is generally after sunset!
Pratik, a friend from school days tied the knot with Dhwani and became another martyr :P. It was a dream wedding – they both make a terrific couple together and we had a lot of fun being around them during these two days – the pictures say it all!
My cousin Hardip married Maitri in Ahmedabad and it was one of the best cousins time we had. Fortunately, everyone was able to make it and we had a blast time together – we met each other after a span of 10 years! From crazy pics to non-stop laughter sessions – we had them all. Inspite of the geographic and time distances, we got glue to each other and the cousin gang got a whole lot bigger this year!
Along with the wedding celebrations, we also celebrated Mother’s Day with all our cousins and moms – each one of us held our moms and walked around the society with pride and joy – Watching the happiness on faces of all moms was one of the best moments of 2015!
3. Family Celebrations & 2015
We started the year on an awesome note – with my mama and mami (mom’s brother and sister-in-law) completing 25 years of togetherness and celebrating it. Deciding on theme of Nehru jackets, planning for dance performances and impromptu gujarati garbas during the orchestra was fun!
Manasvi, 13, our youngest cousin, performed her Arangetram and it was a sight to behold. Looking at her dance on the stage put all of my cousins down the memory lane – it just felt a couple of years ago when we held her in our hands when she was born! Youngest ones grow the fastest! An ode to her performance –
Let time freeze in the theatre of darkness, Illuminate us with the inner radiance you harness. Lose yourself in the expressions, melody and rhythm,
For we’ll see poetry in motion!!
This was one of the rare years when my family was home to celebrate Diwali; thanks to our unplanned spiritual sojourn to Sammed Skhikharji right after that. Diwali pujan is one of my favourite Diwali day – the importance of poojan being conveyed and followed since childhood.
4. Academics & 2015
Clearing CFA Level II was a much anticipated expectation from 2015. Achieving it has made me all the more determined to give my best to the ultimate level in 2016.
5. Friends & 2015
2015 was a year of impromptu meets, celebrations, sharing of happiness and more! It was also the year when most of our planned things didn’t work out 😛 but our bonds strengthened further with time.
It was the first year I went on a self planned night trek for my birthday with a couple of crazy friends and we have an awesome story to tell – we got lost, never made it to the trek point, took a detour and finally camped at a place we realised we wont be able to walk further from – but it was beautiful – with a surprise cake which fitted in a backpack, music to make our hearts skip a beat and millions of stars above us – the shooting stars were the icing on the cake followed by the magnificient sunrise! 😉
6. Trekking & 2015
We did three back to back treks every weekend in August; out of which one was planned and organised by my friend and myself for 17 college friends! Trekking has been one of the most inspiring and rewarding activities I’ve discovered. Waiting for monsoon showers to hit the mountains and chasing the greenery has made me fitter and happier and left me with a broader perspective! Infact, it has called out the photographer and travel blogger in me to share my experience with friends and motivate them to do it. You can read the following blog posts on various treks I did in 2015 – Kalsubai, Dudhsagar Falls, Harishchandragad and Gorakhgad. Here are some pictures!
RIP my Black and Yellow wind cheater – we spent a short but adventurous time together! 😛
7. Travel & 2015
We had awesome family in June in Ooty & Coorg! Both are beautiful places to visit in South. Being a kid once again with cousins was fun – right from playing school games to fighting like kids! Check 5 things to do in Ooty here and my road trip experience from Ooty to Coorg here (Where road romances the sky).
This was followed by a vacation with friends in Ganapatipule on 2nd and 3rd October (do the dates ring a bell :P) – clean water, beautiful beaches and miraculous sunsets!!
8. Spiritual Journey to the Heart of India
Sammed Shikharji in central India is one of the places which holds a lot of significance for Jains – 20 out out 24 Tirthankars ( Jain Monks) attained nirvana or salvation meditating in those range of mountains over various centuries thousands of years ago. Jains ensure to visit this place of purity at least once in their lifetime.
The trip happened in a jiffy and we are extremely happy it happened to us – some last moment cancellations for the trip, some phone calls from family members persuading us to come along and after getting a green signal from the doctor to go, my parents and I got to be part of this special caravan along with 1000 other like minded people. Doing this jatra together is easier as it is difficult to plan a 12 day trip there on your own without knowing much of history or which places to visit.
This trip got me present to so many things in life I take for granted – my parents, family, community, body and I’m now grateful for everything around me – right from my conditioning to small things which have helped me be who I am. I learned a lot of new things about Jainism and also made new friends for life! People I met on this spiritual sojourn were filled with knowledge and were willing to share it with me!
9. Navratri & 2015
Coincidentally appearing at item number 9 is Navratri – one of the most colourful festivals of India where lakhs of people dance to a mixture of traditional gujarati folk songs and bollywood songs! This festival which was a society to society affair has been commercialised totally – but its still fun. From learning how to participate in competitions to winning one; from competing to creating a group – participating in 2015 Navratri competition opened up a lot of things for me. You can read more about it here.
This year Navratri was also about experimenting beyond my comfort zone – we competed in three different locations – generally I play only in one area – and learned different things from different places. Late night hang outs, hunger kicks and hogging at joints which remained open specifically during navratri for people like us – I’ll miss everything about it!
10. Blogging & 2015
2015 was a year of lots of seminars and events to attend and learn; make new friends, read their blogs, interact and exchange ideas and create models to take blogs ahead! 2015 got me my highest views and hits till date – especially on trekking articles. Blogging is still like a rabbit hole to me where I’m yet to immerse completely; and I’m happy with where I am at the moment. 😉
11. Movies, Series & 2015
Tamasha and Manjhi the mountain man were the best Bollywood movies of 2015. Other mentionable movies include – Baby, Gabbar is Back, Baahubali the Beginning, Drishyam, Badlapur, Piku.
Inside Out (a must watch animation movie!), The Martian, Avengers – Age of Ultron, The Intern were creative stories.
Quantico was a surprise to me – Priyanka Chopra has done an awesome job and the story is gripping! Game of Thrones, Person of Interest, House of Cards, Da Vinci’s Demons, Fargo, Castle, Big Bang Theory, Shark Tank did good too! Suits, Arrow were disappointing. All said, FRIENDS still is one of the best TV series to binge watch – it is like wine, gets better with age! 😉
12. Year of Adding Value
My close friend decided to do Kashmir Great Lakes trek and enrolled 8 of his friends to do the same after reading my experience! It was their first trek!This was later followed by another close friend going on his first trek to Kuari with four friends in Dec 2015. This reiterated the power of writing and the purpose of my blog! Receiving feedback from various friends after going through my articles on travel and trekking made me write more of them to make a difference; glad my blogging was of help – I take pride in saying my writing facilitated close to 50 people to go ahead and try trekking – a whole new world opened up for them and there is no feeling to describe the happiness I get when I listen to what all they accomplished out of this!
13. Experimenting & 2015
Right from growing a beard and shaping it :P, to running, learning hip hop, rediscovering the joy of cycling with free hands, teaching and starting to learn photography and movie making – 2015 was a year of experimenting!! It made me rekindle my curiosity and reaffirm the power of knowledge! Also, it made me feel so tiny and humbled as compared to the magnanimity of mother nature – If earth is an art, a photographer is only a witness, that too restricted to a particular frame! I thank all my friends who allowed me into their worlds and through them I got access to these activities.
14. Vulnerability & 2015
2015 is the year in which I let others add value to me – this happened after I learned to be vulnerable. You wont get what you want unless you ask for it; put your neck on the line, take ownership and give it your best shot – things are bound to move – people will act the way you want them to. Actions form an extremely important aspect to outcomes – be it success or failure; whether right or wrong I feel deciding and acting is still better than being at the place where you’re just thinking!!
Things lined up for 2016
I’m extremely excited for 2016 – Bucket list includes learning spanish, cycling from Manali to Leh, backpacking North East India and Europe, starting a travel blog, learn a bit about human behaviour and psychology, meeting passionate people who made a career out of their passion and share their stories on Passion Diaries. Also, I’d be watching Kung Fu Panda III and Baahubali the End – finally we’ll get to know why Katappa killed Baahubali; also the fate of John Snow in Game of Thrones!!
A big thank you to my readers for being my motivators and critiques. It is empowering to know what I’m writing is creating an impact. If this post helps you plan your 2016, my job here is done!!